Seriously, How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

Back in the days before the internet in real estate, if you wanted to sell your house fast, you likely were going to leave money on the table.

Marketing methods in the past took many months to engage (from planning to production to publication) that a house seller seeking a speedy sale needed to cut her price so severely that price alone would attract a buyer from the local community. "Hey, did you hear Mary is only asking $165,000 for her great mid-town home?" Word of mouth would find the ears of somebody looking for a deal.

But times change.

Today, we know that the buyer most likely to pay top dollar for a house is already educated on house values in the neighborhood, and that means we can sell a house fast and fetch top dollar for it all at the same time.

Marketing A House To Sell It Fast

Sell House Fast 2015When we look back at the work required to bring a house to market before the digital age, it is amazing we ever got it all done.

Younger real estate agents probably have no respect for having to wait for things like photos to develop, or the publication schedule for the monthly real estate magazines. Do you remember when they came out with one-hour developing so that we could have our pictures the same day that we shot them? More than one of us could hustle a new listing to a magazine by taking pictures on the date of the deadline.

But this has all changed.

The internet has made publication easy and we can go live world-wide in less than a day. So our real estate marketing plan, which used to be heavily influenced by timelines and schedules that were created by our external environment, is now focused on the best strategy and tactics to deliver optimal results for the house seller.

How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?

We tell the majority of our house sellers that it only takes 4 to 14 days to sell a house in Tallahassee. With the rare exception for houses that must be marketed in a low-liquidity environment, houses that take longer than 4 to 14 days will likely yield less money for the house seller than a house sold within the proper time frame.

Before we get into the "why" of this, take a look at the current inventory of houses listed for sale in Tallahassee. The following graph shows all active listings arranged by the date that their current agent placed the house for sale in the Tallahassee MLS.

How Long Should You Market Your House For Sale

There is a house on the market that was listed with the current agent in October 2009 (that's the "1" on the far left of the graph). There are 14 houses on the market that were listed with their current agents in July of 2013. There are even 32 houses on the market today that were listed in July of last year. So you might wonder why there are so many houses listed for sale for more than 4 to 14 days (if that is really how long it takes to sell a home).

I can explain this with a two-step process. First, we will address why houses in a market with ample liquidity should sell within the first two weeks, and then we will review reasons why this does not occur for most house sellers.

Why Houses Should Sell Within Two Weeks

I have produced numerous articles on how to sell a house fast, and I encourage you to read them if you would like plenty of evidence and experiences to support a house sale within 4 to 14 days. The following list of articles is an excellent resource list for people who want to sell a house fast:

  1. How To Sell Your House In 4 To 14 Days
  2. Is There A Stalker Looking At Houses In Your Neighborhood?
  3. How To Sell Your House Even If Your Neighbors Are Giving Theirs Away
  4. Why Real Estate Is Always A Sellers' Market
  5. Selling A House On The Internet
  6. How To Sell A Luxury House Fast (Without Giving It Away)
  7. How To Sell A House Today (Video)
  8. This Listing Agent Oversight Is Costing House Sellers A Lot Of Money
  9. Does It Take A Realtor To Sell A House?
  10. The Definitive Resource On How To Sell A House

The key you will discover is that the best buyer for your house is already waiting for it to hit the market. She has been driving your neighborhood every day, looking at houses that have hit the market. It is likely that she low-balled a house and lost it to another buyer in the past, thus she won't allow that to happen again. It is CRITICAL that you position your house so that this buyer is willing to do whatever it takes to get your home.

If you price your house too high, she will know that you are not motivated and will not sell your house at a reasonable price. If you price it too low, you stand a chance of having it sold below it's highest market value. But if you price it exactly right, you will lure this buyer into your trap.

She will bid full price or higher in the fear of losing your home, and she will likely have competition from other buyers. Successful negotiation is all about positioning, and a house seller starts the positioning game with the initial asking price.

