Selling a House in Washington DC: A 2021 Guide

2021 is going to be a great year to sell your home in Washington DC. But for many people, taking full advantage of the unique market status can be confusing…

That’s okay — we’re here to help!

In a fast real estate market like DC, it’s a good idea to take some time and learn how to get the most out of your sale, so you don’t spend unnecessary time, money, and effort figuring it out through trial and error!

That’s why we put together this 2021 Guide to Selling Your Washington DC House. This is a comprehensive list of what you need to know to ensure that your DC home sale is fast, lucrative, and completely stress free.

Without further ado, let’s start with one of the most important questions to ask before selling a home:

How strong is the real estate market in Washington DC right now?

Here’s a translation: the current market is stronger than ever, at a 5-year high!

The housing market in DC is incredibly strong right in 2021 — it’s a great time to sell a home! Now let’s take a look at how to sell your Washington DC home.

Steps to Selling a House

The process of selling your home in Washington DC might seem kind of daunting when you first begin. There are a lot of steps to selling your house — so where are you supposed to start? Take a look at our guide below:

Step 1: Decide to Sell Your Home

Well — mission accomplished! If you’ve found this page, the idea of selling your home has probably already crossed your mind. Well done!

Step 2: Learn Your Home Value

If you want to be able to win a negotiation for your house, you need to have good facts on your side. And, of all the stats and numbers that will help sell your house, the home’s value is far-and-away the most important. 

Knowing this value will help you price your listing to sell, and it will also allow you to have good expectations for the return on your real estate investment. Use an online home value tool to find out what your home is worth — or better yet, speak to your Washington DC-focused real estate agent to get a super-specific valuation.

Step 3: Think about your Dream Home

If you’re selling your home and moving to more valuable property, it’s called being a move-up buyer. Buying and selling at the same time can be stressful, but as long as you avoid the most common move-up buyer mistakes, then it can be very exciting, too! As you are preparing to sell, be thinking about your ideal new home, so you can have clarity throughout the buying-side of the move-up process. Here are some of the potential moves to consider making:

Step 4: Decide how to sell your home

Depending on your experience buying and selling homes, you might not know this — there is more than 1 way to sell your home! A lot of home owners (and even lower quality agents) will simply put a property on the multiple listing service and call it a day. But the fact of the matter is that there are a lot more options at your disposal! We cover these in more depth below — you can click here to see the different ways to sell your home.

As with anything else in selling your home, it would be wise to consult with your real estate agent about the best way to sell your Washington DC house.

Step 5: Determine Pricing

I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t we already talk about pricing in Step #2?” Well, your home’s value and the price that you put on it are not always 1-1. If you want to sell your home quickly, you need to carefully price it to sell

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about figuring out the best price by yourself! A real estate agent worth their commission is going to be able to formulate a pricing strategy that is customized for your home. At the Keri Shull Team, we take special consideration for the unique challenges that come with attracting people looking to buy a home online. Make sure to talk with your agent about their advice for choosing the right listing price for your home!

Step 6: Renovate and Touch Up the Home

Even if you think you’ve kept your home in pristine condition, odds are that you’ll need to do at least some work before selling. Even minor cosmetic fixes can do wonders for impressing buyers — and more intensive renovations can seriously raise your home value if done correctly. 

So, how are you supposed to know what fixes are going to be worth it vs. which renovations won’t pay off when selling

Our advice is to speak with your real estate agent — shocker, right? Each real estate market is going to have different peculiarities when it comes to what buyers are looking for, and an Washington DC expert real estate agent can shed some light on what you need. Make sure to take some time and strategize with your agent!

Step 7: Market a home for sale 

Now, more than ever, marketing your for-sale home is a vital step in the selling process. Proper real estate marketing puts your house in front of as many people as possible. This increases the chances that more buyers will put an offer down on your property, potentially even creating a lucrative bidding war!

If a real estate agent is worth your time, they will have a concrete marketing strategy to employ for your home. Some real estate professionals will claim to be expert marketers, but their “plan” will simply consist of sticking some signs in the ground and calling it a day. 

High-quality DC real estate agents, such as the Keri Shull Team, will use the most modern possible tools to market your home. We have dedicated digital marketing campaigns for each listing, in addition to the more traditional methods of attracting buyers. The best thing you can do to market your home and get more offers is to work with a high-quality agent who can help!

Step 8: Close on the home

Once you have taken all the home selling steps listed above, all that is left is to work with the agent to negotiate on the contract and close!

Getting ready to sell your home? These are the 8 steps to getting your home sold!

SECRET STEP: Get the best real estate agent

We’ve left the most important for last — it’s impossible to overstate how important your real estate agent is in a home sale. So make sure to find the top real estate agent in Washington DC to work with! Right now, hot neighborhoods in Washington DC and the surrounding area have very competitive markets. As a result, you must have a market expert on your side if you want to sell your home for full-price and in your ideal time frame.

