FSOB: Home Valuation (6): Average Days on Market & Time vs. Money


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Average Days on Market

The length of time it will take to sell your house will depend on a variety of factors, the first of which is the strength of the market in your area. If the market is fairly strong, your house could sell in as little as a few days. On the other hand, if the market is fairly weak, it could take a year or more to sell your house. Perhaps the best way to determine the strength of your market is to look for a term on the CMA report that is referred to as days on market, or DOM. On the individual comparable sales reports, the listing date along with the selling date is provided, from which DOM is calculated. DOM is simply the sales date minus the listing date. The number is used by real estate agents to help gauge the strength of neighborhoods, and even entire cities or towns. A DOM of 25, for example, means that from the time the house was placed on the market for sale until the time an offer was accepted on it was 25 days. This is very useful information to sellers because it pro vides a general indication of how long it will take to sell their houses.

Additional factors that will determine how long it will take to sell your house are its price and condition. If your house is priced appropriately relative to the market, then it should fall in line with the average days on market by other houses in the area. If the house is priced below market, then, as a general rule, it should sell more quickly than the aver age DOM. Conversely, if the house is priced above market, then it will likely take longer than the average DOM. The condition of your house relative to the condition of other houses in your area will also affect the length of time it takes to sell it. If your house is in excellent condition, shows very well, and is appropriately priced, then it should sell faster than the average DOM. And conversely, if your house is in poor condition and priced the same as a house in better condition, then it will likely take longer than the average DOM.

Time Is Money

If your house has been on the market longer than 90 to 120 days, it may be time to consider lowering the price. While the decision of whether or not to lower the price is dependent on several factors, the most important of these is your timing and sense of urgency. If you are in no hurry to sell and it really doesn’t matter one way or another whether you stay in your house or move, then you may consider leaving the price where it is for as long as 180 days, or even longer if you want to. On the other hand, if you are relocating to another area or have already purchased another house, then you should consider lowering the price. The proverbial wisdom that time is money especially holds true in this instance because every day your house isn’t sold literally costs you money. Unless you own your house free and clear, the interest clock doesn’t stop ticking just because you have to move or you have already purchased another home. In short, the decision to lower the price on your house is largely dependent upon other commitments you have already made or those you anticipate making. These commitments affect how motivated you are and largely determine your sense of urgency.

In summary, to sell your house at the right price and for maximum profit, you’ll need to have a comparative market analysis done on your house. Although a CMA is essential to setting the price of your house correctly, a formal appraisal is not. Remember also to be aware of the aver age number of days on market it takes houses in your area to sell and set your price accordingly. If the market is fairly strong in your area or you are in no hurry to sell, then it’s safe to set the price of your house at the upper end of the price range. On the other hand, if the market is moderate to weak in your area or you need to sell quickly, then you should adjust the price of your house accordingly.

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