Are you considering selling a house in DC? The District of Columbia, known as the vibrant heart of the nation, offers a dynamic real estate market.
However, in April 2023, the DC housing market saw a slight decline in prices. Therefore, the homes selling for a median price of $685K were down by 2.6% from the previous year.
Additionally, homes stayed on the market for an average of 38 days, compared to 25 days in the previous year. Despite these fluctuations, the DC real estate market remains an exciting arena for sellers.
📉 District of Columbia Housing Market Update
- Median Home Sale Price Drop YoY: The median home sale price dropped to $364,366, down by 2.3% YoY, the biggest decline in more than a decade.
- Fewer Buyers are Applying for Mortgages: Mortgage purchase applications were down by 31% YoY. Due to expensive financing, fewer buyers are applying for mortgages.
- iBuyers are No More a Viable Option: Several iBuyers have either shut down or are suffering massive losses. As per our research, most iBuyers are not offering more than 70% of a property’s Fair Market Value.
- Bottom Line: In 2023, more sellers in Washington DC are opting to sell their homes by owner. By listing on the MLS with the best FSBO sites in District of Columbia, your District of Columbia home gets maximum exposure, and you save thousands of dollars in commissions.
We have broken down the important steps in selling a house in the District of Columbia, so you can attract more buyers and sell for the best price.
Step 1: Determine How You Want to Sell Your House in the District of Columbia
How you choose to sell will determine all other aspects of selling your District of Columbia home. These include the cost of selling a house in Washington DC, marketing strategy, the level of preparation you need, etc.
Home sellers in Washington DC are no longer required to work with only 3% commission realtors to list and sell their houses. You have options now – MLS listing services, discount brokers, FSBO sites, etc. – who work at lower rates. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before you choose one.
- Sell With a Discount Broker: A discount real estate broker offers all the services similar to a traditional broker at discounted rates. Discount brokers in the District of Columbia charge a 1.5%-2% commission or a $3,000-$5,000 flat rate. They will help you with everything, from listing to closing, and offer decent savings.
- Sell Your Property For Sale By Owner: You can sell your home without a Realtor, independently. You will save the entire 3% listing commission but won’t get MLS access. You can list your District of Columbia home on For Sale By Owner websites. The best FSBO sites leverage technology to get you listed and connect you with potential buyers directly.
- Sell With a Traditional Realtor: We do not recommend working with a traditional Realtor. They charge a 5%-6% commission and control most aspects of the transaction. However, if you need guidance at every step, work with Washington DC Realtors in your area who have expertise in the District of Columbia housing market.
- Offer Your Home to a Cash Buyer: Selling a house “as is” in Washington DC is a viable option for homeowners, as you can sell your home in its current condition to a cash buyer. District of Columbia cash home buyers offer 30% to 50% of the Fair Market Value and offer flexible closing timelines.
Step 2: Set a Realistic Listing Price
The listing or the asking price is the most important factor for a successful home sale. Typically, the real estate broker will run comps and help you arrive at an asking price. However, in an FSBO sale, you can use online tools like Zestimate to determine the asking price for your Washington DC home.
Do not overprice your home. If you do, your home will spend more days on the market, and buyers may make negative assumptions about it.
On the other hand, underpricing can be a good strategy. Remember, the listing price is not equal to the sale price. The purpose of the listing price is to attract buyers for your home.
You can set the asking price at the lowest price acceptable to you. You might get multiple offers which may lead to a bidding war among buyers. Bidding wars can help you sell at a price higher than what you had in mind. Refer to this informative guide on how to price your home for sale for more such strategies.
Step 3: Market Your Home
A good marketing strategy will help you attract more potential buyers. You can work with a broker to market your home or do it yourself. Here are a few marketing tips that can increase your home sale value substantially:
- Stage Your Home: You can sell your home for up to $40,000 more by staging it. You can either DIY it or work with local Washington DC home staging companies. They will rearrange the interiors of your house to make it look spacious and presentable.
