How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

The last year has seen one of the most active housing markets in living memory. Low interest rates brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic (as well as a healthy dose of cabin fever) drove a lot of homeowners to put their homes on the market. Eager investors snatched up these properties, and in some areas, homes were selling in a matter of hours.

That kind of market is very exciting, but how long does it take to sell a house anyway? Read on to learn more about the home selling process and how long you can expect to wait from the list date to the closing day.

Prepping Your House

Before your house ever goes on the market, you’ll need to spend some time prepping it for sale. There may be certain repairs you need to make in order to bring your house up to code so it will pass inspection. It’s also a good idea to stage your home for pictures and tours, as well as improve your curb appeal.

Repainting any brightly-colored rooms to a neutral color can help your house sell for more money, as can removing any clutter and personal items from view. You may want to trim back your bushes, put a layer of mulch down on any flower beds, repair any torn window screens or hanging gutters, and refresh any peeling paint. This kind of prep work, in addition to packing, can take you anywhere from one to three months.

Timing Your Listing

Once your home is prepped for sale, you’ll be ready to start the process of putting it on the market. However, there are certain times that are better to list a home than others. Waiting for a period of time until the market is moving can help you get more money for your home, as well as reduce the amount of time your home spends on the market.

In general, the late spring and early summer months tend to be the most active for the real estate market. If you decide to sell your home in the late fall, you might want to wait until the spring to start working on home preparations. How much time this takes will depend on when you decide to move and whether you want to wait for the optimal market season.

Waiting for an Offer

Your house is prepped, pictures are taken, you’ve decided on your list date, and your house is officially on the market. The next step in selling a house will be waiting on an offer (or offers) from interested buyers. During this time, you’re going to have potential buyers touring your home from time to time. 

The amount of time you have to wait for an offer depends on a number of different factors. How you have your home priced, what area you’re in, the state of the market, and how you list your home can all change how long your home is on the market. As of September 2021, homes spent an average of 43 days on the market.

Negotiating

Once you get an offer, you may feel like your home selling process is over. Unfortunately, you’re only halfway there; from there, you have to start the process of negotiations. During this stage, you and the buyer will go back and forth to determine terms for the transaction that are acceptable to both of you.

Most buyers will start by making an offer lower than your listing price to see what kind of deal they can get. You may counter back with another price, and so on until you agree on a final purchase price. This process can take anywhere from a day or two to a few weeks or more, depending on how responsive each party is.

Managing Inspections

After you and your buyer agree on a purchase price, they’ll likely need to have the home inspected. If you’re working with a cash buyer, they may choose to buy the home as-is. This can dramatically shorten your sale process since you don’t have to deal with any of the mortgage processes or inspections we’re about to discuss.

In most cases, however, your buyer will need to have at least one inspection performed on the home. You’ll go through some additional rounds of negotiations after this inspection to determine who will be responsible for making what repairs. The purchase price of the home may change during these negotiations, and the whole process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more.

Getting Mortgage Approval

Assuming your buyer isn’t paying cash for your home, they’ll have to get approved for a mortgage. While this step isn’t something you’ll have to do work for, it will have an impact on your sale timeline. You may also have to leave the house during extra inspections or allow small repairs to be made to the home. 

A mortgage application process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on your specific buyer. Other than the time on the market, this will be the longest section of your mortgage process. Once their mortgage is approved, you’ll be able to set a close date and complete the final sale of the house.

Answer, “How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?”

In general, selling a home can take anywhere from three to six months, depending on market conditions and your particular situation. Working with a cash buyer can make the process much quicker, especially if they agree to buy your home as-is. Making sure you list at the right time of year and doing the work to prepare your home for sale can also help to reduce your sale time.

If you’d like more answers to, “How long does it take to sell a house?” check out the rest of our site at Selling House. We can give you a cash offer on your house that’s fast and better than the other guys’ offers. Contact us today and sell your home as-is with no fees in as little as twenty-four hours.

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