Timeline for Selling a Home in the
Washington, DC Metro Area
Thinking of selling your home in the Washington, DC Metro area? It's important to understand that if you expect to make money on your home, you've got to give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and that can mean starting to plan months ahead of the date you'd actually like to move out of your home. Here's a timeline that covers what to expect before, during, and after you list your home in the Washington, DC Metro area.
Before Listing Your Home in the Washington, DC Metro Area
To successfully sell a home, you can't just stick a For Sale sign in the front yard; you need to put in a little pre-work first! Here's what needs to happen before you even list your home for sale.
2+ Months Out:
Find an Experienced Washington, DC Metro Area Agent
This is a crucial first step! Enlisting the help of an experienced agent who understands your needs to guide you through the process will save you time and a lot of headaches — and will of course get your home sold more quickly and for more money than trying to list your home on your own.
Find out more about our qualifications and experience!
6-8 Weeks Out:
Consider Repairs and Improvements
Your real estate agent will do a thorough walkthrough of your home and will likely make recommendations on both minor and major repairs or improvements you should consider. Additionally, you should be proactive about any known maintenance issues to your home, as these will surface during an inspection.
Value-boosting home improvements can include projects such as painting your home (inside or outside), refinishing hardwood floors, fixing or replacing your roof or siding, installing a new garage door or front door, doing some gardening or landscaping, updating or repairing your HVAC system, or even performing minor kitchen and bathroom repairs, such as updating flooring, resurfacing cabinets, installing new hardware and fixtures, and replacing or resurfacing countertops.
4-8 Weeks Out:
Set the Price Right
Another crucial step to ensuring the highest return when you sell your home is finding a competitive price. You will want to consider the price of nearby homes that have recently sold, the prices of nearby homes currently on the market, and the condition and location of your specific home. Request a neighborhood sold report and work with your real estate agent to find the right listing price.
1-4 Week(s) Out:
Prep Your Home
Hopefully you have already started decluttering some of the bigger collections of unused furniture and other items stored in your attic, basement, or closets. Continue to work through your home, removing clutter, junk, and even personal decor. Start deep cleaning your home, really targeting the nooks and crannies.
Then, work with your agent to stage your home so that it is neat, welcoming, and depersonalized (allowing your buyers to picture their own personal touches in their potential new home).
Lastly, take professional photographs that will highlight your home's best features and give buyers a great impression of your home - right from their computer, tablet, or phone.
The Process of Selling Your Washington DC Metro Area Home
All right! You've done all the prep work, now for the actual process of showing and selling your home. Here's what to expect once your home actually hits the market and that For Sale sign appears in the front yard.
Market Your Home:
The key to selling a home is in finding the right buyers, and that requires a lot of marketing and advertising. This is where working with a skilled agent can really pay off. Skilled listing agents are skilled marketers. They know where to find the best buyers for your home, and they have access to a wealth of resources, including online listing services, print advertising distribution, large social media followings, and even local agent networks.
Show Your Home:
In addition to scheduled open houses, your home can be shown at any time, so be prepared. Keep it neat, clean, organized, and staged. Don't leave dirty dishes or laundry lying around, be sure to dust and vacuum regularly, and promptly address any potential clutter buildups. Additionally, you should be ready to clear out of the house during showings to avoid making buyers uncomfortable.
Negotiate and Accept:
If a buyer wants to buy your home, they will make you a written offer, which usually states how much they'll pay, their mortgage amount, closing and occupancy dates, and any contingencies. You can either accept the offer or negotiate for different terms.
Negotiations can include your own contingencies, such as a first right of refusal if your buyer's offer is contingent on selling their home, making the offer contingent on you buying another home, or adding contingencies for closing and occupancy dates or buyer financing.
Closing the Sale of Your Home in the Washington DC Metro Area
You've negotiated with your buyer and accepted an offer. But it's not time to sit back and relax just yet - there are still a few more steps to go through to ensure everything is in order before you get your check and hand over your keys.
Sign a Purchase Agreement:
Once you and the buyer have agreed upon an offer, you will both sign a legal contract called a Purchase and Sale Agreement. This outlines the specific terms, conditions, and contingencies of the home sale.
Cooperate with Inspections:
Next, the buyer will hire an inspector to ensure that no major repairs will be needed after they buy the house. The inspector will go through every inch of the house, paying particular attention to the roof, basement, heating and cooling systems, structure, plumbing, and electrical. If the inspector finds any needed repairs, the buyer can negotiate for the costs of the repairs.
Next, you will enter escrow. During this time, you and your agent will work with an escrow company to complete paperwork and ensure that all parts of the contract are complete.
Sign, Pay, and Finalize!
On a predetermined closing date, you and your buyer will sit down with your agents to sign all the paperwork and pay all your fees. You will relinquish your keys and your property title, and you will receive a check for the remaining balance after the remainder of your mortgage is paid to your bank. Congrats - you have sold your home!
Ready to Start Selling Your Home in the Washington DC Metro Area?
The first step is to contact us! From home staging and professional photographs to negotiations and closing paperwork, we're here to be your home selling guide, every step of the way. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you successfully list and sell your home in the Washington DC Metro area!
Not quite ready to sell? That's okay. We have plenty of tools and resources to help you learn more about selling a home.