How to Sell My House Fast – The Top 7 strategies
In this article; a Step-By-Step for Selling your house fast
- Clean and remove clutter
- Choose a sale option
- Research & decide on your price
- Call contractors for repairs
- Re-Arrange items and stage for sale
- Hire a photographer specializing in Real Estate
- Research your Marketing Options
1. Clean and declutter
The number one strategy for selling a house fast especially when you’re short on time, is to focus on making the interior clean and appealing to potential buyers.
- Pack away any extra belongings or large furniture that making rooms look smaller. You may want to invest in a storage unit temporarily to move items out – only while your house is on the market.
- Thin-out and organize your closets. Buyers will actually count and measure the closets because space is so important to put their belongings. We see buyers peeking in closets, and storage areas to see how much storage is in the house. Don’t stuff closets, try to empty 50%: Leaving extra room to give the impression that the home has more storage than you need. Buyer studies show that more than 60% look at storage as a top requirement in choosing their new home.
- Remove family photos, personal and religious items because they often prevent buyers from picturing themselves living in the home and become very distracted.
- Hire a professional cleaning company if you can’t do a deep cleaning of every room of the house yourself. Its a lot of work and you may not have the time to do the baseboards, kitchen cabinets, bathroom tile and carpets as needed to make the house look as clean as it should look to potential buyers.
2. Choose a Sale Option
As you consider how to sell your house there are typically 3 options for selling.
A. For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
B. Contracting with a Real Estate Brokerage
C. Selling to a Cash Buyer
A. For Sale By Owner: FSBO
Selling yourself sounds like a great option. You get to save a whopping 3% on the commission. Most buyers have real estate agents and only rarely do home-buyers go through the process alone, without an agent to guide them. Don’t plan on saving yourself 5%-6% because you’ll get a buyer without an agent – that rarely is the case so, plan to pay-up. The agents representing buyers expect 2.5%. You can offer 2% but you’ll find many of them will negotiate for that extra half-percent. This is only the first time you’ll find yourself negotiating on your journey of selling on your own. Hopefully you’ve hired a good real estate agent to answer your questions while you sell your house so that you don’t get yourself into legal trouble. Know the rules before jumping in feet first. You’ll need to negotiate repairs, escrow issues, home inspection results and the closing costs. If you’re good at multitasking and keeping lots of paperwork in order, then this is a good way to save some money. These issues, if not managed properly, will add time to your sale and you’ll sell much slower than you wanted.
B. Contract a Professional Real Estate Broker:
A professional will know the area. They will help organize your papers. They’ll basically bring all the buyer’s issues to you for a decision. Many don’t negotiate but they’ll ask for your position and relay the message. Remember, to have an agent do these things, you’ll have to pay them a 3 percent commission based on the sale price of your house. For many people with a move-in ready house, this may be a good idea – especially if you have the extra money to spare and don’t mind paying thousands in commissions and fees.
C. Sell your house to a Cash Buyer:
- Add up all the costs to sell Retail: Holding onto your house for an extra 5-6 months to do the repairs is essential to appeal to a new buyer. They will demand a like-new and move-in ready condition if they’re to pay market-value for your house.
- Attractive value proposition: You’ll find that a cash buyer can be a very close in terms of financial proposition. Remember when you add everything up: A half-year’s taxes, heat and utilities, water bills, lawn cutting and yard-care, half-year’s insurance policy. You’ll need to update the kitchen and bathroom and if you’re not a carpenter then you’ll need to hire one at the average cost of $9,000. Paint the interior a neutral color and make sure your porches and decks are in good condition. If the roof or heating system is more than 15 years old, buyers are looking for a discount. Then add the cost of what a buyer will negotiate which is often up to 5% of the asking price. Many buyers want $2,000-$5,000. cash back for closing costs. The average cost to prepare a house for sale can range $2,000. to $30,000. depending if you’ve had to check all those items above.
- No Cost To Sell: A reputable cash-buyer will never ask for money. They will take your house “As-Is” meaning you don’t have to do any repairs. The cash buyer should pay your closing costs. A cash buyer will often allow you to leave behind stuff you don’t want, so you won’t have to rent a dumpster and worry about doing a clean out. All of these things add-up to a cost and that you won’t have to foot the bill. This is value that’s translates directly to your bottom line in the transaction. Sometimes you’ll even make more money by getting out before sinking money into the house and facing a surprisingly lower price when it comes time to go to market. The real estate market shifts from time to time and if you’re not in tune then you’re risking all of that hard work an investment to a possibly lower sale price.
- Stress-Free – Just walk away from it.. There’s no price for peace of mind. While your cash buyer’s offer may not be as high as you’d hoped, you can rest assured that its a heck of a lot easier to sell for cash to a reputable buyer* than the above options. A cash buyer will take care of mostly every step in the process. You should only need to be concerned about your moving plan and your closing date. Everything in-between should be closely monitored and your tasks assisted by your cash buyer so that you don’t have to worry about the details. “You’ll sign your closing documents on closing date and pick-up the money… It should be that simple!” says Chris from simplehouseoffer.com
3. Research & decide on your price:
When the market has more demand houses are known to sell quickly but, selling your house fast isn’t guaranteed. (ask your agent for a “days on market” report. You’ll find that there are houses that haven’t sold. Or houses that have been on the market 90 days or more. Some houses sold in 100+ days, even in our current seller’s market. In a seller’s market there are more buyers than sellers and buyers are willing to pay more for properties that are priced correctly. Still, houses that are not priced right, will set on the market until the price is adjusted to an appropriate amount.
