Trying to sell a house nowadays is associated with many different procedures, some of which can easily induce nausea and make you wish you weren’t putting your home up on the market in the first place. It’s not a secret that the real estate market is completely different from any other one – it takes much more time and effort to sell a home than it does to sell anything else.
Of course, there are many methods of selling property, and not all of them are equally time-consuming and energy-draining. There is no single “correct” way to sell your home and each one has its drawbacks and advantages. The question of how long it takes to sell a piece of property is a complex and multilayered one. The estimate depends on many different factors, with your preferred selling method being just one of them.
You need to take into account your initial asking price, the state of the real estate market in your area, as well as the general economic condition of your county or even the entire state.
For instance, it is much harder to sell houses via traditional means in 2020 than it used to be in the years before, mainly due to how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global economy. It takes more time to get everything up and running in terms of the paperwork required to begin the process and the “average days on market” period has been extended significantly. The social distancing regulations have impaired the work of real estate agents – open houses are out of the question due to the high contamination risk, and meetings between buyers and sellers have become more difficult to schedule for the very same reason.
In this day and age, it might be worth considering alternative ways to sell your house. Not every home that’s on the market needs a Realtor to oversee the sale, and there are methods of going about it that will guarantee you will get your asking price without third-party interference.
Ways of Selling Houses
Since you’re reading this article, it is safe to assume that you’re looking to sell your home as efficiently as possible, at the best price you can squeeze out of your piece of property. The real estate market has evolved quite a bit in the last few years, and the rise of the Internet has had a lot to do with it. In this section, you’ll find the most popular ways of selling property, their pros, cons, as well as how much it takes to sell via each one.
Realtor or Real Estate Agent
This is the most “traditional” way of going about putting your house on the market. As far as numbers go, hiring a real estate agent to sell a house is still the most popular way to do so in the United States and for a couple of good reasons. Real estate professionals can help you connect with buyers who are willing to match your asking price within days, as well as market the house in a way that can make it seem even more attractive than it really is.
Not all intermediaries are equal, though. There are real estate agents, and then there are Realtors. The latter are people who have devoted their entire lives and careers to the art of selling property, and their skills are accredited by the National Association of Realtors. One needs to prove themselves in order to join that exclusive community. Hiring a Realtor is much better than enlisting the services of a real estate agent, both in terms of how many days it’ll take them to get your home off the market, as well as hiking up the property’s price.
However, if you’re really strapped for time and don’t have whole weeks to wait around for the sale to finalize, working with an agent might not be the best option for you. Most of the time, the best-paying buyers are the ones who need to get a mortgage loan in order to afford the home, which is quite time-consuming in and of itself. Combine that with the days it can take to find the right buyer, and you’re looking at weeks, if not months of waiting around to sell your home.
You can always tackle the issue headfirst and do all of the Realtor’s work by yourself. In order to do so, you can list your home as “for-sale-by-owner” (FSBO) on one of the many online and offline marketplaces dedicated to these kinds of deals. It will be more profitable for you, as you won’t have to give away a sizable chunk of the money to your realtor as commission, but you also have to keep in mind that you’ll have to do all of the work yourself. This includes preparing open houses, getting appraisals, and dealing with prospective buyers without any help. That, in turn, can extend the time to sell the home by a large margin.
If you’re well-versed in the real estate market and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, go for it. But if time is of the essence to you, you’ll be much better off choosing another option.
iBuyers (Cash Offer)
These are relatively new options when it comes to selling houses, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth exploring, especially if you’re a seller who wants to limit the average days-on-market of your house as much as possible. iBuyers are companies that usually advertise themselves online. They buy property directly from owners, without including any intermediaries in the process. Their preferred way of doing business is the cash offer, which means that you’ll get the money as soon as the company assesses your house as worthy of buying.
Sure, cash offers usually mean getting less money than if you have a Realtor overseeing the deal, but only on paper. In reality, after including the agent’s commission, appraisal, and open house costs, as well as difficulties associated with mortgages, the tangible amount you’ll receive would be very close to what you’d get up front via cash offer.
Which Method is the Quickest?
The quickest and most hassle-free way to sell a home is, of course, accepting a cash offer from a legitimate, verified iBuyer. The time it will take you to sell the house is equal to how long the buyers take to estimate its value and analyze the information you’ve provided them, which barely ever takes longer than a couple of days. In terms of the “days-on-market” measure, there is no better way to sell a house than taking a cash offer from a respectable company that is in the market of purchasing properties from sellers in a hurry.
Most Common Selling Mistakes
Many first-time sellers marvel at the long times it can take to sell a home, without realizing that the excessive duration was partially caused by themselves and their poor selling strategies. These are the most common selling mistakes you’ll want to avoid when putting your house on the market.
- Bad timing. Sometimes, the time to sell just isn’t right. Especially if you insist on cooperating with a Realtor or taking a shot at it yourself. 2020 is such a year. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the on-going pandemic, and banks are reluctant to grant mortgages to families. If you’re unwilling to settle for a cash offer, you need to take the time to analyze the market and wait for the right moment to move the property.
- Trusting the wrong agent. There are a lot of shady real estate companies out there. Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, and if they introduce themselves as the latter, you should ask to verify their credentials. If they are not accredited by the National Association of Realtors and try to explain that by saying that they’ve gotten their certifications elsewhere, drop them immediately.
- Asking for too much. Selling your home is often associated with a wide plethora of emotions. Emotional people don’t make for good appraisers, and sometimes, sellers demand too much money for their property, confusing sentimental value with factual attributes.
The Bottom Line
How long does it take to sell a home? The answer depends entirely on you and the choices you make during the process. It can be a long, drawn out ordeal, hampered by your agent’s lack of experience, picking the wrong time to sell, or underrating the time it can actually take to sell property on the open market.
Not every house is the same, and not every part of the country is as lucrative. The number of days it might take to finalize the sale of your home is largely dependent on the local market and the relative affluence of the people living in your area. Selling houses in rural areas is a long and difficult process if you do it in the traditional fashion, and even city property doesn’t sell as quickly as it used to.
If you’re in a hurry and want to get everything out of the way in a matter of days, you should consider accepting a cash offer on your home. Regardless of whether you do it via an iBuyer, or get lucky enough to find someone who has the money to pay up right away, you won’t find a quicker way to get your home off the market at an attractive price and without additional fees to be paid.