When Is a House On the Market for Too Long?

Selling a home is a complex, stressful, and often lengthy process, and most homeowners typically wonder how long it will take for the house to sell. Unfortunately, no real estate agent can give a definite answer to that particular question since there are plenty of factors that can affect the speed at which a home sells. 

These factors include the location of the home, curb appeal, interior design, asking price, and market trends. Yet, some properties sell quickly, almost in the blink of an eye, while some might take a while to sell and stay long on the market. 

This poses a question: When has a house been on the market for too long? Is there a specific number of days after which the real estate is considered stale? Why does that happen, and what do you do when the house is on the market for too long? The aim of this guide is to provide you with an answer. 

How Long Is Too Long for a House to Be On the Market?

Most listings on the housing market typically show how long the residential real estate has been on the market, along with the listing price for the property. This metric is typically expressed as a number of days on the market, abbreviated DOM, with high numbers usually indicating a problem in the listing quality. 

There’s no written rule on how long it is too long, as the speed at which a home is sold also depends on market trends. Markets are usually seasonal and tend to be less active during colder months and more active during warmer months, which definitely affects the speed at which the house is sold. 

Most realtors consider a property that has spent 90 days on the market “stale,” as it has been on the market too long, indicating a potential problem with the real estate. However, that’s rarely the case. 

When Is A House on the Market for Too Long?

Reasons Why a Home Stays on the Market for Too Long

Most homebuyers interpret high DOM as an indicator that there’s something wrong with the property since it probably attracted buyers who ended up losing interest for whatever reason. 

Most real estate agents will tell potential buyers that it’s far less likely that the home has major problems or it has been a place of horrific crime and that it’s far more likely that it has to do something with the home’s pricing or the housing market conditions. Here are some of the major reasons why a home might go stale: 

Price Is Too High

High listing price is the primary reason why a house sits on the current market for a significant length of time. Every home has a market value, but home sellers sometimes assign their own for personal reasons or simply because they’re unaware of the local market conditions. 

Prospective buyers most probably walked through the house and, after seeing the property, decided to purchase another home that was simply of better value. If the buyer is financing a home through a financial institution, the lender will require a letter of appraisal and, in most cases, won’t approve the loan in case of overpricing a property. 

Fortunately, most home sellers tend to drop the sale price after the house sits on the market for too long. Now, if you’re looking to get the best possible deal on your home without losing time, it’s best to ask for an appraisal yourself and price the property currently. 

The Seller Is Being Stubborn

If the buyer is financing a purchase, the lender will request an appraisal, and if the home sale price is unreasonably high, they won’t approve the loan. Reasonable sellers are typically willing to negotiate the price, but sometimes the seller might stubbornly refuse to correct the listing price, and the sale falls through, resulting in high dom.

After the home has spent a significant amount of time on the market, the seller might finally correct the price, but by that time, the price usually drops by 5% from the first value provided by the appraiser. If you’re looking to sell within a reasonable amount of time, be willing to negotiate the prices. 

The House Is Hard to Show

This point is really broad and has several factors of its own. The truth is that sometimes, a home just doesn’t show well for various reasons. Perhaps there’s plenty of furniture and clutter still in the home, maybe the curb appeal isn’t so appealing, and perhaps there’s dust everywhere. Any combination of the aforementioned might put buyers off. 

We strongly suggest that sellers seek professional help when staging the home and do some landscaping work around the house to increase its curb appeal. Failing to do so can increase DOM, and too much time between open houses incurs other expenses, such as cleaning services. 

If you’re looking to sell your home in the shortest amount of time, we strongly suggest that you vacate the property and seek professional help with staging. Alternatively, you can sell your house in Dallas fast to Dallas cash home buyers

FSBO Not Appealing

FSBO, otherwise known as “for sale by owner,” is when home sellers try to sell their homes themselves instead of hiring a realtor or an agency. While these sales can certainly be a success, most of those homes end up staying on the market for too long simply because the sellers can’t sync house shows with their work schedules. 

In most cases, realtors take over the listings when owners give up on FSBO home sales, but by that time, the value of the home might’ve declined, the staging might’ve incurred additional costs, and prospective buyers might lose interest because of the high DOM. 

The House Is in Bad Condition

A high DOM might indicate that there’s something wrong with the property, and there is some truth to that. The home might just be in a really bad condition, and sellers just don’t want to deal with the repairs. 

This usually keeps homebuyers away because they don’t want to have to fix up the property—unless that’s what they’re specifically looking for. The best approach for both buyers and sellers is to have the home inspected by a home inspector who can identify and document all the major problems with the home’s structure, systems, and appliances. 

Having a professional inspect your home, which might be in bad condition aesthetically, can help you secure a higher price, especially if you hire an appraiser as well. You can even address these flaws yourself and secure a higher sale price. 

The Economy is Not Favorable

Ultimately, the home doesn’t have to have structural issues or poor curb appeal to spend plenty of time in the listings. Most of the time, the real estate market conditions aren’t really favorable toward the buyers; the internet rates might be high, and job markets might be slow. 

In tougher economic times, buyers are generally less willing to invest in real estate, which prolongs the selling process for many residential and commercial properties. 

Max Number of Days a House Should Be On the Market Before It Goes Stale

The general consensus among real estate agents is that a home becomes “stale” after it has spent more than 90 days on the market. However, things aren’t always so simple, and one has to take other factors into consideration as well. 

In the end, a long time on the market truly doesn’t indicate that there’s something wrong with the property, and in most cases, high DOMs are related to the economy, high asking price, and, perhaps, a stubborn seller. 

What to Do If Your House Has Been On the Market for Too Long

If your house has been on the market for a long time, consider reevaluating your home sale strategy. Readjust the price, make the necessary repairs and updates, and enhance the staging of your home; professional help is strongly advised. 

Additionally, if you’re FSBO, consider hiring a real estate agent, and if you already hired one, consider taking your business elsewhere. You can also wait for more favorable market conditions or take the property off the market and relist it at a later date.

Another viable option is to sell your home to We Buy Houses Cash. As our name implies, we buy houses for cash in Dallas, and provide a fair, all-cash offer, regardless of your home’s current condition, thus eliminating all the stress associated with repair, staging, and dealing with realtors.

How Long Can A House Stay On The Market Before Being Too Long?


If your home spends more than 90 days in the listing, many real estate agents will regard it as “stale,” which can potentially deter potential homebuyers from even considering your property as their next home. 

Fortunately, you can take precautionary steps, follow market trends, appraise the property, work with a reputable realtor, and stage your home to attract potential buyers. You can alleviate all of the stress associated with home sales by simply selling your house to We Buy Houses Cash. Contact us today and ask for an estimate. 

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