Often people are not aware of what to expect in the process of selling their home. They may not know about preparations that could be made before marketing begins that will enhance the value of their home and the timing of the sale. How well the home is prepared before professional photography is done can impact the length of time it might take to get the home into escrow. It would be helpful for sellers to know about the various timing aspects of the process so plans can be worked out ahead of time and accommodate several scenarios in their plans.
For example, there are typically times during the year that are often not in the best interest of sellers to put their home on the market for sale. Listing the home during the winter holiday period and during the summer season might result in a longer sale process and possibly a lower sale price.
If a home is properly prepared and marketed effectively both online and in print publications, a typical listing may take 20-45 days to open escrow. However, depending on circumstances and the market climate, it can take 60-90 days or longer to open escrows, and then 45-90 days to close. Obviously, it can be challenging to make plans without taking into account the alternatives and various solutions.
Once an offer is received, buyers usually expect a response within 1-3 days. Contracts typically include a period of 10-17 days for the buyer to perform any property investigations, and most contracts include 17-30 days contingencies for the buyer to obtain an appraisal and loan approval. A seller is well-advised to carefully consider the quality of the pre-approval loan information and time requested for removal of such contingencies. The uncertainty of this period can result in delays that will impact the seller’s plans to pack, move and even to make commitments for where they will be moving.
There are some ways to pre-negotiate flexibility of timing in the sale contract that can affect the seller’s plans for moving. This can enable the seller to wait until all contingencies are removed before committing to moving plans that are not reversible. One possibility is to include that the seller can lease the home back for a few weeks to accommodate their moving out. If the buyer would like more time to remove loan contingencies, and the seller would like more time to move, an escrow modification could be agreed upon that would accommodate this. There may be other creative solutions that affect the timing of the sale process that help both seller and buyer.
Michael Edlen has counseled thousands of local homeowners on the process of selling a home. For more information or answers to questions, check his website, MichaelEdlen.com, or call him at 310.230.7373.