How to Sell your Home Faster
Are you thinking about selling your home, or are in the process of doing so? If so, there’s probably a mix of excitement and anxiety going through your mind. Selling a home can be a complex and emotional process.
You are, after all liquidating the biggest asset most people would ever own, and you want to sell it as quickly as possible and for the best possible price.
So what can you do to make sure you attract as many potential buyers as possible, and increase your chances of making as much money as possible from the sale of your home?
1. Hire the Right Real Estate Agent
Just like you wouldn’t want to appear in front of court without an attorney, it’s really not the best idea to try to sell a home without the right real estate agent.
A real estate agent is instrumental in getting you the best possible price for your home, selling it quickly, and avoiding legal issues.
First of all, a real estate agent serves as a buffer between you and potential buyers. Your real estate agent takes care of scheduling showings, evaluating buyers, crafting your property listing description, and marketing your property.
Also, selling your home is a highly emotional process. It’s the place where you raised a family, created memories, and enjoyed spending time with loved ones. It can be difficult to be 100% objective about the market value of your home even in normal circumstances. But that becomes even more difficult when you’re dealing with all the work that goes with moving out of your home, looking out for the next place you want to live, and dealing with the selling process.
A real estate agent has no emotional attachment to your home and can provide a data-based analysis of how much the buyer is willing to pay for your home. Because a real estate agent’s job is to market and sell homes, they bring experience and expertise in navigating real estate, negotiations, and marketing.
While those that choose to sell their home on their own typically do so in order to avoid paying agent fees, research shows that home sellers that use an agent typically net more than those that sell their home themselves. Buyers know the FSBO seller isn't paying a real estate commission and more often than not submit lowball offers.
However, don’t think that every agent is as good as the next. You need to carefully consider the qualifications of whatever agent you choose, their track record, years of experience (very important), and whether they have an extensive marketing plan. Selling your home is all about massive exposure to the right buyers. Don't settle for less!
2. Price your home to sell from day one
At first glance, it may seem like a good idea to price your home as high as you possibly can. After all, there are always rounds of negotiation in real estate, and buyers can always negotiate and make a counteroffer... right? Sadly, that’s a recipe for failure in real estate.
Buyers (and especially buyer agents) are more informed than ever and have all the tools they need to know how much a home is worth, and what a realistic and market-data-backed final price tag should look like.
If a home is obviously overpriced, buyers won’t have the patience or interest to spend round after round of counter offers., especially if there are alternatives in the market.
In fact, if the price for the home is too high, your home might not even show up in important areas of MLS or property search sites. For example, if you price a $280,000 home at $350,000, it won’t show up on a property search for homes up to $300,000, which may be the maximum a buyer can pay and thus searches for. Therefore, overpricing your home can significantly reduce the amount of exposure your home receives to the right buyers. When your home is priced right for the market, a buyer may offer less than what you're willing to accept, but you are under no obligation to accept that or any other offer.
If your home remains unsold in the market for too long, it may start raising questions about whether there’s something wrong with the home. We see this all the time! Real estate agents and investors will know that the longer a listing remains on the market, the more you are likely to accept a reduced price, and they’ll start making ridiculously low offers causing you to end up with a final price that’s much lower than you could have hoped for.
By far the most effective way to attract buyers is to price your home correctly from day one. Trust your listing agent’s advice when you are shown the Comparative Market Analysis for homes similar to yours and what they sold for. By pricing your property correctly from day one, you’ll attract more qualified buyers, and your home won’t get stuck on the market unsold.
3. Don’t skimp on the looks
When you sell a home, looks are everything. It’s what grabs a buyer’s attention and helps them imagine what their life will be like in your home.
Which is why you need to do whatever you can to help them see the house not like somebody else’s home, but rather their future home. And you should also make sure you present your home in the best possible light. Both for picture purposes, and also for live showings.
There are two scenarios in which your home would be viewed by buyers: one where the home is vacant, and one where you’re still living in it.
If you decide to stay in your home until it’s completely sold, make sure you at least do the following:
- Declutter every room!
- Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls if needed
- Repair as many cosmetic blemishes as you can (holes in the walls, stains in the carpet, etc.)
- Replace ALL burned-out lightbulbs
- Keep your yard mowed and weed free - front and back
- Ask your listing agent for advice in staging your home to look its best
These are some of the most cost-effective ways to improve the overall appearance of your home without investing a ridiculously large amount of money.
In addition, make sure you remove all personal items that tie your home to you (depersonalizing). Removing family photos, personal items from the bathrooms and any decorative items that are meaningful only to you will help make your home more appealing to buyers since they will help your buyer(s) more easily imagine themselves living in it.
If you recently made any extensive renovations or purchased new appliances, make sure these are mentioned in your property description and are included in your listing photos.
4. Use a professional photographer
Today, the vast majority of property searches by home buyers begin online. This happens way before they even reach out to a real estate agent, or even officially apply for a loan.
To ensure that your efforts to make your home look its best are shown in the best possible light in your online listing, make sure your real estate agent sends a professional real estate photographer to shoot your home photos.
Professional photography will set your home apart from the competition, and it’s instrumental in helping sell a home as quickly as possible. Buyers are far more likely to go visit or make an offer on a home with professional photography than one where the inexperienced listing agent walks through taking photos with his/her cell phone. In fact, any agent who does this is showing a total lack of understanding of the marketing of your home.
While you may be able to skip some tips in this article, this one should ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SKIPPED. The use of a professional photographer is one of the best possible steps that can be taken to attract more buyers since photos are the main marketing tool used in attracting buyers!
5. Make your home as easy to show as possible
The easier you make your home to show, the more buyers will be able to see it, and the faster your home will sell.
There are many ways you can make it easy for real estate agents to show your home. First of all, if you’re able to move to your new home before selling your current one, do so. That way your agent will be able to show your home to interested buyers at whatever time is convenient for their interested clients, and you won’t have to bother leaving your home each time they show it.
If that’s not possible, ask your agent to set up your multiple listing service (MLS) listing to read "call first, lockbox". The "call first" notation ensures that you’ll know when a buyer or an agent is coming to show your home. You will need to plan on all family members leaving the home for showings - this is critically important. Remember, you want potential buyers to be able to visualize living in your home and they can't do that if you're in it. Not only that but they will not ask the agent questions they might ask otherwise for fear of hurting your feelings.
Avoid limiting the times they can show and strongly resist asking that they book "by appointment only." You will reduce the number of showings your house receives by making it difficult for agents to freely show your home to their clients.
By using the strategies mentioned in this guide, you can increase the chances that you will sell your home faster, and by extension, at the highest possible price. But as always, the best possible strategy you can follow is to hire the best agent for the job.
A real estate agent can guide you through the entire real estate process, help you avoid costly mistakes, negotiate the best possible price, and reduce the stress of selling your home.