Once you have decided to sell your home then the time starts to tick by. As you start going through your “pre-sale checklist” you might start to think: “how long is this going to take?” Well the typical U.S. home stays on the market for an average of 24 days, with an average of 46 days to close on a purchase loan. Well if you have done the math then that’s a total of 70 days — or a little over two months — from listing to closing.

Now Your sale could be different

Now you might be thinking how can this be true for EVERY home. Well there are some things that can effect a sale because every house, neighborhood, market, and individual sale will vary in terms of days on market and closing timelines. Right now houses are selling swiftly but in the past that wasn’t always the case.

You also have to factor in any external influencers that can also create closing delays. In the current pandemic climate, some closings have dragged on time more like 60 days. With so many unpredictable factors influencing the number of days on market (DOM) and total time to close, it may seem like the timeline is one of the least controllable aspects of a home sale.

We’ve put together an in-depth guide to help you understand the process, pinpoint the biggest time-wasters, and learn what actions you can take to get from listing to closing as quickly as possible.

Prepping the house for sale (1-3 months)

As soon as you have made the decision to sell your home then the countdown begins way before you actually list your home

The amount of prep time will vary based on how much work and maintenance the homeowner has done in the past, but she estimates an average of about a month to get the house ready.

The process usually starts with the agent coming to the house and providing guidance on what needs to be done — and, more importantly, what doesn’t need to be done. This can be very helpful as sellers will often times waste their time on things that aren’t necessary or are things that won’t help to speed up the sale.

Below are some of the typical pre-listing preparations:

  • Reduce clutter.
    Consider using a service to remove any unwanted items and recyclables. If you have a lot of items you’re not ready to part with, then you should consider renting a storage unit so you can clear them out of your home for showings.
  • Make small, low-cost repairs.
    In the weeks leading up to listing, you will want to try and knock out as many small, low cost repairs as possible. of the consider working on projects  like replacing any outdated or mismatched cabinet pulls, touching up scuffed paint, or fixing any leaking faucets. If you have a long list, then you might consider hiring a handyman who can knock them all out in one day.
  • Crank up the curb appeal.
    A well-maintained, welcoming entryway is key to a positive first impression. Take some time to mow, add fresh mulch, and clean up the landscaping. Consider adding some flowerpots to add brightness to the entryway.

What factors impact the selling timeline?

Once your house is listed, there can be a number of factors that can impact how long it will take to find a seller:

State of the market

Market forces and the supply and demand play a big part in how quickly your home will sell — and this just so happens to be a dynamic that you can’t control.

An experienced real estate agent can help set your expectations based on the estimated days on market and how many months of inventory are currently available in your area.

Condition of the home

If your home is overdue for some repairs or renovations that you opted to skip in the past, then this can deter buyers who are looking for something that’s move-in-ready. Also uncovering any previously unknown defects with the home will also trigger price negotiations and concessions.


An overpriced house will likely sit on the market for a longer time period, which could lead to a lack of offers or, ultimately, price reductions that dip below market value. If you do manage to get a contract at the higher price, then you could run into issues when it comes time for the appraisal.

So if the accepted offer is significantly above the appraised value, then bank will not approve the loan. So this will then require either a higher down payment from the buyer or the seller to lower their price, or risk having the deal fall apart and the listing going back on the market.

Price point can directly impact the selling timeframe. For example, depending on your location, a $200,000 home can typically sell in 30 days or less when priced, staged and marketed correctly, but homes at higher price points generally stay on the market longer.

Buyer’s financial situation

Cash offers are great, but they’re not the norm. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 88% of homebuyers financed their home purchases. Even if everything else goes smoothly, there’s always the chance of the buyer’s loan getting delayed or falling through.

An experienced agent (or lack thereof)

By having a full-time agent that has experience successfully marketing and selling homes is the best way to shrink the time gap between listing and closing.

If you have questions or real estate needs, please call or email me. Let me know if you need a vetted vendor such as a handyman, contractor, roofer, plumber, and so on because many people are fixing up their houses in the springtime, and I can get you connected with the best. I would love to help you.