How long does it take to sell a home?
4-10 months when listing your home.
Yes, the spread is large and we’ll tell you why..
We’ll dive into all the statistics below but when considering preparations for selling, listing, negotiating, closing process, and contingencies, it takes about 4-6+ months to close on the sale of your house from start to finish.
If you’re trying to increase the value of your home and/or selling FSBO (For Sale By Owner), then this timeline will need to be expanded. We’ll explain why..
Why such a large differentiation in time?
Let’s begin with just the listing / closing process.
For the listing process alone, it takes approximately 3 months (specifically, 92 days) to sell a house in North Carolina (and if you’re not using a real estate agent, statistically about 3 weeks longer).
This breaks down to 57 days to get an offer plus a typical 35 day closing period. These figures do NOT take into account expired listings, where a property fails to sell on the MLS.
For now, know that these items encapsulate the full 92 day closing period, and not an item more.
As with the rest of the categories we’re reviewing in this section, we’ll detail whats involved in each of these stages below.
Seasonal Price Variation
Inspections / Appraisal
Title Run / Escrow
Preparation prior to listing your home.
So with the 92 day listing/closing process covered, let’s now review the 7 items to accomplish prior to the beginning of that 92 day timeline.
Overall, NC is about 15% slower than the nation’s average but there are much worse places to sell. However, it’s important to know that this is just the time it takes to list and close on a property. As you’ve likely already reviewed on the How Much Does it Costs to Sell My Home page, there are a number of preparatory tasks to accomplish before listing. This precedes a larger conversation around the improvements needed to maximize the price of your house.
Many of these can overlap in timing, but all of it will need to happen BEFORE to the 92 day listing/closing process.
Find the Right Agent
Touch up your property
Clean, Move & Stage
Photography + Videography
Preparing your Listing
Are you trying to get the highest price for your home?
Ok, now we get into the juicy topic: you’re on Zillow and see that your neighbor across the street (shoutout Julie) sold her home for $380k. This is a lovely surprise to you since you saw online that the “Zestimate” for your home was only $360k. Seeing the dollar signs in your eyes, you contact your local realtor for a home estimate and they hit you with a dose of reality: they’re recommending a listing price of $315k.. “What!? $65k difference!?”
Yes. You see, Julie’s roof isn’t 20yrs old, she had her kitchen renovated, built a mother-in-law extension and paid a professional landscaper prior to listing her home.
If you’re looking into how to get the highest price for your North Carolina home, then a can-of-worms gets opened.
Improvements / Upgrades
Let's assume you're just selling your home "As-Is"
Alright, let’s breakdown those little icons listed above… For the purposes of this exercise, let’s just assume you’re going to sell your property “as-is” (for less money) by not adding in any time and costs of small/large repairs, upgrades, landscaping etc. In other words, you’re not accounting for the time/money to get top dollar for your North Carolina home.
This time, we’ll begin with the preparation process and roll into the listing/closing process thereafter
Prepare your home for listing
Find The Right Agent
Two months before that 92 day period begins you will need to begin the search for a top-notch real estate 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, maximize your profits and even save you legal troubles.
Next, expect about a couple weeks to discuss and nit-pick the comps with your real estate agent. This is part of what they’re performing with full comparative market analysis (referred to as a CMA). Their job is going to be pricing your home at the top of its category, given its condition and the upgrades you’ve made.
Touch up your property
Even if you’re not doing substantial repairs and upgrades to your home, you will still need to spend about 3-8 weeks lightly refurbishing and touching up your property. Your real estate agent will do a thorough walkthrough of your home and will likely make recommendations on both minor improvements you should consider to get the best bang for your buck.
Clean, Move + Stage
1-3 weeks before you list the home, you will need to prepare your home for selling. This means a deep clean, putting your belongings in storage, having your house staged (if you’re trying to maximize the value of your home) and fully depersonalized/cleaned (here’s some staging tips to do it on your own).
Photography + Videography
Now, get professional photographs (and perhaps a video) of your home so that you can begin assembling the listing. If you have a real estate agent, they’ll handle this, but count on a week to get it scheduled and another week to get the finished files. Let’s just pencil in 2 weeks here.
Prepare your listing
Finally, it’s time to attain the information for listing your property. Again, on average, this is a 4-6+ months process to sell your home. Four months is aggressive but it can be done if you’re good at project management and/or you’re not trying to get the “Zillow Estimate” price on your home (often a close ballpark to your maximum market price).
The Residential Property Disclosure Act requires that you (or preferably your real estate agent) fill out a series of disclosures to the seller (North Carolina G.S. 47E). It includes pulling a copy of your property survey and filling out a lengthy/detailed property disclosures. The older your home is, the longer and more research will be required.
Depending on which information you have on hand and how old your home is will determine how long this process will take. After all of this is completed, you can list the property and at that point… rejoice: the 92 average timeframe to sell your home begins.
Listing / Closing Process
Seasonal Price Variation
This isn’t necessarily a time-sink but it’s a necessary component for getting top dollar. Before you decide to list your home, you need to first know the optimal time of year to sell your home for maximizing home value. While there’s exceptions to every rule, there are significant changes in price over the course of the year, so you need to consider selling at the peak point of the year. In North Carolina, the best time of year to sell your home (statistically speaking) is July and the worst month to sell is January, which is a delta of nearly 13% in home value. That means if you sell a $300,000 home in January as opposed to sell in July, you should expect to receive $37,078 less for your home. This is why it’s typically best to hold off until the spring/summer to sell and instead focus on putting in repairs and upgrades to your home during this period.