Homes like this gorgeous DC rowhouse are selling quickly and above asking price. Read below to learn how you can maximize your home sale with the Keri Shull Team, too!

How to Sell My Home Fast

In any real estate market (but especially one as hot Washington DC) selling a home fast is key. When you sell quicker, you stand a better chance of getting the price you want for your home. Speed is of the essence!

But if speed is so important, how are you supposed to sell your home fast — no matter what is going on in the market? Well, the biggest cornerstone to getting a house sold quickly is knowledge. You have to understand your own needs, your ideal timeframe, and the profile of the right buyer if you want to optimize the home sale…and that’s in addition to the necessary knowledge about real estate in the District of Columbia!

The good news is, there are experts to figure this out for you! The most efficient way to speed up your home sale is to work with the best real estate agent in Washington DC. A high-quality agent will have all of the tools and knowledge necessary to guarantee a lightning-fast home sale, so you can focus on preparing your home for the market. 

There are also tools out there (like our Instant Offer Program) that will allow you to sell your home as fast as possible — even in as little as 48 hours!

But you might be asking yourself — how is the market doing in Washington DC right now? Is now a good time to sell or should you wait until later?

Real Estate Market Stats Washington DC

Historically, Washington DC has a powerful and stable housing market. With an abundance of employers in the area — most notably the federal government — and a relatively transient population, demand remains steady for homes in the District of Columbia. 2020 held true to this trend line, and 2021 almost certainly will, too!

Suffice to say, the housing market is very strong in Washington DC right now. Here are some specifics of how the market performed in the capital over the course of 2020:

  • From June 1st until September 1st, 2020, there were 2760 Homes Sold in Washington DC
  • In that period, the Average Sale Price was $766,569 in Washington DC. That represents an 8.4% growth rate over 2019 when the average price was $706,559 for the same time span. 
  • The median Days on Market (DOM) for the past six months in Arlington VA was just 9 days, 18% faster than the same span in 2019.
  • In 2020 Washington DC Real Estate, the Average Sold Price/List Price Ratio was 100.6%, meaning that the average home sold for higher than the asking price!

So, what does all that mean?

Home owners in Washington DC should be excited about these numbers. Not only are people selling homes quickly, but they are also getting more than the asking price for their property!

With the general way that the market is trending (read: upwards), we predict that 2021 will also be a great year for selling a home in DC.

Of course, the market can ebb and flow in small ways, even if the general trend is upwards. So, how are you supposed to know when is the right time to sell your home? Our suggestion is to sign up for our free, monthly Washington DC Real Estate newsletter! 


Sign up for our HyperLocal Market Update Newsletter!

Just enter your name, email, and Zip Code, and we will send you a monthly newsletter to keep you updated on how your market is doing!

How to Sell a House

So, you’ve learned the steps to selling your home, as well as the status of the Washington DC Real Estate Market — what now? It’s time to sell!

When it comes time to sell your home, you have a few different options. We’re going to discuss 3 of the most popular tactics below. 

1. Sell a house on Zillow

Trying to sell a house on Zillow is an increasingly popular choice in 2021. But does that mean it’s the best option?

For most people, Zillow is probably better known as a home search service than a selling platform. This is because Zillow functions first-and-foremost as a way to find homes that are listed on the Multiple Listing Service. They do offer home selling options, but it is unlikely that your home will sell quickly or for the price that you want.

Pros to Selling with Zillow:

  • Relatively straightforward online process
  • Option to list your own home

Cons to Selling with Zillow:

  • No expert pricing strategy
  • Very weak marketing 
  • No Buyer-in-waiting programs

For almost every home owner, selling with Zillow or other similar online services is going to be an inferior option. Simply put, selling a home in Washington DC requires a more customized approach!

2. For Sale by Owner Home Sale

If online home sellers aren’t customized enough, you might think to yourself:

Who knows my home better than me? Why can’t I just sell this myself?

Selling your own home doesn’t technically require any sort of special licensing. That means that — theoretically — anyone can sell their own home. In the biz, we generally refer to this as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home sale. 

FSBO sales might seem attractive at first glance. However, there are a lot of drawbacks that can lead to huge headaches and financial losses for people who try to sell a house by owner:

Pros to Selling by yourself:

  • No agent commission cost

Honestly, that’s the only real positive — and it certainly doesn’t tell the full story.

Cons to Selling by yourself:

  • Completely out-of-pocket costs
  • No marketing strategy
  • No Buyer-in-Waiting program
  • Reduced access to high-quality stagers and other vendors
  • NO ONE on your side during the negotiation process

If you try to sell a home without an agent, it is most likely that you will lose out on a significant amount of money. We simply cannot recommend that anyone do a FSBO home sale!

3. Sell a Home with A Real Estate Agent

When it comes to having the best home sale, nothing beats working with a high quality real estate agent. 

Good real estate agents have time, resources, connections, and expertise that most people simply don’t — and all of these are key to selling your home!

