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How Long Does It Take To Sell A House

Selling a house is a stressful situation for any family (or individual) and the process can be long and complicated.

Between finding an agent, choosing a sales price, getting house ready, packing, and then moving, that’s a lot of work.

The most common question is “how long does it take to sell my house”, and there is no set answer.

But below we have broken down the selling process into managable steps, so you the homeowner can rest easy.

Orange County is a desirable place to live and if a house is priced right it will sell fairly easily.

If you have questions on listing your home, or the market, or whatever please contact the OC Dream.


how long to sell a house

How Long Does it Take to Sell a House

This is a very common question among homeowners once they decide it’s time to sell their house (or condo).

The truth is it really depends on many factors like agent you hire, price you list it, market conditions, city you live in, month you list in, etc.

In a very Hot market, with a house priced correctly, a home can easily sell within 2 to 3 weeks.

On the other hand a house priced too high (due to homeowner or bad agent) could take 2 to 3 months to get an offer in a hot market.

And in a slow market a house priced incorrectly could take 6 months or longer to sell, definitely not what a seller wants.

Do remember that “selling the house” in this case means getting an offer that is accepted, then you still have to deal with escrow and actual closing.

From start to finish a smart homeowner and good agent can get a house listed and sold in 2 to 3 months.


price the house to sell

Price The House Right To Avoid a Price Reduction

The most important part of selling a home starts before your agent even lists the property for sale.

Having your agent do a Comparative Market Analysis for the area is the best way to start the process

You need to price the house to sell (but selling in 4 days might mean it was priced too low), you can’t base the sales price on greed or dreams.

If the market in Orange County says $400,000 is the going price, then you need to be within a few % of that.

Of course there are exceptions like major upgrades, corner lots, views, etc., but those are exceptions.

Typically an agent won’t even show their buyer a home that is overpriced by say 10 or 15%,  so avoid that mistake.

After doing the research, discussing the plan with your realtor and listing the home, then you have to be somewhat patient.

But, if after 3 open houses and marketing efforts no offers come in, it might be time to review the listing price.

The biggest problem with having to reduce the asking price is that agents and buyers will then see you as “desperate”.

And ultimately in this situation you’ll probably end up getting a bunch of low ball offers from buyers who want a deal.


sell your house fast

How To Sell Your Home Fast

There are a lot of steps you can take to speed up the process of selling your house.

Believe it or not even luck can play a factor in getting a quick sale – think “right place, right time” circumstances.

In theory you could list your house for sale the day a family starts their search for a home exactly like your house, and boom you have a buyer.

In the end price is usually the determining factor and if you need to sell your house fast then lowering the sale price will be key.

But just being creative can make a difference, maybe there is a way to get local news coverage, or interviewed by a local newspaper.

The reality is that if you want to sell a house faster than usual, you’ll have to be willing to do whatever it might take to accomplish that goal.

In a sellers market (high demand and low inventory) you might have more leverage and an easier time to sell your home pretty fast.

However in a buyers market (where there is a lot of homes for sale, and low demand) it will be difficult to sell quickly without lowering the sale price.


tips for selling fast

Below are some basic tips on selling a home fast.

  1. Price: A good strategy that smart agents might use to get multiple offers (aka bidding war) is to price the house a bit low to increase demand and visibility.
  2. Location: A house that is located near great schools or the beach is going to sell faster than a home near a busy intersection – but you can’t change the address.
  3. Condition: Homes that are well kept and presented well are going to sell faster than homes that look like Crap, just a fact of life.
  4. Investors: Selling a home to an investor for 10 to 15% below value is one way to sell fast.
  5. Marketing: Advertise your house on Google, FB, anywhere online where buyers might be
  6. Offer Incentives: Maybe you offer a buyers agent more commission than normal, or pay a buyers closing costs,etc.


sell a house under contract

How Long To Get a Home Under Contract Once It’s Listed For Sale

Once a homeowner is ready to sell and has made repairs, staged the house, etc., you’ll need to find a good agent to list with.

