How long will it take to sell my house?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax

How Long will it Take to Sell My House? 


A Century Oak Beauty



Dave: How long will it take to sell my house? Also, as a prospective home seller, what is the significance of the length of time my property is on the market?




Steve: Dave, that is THE QUESTION isn't it? There are three main factors that determine the speed of sale:the price, the condition, and the location of your property. This blog post just skirts around those  issues
:-) . It is mostly about the interplay that "Days on Market" has with pricing and your net bottom line. 

One of the first things that buyers will want to know before making an offer on your home is how long it has been on the market  compared to similar homes in the neighborhood.

Homes in Century Oak Fairfax VAMost buyers tend to make lower initial offers on homes that have been for sale for more than the community's average. The buyer's agent will determine the community's average days on market for his client and as the seller, your listing agent should have provided you this information when you discussed how to price your property.


Dave: How do buyers know what my home should be selling for?

Steve: The rest of this requires a long answer Dave.  There is no mystery in obtaining historical sales figures for your neighborhood, as all previous sale prices are available for any realtor's consumption and the buyers they represent. That is one reason  that you need to price your home correctly right away and not price it above what the current market conditions show as appropriate for its condition and location. This does not mean that  you need to UNDER PRICE your home!

  Pool at Franklin Glen
It means that you and your agent should analyze the condition of your property and its location compared to the other comparable homes that have sold within the last few months in your area, and price it "at market" when you first publish it for sale.... not above and not below. Do not use Zillow or any other  public estimating software...they are not accurate enough for this. Their data is not detailed enough for your purposes.

You see, all buyers have access to the very same data that you do,  if the buyer's agent is worth a hoot. Also, buyers tend to offer less for homes that sit unsold for more than the community average of days on market. They assume that the home is over priced or that the seller must be getting anxious for a sale.

For sale in Chantilly Highlands. Coming Soon!Therefore, they submit offers you will not be happy with. However, if a home has been available for only a few days, buyers tend to make offers closer to the list price, if that price is close to the true market value for the area.

If the days on market for a property is high, some buyers will not consider it, thinking something must be physically or structurally wrong.. Smart buyers know that what is probably wrong is that the list price was set higher than current market value and they use the high days on market figure as justification for negotiating a lower price.

Dave: This is getting to be a pretty long explanation. Could you summarize?

Steve: In summary, as a home seller there are two reasons you need to
Nice family room in Chantilly Highlands 4 sale soonbe aware of days on market:

-First, the longer your property is on the market, the lower the offers will be from buyers. This is why homes almost always sell at their highest price within the first 3 weeks of being listed, especially in a depreciating markets where prices have been historically weak. Have your listing agent provide you with the data for your area, to determine if available housing inventory is high compared to sales, which would indicate a depreciating market where more power lies with the buyer, and more pressure on you the seller

, you need to understand average days on market since it is one of the items you should bring up when interviewing prospective agents to list your home. All competent, professional Realtors can give you complete days on market data for your neighborhood and they should be able to show you how to price your home using price per square foot and/or percentage  of sold price to tax assessed value for comparable properties.

Reading glasses relaxingYou should be presented with an an easily understandable spread sheet. There is no mystery to evaluating days on market and although figuring out an appropriate initial list price for your home requires some art and subjective evaluation, as well as logic, any good agent should be able to lay out the facts and have a coherent pricing plan with the figures to back it up.


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Why pay more and get less when selling your home? Jan and Steve Bachman of RE/MAX Gateway still create full color brochures, an individual property website for your listing that goes out to 40+ public real estate search sites including, Trulia, Zillow etc.


We also create a custom photo tour that is sent to other agents and prospective buyers.



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Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Nick T Pappas 06/17/2010 07:12 AM
  2. Duane Murphy 06/17/2010 11:13 AM
  3. Dave Minder 06/17/2010 11:40 AM
  4. John Elwell 06/17/2010 01:20 PM
  5. Sharon Alters 06/17/2010 04:24 PM
  6. Erica Ramus 06/18/2010 02:54 AM
  7. Jerry Morse 06/18/2010 03:47 AM
  8. Joanne Gillet &The Edge Of The Beach Team ---- Pawleys Island, SC 06/20/2010 12:19 PM
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Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Val-we have been very fortunate in the last year. The market has tightened and most of our property is very uniform in type and is kind of easy to comp out and predict a range of days to sell based on historical data.

