When you put your house on the market, you want it to sell as quickly as possible so that you can move on with your life and limit the hassle of getting your house ready for showings. Also, homes that sell faster tend to get the most money for its owner. Regardless of the market condition, sellers are still finding themselves in a competitive market and have to differentiate themselves to sell their house fast. Fortunately, there are proven techniques that you can use to help you sell your home quicker, and some of these will even help you get more money for your home.
Tips to Sell Your Home Fast
There are a few things that you could do to sell your house faster. Here are ten tips to help you:
#1 – Make sure you are selling at the right price
I know you want to set the price as high as possible, so you don’t feel like you gave it away. However, buyers are not dumb. They shop around a lot to find the best house for their money. If your house is not competitive in terms of price-to-value ratio, it simply won’t sell. The best way to get the price right is to find a good Realtor who is an expert at researching your home value based on past sales and current market inventory.
For a quick price analysis, you can also use our home valuation tool, which polls data from databases nationwide to get the most accurate result.
You can also check out other websites that provide home value estimates, like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.
Remember that if you priced too high and you’re lucky enough to find a buyer that is willing to pay at the higher price, the house still has to appraise at the Sales Price for you to get the price you agreed to.
Talking about appraisal, you can also hire an appraiser to give you a report. However, you have to understand that (1) this is still one person’s opinion of the price, and (2) your buyer’s lender does not care about the appraisal result that you paid for (they order their own independent appraisal and use that result).
#2 – Remove clutter from your house
No one wants to buy a messy house. So make sure your house is clean and organized. Remove as much clutter as you can, even if you have to store your stuff in storage. You can get an idea of how your home should look by browsing through online listings of homes for sale in your neighborhood, or even IKEA catalogs.
Here are some general tips to help guide you:
- Tables, desks, and countertops should be mostly clear to show as much surface space as possible.
- Remove the majority of family photos from walls, shelves, and fireplace mantle (if you have one). You want the potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house, and not be distracted by your family photos.
- Remove any unnecessary furniture and put them into storage to give your house more living space.
- Remove unnecessary electronics, extension cords, and power strips.
- Go through each closet and empty out at least half of everything inside. Organize the remaining items, so they look neat and organized. This will make the closets feel bigger.
- Remove all the extra clutter throughout the house to make it feel bigger and more spacious.
#3 – Improve your home curb appeal
The first impression means a lot, and when you sell your house, the name of the game is curb appeal. If you’re a fan of HGTV Curb Appeal, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The goal here is NOT to spend a lot of money; rather, you’re trying to do inexpensive things (that may require some sweat equity) to improve the appearance of your house. You want your house to look better than other homes in the area and present it in a “move-in ready” condition.
Here are a few things you could do to improve your home curb appeal:
- Trim hedges and mow your lawn.
- Clean all windows and surfaces.
- Repaint walls, doors, and trims in neutral colors.
- Replace old window blinds or drapes, and update the window treatments.
- Power wash or paint the exterior.
#4 – Fix problems around the house
Now go through the house room by room and take note of all the things that need fixing. Little things matter, and they could turn off your buyers. If you noticed them, the buyer will too. Take the time to go around and fix those things one by one. Remember that fixing these small problems doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will take time and effort.
However, do not spend money on major home improvements. Consult with your Realtor, and they can give you advice on where to spend or NOT to spend your money.
#5 – Make high-impact improvements
There are several improvements that do not cost that much, but they do make a significant impact on the appeal of your house. Here is a list of items that I regularly recommend to my Seller clients:
- Paint – do simple touch-ups is fine if the paint is still in good condition; otherwise, paint the entire house in a neutral color. Light gray is still trendy at this time.
- Upgrade kitchen appliances – the whole kitchen can be upgraded to a very appealing stainless steel set for about $3,000 to $5,000, and this investment will pay for itself.
- Upgrade kitchen countertop – if your house still sports a laminate or tiles countertop, you should invest in a granite countertop. Most kitchens can be upgraded to a beautiful granite countertop for about $2,500 to $5,000.
- Switch out doorknobs – if your house has old doorknobs, switch out the entire house with a new set of matching brushed nickel doorknobs can improve the appearance, and it only costs $100 to $200, a screwdriver, and an afternoon of work.
- Switch out faceplates for light switches and outlets – like doorknobs, this is a big improvement to your house appearance for less than a $100 and an afternoon of work.
#6 – Learn the art of home staging
Home staging is not decluttering and cleaning. Home staging goes beyond that and happens after the steps above. It involves much less tangible things that include:
- Make the home smells fresh and airy. Some will even go as far as baking cookies before a showing to give the house a pleasant aroma.
- Set the temperature just right so that the potential buyers feel comfortable when they walk in.
- Turn on all the lights and adjust window treatments to let in the right amount of natural light.
- Appealingly arrange furniture and other items.
- Place vases of fresh flowers on tables, or a small fruit basket on the dining table.
- Showcase various fabrics, decors, and embellishments.
- Arrange items on shelves, bookcases, and fireplace mantels to draw attention to predetermined areas.
#7 – Leverage the power of online marketing
Listing your property for sale is not just about putting the sign in the yard and listing the house for sale in the MLS. Make sure your Realtor has a solid online marketing plan. These items include:
- High-quality photographs
- 3D virtual tour
- 2D floorplans
- Lead capture websites
- Search engines marketing
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Leads prospecting and follow up
#8 – Be creative
Buying a house is still very expensive for most people. If you have a buyer that needs help to close the deal, consider offering a seller’s subsidy to help them with the closing costs. This will open up your house to more buyers, and works exceptionally well with first time home buyers and buyers using a VA loan.
#9 – Don’t be there
When you are having an open house or a house tour, LEAVE the house! It’s uncomfortable for you to have strangers in your home, and likewise, it’s awkward to be in a stranger’s house. So why create any more tension? Leave the house and let the agent takes care of the business. Let your buyers look around at their leisure without your scrutiny.
The worst thing you can do is stay and give your potential buyers a tour. They don’t care about history and what you did to the house.
#10. Hire a good agent to help you sell
In general, it’s better to work with an agent than trying to sell the house on your own. It’s their full-time job to find buyers and show your home. This is harder than it looks, and it’s generally better to leave this to the expert. However, you have to remember you’re the boss and that we are dealing with a lot of money here. So don’t just pick any agent that comes along. Call several real estate offices and ask for recommendations. After you have their names, check out their reviews online to narrow down the list. Pick out the top three for a face-to-face or a phone interview before you make your final decision.
Another critical thing to remember is to review the Early Termination clause. You want to be able to fire your real estate agent if he or she cannot get the job done.
Pinyo is a full-service Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty and an insurance agent with McEvoy Insurance & Financial Services. He specializes in representing clients in the purchase and sale of residential and investment properties throughout Virginia and Maryland areas around DC.