How Long Does It Take to Sell a House? (2024)

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.

How long does it take to sell a house? As of October 2023, homes spent an average of 50 days on the market. This is up from a low of 30 days on market set in May 2022 but down from a high of 74 days in Jan. 2023.

Days on market is a metric that tracks when a house is listed and goes under contract with a buyer. The answer for a particular house depends on the house itself and local market conditions.

The timeline can get even longer when you factor in closing. Data from Ice Mortgage Technology shows that the average number of days it takes to close a purchase loan is 45.

From list to close, you’re looking at around 3 and a half months (just under two months to get an offer and a little less than a month and a half to close) to sell a house. This doesn’t account for any time spent preparing to put the house on the market.

Alternatively, you could sell your house for cash. This option enables you to receive an offer in a few days and reduces your closing timeline to as little as one to two weeks in exchange for accepting an offer well below market value.

Running Out of Time to Sell Your Home?

Speed things up by selling for cash. HomeLight provides you an all-cash offer to buy your home, on your timeline. Receive an offer within a week and close in as little as 10 days.

How is the market shift affecting days on market?

It can take an average of 50 to 100 days to sell a house in today’s single-family home market — and sometimes longer, depending on where you live.

This increase in time on market can be attributed to a sharp rise in mortgage rates, which began in mid-2022. Mortgage rates remain elevated, reducing the number of buyers who are able or willing to purchase a home.

Pending home sales, a measure of contracts signed but not yet closed, increased by 1.1% in September 2023.

Historical data indicates that how fast homes sell is highly dependent on seasonality. For example, homes listed in April and May have historically sold 20-30 days faster compared to homes listed in January:

For perspective, while the market has slowed from its white-hot conditions seen from mid-2020 through mid-2022, the latest number marks a return to something closer to historical averages. NAR reported average days on market in July 2011 was 98 days, and in 2012, it was 68, which seemed quick, following the housing crisis of the previous decade.

Remember, available days on market and time to close data represent averages taken from large groups of home sales. Some lenders may be able to close faster, in as little as 30 days.

Large lenders typically have a lot more internal red tape to deal with before they can fund a loan and write a check. On the other hand, smaller local lenders often have shorter closing times because they tend to be nimbler and more adept at navigating the quirks of their local market.

How long does it take to prep the home?

Pennie Carroll, a top real estate agent in Des Moines, Iowa, says the amount of time it takes to prepare a house for sale varies based on how much work and maintenance the homeowner has done in the past. Still, she estimates an average of about a month to get the house ready.

“The process usually starts with the agent coming to the house and providing guidance on what needs to be done — and, more importantly, what doesn’t need to be done,” she says.

“Sometimes sellers can waste time on things that aren’t necessary or won’t do anything to help speed up the sale.”

“I can have a house staged, photographed, and listed within 48 hours,” says Jamie McMartin, a HomeLight Elite Agent and top-selling real estate agent in the Houston metro area. “But typically, it’s a three-to five-day process.”

McMartin walks us through how she accelerates the selling timeline when appropriate:

Listing prep: Staging, photography, listing description, 3-D tours, and for-sale sign in the yard 3-5 days, but in some cases as few as 48 hours
Listing launches: Listing goes live, ideally on a Weds., with a day or two buffer to generate showing interest 1 day
Showings and open house: Showings are available starting Friday, with open houses on Saturday and Sunday. 3 days
Offer review and counter offers: Ideally received by Sunday night and finalized by Monday at 5 p.m. 2 days
Inspection period: Inspector completes report and amendments negotiated 5-7 days
Appraisal period: The Appraiser visits the property and submits a detailed report to the lender 8-10 (after the buyer pays the lender an appraisal fee)
Appraisal-related negotiations (if necessary) 1-2

Find an Agent to Sell Your Home Quickly

We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to connect sellers with top rated real estate agents who statistically sell homes faster than average. 

How can I sell my house faster?

Whether you’re in a financial predicament or need to relocate for work, working with a cash buyer quickly is an excellent strategy if you need to sell your house fast.

If you request an offer from an iBuyer company or house-buying company without putting your house on the market, you can expect to receive an offer in as little as 48 hours and close in as few as one to three weeks.

Since cash buyers prefer to purchase properties “as is,” sellers can also lop off any time they usually would have spent on listing preparations.

Cash also eliminates any lender involvement, cutting out the lender-ordered appraisal and creating a more straightforward path to settlement.

See how the main aspects of the timeline compare below:

Sell directly for cash Listing process
Sale timeline 7 to 30 days 99 days (including 54 to accept an offer, 45 to close the loan
Home preparations 0 days 30 days
Time to get an offer As few as 48 hours 54 days
Appraisal 0 days 8-10 days

Interested to request a cash offer? Consider starting with HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, which provides cash offers for homes in almost any condition nationwide. Sellers can receive an offer in as few as 24 hours and close in as little as 10 days. No staging. No showings. No open houses.

