One of the most frequent questions people ask when listing their home for sale is “how quickly will my house sell?” The truth is, it largely depends on the market and what price point you are in. However, there are many things that you can do as a seller to help expedite the sale of your home.
1. Price it right from the beginning. This is one of the best ways to ensure your home gets sold quickly. It’s completely understandable that sellers want the most money possible for their home. However, too many sellers make the mistake of pricing the home too high in the beginning, with the hopes that a buyer will pay more for their house than the market suggests. This almost always ends in massive (and frequent) price reductions, extended days on market, and a lot of times results in getting a lower price for your home. Your home will get the most showings during the first 3-4 weeks on the market, so pricing it right from the beginning is key to getting your home sold quickly.
2. Curb appeal. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and in real estate, first impressions are extremely important. Buyers will often make a decision about a home within the first 10 seconds of viewing the home. If your lawn is overgrown, bushes and trees aren’t trimmed, or the outside of the home looks uninviting, it will leave a lasting impact on potential buyers. A few simple (and cheap!) ways to up your curb appeal is to add new sod, plant flowers, refinish your front door, and add a wreath on the door and a welcome mat. If you have already moved out of the home before it has sold, be sure to still keep up with the front and back yard, and pool if you have one.
3. Update interior and exterior. Many buyers want a home that is move-in ready, where the amount of updates they would need to do are very limited. You can help speed up the sale of your home by doing updates on your home, such as new paint, new light fixtures, new hardware, and fresh landscaping. These are all relatively inexpensive ways to make your home look updated.
4. Clean, declutter, and depersonalize. When a buyer comes through your home, they are seeing if they can envision themselves living in that space. This is very hard for buyers to do when there are lots of personal items and excess clutter around the house. Any knickknacks and extra furniture should be removed from the house in order to make the space look bigger. You should also remove any family photos, religious symbols, and political signs from your home. Lastly, consider having a professional cleaning service come through and give your home a good cleaning from top to bottom. If your home appears dirty, buyers WILL notice and it will impact how they feel about the home.
5. Stage the rooms. You don’t have to bring in a professional stager to do this step. You can use furniture you already own. This is especially important if you have any awkward spaces in your house that don’t have an obvious purpose. For some houses, professional staging should be considered.
6. Make the house easy to show. Most prospective buyers will be looking at your home in the evening and on the weekends, sometimes at little notice. It is in your best interest to accommodate these showings. If you reject a showing, it is likely that they will move on and not bother visiting your house at all. It is also best to leave 20 minutes before a showing and come back 20 minutes after it ends, as buyers sometimes run early and run late.
7. Remove pets. For a showing or an open house, you will want to remove your pets from the property. It is also best to remove their food and water bowls, cages, litter boxes, etc. if possible. Consider using a plug-in scent to keep your home smelling fresh and clean as well.
8. Make sure your listing is on major online portals. This one is taken care of by the agent, but it never hurts to double check. When we input a listing into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), it also gets placed on all popular home search engines, such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. I make sure your home is presented in the best possible light, by hiring a photographer to take professional pictures, and advertising your home on social media.
9. Make sure the pictures look good. This is one of the most important steps. About 90% of expired listings that I see have poor quality pictures. Coincidence? Probably not. A top tier agent will hire a professional photographer to go in and shoot pictures of your home, working to get great lighting and highlighting important features of the home. An amateur agent will take pictures on their phone, sometimes without even turning the lights on. Most home buyers start their home search on the internet, so great quality pictures are key. Poor pictures make the home show poorly, which will lead to less buyers through your house and extended days on market.
10. Neutral is best. When it comes to paint colors, neutral colors are usually the best route to go because they appeal to the masses. I’m not suggesting you paint every room in your house, however, if some of the rooms have bright and funky colors, it can throw some buyers off. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of repainting, consider offering a paint allowance with acceptable offer so the buyer can repaint upon moving in.