Preparing to put your house on the market is an important step. Ideally, you should connect with an agent about two months before closing. But you can ask for advice even sooner.
A realtor can offer helpful real estate tips: you could ask for a free CMA, ideas for boosting your home’s value, and for average sale times.
» Need help deciding when to sell? Read our guide on how to find a real estate agent.
How long does it take to sell a house?
Most sellers need at least a month to receive an acceptable offer and negotiate a contract, and then another 30–45 days to close.
The perfect time to contact a realtor depends on several factors:
- Your desired closing date
- Local market conditions
- Your home’s condition
When should I contact a realtor to sell?
|📞 Contact a realtor…
|⏱ If you need to close…
|Within 1–2 months
|1–2 months before listing
|Within 3–4 months
|3+ months before listing
|For 6+ months
Immediately if you need to close within 1-2 months
Getting your home ready for showings, listing it, and finding a good offer can take a month or more, so you’ll want to contact a realtor immediately.
Your realtor can guide you through various selling options and strategies to help your home sell fast. They can also help you compare potential outcomes of listing it on the open market versus selling it to a company that buys houses for cash.
🏘 If you want to sell your current home so you can buy a new one, call an agent now. Starting early ensures that you and your realtor can create a timeline for an easier, less stressful move.
In 1–2 months if you need to close soon (but not right away)
If you have a three- to four-month window to close on your home sale, you can wait to contact a realtor. This time frame works well if your home doesn’t require major repairs before listing or you already have a plan for making improvements.
Don’t worry if you’re still cleaning and decluttering. Waiting until your house is in better shape before listing it can drive up its value and make it more appealing to potential buyers. Plus, it gives you more time to prepare your home for a successful sale.
In 3+ months if you’re not serious about selling yet
Don’t call a realtor just yet if you don’t need to close on a home sale anytime soon (at least 6 months). If you don’t reconsider moving, the market will likely change by the time you’re ready to sell.
Waiting to contact a realtor is also a smart choice for homes that need big repairs or updates — like a new roof, HVAC, or renovation — to boost its value. If you want to be strategic about your listing, then waiting for the peak season could net you a higher price.
Factors impacting your timeline
Work backward from your ideal closing date, allowing extra time for the condition of your market and your home.
Your desired closing date
Knowing when you need to close on a home sale or move out of your house is crucial, not just when you want to put your home on the market. Most sellers require at least a month to receive an acceptable offer and negotiate a contract, followed by another 30 to 45 days to close.
Homes tend to sell faster in some areas because of higher buyer demand and inventory.
You can call a realtor for help understanding neighborhood market trends, such as how fast homes like yours are selling and a typical closing time frame.
Plus, by learning buyer preferences — for example, homeowners in a certain subdivision may want finished basements — you could position your home to sell faster.
» SEE: The Ultimate Guide to CMAs
Your home’s condition
Call an agent now if you need help figuring out which fixes and updates will boost your home’s value. Just be respectful of the realtor’s time and be honest if you’re not ready to list your house.
Should I Sell My House Now or Wait? Selling your house is a huge personal and financial decision. Here’s what experts say are the biggest factors to consider.