Selling a house is no small feat. From scrubbing and decluttering every room to finally handing over the keys, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you — and a lot of big wins, too. But how do you know what you’re really in for?
Because every home-selling experience is different, the best way to really understand the process is to find out how long it usually takes. That way, you’ll get an idea of what is in store for you— and how long it will be before you can start settling into a brand-new home.
Roll up your sleeves, grab those moving boxes and get ready to jump in: Here’s a look at the average time to sell a house.
Factors that can affect how long it takes to sell a house
The truth about home-selling is that you never really become an expert. Sure, you might have sold a dozen houses in the past — but since the market changes so rapidly and new factors are introduced every time you turn around, no home sale is really the same as another.
That’s why it’s smart to start fresh, whether you’ve sold one home or 100, and brush up on what’s impacting the home-selling landscape right now.
The state of the market
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the housing market has been especially hot. Properties are being snatched up left and right — which is great news for sellers like you. A market like this is called a seller’s market for that reason: Supply is low, demand is high and you’ve got what everyone wants.
What this means is that listing your house soon is likely to result in a fast sale. Wait too long, though, and you may miss your chance.
Buyer habits change depending on the local and national economy, the tools they use to search for homes, the culture of their target neighborhood and even generational values. For example, when the economy is healthy and buyers feel confident, they’re happy to buy bigger, more expensive homes to settle down in. However, when the economy is uncertain and buyers don’t know what the future holds, they may be a little more restrained in their spending habits.
Right now, despite widespread uncertainty, buyers seem eager to find that perfect place to hunker down. Maybe they’re looking for their dream homes, or maybe they just want to get their hands on a house before all the real estate is gone — but whatever their motivation, it’s good news for you. You’re likely to spend less time on the market and more time working out deals — although that brings challenges of its own.
According to Business Insider, mortgage rates are highly dependent on the economy. In turn, mortgage rates influence the time a property sits on the market. When rates are low, buyers are even more motivated to close a deal — but when rates are high, buyers may be more inclined to drag their feet.
Generally speaking, houses with higher asking prices will stay on the market for longer. However, that’s not always the case — especially in areas where all house prices are climbing.
Determining an asking price is a delicate balancing act. The number should depend on what your house is actually worth, sure — but you should also keep in mind that a hot market means you may be able to sell for more than that. Too high, though, and you risk scaring every buyer away with an inflated sale price — so it takes a lot of homework.
How long does the entire home-selling process take?
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median time on the market was 16 days in the first half of August 2020, meaning sellers didn’t have long to wait after listing their property on the hot housing market. Those numbers may have you jumping with joy — but they’re only part of the story. Here’s a look at how long each step in the home-selling process could take.
Preparing your home for sale
Depending on the condition of your home, this step could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. During this time, you’ll be taking care of every little detail, including:
- Finishing those half-done renovation projects.
- Completing any necessary repairs.
- Giving walls, doors or exteriors a fresh coat of paint.
- Removing any personal touches that impact curb appeal.
- Cleaning and decluttering.
- Updating appliances as necessary.
Because this can take a lot of elbow grease, many buyers prefer to skip this step and sell directly to Bungalo — that way, all the work is done for you. You’ll be able to sit back and relax as Bungalo takes care of repairs and updates, navigates the current real estate market and gives you a great price.
Finding a real estate agent
Once you’ve scrubbed, shined, and repaired every last thing in your home, it’s time to decide whether you need a real estate agent. You don’t necessarily need a realtor; in fact, when selling with Bungalo, you can skip that step and save the 6% commission. That would mean saving $18,000 on the sale of a $300,000 home — which is money directly in your pocket.
If you do decide to work with a real estate agent, finding one can take some time. You want someone who knows the market, understands the latest home sale tools and knows how to make a great deal, all while representing all the greatest things about your home. Communication is key, so interview multiple people and choose a realtor who seems interested in making and maintaining a personal connection.
Listing your house is a quicker step. Although you (or your real estate agent) will spend time staging each room and taking photographs, the actual process of putting your house on the market is fast and simple. This is especially true if you use digital tools to your advantage — for example, selling to iBuyers who buy your house from you without all the trouble.
Once your house is on the market, it’s time to attract home buyers. This has a lot to do with your sale price and, if you have one, your real estate agent. The idea is to get your home in front of the right people — but remember, in a hot housing market like this one, the buyers are likely to come to you.
Because houses are flying off the market across the nation, you likely won’t have much competition — meaning that this process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Once a potential buyer expresses interest, approaches you with a mortgage preapproval letter or offers earnest money, you move into the next and final stage: closing.
Although there’s paperwork to sign and final steps to complete, most of the work is on the buyer’s shoulders. Steps like completing their mortgage application can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, so this is where most of your time will go. Some sellers find this part of the process the most frustrating since all they can do is wait.
What is the best time to put your house on the market?
Sometimes, the perfect house can sit on the market for weeks or even months without interest from even one potential buyer. The sale price is reasonable, the home is in good condition, the housing market is hot — so what went wrong?
The truth is that buyers are more active during certain parts of the year. If touring, paying for or moving into a house is inconvenient due to weather or scheduling conflicts, a potential buyer may choose to bide their time and buy when the housing market benefits them more.
That’s why it’s smart to list your house in the spring. The weather is comfortable, grade school and college semesters are wrapping up, workers have had time to build up PTO and the conditions are just right for a home sale.
Think of it this way: April showers bring May buyers.
Tips for shortening the amount of time it takes to sell a home
If you want to save time during the selling process and transition more smoothly into your next home, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your home sale goes through quickly.
- #1: Choose the right agent (or don’t choose one at all)
Real estate agents with knowledge and experience are your best bet for a quick sale. They’ll know how to get a buyer’s attention, finish paperwork quickly and get you the most money in the least amount of time.
Of course, you don’t have to choose an agent at all when selling with Bungalo — so consider this option if you’re looking for an easy sale without that 6% commission.
- #2: Know what you’re on the hook for
Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you sell your home more quickly. For example, when it comes to closing costs, remember that sellers are usually responsible for paying the commissions of both agents (or just the buyer’s agent, if you choose to go in alone).
- #3: Be careful with the sale price
There’s an art to choosing a sale price that benefits your budget without scaring buyers away. Also keep in mind that, when searching for homes, buyers usually set their price criteria — so make sure your listing doesn’t get filtered out. For example, if a buyer wants a house under $500,000, your listing would need to be $499,999 to make the cut.
- #4: Put your best foot forward
Remember all that cleaning, decluttering and repairing you did to prepare your home for sale? It’s important that buyers see all that hard work — which means making sure the real estate photographs, 3D walkthroughs or drone shots of your property put its best features on display to any potential buyer.
Sell at the speed of light with Bungalo
Even in a hot market, your house could take more than two months to sell. If your timeline is tighter than that — or even if patience just isn’t one of your biggest virtues — maybe you need a faster, simpler option.
When you sell directly to Bungalo, you don’t have to worry about repairs or renovations. You also don’t have to hire a real estate agent, stress over the sale price or try to time your listing just right. All you have to do is sit back and get paid.Start working with Bungalo today to sell your home at the speed of light.
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