Why Days on Market Matters to Home Buyers When Selling a House

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

The amount of time a home spends on a market (a statistic known as “days on market”) depends on a variety of factors like location, market trends, how your listing is marketed, and pricing.

Prospective buyers know how long a house has been listed for, and that information can influence behavior, which is why days on market matters when selling a house. In short, buyers look at days on market as a catch-all to see if something is wrong with the house, either in terms of price or condition and can see a high number as a red flag.

Minimize Days On Market: Sell With a Top Agent

HomeLight analyzes millions of real estate transactions to find top real estate agents — agents who sell homes faster and for more money than average agents. To minimize the number of days your house sits on the market, connect with an agent who knows your area and will go above and beyond.

What’s the average days on market?

As of March 2022, across the nation, the median amount of days a home spent on the housing market amounted to 38. Five years ago, that time was nearly double, reflecting the sellers’ market of the last few years. Of course, what’s true in one location isn’t necessarily true for the next, so understanding your local context is important for putting days on market into context.

For instance, in Lafayette, LA the median days on market spent is 72 days, while in Atlanta, GA that number is 33 days. This average is one of the most crucial metrics in indicating how hot or cool the local housing market is.

In general, home sellers don’t want a protracted selling process, especially given that buyers get spooked by listings that have been active for a while. To maximize your chances of a timely home sale, working with a top agent can help a lot. We spoke with top Lafayette agent Diana Greene for insights that can help sellers overcome challenges that are unique to the market they’re attempting to sell their home in.

Here, we’ll review some great strategies that will help to ensure that your home sells as quickly as possible, including marketing, home prep, and pricing. The numbers show that the strategies work, too. Greene has sold 100% of her listings while completing 4% more sales than the average real estate agent in Lafayette, LA.

Get a pre-listing inspection

One of the most important steps of selling a home is getting a pre-listing inspection. A home inspection typically consists of an inspector coming to the home to search for and identify any problems in the physical condition of the house, both inside and out, and especially those that present a health and safety risk. According to Greene, home inspections are particularly important to keep in mind when selling an older home.

She says the main areas of focus when it comes to pre-listing inspections includes plumbing, insulation, electrical and essentially any place else within the home that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Afterwards, she makes it a point to leave an inspection report on the table of the home for the potential buyer to review with their agent. This can be instrumental for numerous reasons.

“When the buyer with their agent comes in and they look at it, you might also have a list of updates that we’ve already changed,” she says. “The electric, we’ve already upgraded the electrical panel, we’ve changed out the plumbing fixtures. If I’m trying to sell it for top dollar, it’s an older home and needs that pre listing inspection, I want a list of updates that we’ve made to the home.”

A pre-listing inspection is a great way to get the most accurate understanding of the current state of your home, which will help provide a basis for setting an accurate price and mitigate the risk of your listing sitting on the market.

Pricing your home correctly

Another pivotal aspect of reducing the amount of days a home spends on the market is properly pricing it. Initially overpricing a home can be easy without a realistic idea of what it’s worth. There’s a good amount of research that goes into appropriately pricing a home aside from the appraisal though.

Top agents like Greene leverage insights that consist of local market details like the prices that other similar homes in the area are selling for, known as “comps” and used to perform a comparative market analysis. Maximizing these insights is key for finding the ideal price for a home.

Green notes that you can pretty much expect a home to sit on the market if it’s priced significantly higher than the nearby competition. She says, “I will send my sellers a report showing their comp and the active comp, and if they’re priced the highest, it’s got an encouraging line in there, asking ‘can we please reduce the price?’, and also I’ll update them on the sole comp to show where these homes are getting sold at.”

Prepping your house for sale

When it comes to selling a home, it’s hard to overstate the importance of proper staging. Top real estate agents like Greene understand the role staging plays in helping to reduce the amount of days a home spends on the market, by making it easier for prospective buyers to view your house as their future home and showing off its best qualities. That’s why she goes above and beyond to help sellers stage their homes to perfection.

She says, “If need be, I will call the stager, I will take pictures with my cell phone myself, and email them to the stager and have the stager myself to call the homeowner and the stager can give the homeowner a professional service that is personal and confidential between the two of them.”

While staging is a vital aspect of preparing a home for the market, that’s not the only thing sellers need to keep in mind during the preparation process. Cosmetic repairs and clean-ups that have fallen off of the to-do list over the years can be responsible for a home’s days on the market adding up, too. Greene says that this is especially the case in a fast-moving market. “These things need to be done to get the home sold quickly. We want to get top dollar for the home and this is one of the best ways to do it.”

I’m thinking as much online marketing as you can possibly get. Facebook, social media, flyers out to your email (contacts) help to sell a home.
  • Diana Greene
    Diana Greene Real Estate Agent
    Diana Greene
    Diana Greene Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Realty Acadiana
    • star
    • star
    • star
    • star
    • star
    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 16
    • Transactions 94
    • Average Price Point $235k
    • Single Family Homes 92

Marketing strategies

Effective marketing techniques are needed to sell just products of all kinds. Your home is no exception. Employing the right marketing strategies could be the difference between your home selling as fast as you thought it would, or it sitting on the market for weeks on end. Top agents work tirelessly to leave no stone unturned when it comes to the marketing strategies employed to get homes sold.

Social media and strong photography are effective marketing resources Greene regularly employs in order to get homes sold fast. It’s also important to make sure your home, and the areas surrounding it are ready prior to agreeing to photos. She says, “When you do photograph, you want that lawn to be freshly cut.”

Greene leverages social media in her selling efforts, but she doesn’t stop there. “I’m thinking as much online marketing as you can possibly get. Facebook, social media, flyers out to your email (contacts) help to sell a home.” By using multiple channels to spread the word about selling a home, your odds of getting it off the market before days start to add up are likely to improve.

What to do if your house continues to sit on the market

Although it can be discouraging to see other houses in your area sell as the days and weeks pass, it’s not the end. Finding yourself in this situation means that you simply need to make some tweaks. Some things to keep in mind when deciding how to adjust your approach include:

Consider what’s going on in the minds of buyers

Given how fast homes are selling, a home that hasn’t sold after an extended amount of time is likely to raise eyebrows amongst prospective buyers. If you’ve done everything you can to ensure that the home is in tip-top shape, it’s likely worth doing some research to find out more background information about the home. From public records to area crime stats, there could be something beyond your control that’s causing it to sit on the market. Finding out what it is and disclosing it properly could alleviate your woes.

Take the following actions

Regardless of how you feel about your home, the real estate market itself is likely to have the final say in how fast it will sell. That’s why it’s important to do everything in your power to make it enticing to home buyers who have options.

The best course of action to take that could help the home sell includes taking the advice of a trusted top performing agent, even if you disagree with it. That advice likely consists of completing repairs, properly taking care of the lawn and staging the home with the idea of a new family moving in could be all it takes to get the home sold. Top performing agents like Greene have years of experience selling homes which could be instrumental in helping you get your home off the market.

Header Image Source: (Africa Studio / Shutterstock)