Reasons Why Houses Do Not Sell Right Away

The graph above shows that many (many) houses do not sell right away. Some fail to sell completely.

When the market was on fire, some houses did not sell right away, some failed to sell at all.

When the market tanked, some houses did not sell right away, some failed to sell at all.

You can sell your house in 4 to 14 days, and current market conditions only matter when the liquidity for your house moves to an extreme low. If there are simply no buyers for your house (for example, $5M houses in Tallahassee have zero liquidity, $2M houses have near zero liquidity, $1M houses will sell a handful or so each year).

So assuming you own a house worth less than $2M in Tallahassee, you can sell your house within a predictable time frame. If your house is worth less than $500K, there is no reason why you shouldn't choose to sell it fast and get the most money possible for it.

Houses with ample liquidity that fail to sell occur because the house seller has hired the wrong real estate company and/or is not following their advice on positioning. The wrong real estate company will not have the proper marketing reach on the internet to achieve a 95% market saturation within 4 days, but the wrong initial asking price will make the marketing efforts futile.

If you would like to know more about selling a house fast, for the highest money possible in today's real estate market, simply drop me a note and my office will be in touch to schedule a meeting right away.

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Joe Wrote The Book On How To Sell A Home In The Digital Age

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It is a comprehensive guide for small businesses to help them understand how to implement digital marketing. For Realtors, it's a guide to using digital as the heart and soul of your marketing.

For those of us who want to survive and thrive in a world where large corporations are taking over, it is a must-read.

You can find "The Business Of Getting Business on Amazon here.




Joe Manausa Real Estate
1934 Dellwood Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 366-8917

Comments (10)

Jennifer Ferri
Title Junction, LLC - Fort Myers, FL

Great information! Here in Fort Myers houses are selling VERY quickly, most are under contract within a day of being listed. It is amazing how much technology changes how things work.

Jul 13, 2015 11:31 PM
Joe Manausa - Tallahassee, FL
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Jennifer Ferri .. you are so right about technology

Jul 13, 2015 11:47 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

 If one wishes to sell he needs to price it such the buyers are motivated to make an offer. This means one price at even below highest sold that gets a lot motivation.  Those price their homes high 30 days later viewers are under the impression something is wrong and look at newer listings...

Jul 13, 2015 11:51 PM
Joe Manausa - Tallahassee, FL
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

You are right Sam Shueh ... fresh is best

Jul 13, 2015 11:53 PM
Jennifer Ferri
Title Junction, LLC - Fort Myers, FL

Sam Shueh you are very right. A house that has been on the market too long may look great on the outside but it leaves buyers wondering what could be wrong on the inside.

Jul 14, 2015 12:24 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I always show sellers data those list right are sold higher and quicker by a margin.  Price is dictated by the market not the sellers illusion....

Jul 14, 2015 12:33 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Our days on market is averaging about 65 right now. The houses that sell quicker than that are almost always the homes in the first time home buyer price range under 200k. 

Jul 14, 2015 02:24 AM
Joe Manausa - Tallahassee, FL
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert ... all MLS's are a bit different, but my experience is days on the market is a useless statistic (for example, how long was it on the market as a FSBO? or how long was it on the market with another agent? or how long was it on the market with the current agent but a different listing # .... etc. MLS systems usually report (only) the days on the market for the current listing period, so how exactly do we pull an "average" from that? The time on market for a well-priced home in a price range with ample liquidity is 4 to 14 days ... 94% of all ready-buyers will know about it during that time frame.

Jul 14, 2015 02:31 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

As always, your post amazes me with your depth and attention to detail.  Our MLS does show DOM with existing listing as well as total DOM for the property, no matter who had the listing.  So, it's not unusual to see DOM 1 and DOMP 365 if it's a property that is not selling. It's always interesting to look at the history.

Jul 14, 2015 11:02 AM
Joe Manausa - Tallahassee, FL
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment Susan

Feb 06, 2021 04:21 AM