Selling a house takes careful planning and patience. This is not always easy to maintain when you are eagerly waiting for an influx of cash, but in the end, that patience will likely be rewarded. Working with an established real estate agent can help speed the process along, allowing you to spend less time on paperwork and more on picking out your new home. While market conditions and other factors can influence your timeline, here is an estimate of what you need to do to sell your house and how much time you can expect to spend on each step.
Before listing your home, you and your real estate agent need to complete a few preliminary tasks. Owners should clean their homes and make any repairs or touch ups necessary to ensure that the home is presented in the best light. A formal home inspection can help you identify areas of improvement. Then, the real estate agent will work on pricing and marketing your home. They may hire an appraiser to assist with this or do their own comparison analysis to determine the right price. The agent will then photograph the home, write a description that lists key features and exciting elements that might interest a buyer and set the home apart, and place the listing on a variety of websites and databases to get the attention of buyers. This entire pre-sale process can take about two months or more, depending on how much work needs to be done on the home before it is in sellable condition.
Listing and Showing
After preparing your home for showing, you will likely need to hold several open houses and host some private showings before you receive an offer. According to Zillow, the average American house is on the market for 68 days. This includes the standard 30-day closing window after receiving an offer, so you should expect your home to be on the market for a little over a month before you receive a viable offer that you are willing to accept.
During the 30 day closing period, the lender, title company, and county records department will be able to complete all of the necessary paperwork to make your sale legal and binding. If you are in need of a faster sale, you may be able to select a buyer who is willing to pay in cash and avoid dealing with mortgage lenders, inspectors, and other intermediaries. The following steps typically occur within the closing window.
Accepting the Offer
After a buyer puts an offer on a home, they will be anxious to hear back about whether it has been accepted. That is why it is a good idea to make your decision as quickly as possible. State laws typically regulate response times, though buyers will also include information about how long their offer is valid before it needs to be accepted or declined. This time period generally lasts between 24 and 72 hours after submission.
Once you have accepted an offer, the buyer will have between five and 10 days to have the home inspected, depending on the contract you establish. The actual home inspection takes much less time — a few hours for the inspector to review the property, and an extra day or two for them to write their report. In a fast-moving market, the buyer will sometimes choose not to have the property inspected to make their offer stand out and allow you to close the sale more quickly.
Buyers are allowed to adjust their offer after the house has been inspected to reflect any flaws or other factors that may influence the amount they are willing to pay. The renegotiation usually takes between 24 and 48 hours, because at this point, there is likely little new information to discuss. A real estate agent can help you handle these negotiations to ensure that all parties are satisfied.
Working with a Real Estate Agent
Whether you are buying or selling a home, working with a real estate agent can make the process go more smoothly. Real estate agents handle marketing for homes being sold, collect suitable options for buyers to review, and handle all of the paperwork and negotiations associated with the transaction.
Speak with The Katie Zarpas Group for more information about the selling timeline and the ways in which a real estate agent can help you close your sale as quickly as possible. Zarpas has more than a decade of experience in real estate and has won numerous awards in recognition of her talents. She specializes in transactions involving investment properties, new construction, vacation properties, country homes, and historic homes, among other types, within the Northern Virginia area.