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There’s no such thing as a quick house sale

Waiting game: even in the best-case scenario, it will take three to four months to sell your home (Photograph by Reed Saxon/AP

Dear Heather,

I want to sell my house. I really need the money as soon as possible, what time frame am I looking at?


Dear Seller,

From the day you authorise your agent to list the property for sale, here is a timeframe of the activities that have to happen before an offer is received, you can proceed to conveyance and subsequently closing:

• First, having agreed on a price which is in line with market value, you will sign a listing agreement. The agent will then have professional photographs done. These are then taken back to the office and converted into a brochure with in-depth information and possibly a short video — all for website presentation — plus a hard copy to hand to customers. In order to get a product of high quality, this can take about a week to ten days.

Time passed up to two weeks:

• Taking into account time for your approvals, etc, once the marketing campaign is launched, prospective buyers will want to view the property.

If it is priced correctly, traffic should be good and you should begin to get offers. In a perfect world you might get offers within the first month. For the sake of argument let us suppose you accept one of those.

Time passed plus one month:

• When an offer has been agreed and the sale and purchase agreement has been drafted, it is not unusual for it to take between two and four weeks for everyone to review it. During this time, the bank has to send out an appraiser, the purchasers are pursuing their finance arrangements, deeds have to be found, and a structural survey completed if necessary. Sometimes there are multiple parties or travel arrangements involved. Sometimes sellers or buyers live overseas. Sometimes the property is tenanted and all of this affects the timeframe.

Time passed plus four to six weeks:

• The contract is signed and conditions are working towards being met, financing has been secured and conveyancing can begin. The lawyer will submit a planning search to government (this takes at least 30 days).

During this time, unless you have been very wise and had it done beforehand, the property will need to be surveyed, stakes located or replaced and a new metric plan done if the old one is in feet and inches. Surveyors are currently running with about four to six weeks’ work ahead of them, so this could take six weeks.

Time passed plus 12 weeks:

• Once all this has been done, the property can progress towards closing.

So you can see, even if you are very smart about pricing and preparation, it can be easy to miscalculate how complex and time-consuming the sales process can be. A rough rule of thumb for a local property priced correctly, selling to a local purchaser with offer and acceptance within first month of launch — best-case scenario would be three to four months.

In some cases, complications with title, boundaries, financing, etc can mean it takes longer.

Also, if a licence is required by the purchaser, the timeframe would be longer. So, if you are looking to get your cash within the next three to four months or so, now might be a very good time to start thinking about listing.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate