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Transaction Timeline for Sellers

Below we've laid out a detailed explanation of the timeline of a real property transaction in Hawaii. In practice there is a good bit of variation of dates and time periods. The following are approximate dates based on a 35-day timeline.


If you've got any questions, get in touch any time.


Day -30

You decide to sell your home. That's great! The first thing to do is to hire your real estate agent.

Shortly after that, you'll need to prepare the house for photography and possibly videography. Make any repairs you need to, spruce up the place, and have the place in show-ready condition.

Seller Disclosure

Day -15

By law, you are required to disclose everything you know about the property that could potentially impact its value. You'll have a long questionnaire to fill out, which may not be very fun. This is where many sellers just don't say quite enough. While you don't have to investigate anything about your property, you should write as much as possible, and even gather relevant documentation, about what you do know about the property.

The disclosure is commonly referred to as the Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement or SRPDS, or, more simply, the seller disclosure.


Hit the Market!

Day 0

We will upload data about your property together with high-quality pictures and other media to the MLS and hang a sign out front.

With any luck buyers will be viewing the property right away.

First Offer!

Day -5 to Day 0

We've hit the market, done an open house or two, and scheduled several private showings. Now we finally have our first offer!

At this point, we may have some back-and-forth with the buyer before we actually reach a signed and mutually agreeable deal.


Home Inspection

Days 5 - 7

Most buyers will hire a home inspector, a generalist who evaluates the safety and function of the home's components. Depending on findings the home inspector make recommend that additional specialized inspectors further evaluate particular issues.

The home inspection is the main opportunity for the buyer to try to renegotiate the terms of the purchase contract. We guide you through preparation for this and discuss tactics to mitigate renegotiation.

End of Inspection Period

Days 10 - 15

In Hawaii, the inspection period provides buyers with a get-out-of-jail-free card. If buyers want to cancel for any reason during this time, they can do so and get a full refund of earnest money deposits.

Once this period is over, it gets harder and harder for buyers to terminate the purchase contract and receive full refunds of deposits.


Provide HOA Documents

Days 12 - 14

If the property is in a homeowners association (HOA), then you will need to pay for and deliver the associated governing documents to the buyer for the buyer's review.

We will help with getting these ordered. Anticipate paying $300-$400 for these documents.


(Yeah, it's crazy; we know!)


Days 15 - 25

If the buyer is using a loan to purchase the home, the bank will hire an appraiser on the buyer's behalf (and expense) to inspect the property and determine its value.

Between the home inspection cost and the appraisal cost, once the appraisal is ordered the buyer has spent about $1,500 to $2,000 in nonrefundable services so far.

If the appraisal value is lower than the contract price, we can expect another attempted renegotiation here.


Day 17

If the property is a single family home or land, normally the seller will pay for a survey to be completed, typically costing $900-$2,000. The survey will show the boundaries of the property and will highlight any encroachments on or by the neighbors.

Termite Inspection

Day 20

In the first few days of the escrow period, the buyer will select a termite inspector. On about day 20 or so, the inspector will investigate the home and produce a report showing any termite infestation that may be present.


Typically, the seller pays for the inspection -- usually around $500-$700 -- and pays for any termite treatment that may need to occur. Termite treatment can vary between $250 to $3,000, depending on the extent of the treatment needed.

Loan Approval and Down Payment

Day 30

Nearing the end of the transaction, the lender will provide a conditional loan approval letter and a few days later the final loan approval letter. It gets very hard for the buyer to cancel a contract once conditional loan approval has been delivered.

Around the same time, the buyers should move the remainder of their down payment (in addition to the earnest money deposit already made) to escrow. Normally, the buyers will wire these funds to escrow.

Signing and Final Walk-Through

Days 30 - 32

The buyer will do one last walk-through to make sure the property is in its expected condition. If they find anything, we may have to do some last-minute fixes. (Stuff breaks, so sometimes prep doesn't account for everything.)

The escrow company will prepare a pile of documents for you to sign. Many sellers confuse "signing" with "closing," but they are two different things. In Hawaii, signing typically happens 4 to 7 days prior to closing.


Day 35
(or 45, or 60)

Most transactions in Hawaii take about 45 days to complete, but there is a lot of variation. They can close in 21 days, or they can take several months in extreme situations. We aim for 35-day transactions, which are seen as speedy but often doable.


As you may imagine, then, the dates and timelines above are approximate.

In Hawaii, escrow submits the deed -- which transfers the property from seller to buyer -- and other documents to Hawaii's Bureau of Conveyances (BOC) 2 days ahead of the scheduled closing date. On or around 8am on the morning of closing, escrow is notified by the BOC that the documents have recorded. Then escrow informs the parties of the same.

Closing is when keys and money change hands.

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