Here’s the one thing we all know about: the open house. Everyone who’ve you spent time, effort and money marketing to is finally here at your house ready to see it for themselves. We won’t belabor this section much, but if you’re lucky, you only have a couple weekends of this before there’s a qualified offer to proceed with a deal.
Congratulations! You’ve received an offer. Now, the negotiating begins. In reality, there are TWO parts to the negotiating process:
- Pre-Inspection Negotiation: this is the simple negotiation where the buyer simply decides, “I like this home and would like to place an offer.” Pretty simple: you get a hard number.
- Post-Inspection Negotiation: here is where it gets a LOT more time-consuming. After the inspection and appraisal, there WILL be things discovered and it’s up to you and the buyer to negotiate HOW to compensate for those discoveries. Usually, it’s either a drop in the sale price or a requirement for the homeowner (read: you) to pay to fix it prior to completing escrow on the home.
Inspections / Appraisals
Everyone needs an inspection to see the “bones” of the home and ensure that the bill of sale warrants a price they’re willing to pay. Where it gets a bit more time consuming is a formal appraisal. Appraisals occur when a buyer is financing their purchase through a bank (ie. they’re NOT paying with all cash, like us). The bank does this to ensure that the collateral against their loan has the stated liquidated value if the homeowner defaults on payments.. So here, a professional appraiser is scheduled to come out AFTER an offer is accepted.
Title Run / Escrow
We’re nearing the end, so stay with us. At the point an offer is submitted, it can then be brought to your real estate closing attorney (don’t worry, your real estate agent will handle all of this for you). The attorney will order a title run, which checks the home against all liens (blanket lien debts from a contractor, credit card etc), back-taxes owed, memorandums filed, etc. If anything comes up in this process, then you’ll be required to resolve this issues before or during the closing process. Additionally, escrow is where the attorney will confirm all facts within the contract and at the end of the day (once all obligations have been met) will be the one who disperses funds and transfers the title.
One last thing to consider here: financing contingencies. All Buyer’s Agents will put a Finance Contingency in their offer which essentially states that if the financing bank doesn’t approve the lender for the loan or they don’t approve of the purchase price (when weighed against the formal Appraisal and the financial position of the buyer), the Buyer can back out of the transaction without an issue.
If you’re not taking a cash offer (from someone like us), then this means that even when both parties come to an agreement on terms, the buyer may still have to back out of the transaction and you’ll need to restart the process.
Property Survey (?)
When working with a buyer who is getting a mortgage to pay for the home (nearly all buyers), the bank will require certain information about the property including the most recent property survey. If you do not have this, you will either need to try and recover it from city records or order a new property survey to be performed. If you’re intending to list your home, please begin this process as soon as possible so that it doesn’t blow up a great deal you’ve struck with a willing buyer.
What about Maximizing the price of a home?
Our Favorite Topic
Frankly, these things are doable by anyone/everyone but it just takes time, money, a little expertise and dedication. If you know what you’re doing, this is where you get a high return on investment for your dollars.
Some think these are obvious repairs like a broken A/C, leaking roof etc, but buyers will want to also know that theirs preventative maintenance and repairs that don’t leave them with a huge bill 2 years after buying your home. Have you gotten a termite/mold inspection before listing your home? Has your roof been replaced within the last 10 years? Is a buyer’s inspector going to discover a crack in the foundation? How old is the electrical? Is the plumbing cast iron or have you modernized it?
Time is needed to identify which problems are going to cause large discounts to your home value, bidding out the work with contractors/handymen and then the time it actually takes to do the work.
Improvements / Upgrades
This one is our favorite because frankly, it’s the most gratifying and produces the largest returns to the money invested. It takes time to do but it’s 100% necessary and worth it to increase the value of your home.
Sometimes super small upgrades to your home can be the difference in thousands of dollars in profit, so it’s best to consult with a great real estate agent agent who’s a pro at knowing which upgrades are maximizing home value in your neighborhood. This tends to be the small, attention-grabbing things, like new cabinet hardware, replacing the windows or perhaps even just painting the front door red.
The big returns usually come from the big upgrades, however: replacing the windows, renovating your kitchen, adding a mother-in-law unit etc, will impress buyers and increase the price of your North Carolina home leaps and bounds.
Whatever you do here: if you’re trying to get the highest price for you NC home, you’ll need to budget out the appropriate time to make these improvements.
Before you raise an eyebrow at this one, consider this: the financial impact of landscaping your yard can range from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent increase in the value of your home. That’s an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in added value on a $300,000 home. To us, that’s a non-negotiable for maximizing home value. Plan ahead, get quotes from professional landscapers and budget time for both the demo and the installation of new materials/plants.
If you're thinking about FSBO, add-on an additional 20+ days
As I’m sure you could guess, it will take longer than the 4-10 months if you’re one of the 6.2% that choose not to hire a real estate agent. For starters, properties take 20days longer to sell than if they are posted on the MLS (which only real estate agents have access to). That statistic doesn’t even include expired listings. That brings us to the last point: even if you pay someone to put your property on the MLS, 20% of FSBO listings have to renew their listing because they didn’t sell (for those that decide to re-list and not just keep the home).
Before you make that decision, read through the pros/cons of selling with a real estate agent vs FSBO (in the links below) to decide which path is best for you.
How about skipping the listing process altogether?
If this 4-10 month timeline is out of your ability or comfort, shoot us a call or fill out the contact form so we can put together an offer for your house.
We’ll skip the entire listing process & simply fast-forward to a closing date of your choice.
If it makes more sense for you to list your own property, then we’re going to be the first one’s to suggest it, and refer you to the best real estate agents in our area.
You choose the closing date.
You’ll meet us face-to-face, you’ll shake our hands, and you’ll know that we have YOUR best interest in mind and we’re here to help you.