Curious What Your Home Is Worth?

Get a near-instant real estate house price estimate from HomeLight for free. Our tool analyzes the records of recently sold homes near you, your home’s last sale price, and other market trends to provide a preliminary range of value in under two minutes.

One thing to remember is that the offer received from a direct buyer is likely to be less than market value, and sometimes significantly so. So, you have to weigh a faster sale against a potentially lower offer amount.

To create that buzz among buyers, we make sure the property is decluttered and staged correctly so that the listing photos draw in the offers and the right buyers.
  • Jamie McMartin
    Jamie McMartin Real Estate Agent
    Close
    Jamie McMartin
    Jamie McMartin Real Estate Agent at Compass
    5.0
    • star
    • star
    • star
    • star
    • star
    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 17
    • Transactions 2000
    • Average Price Point $364k
    • Single Family Homes 1958

What factors impact how long it takes to sell a house?

Several variables, including where you live, supply and demand, buyer preferences, seasonality, and property condition, can impact how long it takes to sell a house. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top factors below.

Location

Although national metrics provide a broad indication of how the housing market is performing and whether it’s in or out of balance, real estate varies at a local level depending on supply and demand, housing needs for the area, resident income, net population influx or outflow, and employment opportunities to name only a few factors.

Below, we’ve rounded up time to contract data from MLSs for 5 major metropolitan markets so you can get a sense of the variance.

Market Median days on market (October 2023) Median days on market (Jan. 2023)
Miami-Dade 26 35
San Francisco 16 15
Phoenix 37 77
Minneapolis 37 61
Boston 20 29

Market trends

When you have a high supply of homes for sale and fewer buyers, houses generally take longer to sell as buyers can be more choosy and aren’t under pressure to make quick offers. The opposite is true when inventory is low, and there are more buyers than homes to select from.

The situation now is somewhere in the middle, where housing supply and buyer demand are suppressed. Looking at national averages, inventory remains historically low, but at the same time, buyer demand has been reduced from 12 months ago.

As of October 2023, the inventory of unsold existing homes is calculated to take 3.6 months to sell, according to the National Association of Realtors. For reference, 6 months of supply is considered a balanced market. In comparison, a 2-month supply of homes is considered a deficit, making it a seller’s market.

Check your local Realtor® board website for data on current supply levels, local home prices, and days on market trends to give you a more precise gauge of market temperature for your area.

Your real estate agent

Who you select as your real estate agent can play a significant role in how fast your house sells. What you want to look at is the agent’s personal DOM. If an agent’s average DOM is lower than average, it’s a good sign that they price homes correctly to attract quick offers and come out of the gate with a strong marketing plan for their listings.

HomeLight’s agent platform tracks average DOM and how agents in your area stack up against their peers. Check your agent’s HomeLight profile to see their average days on market and how it compares.

Your home’s condition

“To create that buzz among buyers, we make sure the property is decluttered and staged correctly so that the listing photos draw in the offers and the right buyers,” McMartin says.

If your home is overdue for repairs or renovations, the lack of maintenance can encourage lowball offers or deter buyers looking for a move-in-ready residence.

If the inspection uncovers serious safety issues or problems with the home that could negatively impact its value, it could lead to price negotiations or delays.

Seasonal factors

Timing your property to debut on the market during peak seasons will likely get your home in front of the right buyers faster.

“When kids are in school, our market is usually ready to go roaring,” explains McMartin. Conversely, “When kids are on winter holiday breaks, we’re really pretty slow because the parents are trying to make sure they have fun and family time.”

This can vary significantly by region, however.

McMartin says the Houston-Galveston market also sees increased demand for homes with pools from January through September and an uptick in the search for vacation and Airbnb homes in Galveston from February through October.

“Since it takes 30 days to close on the property, people begin looking in January because they want to be able to move in and enjoy the properties,”  she says.

“In warm months, those properties tend to sell quicker and for a lot more.”

What is the best month to sell a house?

Nationally, the best month to sell a house quickly is April, according to HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator. Homes listed in April typically sell five days sooner than in other months, on average

The best time to sell a house for the highest dollar amount is March when homes sell for 2.2% more than the yearly average.

However, due to the seasonal factors discussed above, the best time to sell a house will differ from market to market.

