How quickly homes are sold can vary pretty dramatically from market to market. In strong seller’s markets, homes can fly off the market in a matter of days, if not hours, in some circumstances. Then, there are markets where it’s nearly impossible to sell your home. Below, we provide advice ranging from simple things that everyone should do to sell their home quickly to more drastic measures that can be employed in slow housing markets.
Simple Things to Sell Your Home Quickly
These are the things any seller should be doing to move their home quickly. Even in a great market, these steps can help you move your home faster and possibly for more money.
Hire the Right Real Estate Agent
No matter what, you want to make sure you have a professional on your side who will do what it takes to get your home sold. Follow the steps below as a basic guide.
- Find an full-time real estate agent. If you want to get your home sold quickly, you don’t want someone who is trying to sell your house as a side job.
- Read their reviews. Make sure the agent you’re considering has plenty of satisfied clients.
- Evaluate their listings. Do the homes they’re selling look like they’ve been staged? Do they have good photos? Great listings can make a big difference.
- Ask them questions. What price should we list at? What will buyers like about our home? Is there anything buyers won’t like and how can we address it? The agent should be able to give you strong answers to these questions and have reasoning behind them.
- Be sure they’ll market your listing online. Though this might seem like a given, you need to know your listing will be seen on websites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.
Price Your Home Right from the Start
Pricing is important when trying to sell a home fast. Listing too high has more negative consequences than many realize.
Here are a few downsides to poor pricing:
- You’re going to see the most activity within the first 30 days of listing, so wasting that time by driving buyers away with too high of a price tag is a big mistake.
- When a house has been on the market for a while, buyers start to believe there’s something wrong or that the home isn’t worth what it’s listed for. Perception is everything, and you can’t afford for your home to have a negative perception when trying to sell quickly.
- Though you might eventually decide to lower the price to what the house should’ve been listed originally for, buyers might feel like it’s worth even less because of the previously mentioned negative perception, causing you to “chase the market down.” Buyers are also likely to make low-ball offers because price reductions can come across as desperation.
Of course, pricing too low is also a mistake. Unless you’re in a really bad market or need the home to sell immediately, your home doesn’t need to be “priced to sell,” meaning that it’s listed below market value. Check market values and with a real estate agent to see if the price accurately represents your home’s value.
Declutter Your Home
This is a huge one. Reducing clutter in your home is important for so many reasons. The first is that it will make your listing photos look drastically better. This can result in more home showings. But it also impacts the way potential buyers experience your home when they get there.
Here are some simple things to remember when decluttering:
- If you can reduce the amount of furniture, this is a great place to start. Moving some of your furniture out will make your home feel much bigger.
- Don’t shove things into guest rooms, closets, basements, attics, or garages. Buyers will look at these spaces.
- Don’t ignore your refrigerator, cabinets, or the pantry either. Buyers are going to be evaluating every storage area in your home to see how it will function for them.
Do a Deep Clean
Another must on your to-do list is to thoroughly clean your home. Some of the things you should do include:
- Clean all counters in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Clean all toilets and sinks.
- Clean all windows, both inside and outside.
- Vacuum and dust the entire home, especially highly visible surfaces.
- Clean light fixtures, ceiling fans, and baseboards.
- Clean all appliances, such as the stove, oven, microwave, and refrigerator.
Check out this deep cleaning checklist for a full list of areas to clean before your house goes on the market.
Have Your Home Staged
When it comes to selling a home fast, staging makes a big difference. If your real estate agent doesn’t include this as part of his/her service, consider hiring a professional yourself. Not only do staged homes sell faster, they often sell for more.
Here are a few stats showing how beneficial staging your home can be:
- Non-staged homes spent an average of 184 days on the market.
- After staging, these previously non-staged homes sold on average in 41 days.
- Homes that were staged prior to going on the market sold on average in 23 days.
More Advanced Measures to Sell Your Home Faster
What we’ve covered so far is what almost anyone should do, even if they’re selling in a strong seller’s market. If you aren’t so fortunate and anticipate having a harder timing selling your home, these tips are for you.
Upgrade Your Curb Appeal
First impressions matter, and there are easy do-it-yourself things you can do to provide that strong first impression when buyers pull up to your home.
