What Is the Average Time to Sell a House?
In this article:
- Average days on market by location
- How long does it take to sell a house?
- Sell a house quickly by avoiding these home selling mistakes
Homes across the U.S. are selling faster than in years past. In 2020, homes spent an average of just 25 days on the market before going under contract, down from 30 days in 2019. After an offer is accepted, home sales typically require an additional 30- to 45- day closing period before they are officially sold. Therefore, the average time it takes to sell a house is 55-70 days in the U.S.
The amount of time it takes to sell a home varies greatly depending on local market conditions, demand and seasonality. However, seasonality trends have been inconsistent in recent years. September is usually the turning point when home sales begin to slow, but in 2020, homes spent a median of 16 days on the market before sellers accepted an offer, the fastest recorded in any month that year. 2021 continues to buck typical selling trends; in April, nearly half (47%) of homes were on the market in as little as a week before going pending.
Even as recent years stray from typical norms, the length of time it takes to sell has been decreasing throughout the last decade. In 2010, the average number of days on the market was 140 days, which includes the closing period.
The time noted above does not include the time spent thinking about moving before taking action. According to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report 2020, sellers average roughly six months contemplating the decision to list, not to mention time spent considering home repairs or preparing for listing.
What are the characteristics of a typical home sold in the U.S.?
The typical home sold in America is a 3-bedroom, 2.2-bathroom house with 1,876 square feet and a price tag of $225,000.
- Seventy-five percent of homes sold are single-family homes; 9% are townhouses, 6% are condos or co-ops, 5% are duplexes or triplexes, and 5% are mobile or manufactured homes.
- Thirty-six percent of homes sold are in urban areas; 46% are in suburban areas, and 18% are in rural areas.
Average days on market by location
The average time it takes to sell a house in your area may differ, depending on your local real estate market and location. Historically, rural homes tend to stay on the market longer than urban or suburban homes. And more expensive homes generally take longer to sell.
Zillow tracks the number of days that homes are for sale in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. Of the 100 largest metro areas, here are the markets where homes go under contract the quickest, areas aligned with the national average and the slowest-moving markets. The data is based on the median number of days homes were on the market before moving into a pending sale status, from January 2018 through September 2020.
Add 30-45 days of escrow time to see roughly how long it takes to close on the sale. The length of time in escrow varies per sale.
Markets where homes sell the quickest
- Columbus, OH (8 days)
- Denver, CO (9 days)
- Raleigh, NC and Seattle, WA (10 days)
- Boise City, ID and Cincinnati, OH (11 days)
- Grand Rapids, MI (11.5 days)
- Ogden, UT, Salt Lake City, UT, Indianapolis, IN and Boston, MA (12 days)
- Colorado Springs, CO, Dayton, OH and Charlotte, NC (13 days)
Markets where homes sell close to the national average
- Lakeland, FL and Oklahoma City, OK (23 days)
- Des Moines, IA, Minneapolis-St Paul, MN and Riverside, CA (24 days)
- Pittsburgh, PA, Phoenix, AZ and Chicago, IL (25 days)
- Charleston, SC (26 days)
- Bakersfield, CA, New Haven, CT, Hartford, CT. Nashville, TN, Las Vegas, NV, Baltimore, MD, Houston, TX and Philadelphia, PA (27 days)
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (28 days)
- Albany, NY and Milwaukee, WI (28.5 days)
Markets where homes sell the slowest
- Little Rock, AR (41 days)
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL (42 days)
- Allentown, PA (43 days)
- El Paso, TX (47 days)
- Fort Myers, FL (50 days)
- Virginia Beach, VA, New York, NY (51 days)
- McAllen, TX (58 days)
How can I find out the average days on market for my area?
If you’d like in-depth data on your specific area, visit Zillow Research Data and find the “Days to Pending” dataset for your area under the “Inventory and Sales” menu.
Alternatively, you can ask your real estate agent for their insights, watch the local news for real estate trends, and keep an eye on other listings in your neighborhood. Are they on and off the market quickly, or hosting the same open house weekend after weekend?
How long does it take to sell a house?
In the U.S., sellers spend approximately six months preparing their homes for sale, another 25 days with their house on the market, and 30- to 45-days in the closing period.
There’s more to the selling process than just listing your home, waiting for the perfect offer to come in, and closing the deal. After you’ve done everything to prepare for listing, here are the key milestones of selling, and how long they usually take:
1. List and show (and wait for offers)
How long do you need to have your house on the market before you go under contract? If the average length of time an American house sits on the market is 25 days, excluding the standard 30- to 45-day close, that means your home could be on the market for less than a month before you accept an offer.
2. Accept an offer
When you receive an offer, it’s courteous to respond as quickly as possible. While actual rules related to response times vary state by state and contract by contract, the buyers submitting the offer will typically include an expiration 24, 48, or 72 hours after submitting.
3. Home inspection
Again, this all depends on the contract between buyer and seller. Typically, the buyer has between 5 and 10 days after offer acceptance to complete their home inspection. How long does a home inspection take? The process itself takes only a few hours, plus a day or two for the inspector to write up their report. Note that in fast-moving real estate markets, buyers will sometimes waive the inspection to make their offer stand out among other offers.
4. Counteroffer after home inspection
Based on the findings of the home inspection, buyers often present an adjusted offer or request repairs to be completed. This re-negotiation process usually takes 24 to 48 hours. Hopefully, after negotiations, you and the buyer have come to an agreement and the deal can continue.
As mentioned above, the average time to close on a house is 30-45 days from the date of mutual acceptance to the day you hand over the keys to the new owner. This gives the buyer’s lender, the title company, and the county records department enough time to complete all the necessary paperwork.
If you’re looking to speed up your sale, there are a few good options:
- Have your agent prioritize an early close.
- Select an all-cash offer if available to limit possible financing slowdowns.
Sell a house quickly by avoiding these home selling mistakes
An average is just that an average. So for every house that sells very quickly, there are some that sell much slower. Avoid being the house that sits on the market forever by watching out for these pitfalls:
Too many days on the market
Buyers are wary of homes that have been on the market for a long time especially those that go pending and then go back on the active market. Before your listing starts collecting dust, talk to your agent about making a new strategy.
Priced too high
If you’re not receiving any offers, or if you’re receiving only offers that are far under asking price, it’s possible that your list price is too high. Pricing your home correctly is a bit of an art form, but there are tools to help you research that perfect number.
One way to get a quick (and free) home value estimate is by checking your home’s Zestimate. Even more, if you claim your home on Zillow and provide updated information, you can influence your Zestimate to get a more accurate home valuation price.
There are plenty of things about your home you can fix, but some things can’t be changed proximity to the neighbors or round-the-clock highway noise, for example. You may have become accustomed to these less-than-ideal conditions over the years, but buyers notice. Make sure your home is priced accordingly.
Poor condition of the home
If multiple big-ticket items need repairs, your home is going to be harder to sell, and you’re in danger of having a deal fall apart after the inspection. There are a few strategies to consider, like addressing the biggest repairs ahead of time, or lowering the price so that buyers can do improvements on their own.
Lack of curb appeal
How your home looks from the street is crucial, as it’s the first impression buyers will have. And, if your home looks bad from the outside, buyers might assume the inside of the home is similarly run down and skip a showing. Take a look at your curb appeal with an objective eye and see if you can make any improvements.
In the vast majority of the country, spring is the best time to list a house, because the greatest number of buyers are looking. Unsurprisingly, winter is the slowest, because of holidays and bad weather.