Get Your House Ready to Sell
You’ve decided you want to move. Often the first question a Seller will ask is, “How long does it take to Sell a house?” There are many variables – season, condition, price, local market, etc. Let’s look at a general overview, and what sales are currently doing in Colorado Springs and much of the United States.
If you’re motivated to sell, it can typically take one to three months to prepare your home to list. Unless you’re selling a house that needs work, you will have many items to address as you get your place in order.
Experience says a Buyer will purchase your home in the first ten seconds of walking in the door, so spend time making the view at the entry sparkle. The number one selling point is CLEAN. You’re going to be moving, so start packing. Pack up, get rid of, rinse and repeat. Think of model homes you’ve seen. When you look around and think things look bare, figure out what else can be packed or donated or tossed and get rid of even more. Boxes can be stored neatly in a garage or basement.
I do not recommend major renovations prior to putting your house for sale. If the carpet is grungy, by all means consider replacing it. If you took your pictures down and can see where the frames were, a fresh coat of paint may be in order. But don’t put in a new kitchen. Don’t spend money to do a major bathroom renovation. Regrout or recaulk if necessary. Make it sparkle. If you’re planning on moving, do not get sucked into the quagmire of renovations that may or may not bring the desired dividends.
When Is the Best Time to Sell?
My standard answer is . . . when you’re ready to sell. Although sales slow in winter, people still need to move. When the market is slower, there is less competition. So when it’s right for you and your situation, that’s the best time to sell.
Whether it’s a Buyer’s market or a Seller’s market will also affect how long it takes to sell. [A Buyer’s market is when there are twenty houses for sale and five Buyers. A Seller’s market is when there are five houses for sale and twenty Buyers.] The past few years in Colorado have strongly favored Sellers. There is no immediate end in sight for that trend in the foreseeable future. The benefit to you is that homes right now in Colorado Springs are generally selling within a week of being put on the MLS.
Do You Have a Good Realtor?
People think because the market is currently hot they might not need a Realtor. In several decades of doing this job, I can honestly say I have never been more challenged with difficult transactions than currently. When Buyers get in bidding wars, they sometimes regret their bid the next day. Realtors are selling the same house two and three times. That might add to your time frame.
An important item a good Realtor will guide you on is pricing. It is never in your best interest to overprice your listing, especially in Colorado Springs. At the right price or slightly below, Buyers will chase you. If your home is overpriced, you will be chasing Buyers, even in a hot market.
When your house is ready and people want to see it, don’t ever turn down a showing. If the market is good, it won’t take long to get it Under Contract (often less than a week). If the market isn’t good, you want to make it available to every qualified Buyer possible. Plan on the inconvenience, knowing it won’t last long. And, of course, always have it in showing condition.
What Happens After I Accept An Offer?
So you’ve accepted an offer and gone Under Contract. On a “normal” transaction, it will be approximately one month from acceptance to close when you turn ownership over to the Buyer. During that time, the Buyer will do an Inspection and their Lender will order an appraisal. All of this is in that one-month window between Contract and Close.
In the meantime, you will be packing the rest of your belongings, getting ready to move. In Colorado, keys are typically turned over to the Buyer on the day of closing. Other arrangements can be made (like a Seller Lease Back), but that is something that should be discussed between you and your Realtor prior to accepting an offer.
Once your house is ready and you go Under Contract (the time leading up to that obviously varies), the time from Contract to Close in Colorado is typically one month. This time is negotiated at the time you accept an offer so can be any time that is mutually beneficial between Buyer and Seller.
Don’t hesitate to contact me for a no-obligation consultation about how I might help you with your particular situation.