By Megan Wild, author of Your Wild Home blog
If you’re selling your home this spring, you may be very interested in making its time on the market as short as possible. The average time to sell is six months, which can be a long time if you’re in a hurry.
Some homeowners sell their homes because of a job transfer or other circumstance that makes a quick move imperative. Others simply want the sale process, complete with prospective buyers trooping through their homes, over quickly.
What you have to do is take control of the process. While you can’t single-handedly influence market conditions in your area, you can substantially influence a number of factors proven to sell homes faster. Here they are.
1. Paint and Refurbish Your Home
Any real estate agent will tell you that homes sold “as-is” won’t be quick sellers unless the home is brand new. You will need to make the house look good. At a minimum, paint the interior and exterior so they will look new and gleaming.
If any minor repairs are necessary, you’ll have to make them. A leaky faucet or squeaky hinges, for example, may be familiar enough that you don’t really notice. Prospective buyers will.
Have a friend or relative who doesn’t see your home all the time walk through it for the express purpose of telling you when anything looks less than in tip-top shape. People often can’t see their own homes with a neutral eye. A worn carpet might not strike you as shabby. But people who don’t see it every day may be struck by its less-than-pristine condition.
2. Stage Your Home
Sixty-two percent of real estate agents say that staging a home causes it to sell quicker. If that doesn’t persuade you to stage it, what will?
Staging means multiple things, but all fall under one central category. The house is specifically made to look highly attractive and appealing to buyers. The furniture and rooms will be arranged to delight the eye and to focus on the best features.
If your furniture currently doesn’t match, for example, you might want to rent or borrow matching furniture. If you currently don’t have plants because your cat knocks them down, you might want to purchase a few for the visual and environmental appeal. Plants improve your home’s ambiance and also purify the air.
It might be wise to hire a professional stager. If you’d rather do it yourself, enlist some friends to give you advice about emphasizing your home’s best features.
3. Declutter Significantly
Decluttering is something every wanna-be home seller must do. First, rooms with a minimal amount of furniture and items look larger. Larger rooms look more attractive. It’s very likely that minimalism sells homes faster.
Second, buyers need to be able to see themselves in your home. The more things you have that are yours, the less they can do that. Does your grandmother’s patchwork quilt hang in your living room? It is likely every bit as beautiful as you think. But if a prospective buyer with cash to burn doesn’t like patchwork quilts, it may turn them off to your house. A blank wall will let the buyer mentally project what they’d like to see there if they were to buy the house.
Remember that you can’t just tote the stuff you’ve decluttered up to the attic or down to the basement, either. Prospective buyers will be looking carefully at all those areas. You may have to park it with friends, family or a professional storage service until you move.
4. Quiz Your Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent can be your friend in selling the house quickly. When you are deciding upon a real estate agent, quiz them specifically on time-to-sale. Ask them how many homes they sold versus how many they represented. Ask for facts and figures on time to sale for comparable homes in your city and your neighborhood. A good real estate agent should know these immediately.
Ask for references before hiring a real estate agent. Talk to the references about the agent’s selling-related knowledge, helpfulness and availability.
5. Price to Sell
While most homeowners want, of course, to sell for the highest amount possible, consider price-to-sell strategies if you want or need to move quickly.
The most common strategy is to price your home a bit under the market rate. If it’s a deal, prospective buyers will be more apt to open their purse strings. This is especially true if you’re in a hot real estate market.
Be prepared, also, to sweeten the deal. You don’t have to advertise this fact, but just know that it’s a way to grease the process for a motivated buyer. A common sweetener is factoring the cost of a large piece of equipment that will need to be replaced fairly soon into the sale price. So if the buyer will probably need a new water heater in three years, you come down on the price for the amount one would cost.
If you want to minimize the time it will take your home to sell, take control of as many aspects of the process as you can. These five methods will help you be out of the old home and into the new as quickly as possible.