- Hire a Real Estate Photographer: With professional real estate photography, you could sell your home in Washington DC 32% faster. Professionally clicked pictures will make your property listing pop. It will also help you to market your home to 90% of buyers who search for properties online. Check out the top real estate photographers in District of Columbia.
- List on MLS: With an MLS listing, you can sell faster and for up to 17% more. Your property listing will also get syndicated to 100+ real estate websites. But, only licensed real estate agents in District of Columbia have access to the MLS. They charge a 3% commission which can burn a hole in your pocket. You can list your house on MLS in Washington DC with Washington DC Flat Fee MLS companies. Houzeo will get you listed for $379, and that too within 48 hours.
- List on Free FSBO Websites: Several FSBO sites allow you to list your home on their website for free. Your Washington DC property can attract buyer traffic that visits a particular FSBO website. Some examples of free FSBO listing websites in Washington DC include Craigslist, Zillow, ForSaleByOwner.com, etc. However, you may attract unverified buyers or scammers as well.
- Post a Yard Sign: With a yard sign, you can attract unrepresented buyers and save the buyer agent commission. Ensure you get a yard sign with your phone number so that the buyers can contact you directly.
- Host Open Houses: In a hot market like Jacksonville or Miami, an open house can be a great way of showing your property to home buyers. Also, you can attract unrepresented buyers.
Step 4: Show Your Home to Potential Buyers
Showings are essential when selling a property in Washington DC or anywhere. The more the number of buyers touring your home, the greater the chances of you getting an offer. But this doesn’t mean showings should be inconvenient for you. You can use an online showings management tool like Houzeo Showings.
Houzeo Showings allows you to schedule slots for buyers to tour your Washington DC house. Home buyers can also request and reschedule or cancel showings.
Step 5: Negotiate Offers
Interested buyers will send written offers to your agent or directly to you, in case of an FSBO sale. In a seller’s market, buyers might make offers above the list price. But, experts predict 2023 to be a buyer’s market. So, be open to negotiations.
As a seller, you can accept, reject, or counter an offer. A counteroffer is a way of negotiating an offer for better terms or prices. It should be in written format and must have a set timeframe for the buyers to respond. In the counteroffer, you can offer seller concessions, repair credits, etc., in exchange for selling at the list price.
In case of multiple offers, weigh all of them across various merits and do not accept the highest bid right away. You may want to consider the following before accepting an offer amongst multiple offers:
- Mode of payment (cash vs financing)
- Home buyer’s mortgage approval status (pre-approval vs pre-qualified)
- Buyer’s willingness to cover the closing costs in District of Columbia or some part of it
- Buyer’s willingness to bypass some contingencies like a home appraisal, home inspection in Washington DC, etc.
- Closing timeline
In a traditional home sale, a real estate professional will negotiate for you. However, as an FSBO seller in Washington DC, you are on your own. In such a situation, you can use digital offer management tools like Houzeo Offers. With Houzeo Offers, you can counter an offer, call for the highest and the best offer, and more.
Step 6: Close the Sale
After the seller accepts an offer, the MLS listing status is changed to “house under contract“. You and the buyer have to complete a lot of tasks from contract to closing. Here are the key milestones in the closing process in Washington DC:
Allow the Buyer to Complete the Due Diligence
After you accept an offer, your Washington DC property goes off the market, and the buyer can perform the necessary due diligence. The buyer inspects their to-be-home to proceed with the purchase.
Post due diligence, the buyer works on securing a mortgage, known as the underwriting period. During this period, the lender verifies the buyer’s finances and inspects and appraises the property. An amount equivalent to the property’s appraised value is sanctioned to the buyer.
Pay the Closing Costs
As a seller, you will pay 5%-6% in Washington DC real estate commissions, equally split between your and the buyer’s agent. Additional seller closing costs District of Columbia that you may have to incur include:
- The escrow or the title fee
- Taxes on selling a house in Washington DC such as the transfer tax, capital gains tax, etc.
- Outstanding HOA dues
- Real estate attorney fees
- Seller credits (if you have offered any).