Although we were way off 2 months ago...the numbers showed that we should have had a contract in 2 weeks on this close in town house by the metro...but it took 47 days to get an acceptable offer. We got two low balls in the first 2 days but were not interested.

Jun 17, 2010 01:22 PM #20
David Stevens
Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty, Victoria BC Canada - Victoria, BC
Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty

Steve - will do my best to send you some more Canadians! Love the surname of those Quebecers .... or Quebecians ;)


Jun 17, 2010 03:12 PM #21
Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE
Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty - Pickerington, OH
"Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs"

Good  information that every seller should read and understand.

Jun 17, 2010 04:09 PM #22
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Steve, what a fun way to explain such an important topic between Seller and listing agent.

Jun 17, 2010 04:23 PM #23
David Okada
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Every seller needs to understand days on the market to set their expectations regarding the real estate sales in their neighborhood. I picked up a listing after another broker had the apartment on the market 1 year. I found when I listed the price of the apartment slightly below the market I could get multiple offers even though the apartment has been on the market a long time.

Jun 17, 2010 06:12 PM #24
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

This is a great explanation for how important it is to price a home properly from the beginning.

Jun 17, 2010 06:14 PM #25
Christa Ross
RE/MAX Select Realty - REALTOR and Green Homes Specialist - Pittsburgh, PA
Helping you buy and sell Pittsburgh's Best Homes

Great explanation of how marketing a home at the correct price from the beginning is the best option.

Jun 18, 2010 12:45 AM #26
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

I inform people who ask that my crystal ball is at the shop while we await a spare part from Bangladesh. 

Jun 18, 2010 01:01 AM #27
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Mykel- Thank you...I'm blushing. Also my kids alway wanted to know where Cucamonga is. Now I can tell them.

David-send 'em. We'll take good care of them...send you money too!

Bernadine- I may include it in our pre-listing drop off package...or a aweeter version of it.


Jun 18, 2010 01:07 AM #28
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Frank and Sharon-Thanks...I used to write articles about our summer swim team for the neighborhood news letter and I used the question and answer format. It was pretty easy since the new parents had so many questions about competitive swimming...real estate ...same way.

Jun 18, 2010 01:10 AM #29
Scott Baker Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area

Thank you for the post, easy read with the back and forth inside the blog. I like the style. It will not take long at all to sell.

Jun 18, 2010 01:16 AM #30
Erik Elsea
Erik Elsea-Jones & Co. Realty - Fort Myers, FL

The key to helping people figure out what to pay or how to price these homes requires useful quality information. Thanks for the post!

Jun 18, 2010 01:41 AM #31
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Steve , you're on a roll with TWO features !!! I'm kicking around e-mailing this to Seller's I did a listing presentation to last night !!!!!!!!!

Jun 18, 2010 01:57 AM #32
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Nice feature Steve and great explanation of the concept. REBLOG!

Jun 18, 2010 02:52 AM #33
Jerry Morse
The Morse Company - Janesville, WI

I realize the importance the Buyers put on Days on the Market.  Good Blog, since Sellers need to be aware of that too!

Jun 18, 2010 03:46 AM #34
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


I love that you too focus on real sales and not other asking prices! The other thing about DOM is many MLS systems don't show a true history. For example, if I list an expired, only my DOM shows. Really savvy agents get the real story when a buyer is interested, so playing games with this doesn't work.

Jun 18, 2010 04:03 AM #35
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

David-it is always GOOD to be the second listing agent!

Christine-I blush at the compliment :-)


Jun 18, 2010 04:33 AM #36
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Christa-I have got to get some of these comments into my pre-liting package!

J. Philip- Hhhmmmm...OK, I think that is another one of the things you say that I will use. By the way, I used the word "epiphany" yesterday in a post



Jun 18, 2010 04:38 AM #37
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Scott-Thanks for the compliment on the question answer style. I use it a lot

Erik-you are dead on....we all need to win the battle of thorough preparation

Michael-Go Amish!!! We may include a version of this in our pre-listing package.

Erica- Please re-blog everything I write :-)

Jerry-Thanks... stop by again when I write something worthy!

Irene-right on. We always try to be scrupulous in our research...don't want the seller or another agent to have more  and/or better data than we do

Jun 18, 2010 05:07 AM #38
Joanne Gillet &The Edge Of The Beach Team ---- Pawleys Island, SC
Pawleys Seaside Realty - Pawleys Island, SC
We advise- You Decide! No Hassles...

Good points very clear.

Great Blog! I will share this one~

Jun 20, 2010 12:17 PM #39
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