Real Estate

Days on the Market: How long is too long?

David Saba
David Saba
4 minutes to read.

When you list your house for sale, you do so in hopes it will sell quickly. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. That’s when you start hearing the term “days on the market”, and when the number is very high, you start losing hope. But what exactly does “days on the market” mean? Keep reading to find out.

What is days on the market?

This term is very common in the real estate market. It refers to the number of days that go by from the moment a house is listed for sale until it finally sells. While it seems pretty straightforward, there are other factors to consider. One of these factors is the value of the house itself. If only a few days go by between you listing your home and the time you sell it, it may mean one of two things:

  • There is a high demand for property in your area, or
  • The price you attached to your house is lower than its real value

The problem with the days your house is on the market starts when the number begins getting larger. A house that has spent many days on the market can be considered high-risk or overpriced. This can affect the amount a buyer might be willing to pay for it. In other words, the lower number of properties for sale in a given area, the fewer days on the market a house will have.

How do days on the market affect the sale of your house?

There are several ways the sale of your house can be affected. For starters, if your house has spent too many days on the market a potential buyer can use that as a bargaining tool. This means that you may get much less for it than you originally intended. Keep in mind that if a large number of properties are up for sale in your area, your home may spend more days on the market than you would like. This is especially true if you have already found another home to buy and you need the money to do so.

On the other hand, it is highly likely that if there are more buyers than properties, your home will spend less days on the market and can sell for a better price. Before you consider being aggressive at establishing a sale price for your home, you take a look at the current market in your area. Because that’s what days on the market effectively is, a measurement of how well the market is performing.

days on the market too long

So, how long is too long?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear cut answer to this question. This is because it is dependent on a number of variables that can change from day to day. For some, a year may be too long. For others that period can vary.

Knowing how long is too long for your house to be on the market is essentially based on the following:

  • When you first list your house for sale there may be an initial outpouring of potential buyers.
  • After this initial rush, the number of buyers will slowly start dwindling.
  • When the number of buyers reaches zero and stays there for a couple of weeks, your house has spent too many days on the market.

Essentially knowing how long is too long will depend on every individual property. But there are a few pointers to keep in mind, including:

  • Check out the average number of days other houses in your area have been on the market before they sell. If you have surpassed this average, it’s been too long.
  • Consider that the longer your house has been on the market, the more wary buyers may become. A property that has been listed for a long time may make people ask themselves if something is wrong with it. This can make potential buyers overlook a perfectly good property.
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