Home Sellers: Is Time on Your Side?

Home sellers time concept

“Time Is On My Side” is a Rolling Stones classic, but the sentiment behind this song isn’t always true. In fact, the lyrics are a cautionary tale of love and loss that we think relates well to selling a house. All home sellers need to ask themselves what kind of time they actually have on their side.

No Two Home Sellers Are the Same

If we’ve learned anything at PropertyLark, it’s that every single home seller has their own unique situation to deal with—financially, emotionally and so many other different factors. Time is always one of those factors. Some home sellers are in no rush to sell. They have plenty to time to make repairs, hire a real estate agent, stage and market the home, and review offers from many different buyers before making a selling decision.

If you have plenty of time, then this “traditional” method for selling your house usually makes the most sense. It is not going to result in the quickest sale, but it will generally produce the best selling price.

How Long Does a Traditional Home Sale Take?

It depends on the market and the prevailing market conditions. Really quick sales may only take a month or two to complete (from the day the house goes on the market). We’re talking about getting offers immediately and escrow periods (the final “closing” process) that may take an average of 30-45 days. The closing stage is when the buyer financing is finalized along with all the contractual details, including any home inspections, buyer or seller contingencies, closing date, real estate agent/broker commissions and other things.

On average, most traditional home sales will take around 4-6 months in a healthy real estate market. Some houses sit on the market for much longer because they are priced to high or there are problems with the property that turn buyers off (repairs needed, bad neighborhood, pending HOA assessments, etc.). Some sell more quickly because they are priced well and are in a desirable location with lots of home buying activity. These are all factors you will need to consider when preparing to sell your house. Knowing the market and how your house will show in that market can help home sellers determine a decent projected timeframe.

Cash Buyers

A buyer who is paying cash can speed up the closing process. However, in a traditional open market sale, a cash buyer may have other contingencies to deal with and there are still many of the above factors that are still involved in the final closing stage. Be sure to review any cash offers carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent or escrow officer any questions that you have about the specific time and processes involved for your particular transaction.

What Are My Other Home Selling Options?

As a home seller, it’s important to understand that you have more options beyond just a traditional real estate sale that will take more time than you might have. If you are in a time crunch and need to sell as quickly as possible, you will want to look at alternative home selling solutions.

Perhaps you need to move immediately for a job or a family emergency. Maybe you are in a state of financial distress (behind on mortgage payments, facing property tax default, too much credit card debt, etc.) and you need to get out from under your house—or you need to sell the house as soon as possible house to pay off other looming debts. What if you inherited a property that you really don’t want and don’t have the time or money to take care of it as a rental or prep it for an open market sale?

Finding the Right Home Selling Solution

These are all common home seller scenarios we see at PropertyLark, and there is an effective solution for every single situation. The quickest selling option may be a cash sale to a real estate investor. They are usually buying houses in as-is condition, so there is no need for repairs or clean up. The home inspection process is usually minimal, if any inspection is required at all. They are also buying with cash (or other solid financial backing) that eliminates the need for a long closing process where a buyer’s mortgage could fall through at any point and cancel the sale. At PropertyLark, we’ve closed transactions in as few as seven (7) days!

Home sellers will also want to consider different creative financing options based on their home ownership and overall financial situations. You may be able to explore a lease option if you are in a good standing. Those in financial distress might work out a subject-to financing deal with a buyer who is willing to take over your mortgage payments. There are a number of different seller financing options that could help you out.

The point is that you have options as a home seller, so look before you leap. Time may be on your side, or it may not be. Whatever your situation, it’s important to make smart home selling decisions. PropertyLark is here to help. We can get you a fair cash offer within 24 hours if you want to sell quickly, or we can help you explore all your home selling or financing options (including a traditional sale through one of our real estate professionals). Just fill out the seller contact form on any page of our website to get started!