Thursday, November 7, 2019 / by Dennis Isip
- Listing: 1 - 30 days or more, depending on how the home is priced.
- Escrow: 6 - 45 days, depending usually on financing.
Listing is the official start of your home sale. It is the date that you tell the general public that you’re selling your home. It gets posted in the Spokane Association of Realtor’s (SAR) database, also known as the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. From there, 3rd party sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia (among others) syndicate all the detailed information about your house, including the photos that were published by your listing agent.
Houses that don’t get an offer within 2 weeks is an indicator that the list price is too high. If staged and priced correctly, a good offer (if not several) can be received by the end of the first weekend.
Escrow starts when an offer is accepted. Once in escrow, most other buyers are not interested anymore, and you will see a significant drop in the number of house showings. However, a good listing agent will encourage back-up offers. One of the worst things that can happen to a home listing is to go back on the market (BOM), without a backup offer.
Escrow is like an engagement to be married. Buyer and seller have committed to each other, by mutually signing a legal contract, called the Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA). All the terms and conditions of the sale are specified in detail in this document, including the closing date.
The escrow period can be further divided into 3 phases:
- Inspection (which can include a neighborhood review).
- Appraisal (as required by the buyer’s lender or bank).
- Financing (buyer’s ability to secure a loan).
A smart buyer will bring in a professional home inspector to look at the general condition of the house, to point out any potential maintenance issues. If the buyer is satisfied, then the bank calls for an appraisal.
The appraiser is hired by the bank to validate the value of the home. The loan officer wants to ensure that they are not lending money that is more than the house is worth. FHA or VA loans require additional time to look at safety issues, such as lead-based paint, or knob-and-tube electrical wiring. If approved, the next phase is underwriting.
The bank’s underwriter has the final approval to release the funds for the home purchase. They take into account the buyer’s credit score, income tax returns, and the home’s appraised value. Once approved, the lender will provide a disclosure statement to the buyer. It is a detailed financial estimate of the purchase transaction, which will include expenses for excise taxes, escrow fees, documentation, commissions, etc.
All of the above, must be completed on or before the closing date, as specified in the PSA. Otherwise, the contract will expire at which point, neither buyer nor seller are legally obligated to close on the sale.
In summary, a Spokane house will sell between a few days to as much as 60-90 days, depending on a combination of factors, but especially around the type of financing that the buyer is offering.