Any number of factors can influence your desired timeline when you sell your home: a new job in another city, a closing on your next home, a wedding and honeymoon, dissolution of an estate, a change in finances, etc. Whatever the reason, when you’re ready to sell, having perspective on the length of time it may take from listing to closing will may it easier to clear hurdles as you move towards your finish line. Realistic expectations are essential to making good decisions at important milestones in the process.
Statistics on realtor.com indicate that the median home spends 65 days on the market from listing through to closing. Your realtor can tell you what the average time on market is for a well-priced home in your area; this statistic can become the benchmark for progress on your own timeline. As you can imagine, though, many things contribute to the actual pace.
Location is one of the most powerful features. If your home is situated close to desirable features - schools, transportation, employment, a charming downtown - be sure to include this in the listing. Selling can be a numbers game; the advantages of your location will attract more buyers, increasing the statistical likelihood that your home will sell quickly.
Homes in good condition sell faster, so make sure that all possible updates and repairs have been made, eliminating concerns that may distract or deter a buyer. Stage and de-clutter – staged homes sell faster and for more money than those which are not.
A home that is priced competitively can attract an offer at the very first open house or viewing, while overpriced homes can sit until they are finally adjusted down to meet the market. If a home sits on the market for more than 30 days, buyers often consider this an opportunity to make lowball offers that are annoying and distracting.
Market conditions also drive the speed with which you may cross the finish line. The time of year, the competition (number and quality of homes competing for the same buyers), economy (interest rates and market stability), and other market influences can ignite or suppress home sales. There is little you can do to impact these influences, other than understand them while making sure your home is the most appealing and competitively priced in your area.
Actively marketing your home will influence exposure and traffic which can accelerate your sale. Working with a realtor brings marketing expertise, tools not directly available to sellers, and step-by-step guidance to attract as many buying agents and buyers as possible to get your home seen.
Your motivation and readiness also have an impact on your timeline. If you are highly motivated to sell, you will be more likely to focus on solutions – preparing the home for sale, pricing it competitively, processing market feedback realistically, adapting to improve your home’s appeal and navigating negotiation when offers come. Being organized will also be important. During the listing and selling process, you may be asked for paperwork that informs the sale – property tax bills, utility bills, title documents, and any papers that may affect the distribution of proceeds from the sale. It will save time to have all paperwork ready and in hand when the house is listed, rather than scrambling to pull everything together in the moment.
Not every homeowner is in a race to sell; the same reasons to hurry can be reasons for needing more time before you close and hand over the keys. Being clear with your realtor about your timeline and what you need in order to comfortably transact the sale is essential; your realtor will know how to manage the information when your house is listed and being shown. You’ll still want to manage the factors listed above, including your motivation and readiness, but without the focus on getting in and out of closing quickly.
Whether you are looking for a quick sale, or a more elastic timeline, it will be helpful to understand your options and to be flexible. Good communication between selling agent and buying agent will also be important. Understanding which aspects of your life and the sale can be flexed will reveal solutions to timing challenges as and when they occur, and your realtor may have suggestions based on prior experience. Making monetary concessions, including furniture, appliances or high-tech equipment to sweeten the deal, finding transitional housing, and other give-and-take solutions can be paths to a closing that works for both buyer and seller. It is easier to adapt than to start over and find another buyer. If all the players stay flexible and focused on solutions, everyone can win!