With foreclosures on the rise, and many other properties languishing on the market, you may be worried about how long your home will sit unsold. While you can’t control market demand, there are several other factors you can control. Below are the do’s and don’ts of selling your home fast, and for the best possible price.
- Make sure the house is well maintained. A beautifully landscaped lawn makes your home more inviting to potential buyers. Make the exterior of the house as attractive as possible. Pressure-wash your windows, paint the trim, and clean out your gutters.
- Get an inspection done. Have your home inspected before you put it up for sale. You’ll save more money hiring a contractor or doing repairs yourself than you will trying to negotiate a price with a buyer factoring in the repairs. By getting the house inspected, you’ll also avoid nasty surprises that could cause a sale to fall through at the last minute.
- Fix any necessary repairs. If potential buyers can see areas that need repairing when walking through your home, they will wonder whether the home has even more extensive damage they can’t see. When it comes to impressing buyers, you only have one chance to make a good impression. Patch any holes in your walls, replace torn window screens, and fix leaking faucets.
- Clear away clutter. Potential buyers should be able to easily visualize the home with their own belongings and furnishings. Having personal knick-knacks strewn everywhere puts your personal “stamp” on the home, driving away potential buyers. Before you put the house up for sale, pack away your collectibles, books, photos, and other personal effects. Cleaning up clutter is also an easy way to make the home feel more spacious.
- Research your Realtor. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues for recommendations. Check credentials. Ask for references. Most Realtors have a website where you can view recently sold properties. Take note of how quickly – and at what prices – the Realtor’s recent properties have sold. The research you do now will save you time and money during the selling process.
- Ignore your Realtor’s advice. Listen to your Realtor’s suggestions about what could make the house more marketable. Your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Your Realtor knows which home features will attract the best buyers.
- Accept a low price. Don’t give in to that knee-jerk, “I need to sell my house fast” feeling when considering an offer. While cash offers may be tempting, you could end up getting far below fair market value for your house. To sell your home fast while maximizing your profit, set the purchase price to a few points below your real estate agent’s estimation.
- Sell without a Realtor. Buyers who respond to “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) ads might expect to pay below market price for a house, since there is no commission to be paid to a Realtor. On average, FSBO homes sell for $40,000 lessthan homes represented by a real estate agent. A good Realtor leverages his or her knowledge of the local market to get the best possible price for your property. A real estate agent also saves you time by managing all aspects of the selling process, from scheduling an inspection to handling phone calls from potential buyers.
- Skimp on marketing. A “For Sale” sign in your window isn’t enough to attract buyers. Spend the money for an Internet ad with high-quality images or a virtual tour of the home. A National Association of Realtors report revealed that 89% of buyers use the Internet in their property search. The more people that see your ad, the faster your home will sell.
- Set your price too high.Pricing your home too high will drive away prospective buyers. Internet users won’t even bother clicking through to your ad if the property seems too expensive. Your selling price – along with the listing photography, home staging, landscaping, and overall curb appeal – will have a significant impact on how long your home takes to sell. Ask your Realtor if your price reflects what buyers would be willing to pay for a home in your area.
How fast your home sells depends on how well you’ve maintained, priced, and staged the property. Ask your Realtor for advice on selling your house as quickly as possible.
Amir Seliger is a seasoned real estate investor and the president of Asset Column Inc, a real estate marketing company based in Miami, FL. Unlike most investors who only deal locally, Amir invests in houses in all 50 states.