City Best month to list if you want to sell fast Average time saved
Chicago March Sell 6 days sooner
Boston March Sell 14 days sooner
Los Angeles March Sell 4 days sooner
Tampa February Sell 4 days sooner
Cincinnati May Sell 23 days sooner
New York June Sell 12 days sooner
Philadelphia May Sell 6 days sooner
Atlanta May Sell 5 days sooner
Las Vegas May Sell 4 days sooner
Phoenix February Sell 3 days sooner

Source: HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator

What can I do to sell my house more quickly?

While you might not be able to control things like the weather, a buyer’s financial situation, or the state of the market, there are some actions you can take to help accelerate the sale.

Take care of routine maintenance and simple repairs.

Here are some of the typical pre-listing preparations you can get started on right away:

  • Reduce clutter.
    Consider using a service such as 1–800-JUNK–USA or Junk King to eliminate unwanted items. Take cardboard and other recyclables out to your nearest recycling center. Drop off donations to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. If you have a lot of items you’re not ready to part with, consider renting a storage unit so you can clear them out of your home for showings.
  • Make minor, low-cost repairs.
    In the time leading up to listing, try to knock out as many easy, inexpensive repairs and improvements as possible. Replace mismatched cabinet pulls, touch up scuffed paint, or fix leaking faucets. If you have a long list, hire a handyman to complete the work in one day.
  • Crank up the curb appeal.
    Reduce the time it takes to sell a home by making a great first impression with potential buyers. Now’s the time to pressure wash your home’s exterior, mow, mulch, and clean up your landscaping. Consider adding some flowerpots to add some pops of color to impress your open-house guests.

Find a top real estate agent.

Pennie Carroll says this is the most effective tool you can have in your selling arsenal: an agent who knows the local market and can help you sidestep the common obstacles that can slow down the process.

Check a prospective agent’s average DOM and compare it to local averages to gauge their track record for successful sales. You can contact a Realtor as early as three months before listing.

Resist the urge to do major renovations.

Remodeling Magazine reported that the average payback for 22 of the most common professional remodeling projects in 150 major U.S. markets was only 60.47% in 2023. That means your renovations likely won’t translate into a dollar-for-dollar increase in home value.

Enlist any contractors early, if necessary.

Renovations cost not only money but also time. Talk to your real estate agent about what your home needs; however, keep the estimated length of your project in mind:

Kitchen remodel 6 weeks
Bathroom remodel 4.5 weeks
New roof 5 days
New siding 2 weeks
Wood flooring 1 week (+3-5 days for wood to settle)
Exterior house paint 1 week

Source: HomeAdvisor data collected from thousands of users/homeowners nationwide

Fortunately, supply chain-related price increases began to abate going in the  early part of 2023, according to data from the National Association of Home Builders.

Still, if you’re planning for any work to be done to the house, line up any necessary contractors as soon as you decide to sell.

Make sure the baseboards are showing.

Buyers like open, spacious rooms that are easy to navigate. Carroll encourages sellers to declutter and edit rooms with too much furniture crammed into the space.

Consider a pre-listing inspection.

A pre-listing inspection provides the opportunity to identify any potential issues early on so you can get a head-start on any necessary fixes before the buyer’s inspection.

Since sellers pay the inspector for this pre-listing evaluation, consult with your agent to determine whether a pre-listing inspection is necessary.

Get the price right.

How you price your home will, in large part, determine whether your home flies off the market or sits without interest for months. Price your house too low, and you could undersell it to a great degree. If the price is too high, you may miss out on buyer interest while your listing is fresh, leading to a drawn-out sale and eventually a discounted offer.

Not sure what your home is worth? Start with a free price check from our Home Value Estimator tool. Then, follow up with the opinion of a top local agent.

Curious What Your Home Is Worth?

Get a near-instant real estate house price estimate from HomeLight for free. Our tool analyzes the records of recently sold homes near you, your home’s last sale price, and other market trends to provide a preliminary range of value in under two minutes.

To determine home value, your real estate agent will conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) that analyzes local comparable sales or “comps.”

Comps are homes similar in size, amenities, structure, and age to yours that recently sold in your area. Real estate professionals and home appraisers use comps as a reference point for the subject home and then make dollar adjustments based on competitive differences. The analysis will take into account significant features that drive or reduce value.

Be flexible with scheduling.

Carroll suggests accommodating any requests for open houses, showings, inspections, and appraisals if you want to sell fast.

Keep emotions at bay.

“It’s really easy to be very emotional about a property — especially if you’ve lived in the home a long time,” says McMartin. But, once you decide to sell, it’s important to view your home as a business asset to be leveraged rather than a family heirloom to be preserved or passed down.

“You want to stage, price, and get your house into the market at a time and in a condition that attracts buyers,” she says. “So, take your seller hat off and put your buyer hat on.”

FAQs about the time it takes to sell a house

Header Image Source: (Trinity Nguyen / Unsplash)