“Only 61 53 46(!) Shopping Days Till Christmas!”

Yeah, I know: there are still officially 53 days left in 2018.

But, that’s cutting it pretty close for would-be home buyers and sellers who want to close by the end of the year.

Here’s my math:

Thanksgiving week: subtract Thursday and Friday (Nov. 22 and 23).
Christmas: subtract Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 24 and Dec. 25).
New Year’s Eve: subtract Monday, Dec. 31 (technically, a work day — but I’m skeptical how much work is actually going to get done that day).

Total lost days: 5

Step #2: now that — at least in Minnesota — key contractual deadlines in residential sales are defined as “calendar,” not “business” days, subtract the weekend days adjacent to key holidays.

Thanksgiving: subtract following Sat. – Sun. (Nov. 24 – 25).
Christmas: subtract preceding Sat. – Sun. (Dec. 22 – 23).
New Year’s: subtract preceding Sat. – Sun. (Dec. 29 – 30).

Total additional lost days: 6

If you’re following so far, suddenly, there aren’t 53 days left in 2018 . . . they’re only 42!

Home Sale Timeline

Now, compare that with the typical intervals in a Minnesota home sale:

Buyer’s home inspection: 10 calendar days.
Lender underwriting** (including appraisal): 10-12 calendar days.
Title work: 5-7 calendar days — more if the home is Torrens rather than abstract, or the owner is a trust or out-of-state.

Total: 27 days.

Of course, that still leaves these two wild cards:

One. How long the parties take to negotiate the Purchase Agreement.

At least in my experience, that can take anywhere from 1-2 days to several weeks, depending on how well-priced the home is; how big a gap the Buyer and Seller need to bridge; and the parties’ availability (or lack thereof) due to travel, work schedule(s), and holidays.

Two. Contractor availability.

If the Buyer’s inspection is uneventful . . . never mind.

But, if it turns up any issues that require contractor input — like determining the condition of the roof, chimney(s), HVAC components, etc., then getting repair estimates — the parties will likely need to extend the Inspection timetable.

And, just in case you’re wondering . . . no, Thanksgiving week is not a great time to find a chimney contractor (or two).

Bottom line?

Just like objects in your rear-view mirror . . . Dec. 31 is closer than it appears.

**Assumes a financed deal — i.e., the Buyer needs a mortgage — vs. a cash purchase.

See also, “3 Reasons to Buy a House in Minnesota in December (and One Reason Not to)“; and “Wait “Til Next Year”: Refrain of Baseball Fans, 2014 Home Sellers (?).”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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