At the end of 2021, the average number of days a home took to sell was 71 days. This is according to a U.S. News and World Report article. In Northern Virginia, homes tend to take less time to go under contract and complete the sale process. This is a testament to the countless professionals in the real estate industry in Virginia who stay compliant with the laws and regulations and consistently work to improve services to the public. Real estate professions aid their clients from the beginning to the end of the process to make the process hassle free and efficient. It’s important for home owners and buyers understand the sale process and have an understanding of how long each component takes so they can concentrate more on the next chapter of their lives. Here are the steps that show how to sell your home in 40 days in Northern Virginia.
GETTING ON THE MARKET
Day 1 begins when your home is available to the public. This is when people can tour your home through real estate agents or via open houses. This first day is crucial and should be the culmination of a lot of prior preparation and marketing. This includes preparing the property (inside and out), having professional photography taken, setting the right price, and marketing the home as “Coming Soon”. During this time no one can physically tour your home. The idea is to create anticipation for home buyers through outstanding photos that show your home in the best possible light. It’s also done by highlighting key features and upgrades your home may have. These are shared through every possible medium including the internet, email blasts, and social media.
APPOINTMENTS, TOURS, AND OPEN HOUSES
Once interest is generated and the right tone is set through marketing, your home goes from “Coming Soon” to “Active”. During this time, potential buyers request access to tour your home. It is vital that home sellers make this process as easy as possible. Your home should remain “show ready” until you finally close on the sale of your home. Here are some tips for How You Can Stage Your Home for Sale. This time is critical in the home-selling process. It’s an opportunity to showcase your property and make the best possible impression. As a side note, while most buyers are genuinely interested in your property, it’s also important to take precautions for your safety and the security of your belongings. Work with your agent to ensure you have a record of who enters your home, and consider securing valuables. It’s also essential to maintain your property in a presentable condition throughout the selling process. Keep up with cleaning and maintenance, as new potential buyers may schedule showings at any time.
GETTING A RATIED CONTRACT
If your home is well prepared, priced, and marketed well, buyers will typically begin to submit offers. This is when the negotiation process begins. This may include coming to agreement on property and financing inspections. If there are more than one offers, you are in a better negotiating position. This is why the 3 elements of a home sale (condition, pricing and marketing) are so critical. Getting all three elements right increase your chances that more than one buyer will fall in love with your home. This is when competition and demand work in your favor. After all terms of sales have been agreed upon and the seller and buyer signs, you have a ratified contract. In Northern Virginia, homes typically take an average of 17 days to go under contract. Note that some areas take longer and other less time. Check with your local real estate agent to find out how your area is doing.
The title company’s primary role is to ensure that the title to your property is clear and that the sale of the home proceeds smoothly and legally. They also conduct other critical services to get your home from “under contract” to settlement day. This includes title searches, title insurance, escrow services, document preparation, and distribution of funds. If the buyer of your home needs a home mortgage, this is the time their lender gathers the necessary documentation and gets their loan approved. They coordinate with the buyer, the title company, and other relevant parties to ensure the funds are available at the time of closing. In Northern Virginia, contract processing takes on average between 14-21 days, if no challenges arise. Again some lenders can process a loan in as little as 7-10 days and most title companies can get documentation ready in as little as 10 days in all cash sales. Timing is usually dependent on the type of loan the buyer needs to get and the policies set by the companies processing the sale.
One to 2 days before closing, buyers will conduct a final walk-through of your home to ensure that the condition of the home matches what is described in the sales contract. The title company also shares the closing settlement statement, often referred to as the ALTA Settlement Statement. ALTA is an acronym that stands for “American Land Title Association”. They are a national trade association that provides standardized forms, guidelines, and best practices for the title insurance and settlement services industry. This form itemizes all the fees and charges involved in the sale of a property. It provides a clear breakdown of the financial aspects of the transaction for you and the buyer. This is the time to ask questions and understand the charges of the sale.
Closing day, also known as settlement day, is the final step in the process of selling your home. It’s the day when all the legal and financial transactions are completed. This is when ownership of the property is transferred from you to the buyer. This includes reviewing and signing all legal documents, transferring funds, handing over keys, and finally having a big celebration. Congratulations, you’ve just sold your home in 40 days.
Combining the averages of 17 days to go under contract, 21 days to process a home sales contract, and 2 days for pre-closing and closing activities amounts to a perfect 40 days. This is when there are no challenges such as home repairs and financing issues to face. Oftentimes, great real estate professionals make the process seem so easy that you may not see everything they do in the background to protect your best interests and ensure the process continues on the right track. This is the way it should be. Homeowners should be concentrating on beginning a new and exciting next chapter of their lives.