Selling a home is a major undertaking and can be a stressful process with many moving parts. To reduce that stress, it helps to keep a home selling timeline. You’ll want a timeline that is firm, but not inflexible, so you can account for any unexpected hiccups that occur during the home selling process.
A good first step is understanding the various milestones involved in selling a home to think about when you should begin the home selling timeline. We’ve provided a timeline with key steps below that helps home sellers begin planning for a successful home sale.
Prepare early and don’t rush the sales process. And don’t go it alone; planning with an expert is highly recommended! But we don’t recommend paying the 2.5-3% commission fee of a traditional real estate agent. That’s why we’ve partnered with Clever Real Estate. Clever is a free service that can match you with top performing, local agents who can help sell your home for just 1.5% — you’ll save thousands and they’ll take care of that stressful home selling timeline!
Beginning the Home Selling Process Timeline
First decide your ideal move out date, and from there, work backwards to build a timeline with steps that get you all the way to preparing to list your home for sale.
The national average for days on market (DOM) is about 30 days, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. However, the average time to sell your home will vary based on your specific region and market conditions.
National averages of DOM aren’t very useful to individual home sellers and you’ll want to speak with an agent or research your neighborhood, city and ZIP code to find more meaningful numbers.
As a starting place, assume that your home will be listed around 1 to 2 months along with a typical 30-day closing period once you have accepted an offer.
Let’s take a look at our example of Jim and Jane’s home selling timeline. They hope to move out by June 30.
- Target Move Out – June 30
- Closing begins (T-minus 30 days) – June 1
- Listing date (T-minus 90 days) – April 1 (2 month average days on the market for their city)
- Research begins (T-minus 150 days) – February 1
8 Weeks into the Home Selling Timeline: Research
Sixty days before the target listing date begin researching, gather files and get all of your ducks lined up. In Jim and Jane’s case, research begins February 1, which is 150 days (5 months) before their target move date.
- Evaluate your finances and budget, add up transaction costs and your remaining equity
- Collect key documents, including your title, survey, mortgage and insurance
- Research your local market to get a ballpark price in mind
- Research companies and agents if you are thinking of hiring someone to represent you in your real estate transaction. Once you find someone you want to work with, you can sign a listing agreement and start working on a marketing plan.
6 Weeks Into the Timeline: Home Evaluation
Six weeks into your home selling timeline, evaluate your property and start fixing cosmetic or functional items previously identified that might turn off potential buyers
- Cosmetic problems: These are problems that can be fixed for a low cost and should be! They include replacing torn window screens, painting grimy walls, fixing crooked light fixtures, etc.
- Functional repairs and upgrades: While you might be okay with the condition of your appliances, your prospective buyer might take issue with a plumbing, heating, electrical issue or 10-year-old appliances that aren’t working properly.
- Problems you can’t fix: There are many problems that you won’t be able to fix. If they damage your home’s appeal, you might need to be willing to negotiate on price.
You don’t want to overspend on repairs, or skimp on the ones that will turn away home buyers. A good agent can identify what fixes you need to make and what buyers will overlook. To find the best agent in your area, we recommend Clever Real Estate. Clever will match you hand-picked, top local agents who can help sell your house for just 1.5%!
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4 Weeks Into the Timeline: Home Preparation
One month before listing, start getting your home ready. It’s time to clean and stage your home so prospective buyers can imagine themselves living in it!
- Get your home ready by fixing any cosmetic or functional items that you identified prior that might turn off a potential buyer
- Declutter and clean your home. If you can, get a storage unit and start to pack up a little. The more you clear, the more potential buyers will be able to envision themselves and their own things in your home.
- Stage your home by using accessories and furniture you already have
2 Weeks Prior to Listing: Marketing your Home
Once your home is prepared, there are a number of marketing materials that you will need to create an attractive home listing. They include professional photos of your home, room measurements, yard signs, and more. If you partner with Home Bay, we provide an interactive and easy to follow checklist that walks you through each step, including scheduling a professional photographer and sign installer with a click of a button!
Listing Day: Go Live!
Congratulations! All of your hard work preparing your home to be listed will pay off!
Make sure you maintain a steady state of clean as interested buyer who wants to tour your home may come on short notice.
The time to start preparing for your home sale is sooner than you think. Whether you want to sell your home before the holidays or if your for sale date is in the spring, now is the time to take those first steps.
Our friends at Clever have helped thousands of home sellers get their homes sold faster and for more money, while also saving them thousands on real estate agent commission fees. A typical seller’s agent charges 2.5-3%, but with Clever, you can pay just 1.5%!
Best of all, Clever is free to try! If you can’t find an agent you love, then you can go right back to selling for sale by owner. Speak with an agent for more info!
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