» Washington DC Seller Closing Costs Calculator: Estimate the exact cost to sell a house in Washington DC.
Sign the Escrow and Title Documents
This is the final step in the process of selling a home in the District of Columbia. Here, you sign the escrow and title documents needed to sell a house in the District of Columbia. Additionally, you sign the deed and closing disclosure. Also, ensure you bring two valid ID proofs at the signing.
After the close of the escrow, the new homeowner’s details are registered in the public records. You receive a wire transfer or a check for the final home sale price, and the sale is complete.
Selling a house in DC presents a unique set of opportunities in the ever-evolving real estate market of the nation’s capital. It’s vital to stay informed about the latest trends.
By leveraging the expertise of local professionals, you can maximize your chances of a successful sale. So, whether you’re a homeowner looking to move on or an investor seeking new ventures, seize the opportunity to sell a house in DC and capitalize on this exciting real estate market.
So, get on the MLS with a Flat Fee Realtor or a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. Moreover, with Houzeo, your home will be listed for $379 within 48 hours. Read Houzeo reviews to know what home sellers across District of Columbia say about Houzeo.
1. What are typical closing costs for a seller in Washington DC?
Typically, closing costs for sellers in Washington DC are around 8% to 10% of the home sale value. Washington DC closing costs consist of real estate commissions, the title fee, owner's title insurance, recording fee, and other closing expenses. The real estate commission of around 6% forms the biggest chunk of the Washington DC closing costs. You can save thousands of dollars in the listing agent commission by selling your house by owner in Washington DC. You can work with a Washington DC Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS and manage the other aspects of the home selling journey on your own.
2. What disclosures are required when selling a house in District of Columbia?
You need to furnish the following disclosure while selling a house in District of Columbia:
1. Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement
2. Lead Paint Disclosure
3. Condominium Disclosure Statement District of Columbia
4. Home Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement
5. District of Columbia Radon Gas Disclosure
6. Coastal Properties Disclosure Statement
7. Property Tax Disclosure
8. Seller Non-Occupancy Disclosure District of Columbia
Read this guide on District of Columbia real estate disclosures to know your disclosure obligations in District of Columbia.
3. Do you need an attorney to sell a house in District of Columbia?
It is not mandatory to hire a real estate attorney in District of Columbia. However, it is highly recommended to work with an attorney to review the drafts and contracts. This will protect you from unforeseen legal problems and the expensive penalties that come along.
4. Should I sell my house in District of Columbia now?
Yes, now is the perfect time to sell your house in District of Columbia. As of March 2023, the median sale price in District of Columbia has increased by 3.2% YoY. However, expensive financing and rising mortgage rates can turn the tables anytime, and you may have to settle for a lower sale price in the future. So, if you are ready, now is the best time to sell a house in DC.
5. Can you sell a house while in probate in District of Columbia?
The state laws allow home sellers to sell an inherited property in District of Columbia while it is in probate. The home seller needs to provide certain documents in court. These include a petition for an order authorizing the property sale, a copy of the sales contract, a broker letter, etc. The court approves the sale of the property after verifying all the submitted documents.
6. Do you have to pay taxes when you sell your house in District of Columbia?
Yes, you need to pay the federal capital gains tax, transfer tax, and property tax when selling a property in District of Columbia.
7. Can you sell your house in District of Columbia without a realtor?
Yes, you can sell your house without a Realtor in District of Columbia. List your District of Columbia home with a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. Flat Fee MLS companies usually get you listed within 48 hours, or in most cases, even faster. You can manage other aspects of selling real estate in District of Columbia using Houzeo tools like Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and more. With a Flat Fee MLS listing, you will sell fast and save thousands in real estate commissions. Check out our rankings for the top Flat Fee MLS companies in District of Columbia.
8. What is the commission for selling a house in District of Columbia?
A home seller pays 5.5% to 6% in real estate commissions when selling a house in District of Columbia. This 6% commission is split equally between the listing agent and the buyer agent. Check out this detailed guide on how real estate commissions work in District of Columbia.