Selling a house is an inexact science. No matter how many market reports you read, or how many sites you visit, there is no finite answer for the average time to sell a house. However, part of understanding what the average time to sell a house is includes trying to make the market work in your favor. There are variables you can control about the sale of your house, so while the timing might be out of your hands, the whole process doesn’t have to be. When it comes to listing your home for sale, be more prepared for the unexpected rather than the straight and narrow. There is no one way to sell a house, and depending on the market and other factors, you will need to figure out what is the right path for you. Working with a realtor or listing agent can help you navigate this path.
Why You Can’t Control the Average Time to Sell a House
The best experts can tell you spring is the best time to sell a house. Realtors and listing agents can advise you on how to prepare your house for sale. Real estate tax professionals can provide valuable advice regarding the taxes on selling a house. What these professionals are not able to say for sure is the exact moment when that new owner is going to walk through the door and decide that they want to buy your house.
There are five key steps to selling a house:
- Determining the Time Frame: Are you moving out of necessity or want? If it’s the middle of winter and you don’t have to move immediately, then you can hold off and list your house in a more favorable market. (Weather plays a big role because it makes travel harder for prospective buyers, and presentation harder for potential sellers, among other things.) If you need to list your home immediately, consider selling your home as-is or making certain concessions on the listing price so that you can hopefully the shorten the time that your house is on the market.
- Preparing Your House: Make sure your house is well-presented, both inside and out. Even if you’re selling it as-is, make sure all surfaces are clean and the space feels as open and inviting as possible. Staging your home includes removing any personal items from your house. You want to make the house seem as much like a blank canvas as possible, so that prospective buyers can imagine their life inside the house. For the outside, make sure there is a clear path to the front door and all bushes and grass are trimmed. Appearance is the first thing people notice, and a judgment call can be made in the first ten seconds of seeing your house, so be prepared.
- The Actual Sale: Once you find a buyer, there can be a lot of give and take over what you need to take care of before you move, or what the new homeowner will handle. Add in inspections, price negotiations, legal processing, and other official actions, and your time frame can be thrown completely off course. Be sure to take into account how long these things will take when you are planning your timeline.
- Moving Out: Does the contract or your commitment put you on a timeline for moving out? Think about how long you need to pack up your house, find a new place to live, or make any necessary repairs or changes before you leave. Do what you can ahead of time but realize some things are going to have to be done at the last minute and that can’t be avoided.
- Your Next Move: While you’ve been concentrating on the sale of your house, what about your next residence? Where are you going, and have you done your research? You’ll be going through the same process, just from the other side of the table. Chances are, the average time to sell a house is pretty close to the time it takes to buy a house, too. While selling your home, be sure to give yourself time to find your next home as well.
Accept the Unknown
As you can see, the timeline for selling a house is incredibly unpredictable, so plan for as many contingencies as possible. If you can’t control it, why try? Accept what’s coming and know the payoff will be worth it in the end. The average time to sell a house is about 60 days, so give yourself enough time, and prepare as much for the little things that might pop up. The need for houses always exists; your sale will just depend how strong that need is. Work with a realtor who can help guide you through each step so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.