How long does it take to sell a house?

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Houses stay on the market for an average of 56 days, where as it only took 31 days to sell in May 2022, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. The average time it takes to sell a home depends on several factors, including the condition and location of the property, and, most importantly, current market conditions. 

If you’re selling your house now or in the near future, you should keep in mind that the real estate market has gone through many ups and downs since the onset of the pandemic in 2019, causing ruptures in the usual timeline for selling a house.

As the market corrects itself, houses are taking slightly longer to sell but you can speed up your home sale several ways, like by accepting a cash offer or selling your home to an investor. 

Average time to sell a house 

The total time it takes to sell a house consists of two parts: how long the home is on the market until an offer is accepted, and how long it takes to close on the deal.

In November 2022, the average time on market was 56 days, according to FRED. 

Add that to your closing timeline (about 48 days), and the total average time it takes to sell a house comes to 104 days.

Selling a house is typically slower months in winter months, while spring is usually the the best time to sell in terms of how much you can make. 

→ Read more about the best time to sell your house

How long are houses on the market?

Days on market (DOM) is a common measure of how long it takes to sell a house, and how many days a home stays on market can vary based on the city.

In hot markets, prospective buyers may be wary of homes that sit on the market for unusually long times — the waiting time might suggest hidden factors or issues with the house preventing an offer from going through. For example, imagine two similar homes, just blocks away from each other. They have the same amenities and square footage, but one has been on the market for six days, and the other has been on the market for six months. There’s likely a reason it’s taking so long to sell. 

Days on market varies greatly by area. Here are the median days on market in November and July for a handful of cities as an example.

Average days on market

City Days on market: Jul. 2022 Days on market: October. 2022
Atlanta, GA 8 17
Austin, TX 9 28
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 11 23
Denver, CO 6 18
Phoenix, AZ 12 33
Portland, OR 6 16
Raleigh-Durham, NC 6 12
Seattle, WA 7 11

Median days on market were pulled from Orchard’s Real Estate Market Trends dashboard.

What affects time to sell a house?

Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for a quick sale. Do some research to get an idea of how long it'll take to sell your house, and keep an eye on home listings in your area to get a feel for the market. Pay special attention to any recently sold properties similar to your home. You can also ask a local real estate agent for their insights.

These are the main factors that can influence your home-selling timeline:

Housing market conditions

One of the most important factors affecting how long it takes to sell a house is the demand and supply of homes. During a buyer's market, there are more homes for sale than there are buyers, so it can take longer to sell.

During a seller’s market, there are fewer homes for sale than buyers, so that competition may help your home sell much faster. (You may even get unsolicited offers on your house.) Multiple buyers per home can speed up the timeline of a home sale and drive down the average number of days a listing is active.

→ Learn more in depth about whether we're in a buyers vs. sellers' market

Your home’s location

Choosing house location is as important to buying your home as it is selling. National metrics may be useful in getting a baseline for how long it takes for a house to sell, but your local market will have more relevant insight into your particular home sale. 

Your asking price

Setting a listing price for your home can be equal parts art and science. You want to get top-dollar for your house, but you don’t want to set a price so high that it scares away potential buyers. Your best bet to selling your house fast is to find an experienced listing agent who’ll price the house accordingly, based on “comps,” or comparable homes, and RMAs.

Curious how much your home is worth? Get started with a free home valuation with Orchard.

Property condition

If the condition of your home isn’t up to par, then you'll lose out on interested buyers, even when you lower your price. There’s also a chance that you’ll lose money selling your house as-is, without making changes to improve its condition. 

Nearly 80% of homebuyers prefer a move-in ready house vs. a fixer-upper, compared to a survey from Coldwell banker.

Timeline for selling a house 

Beyond the days your home spends listed on the MLS, there are a few more stages of selling your home, all of which can take some time.

Prepping the house (a few weeks)

To prepare your house for listing, you’ll need to declutter your home, make general improvements like painting and landscaping, and repair any significant issues in your house. This process can take up a good chunk of time, so plan accordingly to avoid delays in your home sale. If you plan on working with a real estate agent to sell your home, use this time to start looking for the right one.

Listing the home (less than a week)

Next, you’ll need to decide on a list price, which could determine how long it takes to sell your home. Look at comparable properties in the area currently on the market, pending sale, or recently sold — these data points will help you land on the right number. Also, keep in mind that competitively-priced homes tend to sell quickly, while overpriced properties usually spend more time on the market.

Showings and open houses (two weeks to a month)

In a traditional sale, the average seller will show their house to potential buyers 13 times. Be sure to tidy up before each showing, so your home always makes a great first impression.

When you sell and buy a house with Orchard, you can skip the showings and only move once. Not only will this save you the hassle of organizing open houses and keeping your house showing-ready, it can save you thousands of dollars in moving expenses.

→ Should you take the first offer on a house?

Accepting an offer (a few days)

If you’re lucky, you’ll receive multiple offers within your desired price range. It can take a lot of back and forth to negotiate the details of an offer, especially if you and your potential buyer aren’t on the same page. earnest money

→ Learn how long sellers have to accept an offer

Closing (four to six weeks)

The buyer will schedule a home inspection to get a better idea of the home’s condition. If the inspection flags any issues, the buyer may request that you make these repairs yourself or that you cover some of the buyer’s closing costs to cover the cost (this is called a “seller concession.”)

On the official closing date, you and your buyer will finalize the home sale. You’ll both sign the paperwork needed to transfer ownership of the house, as well as exchange the deed and sale funds. And that seals the deal!

→ More on the home closing process

5 ways to sell your house fast 

Changes in the market will impact how long it takes to sell your house, and if the market average doesn’t fit your timeframe for selling, you may be curious about how you can speed up the process.

Below are our tips on how to sell your house quickly:

Increase your curb appeal

When you’re getting your home ready for sale, certain improvements can go a long way, particularly those that improve your curb appeal, or how your house looks to a passerby on the street.  

Lower your asking price

The easiest way to a quick home sale is to reduce your home price. Make sure your home is priced correctly, similar to comparable homes in the area, or even a little lower if you’re really in a pinch. Again, your real estate agent can help you determine when is the right time.

Sell to a cash-buyer

Accepting a cash offer comes with fewer contingencies, a faster closing process, and more confidence in the deal. This is largely because there is no need for a third-party, the mortgage lender, to weigh in on the sale. For home sellers hoping to speed the process, accepting a cash offer can be a quick and easy solution to sell their house quickly. There are even companies that buy houses for cash, and do so with quick turn around.

Hire an experienced agent

An experienced real estate agent can help you sell a house quickly by setting a competitive list price and aggressively marketing your home.

Plus, you’ll probably make more money. According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold by the owner sold for a median price of $225,000, whereas agent-assisted home sales came in at $345,000.

→ Here’s why you may not want to sell your house FSBO

Work with a power buyer

Power buyers in real estate, like Orchard, are companies who use technology to streamline the home buying and selling process. While their services differ from company to company, they typically guarantee your home sale, help you become a cash buyer, or even buy a new home before selling the old one

For homeowners trying to sell their house quickly, an optional cash offer can be a way to have your cake and eat it, too. With this option, home sellers can list their home and accept a cash offer if the house doesn’t sell in that timeline.

Most of Orchard’s homes sell on the market, but our guaranteed offer can provide you certain comforts, since you'll know that you have a back-up. Get started here.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

On top of a guaranteed sale, 95% of Orchard customers sell for more on the open market.

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