Your real estate agent will put your house on the MLS and start marketing the property, holding open houses, etc.

There are so many factors that will determine how long it’s going to take to get the home under contract to be sold.

Time of year, listing price, agents internet skills (google, zillow, etc.) and of course how willing the seller is to negotiate once a buyer makes an offer.

But bottom line is this, if the house is priced too high then it can take months to get the home under contract.

Ideally if the home is priced right your agent should get in under contract within a few months.


delays in selling a house

What Can Delay The Time It Takes To Sell Your House

There are so many things that can come up during the sale of a house that can slow down the process.

Not Fixing Broken Items – homes that need repairs are going to take longer to sell

Pricing home to high – when a home is priced to high it will just be ignored by agents and potential buyers

Stubborn homeowners – if a homeowner won’t let the agent hold open houses, or use a lock box, etc.

Contracts can fall apart – an inspection can scare a buyer, the loan can fall apart or the appraisal comes in too low

Unreliable contractors – hiring a contrator to make repairs is great unless the contractor doesn’t finish on time


How Long To Sell a House Once It’s Under Contract

Once a house is in under contract (signed by both seller and buyer), the closing can still take quite a while.

Data shows that in most transactions the buyer will want title insurance which can easily take a week to get prepared.

The title company or attorney need to prepare it and the shortest closings are typically about 7 to 10 days.

In addition the buyer will normally want to do a home inspection, where a certified inspector is hired.

The inspector will check the overall condition of the home and report their findings to the buyer and their agent.

The biggest hurdle is for the buyer to get financing, which can take 30-60 days so it’s best to get pre-approved before house hunting.

Most loans will require an appraisal to fund the loan. Usually you can get an appaisal done within 7 days.

The good news is that most of these steps can be done at the same time.

So if your agent is organized and professional, the whole process can be done in about 45 days.


What Should a Seller Do Before They List Their House For Sale

This is the part that can really help the overall process of trying to sell your home.

The better condition that a house is in, the faster it will sell assuming it’s priced accurately.

Be proactive and make those little repairs before you even start researching local real estate agents to hire.

Many times a homeowner will think if my home needs $5000 in repairs they can just lower the sales price by $5000 and find a buyer.

Wrong. Most buyers don’t want to do any work and if they have to make repairs they won’t just want to pay the $5000 less.

Try to follow these steps to get ahead of the game when you are ready to list your house for sale.

  1. Make repairs so the house is presentable and appealing to potential buyers
  2. Research the market on your own (think Zillow) and learn about current prices
  3. Plan ahead when it comes to finding a good real estate agent, it can take time
  4. Give the house a good deep cleaning and remove clutter before you list the home for sale.


how long to sell a condo


How Long Does it Take to Sell a Condo

This is very similar to selling a single family house, but there a few differences that can affect how long it takes to sell.

People looking to buy a condo will sometimes want to research the HOA and the community itself – what rules they have etc.

If a potential buyer for your condo finds out that the HOA is in debt, has numerous complaints, etc., it might scare away the buyer.

In addition condo buyers might have to face different rules when it comes to getting financing and that can complicate the selling process.

Banks (those who supply the financing) have rules about what % of condos in the community have to be owner occupied.

So certain banks won’t fund a loan if say over 50% of the condos are rented out, or non owner occupied.

And in 55 and over communities in Orange County, it can take an extended period of time to find the right buyer.


Average Time To Sell a House

Average days on the market is a statistic that any good Orange County realtor should know.

If you have an agent that doesn’t seem to have these basic numbers in his head, maybe you should hire a new agent.

The formula to figure out average days on market is pretty simple.

Figure out the day that each home in a given month goes on the market and then count how many days to a pending offer.

Then just simply add those days together and divide by the total number of homes for sale.

Although it can vary greatly by state and city, below is a chart to give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect.

Percentage Of Home – Sold Within:

1 Month 40%

2 Months 7%

3 Months 7%

4 Months 20%

5 Months 10%

6 Months 7%