How Long Should A House Stay on the Market?

Written by Ashley Sutphin Posted On Tuesday, 01 June 2021 00:00

When you put your house on the market, you obviously want it to sell as fast as possible. That’s not always what happens, though. In 2020, homes spent an average of 25 days on the market, which was down from 30 days. Compare that to 2010, when the average number of days to sell a home was a whopping 140.

It’s a seller’s market right now, especially since inventory is low and building materials are incredibly expensive.

While the time on the market has, on average, gone down, there are a lot of individual factors that play a role in how long it takes to sell a house.

For example, demand, seasonality, and local market factors all play a role. So how long is too long, and why does it matter?

The DOM Metric

DOM stands for “days on the market,” and it’s a relevant metric. The National Association of Realtors says days on the market or DOM is the number of days from the date when a property is listed on the MLS to the date when there’s a signed contract for the property’s sale.

The more those days tick upward, the staler your listing gets.

The Effects of a Home Being On the Market for Too Long

If your home stays on the market too long without being sold, there can be serious consequences. First, a buyer will know that, and they’re undoubtedly going to use it as a negotiating tool. That means you may have to sell your house for significantly lower than you intended.

When your home seems like it’s a good property, but it stays on the market for too long, especially in a hot market, buyers are also going to start to worry there’s something wrong with it.

Inevitably a home generates the most interest when it’s fresh on the market. That’s when you’re going to see a buzz and sense of activity that will include more showings and phone calls. Then, over time interest will decline.

Once all the buyers who are currently looking have seen your home, you’re going to have to wait for new buyers to enter the market.

How Long Is Too Long?

You have to look at local conditions in your market to figure how long is too long, but right now, if you’re in a pretty popular area, if your home has been on the market for more than a couple of months, it might be time to rethink things.

If you aren’t sure, talk to your agent about the average time other homes in your neighborhood are staying on the market. You don’t want to reduce your price too soon, which is why it’s key to have a good idea of what’s happening with houses around yours.

Should You Relist?

A common way to drum up interest in a home that’s been listed for a while is to lower the price.

Another option is to take it off the market and then relist it all together, although that’s usually also going to mean a price reduction.

Relisting a home can create the perception that your home is just hitting the market for the first time, but some consider it to be unethical.

Better than trying to work against the market is getting your pricing right before you list your home the first time, which is why you need an experienced realtor. You also need to listen to their advice on things like staging and preparing your home to go on the market, because otherwise, a couple of months out you may find your home isn’t seeing much action, and you’ll have to do these things anyway.

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