So, what are the pros and cons of working with a real estate agent on your home sale?

Pros to Selling with an Agent

  • Completely customized pricing strategy
  • Done-for-your marketing plans
  • Off-market home sales opportunities
  • Professional negotiators in your corner
  • Assistance dealing with competing offers on your home

Cons to Selling with an Agent:

  • You have to be able to collaborate with your agent and work together towards a common goal

The fact of the matter is that selling your home with a real estate agent is almost always the right move! Yes, you will pay them a commission when closing on the home — but in nearly every instance, you more than make up for that cost by getting a higher price for your home. 

Do you want to ensure that you get the most possible money when selling your DC home with an agent? All you need to do is find the best real estate team in your area!

The best realtors in Washington DC know how to sell your home faster and for more money!

Best Real Estate Agent in Washington DC

At this point, we assume that you’re asking yourself, “How can I find the best real estate agent in Washington DC?”

In this case, the answer is simple: look at the numbers!

Real estate is a game of data. There are stats for everything, both on the macro- and micro-levels. We shared some of the micro-level numbers earlier in this guide but now is your chance to see some high-level data, too. 

When you are trying to find the right real estate team, here are the 3 most important statistics that you should be studying:

  • Number of Homes Sold: Having an experienced team on your side is crucial — and this statistic is a very good indicator of an agent’s overall experience. 
  • Average Days on Market: Some agents will suggest that by taking your time, you can sell for more. This is patently untrue in the DC housing market. Homes that sell fast, sell for a higher price!
  • Average Sold Price/List Price Ratio: This statistic indicates whether a team is able to get full asking price — or even more — for the homes they sell. 

In terms of statistical success, the Keri Shull Team is far-and-away the best real estate team in Washington DC and the larger metro area.  

In 2020, we sold nearly 300 homes in the DC/MD/VA area. This puts us as the #1 top-selling team — and our expertise translates into a better home sale for you!

Part of the reason that we are able to have such success in the DC market is because of our partnership with HyperFast Development, a local home builder. By the way, if you are looking to move up to a more valuable home in Washington DC, we can put you directly into one of their luxurious new construction homes!

The Keri Shull Team helps more families buy and sell a home than any other team in the entire Washington DC area.

831 families helped in 2020 alone.

As for Average Days on Market (DoM), the Keri Shull Team is on top of the pack once again. The homes that we list in Washington DC sell over 13% faster than the average DC/MD/VA agent. When you are trying to get the most money for your home, you need to work with the team that can sell as fast as possible!

Homes in Washington tend to sell for full asking price (or above). There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Buyer demand is high and bidding wars are relatively common
  2. There are not too many homes for sale, so owners still have most of the leverage

The Keri Shull Team is the #1 top-selling team in the Washington DC area, with an industry-leading sales time and sales price. We are currently taking on home selling clients, so please fill out the form below if you want to meet with us for free Home Value Consultation:

Home Selling Frequently Asked Questions

After years of selling homes in Washington DC and the surrounding area, we’ve fielded a lot of questions about the home selling process. We’d like to share some of the most common questions we’ve heard, as well as their answers.

But hey, there are always new questions cropping up — so if you don’t find what you need in this FAQ section, just use the form below to ask us your question!

Do you have any real estate questions for the experts? Just fill out the form below and let us help you!

Sign up for our HyperLocal Market Update Newsletter!

Just enter your name, email, and Zip Code, and we will send you a monthly newsletter to keep you updated on how your market is doing!

Q: How Long Does it take to sell a home?

A: On average in 2020, homes in Washington DC sold in 26 days after going live on the Multiple Listing Service. However, that number does not account for the time span between when you first meet with an agent and when you actually list the home for sale. This pre-market period can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on your situation.

With that in mind, there are some steps you can take to sell a home as fast as possible. If you don’t want to go through the process of fixing up your home, staging the house, or hosting showings, you can use an Instant Offer Program. These services allow you to get a qualified offer on your home in just 48 hours — no wasted time or hassle!

Q: How Can I Sell Faster?

If you are concerned with selling your home faster, the best thing you can do is work with a high-quality real estate agent. When you work with the best real estate agent in Washington DC — the Keri Shull Team, of course — we can help you get your home sold ASAP. 

This is because of our world-class marketing services (which include both traditional and digital marketing campaigns), our exclusive Buyer-in-Waiting program, and our unique, collaborative team structure!

Q: How much does it cost to sell a home?

Sadly, selling a home does cost some money for the owner. Many of the fees and costs, such as the Capital Gains Taxes, are calculated as a percentage of your home’s value. This makes it a little difficult to give a concrete number without knowing the details of your property!

If you want a more comprehensive breakdown of what goes into all the details of how much it costs to sell a house, just click here and check out our recent guide.

Ready to sell your Washington DC home? Speak to our DC specialist right now!

Let’s talk!

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