How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

Location, price, and other factors can affect your home sale

Couple unloading boxes from moving van
Photo: Robert Daly/Getty Images

How long does it take to sell a house? According to the National Association of Realtors, most homes remained on the market for an average of 39 days in August, from listing to closing. Homes sold 30% more quickly than they did a year earlier.

It took the average buyer 48 days to apply for and close on their mortgage loan in July.

Key Takeaways

  • The speed at which your home sells will depend on a handful of factors.
  • Your market, the time of year you list, the condition of your home, and your agent will all play roles.
  • You can help your home sell sooner by prepping it, timing your sale appropriately, and choosing an experienced real estate agent to help.

Calculating Average Days on Market

Most real estate agents know the average number of days on market in their neighborhood by heart, so all you have to do is ask. You can also calculate the number yourself by figuring out the day each home goes on the market in a given month, and then counting the days pending. Add the number of all those houses together, and divide the total by the number of homes.


Most real estate platforms show a home’s days on market clearly in the listing. It may be abbreviated “DOM” in some cases.

What Makes a House Sell Quickly?

Sometimes there's no logical reason for how long it takes to sell a house. It could happen quickly out of sheer luck (maybe a buyer is simply in the right place at the right time), or it may be the result of one or more factors below.

How Much Competition Is There?

Homes tend to sell sooner in sellers' markets—when inventory is low and buyer demand is high. That increases the competition for properties and may even push prices higher.  

Here’s an example: In August, more than 71% of offers submitted by Redfin in San Francisco were met with competition. Those bidding wars caused homes to sell in just 24 days and for about 3% over the listing prices that month.

In buyers’ markets, when there are more options to choose from, shoppers can bide their time and wait for the right home. Homes tend to take longer to sell in market conditions like those. 


Your agent may want to price the house a little under market value. That can entice multiple offers, which ultimately leads to a faster sale and pushes the sales price up.

Location, Location, Location

The old adage "Location, location, location" still rings true. There will be more demand for a home that's located in a highly desirable neighborhood near good schools, restaurants, or businesses than for one that's located in a less opportune area.

Here’s a look at the fastest-selling locales as of June 2020:

  1. Rochester, New York: 29 days
  2. San Francisco-Oakland: 32 days
  3. Colorado Springs, Colorado: 32 days
  4. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah: 34 days
  5. Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee: 34 days
  6. Boston-Cambridge-Newton: 35 days
  7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington: 35 days
  8. San Jose-Sunnyvale, California: 36 days
  9. Boulder, Colorado: 36 days
  10. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado: 37 days has up-to-date DOM data on all of the country’s major metropolitan areas. Head here to see what the average statistics are for your market.

The Home's Condition

Homes in tip-top shape will typically sell more quickly than those that need repairs or are cluttered with personal belongings. Buyers must be able to imagine how they'll live in a house, and they'll have a hard time doing that if the home looks like it belongs to you or if it's a mess.

One quick solution to this problem involves clearing out half the furniture. Large pieces can overwhelm a space and make the area seem smaller. You might want to tuck away those family portraits on the walls, too.

Seasonal Factors

Days on market can also depend on when you list your house. Most people aren't actively looking to buy a new home during the winter, and the weather can be a factor in some areas, too. Overall, November, December, January, and February tend to be the slowest times for home sellers. Those months also tend to be less profitable. Research shows that home prices are lowest in the fourth quarter of the year.

Spring and summer tend to be the best times to sell a house, as many families want to move before the new school year begins. In fact, according to Zillow, the best time to sell is the first half of May. Homes listed then sell six days more quickly than average.


Seasonality can vary by market, so do your research or talk to an agent about what you can expect in your area.

Your Agent

If you’ve chosen to list your home using a real estate agent, this can also factor into the speed of your sale. Your agent’s marketing tactics, experience, and overall market know-how can all play roles in how quickly you find a buyer and at what price you sell.

The average agent has about nine years of experience and at least some college education, but not all agents are created equal. Make sure to interview a few agents before determining who will list your property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I do to sell my house more quickly?

Market conditions and timing play big roles in how quickly your house sells. However, you can speed up the process regardless of timing by being smart about how you price and market your home. Staging your home well for open houses, and displaying photos, can boost your chances of a sale. Pricing it at or just under market value can attract more offers, too. Ensuring that your home is in good shape and that you've made necessary repairs and improvements will also make your property more competitive.

How long does it take to sell a house by owner?

According to data from the National Association of Realtors, homes sold for sale by owner (FSBO) often sell in less than two weeks, compared to three weeks for agent-assisted sales. That's because many of the FSBO sales are conducted between parties who know each other already. FSBO homes typically sell for around 10% less than agent-assisted ones.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Association of Realtors. "Market Summary - August 2021."

  2. ICE Mortgage Technology. "July 2021 Origination Insight Report."

  3. Redfin. "San Francisco Housing Market."

  4. Redfin. "More Than Half of Redfin Offers Faced Bidding Wars in August as the Housing Market’s Competitive Streak Continues."

  5. Redfin. "What Is a Buyer's Market vs. a Seller's Market." Days-On-Market Trends

  6. Journal of Housing Research. "Is there Seasonality in Home Prices—Evidence from CBSAs." Page 5.

  7. National Association of Realtors. "Selling Your Home Solo to Save Money? You’ll Actually Make Less Than You Think."

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