- Paint your front door, trim, and/or shutters. This is a relatively simple and affordable step that adds energy to your home the instant someone pulls up.
- Make sure your yard looks great. Pull weeds, lay fresh mulch, trim trees and bushes, and mow the lawn.
- Upgrade your house numbers. This is another simple yet high-impact option that can really make your home stand out.
- Inject color by adding new plants. Even if you just add some plants with colorful flowers to your front bed or go the route of potted plants on your porch, it makes a big difference.
Paint Rooms Neutral Colors
Whether you have a single bold accent wall or a whole kids’ room painted with cute cartoons, you don’t want to risk your personal style clashing with a potential buyer’s.
The most common neutral paint colors are typically shades of white, gray, or beige because of their ability to blend with other colors. That doesn’t mean you have to stick to those colors to go “neutral.” As this article points out, yellow and sage green are great colors for kitchens. But if you stray a bit from standard neutral colors, just don’t go too bold.
Make Simple Upgrades
Small upgrades to your home might be enough to give it an updated feel. Handles and knobs are a quick, affordable upgrade that buyers will notice. Swap out old handles and knobs on doors and cabinets throughout your home to a popular color like oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel. You can also do the same with light fixtures.
Drastic Measures to Sell Your Home in Slow Markets
If you’re in a tough market where there’s far more supply than there is demand, you might have to go above and beyond to get your home sold.
Remodeling Your Home
In truly bad markets, remodeling is an option to consider. Remember that remodeling can provide close to a full return on investment or close to it, but in a bad market, the primary goal will be to make the home more appealing to buyers.
Remodeling Your Kitchen
If your kitchen is outdated, this is a big opportunity to make some upgrades to impress buyers. Here are some ideas from HGTV if you’re thinking about going this route:
- Talk to your real estate agent to come up with a plan. He/she should have a great idea of the kitchen designs and features that buyers love.
- Keep it simple and avoid extremes. You don’t need to go overboard with crazy features. Also, stick to safe, neutral colors that will appeal to the majority of buyers.
- Go with granite or quartz countertops. If you’re upgrading your kitchen to help sell your home quickly in a slow market, this is a must.
A kitchen remodel is one of the remodeling projects where you might not just see the value of the home increase, but you could get back more than you spent. That said, it’s important not to go overboard. Stick to minor kitchen remodels ($15,000 or less) instead of investing $50,000 or more.
The bathroom is second in importance to home buyers, only behind the kitchen. Here are some things to consider:
- The master and powder bath are what buyers are most concerned with, followed by the guest bath.
- Cosmetic changes are the way to go. Update the vanity, paint the walls, and even add new flooring if necessary. But avoid anything that includes layout modifications.
- Like the kitchen, it’s best not to go overboard. Make changes that will impress buyers, but don’t invest tons of money expecting to get all of it back.
Finish Your Basement
If you have one, the basement is an easy way to make the living space of your home much larger and potentially make your home more appealing to buyers. If you are considering finishing your basement, remember these things:
- Make the basement functional and open. Especially if you’re trying to sell your home, don’t design your basement to cater to your specific needs.
- A casual family room, home office, or additional bedroom are safe choices when thinking about resale value.
- Create or leave a designated storage space in the basement. Buyers care about this.
Price to Sell
Pricing to sell, or selling for below market value, is definitely a way to get your home off the market faster. Like remodeling, this should be reserved for scenarios where you have to move your home very quickly in a bad market.
There’s a broad range of incentives that you can offer buyers if you’re looking to stand apart and sell your home quickly. Some ideas provided by Trulia include:
- Buy down the interest rate by paying for additional points at closing for the seller. This could be a huge draw that could save them a significant amount of money over time.
- Make it known that you will pay up to a certain percentage of closing costs.
- If you know your home needs upgrades, provide an allowance for buyers to use to make some updates on their own once they move in.
- Prepay for services like mowing or housekeeping for a set amount of time.
If you plan to sell your home, you want to sell it fast. Use our ideas above in coordination with what makes sense for your specific market, and you’ll have a much better chance at selling quickly!