What is considered a long time for a house to be on the market?

No home owner goes into the lengthy process of selling their home on the market without hoping it will sell quickly. Odds are good that you have a job, new home or opportunity lined up that is motivating your move so timeliness is of the essence. Before you even list your home it’s a good idea to know what is considered a long time for a house to be on the market and how your home listing can speed up –or slow down — the selling process.

A one level brick house recently remodeled on the market.

How Long is Too Long For a House to be on The Market?

What is The Average Time it Takes to Sell a Home…

hourglass next to a sign reading "sale"

The amount of time it takes to sell a home begins even before the official listing. The average time from preparing your house to sell to driving off in the moving truck is generally around 6-9 months. When you first decide to sell your home you will have prep work to do — perhaps some paint needs refreshing, a hole in the wall needs patching, or the carpets need a professional cleaning. The next steps involve taking pictures, finding a realtor, having potential buyers visit the home, and entertaining offers.

Add into that timeline extra steps that may be necessary such as waiting on home inspection reports, having a formal offer from a buyer fall through and starting over with new buyers and the necessary time for closing which takes 30 days on average. If your home spends an extra long time on the market, then that will add to the total time it takes to sell your home.

How To Determine the Average Days a House is on the Market

people looking at a tablet with a model house in the foreground

When a buyer looks at your home on the multiple listing service (MLS) they will look at a metric called Days on Market, or DOM. This number represents the number of days your home has been on the MLS until it becomes pending, meaning you’ve received an offer on your home.

If you’re wondering if your home falls within the average days a house is on the market in your area then you will use another metric called Average Days on Market. This number is the average time a house is on the market in a given area. If you see that your home’s DOM is a bigger number than the Average Days on Market, then your home is considered “too long” on the market.

To calculate the average days on market for your area then you (or your realtor) would need to find all the listings in your area for the past 1-6 months. Write down all the DOM for each of the homes you’re looking at then find the average by adding up all the DOM and divide by the total number of listings you calculated the DOM for. That will give you the average time for all houses on the market in your area.

Buyers will look at the DOM and take that information into consideration. Unfortunately, statistics show that if a home has been on the market for longer than the average then it is less likely you’ll get your asking price. Buyers see a home not selling quickly (or within the average timeframe) as a potential problem. They worry that the asking price is too high or that the seller is probably getting desperate so they offer a lower asking price.

What is Considered a Long Time for a House to be on the Market — And What You Can Do About It

When your property is past the average days houses are on the market for your area then it’s a sign you need to change something up to get your house sold more quickly. There are certain factors that can affect the days your home is on the market:

Priced Too High

model home in front of dollar signs of increasing sizes

The asking price is the first thing potential buyers consider — after all, if it’s out of their budget they won’t even consider looking at the property.  Generally, the lower the asking price, the quicker it sells. This doesn’t mean your first reaction should be to lower the price — after all this means less profits for you.

On the adverse, if your home is priced too low then it leaves a negative impression with buyers as well. Super low prices make buyers worried that something is wrong with the home and they might be too suspicious to give your house a second look.

Consult with your realtor or have comparables done to make sure your home is well within the average asking price for homes similar to your own. If you have some wiggle room on the asking price then determine if lowering the price is the right move for you to sell your home quickly.

Major Repairs Needed

tools next to a house cut out of cardboard

Perhaps you were hoping to sell your home as-is — after all, who wants to put big money into home updates for someone else to come along and enjoy? The reality is that potential buyers care a lot about the general appearance and condition of your home. Run down yards or out-of-date carpet reminiscent of the 70’s is going to keep your home listed for longer than the average time a house is on the market.

Take a hard look at your home and ask yourself what home improvement or repair can you make that will make the biggest difference to potential buyers. It might mean shelling out money to fix the AC unit or taming the jungle in the backyard, but think of it as an investment in hopes of returning that money when you sell your home. Most buyers want to buy a home that is ready to move-in without any major repairs needed.

Wrong Time of Year for Selling

home covered in snow near mountains

Certain months make for better selling times so if you have some flexibility on when you list your home, consider holding off for high-buy months like April, May and June. If you’re selling a single family home, then listing a house in September when parents have just gotten kids settled into their school isn’t going to be a good bet for keeping your days on the market low. Trying to sell in November and December is also a drawback that will likely keep your house on the MLS long past the average time to sell a house.


Perhaps second only to the price, a potential home buyer is looking at the location. If you are in a nice neighborhood or near a school then you can probably skip right over this section because you are in a great location for selling a home in less time than the average amount of days a house is on the market.

While you cannot change your location, you can make sure that your home stands out as a spot of tidiness, beauty and looks desirable in the neighborhood. What can you highlight about the location that is desirable? Is it near a freeway entrance for commuters? Even factors like a farmers market within biking distance or a close proximity to restaurants or a park can be pointed out on the MLS listing to draw positive attention to what might otherwise be seen as a less-than-desirable location.

Bad Photos

man with camera standing in room

Open houses to sell a home are largely becoming a thing of the past. With the majority of potential buyers checking out your house thoroughly online before even determining to see it in person, you need to make sure you have quality photos of your home. Bad photos can make even the most beautiful home look dingy and undesirable.

Perhaps you had nice pictures with good light, then you might need to ask yourself if your personal clutter, walls of photos and beds of stuffed animals, are distracting. When taking quality photos to list online you’ll want to clear out a lot of the personal everyday clutter, knick knacks and walls of family photos. When a potential buyer looks at your home photos online they need to be able to visualize themselves living in the house — that can be difficult if your belongings draw more attention than the bones of the house.

Thankfully this has a simple fix; work with a home stager or a professional photographer to show off your home in the best light possible and to sell your home quickly.

Tired of Waiting for Your House to Sell? We can Help!

The reality is, that sometimes you just can’t afford the repairs that would get your home off the market faster. The location is out of your control or you need to move right away, no waiting for a better market or better time of year to get your house sold. Gary can buy houses much faster than the average time a house is on the market. In fact, Gary can close on your home with a fair cash offer in as little as 7 days.

If you are interested in selling your home as-is, skipping the months of prep and the process of negotiating contracts with buyers and realtors, then reach out to Gary for an honest cash offer and sell your house right away.

Gary Parker

I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring. https://www.garybuyshouses.com/

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