How long it takes when selling one’s home to get into contract is one of the most nerve racking periods during the home sale process—for sellers, but how long should it take to sell a home?gambling

Don’t gamble on the outcome. Our study shows that selling a home too fast or having it take too long can be detrimental. Not every case is the same, and not every market has the same perception, but on the Bay Area, specifically the mid-peninsula, statistically, there’s a sweet spot for selling a home quickly, and getting the most money at the same time.

One must understand how potential buyers view this statistic in order to evaluate why there’s a correlation.

When a home is being sold “off-market”, or off the MLS, buyers can have a difficult time ascertaining the intrinsic value. If a seller is asking “X”, potential buyers might think it’s worth the asking price—perhaps more, or less, who knows?

When that same homes goes “Live” to the entire community of house hunters and REALTORS®, if no offers materialize within the first 10 days—or on offer day—it’s a safe bet that the home is overpriced for the value offered, and will more likely than not eventually, sell for less—and savvy buyers know this.

If hordes of buyers line up right away to make offers, buyers looking on will feel confident that the home is priced well—or even too low. Conversely, if the home languishes on the market more than 14 days, and there’s scant interest, it’s a pretty good indication to buyers that the home may be priced too high—or worse that there’s something wrong with the home. In either of the latter cases, buyers will often sit back and wait to see what happens. They typically wonder when, and or if, the seller will lower the asking price.

This is when the tables shift and buyers are empowered to make offers at or below the seller’s asking price.

As a seller the last thing you want to do is overprice your home. Trying to alter a general opinion that there may be something wrong with your home puts a seller in a quandary, if not a perilous position.

Sellers can’t advertise that there’s “nothing wrong with their home”, since certainly every home has some inherent flaw. What they’d like to advertise is, “There’s no reason you shouldn’t be buying my home—it’s just as good as all of the others”. Except that, it’s probably overpriced.

What other factors can cause the days a home is on the market to creep up? In addition to the number one factor of overpricing a home, there’s accessibility and presentation.

Making your home hard to show can be hugely detrimental to getting the most buyers in to see your home. Making it “appointment only” or having it shown through your “agent only” will invariably limit the number of potential visits to your home.

When Real Estate agents set up a day to show their buyers homes, they know everyone’s time is limited. It does no good for them to show buyers so many homes that their buyers become overwhelmed, so agents will limit the showings to as many as they can comfortably fit in. If your home is hard to get into, they might save it for another day—or they might skip it altogether. Often a buyer will find a suitable home on their first outing.

Buyers are busy people. Often they are juggling jobs with long hours, pets and/or small children as they traipse around trying to find a suitable home. Having an open house where they can leisurely stop by on a weekend afternoon will benefit the accessibility of your home and increase the showings. Think how many mid-week dinner time appointments can be deferred by inviting buyers to a weekend open house.

Is one weekend enough? Many times it can be, but then you could be missing out on that one high bidder who was out of town on a business trip, or heavenly forbid, a weekend getaway from the stress of house hunting.  Imagine how frustrating it is for buyers who finally take a break for a one-week vacation only to learn that there dream home sold before they could return. And if you’re a seller, imagine potentially leaving that much money on the table.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is a home’s presentation. Not all sellers nor their agents present homes the same way. Some sellers despite their agents’ vehement admonitions will still cook a fried fish diner right before a critical showing. Real estate agents can also sabotage a seller’s likelihood of a sale by not realizing the importance of market saturation advertising—tapping onto the full potential of the internet with international and social marketing which includes the latest 3D virtual tours, video and of course Facebook and Twitter portals.

Our Next Post…Photographing Your Home—It’s Not Child’s Play. The photography of your homes is best left to professional. Too often we see homes presented with pictures taken from a cell phone.


Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 20 years of experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at

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The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.





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