Maybe you need some more space, maybe you want less space, maybe a new job requires a move to a new location, or maybe you’ve just got some life circumstance that compels you to move on. Whatever the reason, many homeowners will eventually need to know how to sell a house. This is often a tricky proposition: on the one hand, you want your home to sell quickly and with as little hassle as possible. On the other hand, you also want to get the highest price you possibly can for it. If your timing coincides with a good seller’s market, you may be in luck. But if it doesn’t, how do you sell a house quickly without losing a lot of time or money?
While there’s no specific formula for selling a home in a short time frame or for getting a figure in excess of your asking price, there are a few things you can do before you put your home on the market and while it’s an active listing to maximize your chances of a quick sale at a good price. Read on for some things to consider as you get ready to sell your house.
Before you hire a realtor or take photos, you’ll want to take care of these important details.
Clear the clutter. To give the impression of more space in your home, take things out of it. In the real estate business, this process is called staging. Reduce the amount of furniture you have, take down overfull bookshelves, and remove dense clusters of knick-knacks. This includes closets — cutting down on the amount of stuff you’re storing in your home makes it look like there’s more storage space. Also, remove photos of you and your family and friends so it doesn’t look so much like your place; this helps a prospective buyer to better envision himself or herself living there.
Fix what’s broken. Whether you have a leaky faucet, a broken light fixture, or a gutter that’s hanging down the side of the house, now is the time to get all those things fixed. If you are handy and can do it yourself, fantastic. If not, get a referral for a good handyman and get everything taken care of. Even touching up chipped or dirty paint can go a long way in making a home look well taken care of.
Clean everything. A clean house is much more appealing to prospective buyers (and to anyone!) than a dingy and dusty house. Cleaning is a chore, but the good news is that anyone can do it. Or, if you have the means, hire a cleaning service to get the job done.
Remember curb appeal. The front exterior is almost always the first thing that a prospective buyer will see. How does it look? If it looks less than beautiful, do everything you can to spruce it up. Planting flowers, tidying up outside, pulling weeds, and power washing hard surfaces can all help to boost curb appeal.
Navigating the Market
Once you’ve taken care of all your pre-sale tasks, you’re probably ready to put a sign in your yard. Here are some tasks associated with that.
Find a good realtor. Not just any realtor — a good one who has a solid track record, embraces the latest technology, and will actively market your home to prospective buyers. Before hiring an agent, make sure he or she will do a preliminary market analysis to determine what comparable homes in the area are selling for.
Price aggressively. If you want to sell your home fast, you’ve got to price it to move. Based on your realtor’s market analysis, determine what the market value of your home is, and then list it for at least five to ten percent below that. Not only will this turn heads and attract buyers, but it can save you some negotiation hassle once an offer comes in.
Always be ready to show. When your agent calls and asks to show your home, the answer should always be yes. After all, if prospective buyers can’t get into the home to see it, you won’t get any offers. Additionally, keep up with housework so things always look neat and tidy for those inevitable last minute showings.
Sealing the Deal
If you’ve taken the time to address all of the aforementioned items, hopefully you’ll have an offer come in quickly. Here’s how to turn that offer into a signed purchase agreement and sale.
Negotiate. There’s a good chance that you’ll get a lowball offer. After all, buyers are looking to get a good deal as much as you’re looking to get a good price. Tempting as it may be, don’t just say no and walk away. Counter offer and do your best to negotiate to a middle ground.
Offer incentives and make concessions. If you have a buyer who’s fairly interested but still wavering, do what you can to make signing that purchase agreement more appealing. Things like small financial concessions for sprucing up the place or including high end appliances with the home can push many buyers over the line from indecision to sale.
Cover the closing. If a prospective buyer needs even more convincing, offer to pay the closing costs. Yes, this will cost you a bit of money, but for some buyers, it could mean the difference between a deal and no deal.