How long should you leave your house on the market?

Leave it too long and no one will buy.

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by Bryan Borzykowski
February 10th, 2010

Online only.

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Ever wonder why that house on the corner of your street has been on the market for two years? So does everyone else.

Keeping a “For Sale” sign parked on your lawn for more than three months is a mistake, says Gary Bachman, a real estate agent in Winnipeg. “People start saying, ‘What’s wrong with the house?’”
In Toronto, where homes, on average, don’t sit beyond 27 days, people start asking why a house isn’t selling after just a month. In most cases, says Bachman, the answer is because the listing price is too high.

Some sellers hike the price because the market is hot—but even in hot markets, no one will buy if they can get a similar house for less. Sellers also tend to add a premium because we all have a natural tendency to overvalue the things that we own.

Toronto agent Michael Kallis says that if your house isn’t moving, one solution is to take it off the market after 30 days, then re-list a week or two later. The listing is technically new, so agents who missed it the first time around may notice it.

If that doesn’t work, after three months on the block in today’s searing market, it’s time to cut the asking price. After all, says Bachman, “it’s not what the property is worth—but what the market will bear at the time.”

52 comments on “How long should you leave your house on the market?

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  2. I agree with the author of the article. No one should leave his house for a long time on the market. People will start thinking why the house wasn't sold in one month or two and this will make people distrust the landlord or the house.

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  44. I do agree with the words of Mr. Garry Bachman on the article, and i think that a house on a market side is a great deal to buy…but due to this the dealers hike the price and thus the property (house that is for sale) remains unsale for a long. There's nothing wrong with the house…its only wrong with the dealers !

    Its an informative article and i liked it.

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    • I agree with you! I live in the U.S., not Canada and our terminology is slightly different. If the dealer's are the people empowered/assigned to sell it and can't, and other houses around the house are selling at or above the same price as the one on the market for a long time, then it's not the seller's fault.

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