A lot of the anxiety and stress in the home selling process can come from not knowing what to expect next. In this article, I will break down the timelines and explain the most significant takeaways for each item.
Home Selling Process Timeline Breakdown:
- List the Property for Sale: Listing the property for sale includes much more than just meeting with your agent and filling out paperwork. There is a lot of prep work that goes into putting your house on the market. Cleaning, repairs & maintenance, photography, yard sign installation, lockbox access, etc are all parts of this first step in the process. You can read more about that here.
- Order Pre-title: I always like to order what we call “Pre-title” when the property is first listed. Basically, what that means is that I am asking the title company to do a preliminary title search on your property. This means that they will do a quick check to see who has claim to the title of your house besides you. Also, this gives them a chance to start your file. Now, when a buyer comes along, we already have a jump on things.
- Showing the Property to Buyers: Often the most showings (and best offers) come right at the beginning. As a property sits on the market it can lose its luster. However, it all depends on the market. DOM stands for “Days on the Market.” The average DOM for Oakland County is 36 days. To learn more about what to expect when showing your home, click here.
- Review Offers: If your agent has prepared you well, you should already have a good idea of what you will net at various price points. Most offers come with an expiration date/time. In a hot buyer’s market, that might be a matter of hours. In a hot seller’s market, it could be a day or two (or even more). So by this point, you might be 4-5 weeks into the whole process. To learn more about what to look for when negotiating offers, click here.
- Home Inspection: A typical home inspection period is 5-10 days from acceptance of an offer. Always pay attention to the wording of the purchase agreement regarding the timelines. Some purchase agreements just give a definitive amount of time to do the inspection and notify the seller whether the buyer is satisfied with the results or not. Other purchase agreements are worded such that the buyer has XX number of days to report their satisfaction. This gives the home inspector time to produce the report and the buyer time to review before notifying the seller. So keep this in mind. If you are keeping track, we would be about 6 weeks into the whole process at this point. To learn more about what to expect during a home inspection, click here.
- Appraisal: The lender will order an appraisal, once the buyer is satisfied with the home inspection and decides to continue with their purchase. The appraiser will schedule to view the home just like a showing. It usually takes about 3-4 days to get results back to the lender. To learn more about what to expect during an appraisal, click here.
- Lender Clear-to-Close: After the appraisal is in, the lender’s underwriter (the person that qualifies all the details from employment, income, debt, etc to approve the loan) will finish reviewing all of the borrower’s (the buyer’s) credentials and issue a “clear-to-close”. What that means is that all of the closing costs, interest rates, payments of principal and interest, etc have all been set and they have what is referred to as a “CD” or “Closing Disclosure”. This means the buyer side is ready to close and the file is passed on to the title company. This is typically 2-4 weeks after the appraisal is received.
- Title Company Clear-to-Close: Remember earlier in step 2 above I mentioned pre-title? Well, once an accepted offer was in place the title company goes to work researching the chain of title. This is to make sure they can provide the appropriate title insurance for the transaction. The title company in Michigan becomes the central hub for the closing. Essentially the buyer, seller, listing broker (seller’s broker), selling broker (buyer’ broker) and the lender all coordinate with the title company. If the title company has completed its research and is ready to issue a policy and the lender has already sent their clear-to-close, then the title company will let everyone know that they are also clear-to-close. The title company only needs about a week or so after the lender is clear.
- Schedule Closing: The title company then coordinates the closing with the listing and selling brokers/agents. The agents will coordinate with their respective clients. Typically the closing takes place at the listing agent’s office or at the title company. The title company will send out closing packages for the sellers and the buyers. The numbers are based on the actual closing date for accurate pay-offs, interest payments and other pro-rations.
- Attend Closing: Most closings take place 4-6 weeks out from an accepted offer. At this point, we are at about 8-9 weeks into the process (based on the average DOM). A typical closing will have the title company rep, the sellers, the listing agent, the buyers, the buyer’s agent and sometimes the loan officer. So it can be a roomful! A typical closing can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Timing al depending on the amount of paperwork and how much time everyone needs to review all of the documents. I would say the average closing is just about an hour.
I hope this helps you understand the timeline to sell your house a little better than before. Don’t forget to visit my YouTube Channel for more tips and information.