As highlighted above, pricing your home correctly is critical no matter how great the seller market may be. Overpricing will lead to more time on the market, and ultimately, you may end up selling at that lower price anyway — it’ll just take you longer to get there.
When setting a price, you’re limited to what other similar homes sold for, within in your area. For example, if you find 3 homes very similar to yours (number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage and similar neighborhoods), then your house will likely sell for the price that those homes sold for. If you list your house for more, then you risk your listing becoming stale. “You may get plenty of visitors at your open house but, if there are no offers, then you know you’re over-priced”…according to James Borstell, Professional Realtor in Tewksbury, MA jborstell.com
4. Call your contractors for repairs:
Some sellers will go so far as calling a home inspector first. The home inspector’s repair list becomes your roadmap to preparing your house for sale. Get a few prices from contractors and handy-men for bringing your house up to date. Remember: If you’re looking to sell your house for that great price that you heard your neighbor sold for…. Then you need to make it look as good or even better than your neighbor’s house!
“…Most of the time, you’ll need to update your bathrooms and your kitchen.”
The real estate market has evolved with the quality expectations of the buyer getting higher and higher over time. When shoppers come looking, they want a house that’s ready for their life to begin the day they move. They’re not planning a new life of exclusively repairing and updating their home, they want to move-in and continue living.
If you have a pool or hot-tub, air conditioning, a built-in vac system, make sure its in good working order because nobody wants a “fixer-upper”. Your amenities either work or not and if they need repairs then its going to be called-out by your buyers, there’s no in-between.
How old is the roof? Your heating system? Water-Heater? Decks/Porches? Doors & Windows? – Most of these long-life items wear out over time. Your buyer’s home inspector looks at a lot of these items regularly and he can easily see if they’re new (less than 5 years) or if they’re nearing the end of their useful life. Most of those items only last 12-15 years.
5. Rearrange Items, Clean-Up and Stage for buyers
Every seller needs to spend some time sprucing up the interior and exterior of their house. First impressions are everything when it comes to house sales. All sellers understand that showing a neat-clean house has miles of advantages over the houses on the market. Most real estate agents will acknowledge that hiring a stager helps get top of market pricing for houses where there’s a few more listings than usual.
A common way to get your house sold faster is by hiring a stager. If you’ve done your homework you’ll see houses that have staging done and those that don’t. The houses that are staged will almost always sell faster, and you’ll call around to get prices from local stagers.
As potential buyers pull up to your house for the first time, they immediately form an opinion based on curb appeal. Its important that the exterior of your home appears clean, trimmed and well-kept. The following items for your front yard will help buyers form a positive opinion. A professional landscaper will help to get the job done:
- Cut back overgrown trees and shrubs
- Repair any brick or stone walkways and pull weeds
- Clear any leaves, dirt or insect nests from the front porch
- Repair any broken lights and replace light bulbs
- Paint your front porch and trim if its aged or peeling
- Put out flower pots and some freshly planted flowers in the beds
6. Hire a Real Estate Photographer
It may be a good idea to shoot your pictures using that fancy new iPhone with that great camera you paid big bucks for however, its not the right equipment for this task. If you don’t have professional-looking photos in your listing, then your listing will look amateurish and will not put your property in the best possible light. Great photos will help to get more showings and more showings could mean more offers! The opposite is true for bad photos. You’ll find that in many cases, real estate photographers can be quite reasonable and well worth the investment.
Even if you can’t afford the premium package, you’re still best served by purchasing fewer photos at a lower price than having lots of bad photos. You want your house to look as attractive online as possible and you can only get this result with professional photography.
*Extra tip: Make sure that you pull up the blinds and shades to let in as much natural light as possible before the photographer comes to shoot your house. Remember to replace old lightbulbs and put bright light bulbs in darker areas. You want to make sure there’s plenty of light before your photographer is taking your pictures.
7. Create a stand-out listing on Popular Portals
To help sell your house faster, write a great description of your house. If you’re selling yourself, you might want to enlist a friend who’s a creative writing talent. Unless you’re hiring an agent to write this for you, its important to spend plenty of time and do some research on how to write the best house listing descriptions.
- Describe your neighborhood in an inviting and desirable light. Mention schools and community benefits.
- Brag on your home’s best qualities in the listing description. Don’t forget to use keywords that describe it best.
- Create urgency for offers by using a “call for action”… Such as “All offers are due by Tuesday February 31st”.
- Choose your best professional photos.
- Research services to list your house on your local MLS for a flat fee
- Most portals such as Zillow.com and Realtor.com are syndicated and will pick up your listing from the MLS but, its best to search for your listing and make sure its accurate, and try other sites such as: Forsalebyowner.com
Final Note: You don’t want to miss a possible sale so be ready, at a moments notice to show your own house because not all buyers have an agent yet or sometimes your listing agent may not be available. Its often a good idea to get a lockbox for agents who will be bringing buyers on their own schedule. Some buyers don’t like the seller to be there and some do. Its best to run it by their agent first, if you plan to attend.
— Good luck selling your house fast!
Chris Edwards – www.simplehouseoffer.com