Sell My House Fast
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney
Selling a house is always a stressful process, even in the best of conditions; however, what if you need to sell your house fast? Luckily, the housing market in most parts of the United States and Canada has recovered from the crash of 2008, so anyone looking to sell a home is in a much better position now than in the years following that financial disaster. However, selling a house fast requires making it appealing to buyers and listing it at the right price. Here, we give you some advice on what you need to do to sell your house quickly.
Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal
The front of your home is the first thing that prospective buyers see when they pull up to your driveway and making a good first impression can mean the difference between making a sale or having people take a pass. Accordingly, the front of your home, from the windows to your front door, to the front lawn and garden needs to look clean, well-kept, and attractive.
- 1If you have grass in your front yard, make sure that it is mowed and that the edges are properly trimmed. An unkempt lawn makes the property look abandoned, and that can turn off prospective homebuyers.Mow the lawn.Advertisement
- 2If your front lawn has bald spots or areas of dead grass, then it's worth spending the money to re-sod those areas. It makes your lawn look pretty and conveys an impression of a well-maintained property.Re-sod, if necessary.Advertisement
- 3If you have room for them, plant colorful flowers around your front yard. They add a spot of color to the front of your home and who doesn't love pretty flowers?Plant flowers.
- 4If there are boxes, old tires, old cars, or other trash items littering your yard, dispose of them. A trashy front yard can mean an instant pass for many prospective buyers.Clean up the front yard.
- 5Broken screens are easy to replace, but windows might be costly; however, fixing at least the front-facing windows is a must if you want a quick sale.Replace broken screens and fix broken windows.
- 6Paint is cheap, and painting is an easy job. Make an event of it: invite your friends, family, and neighbors for beer and pizza and have a painting party.Paint the front door and the exterior trim.
Update and Spruce Up the Interior
Just as with the front of your home, the interior of your home needs to look clean, well-kept, and functional.
- 1New paint is the cheapest and easiest upgrade to make. Choose neutral colors such as cremes, browns, and taupes, and avoid primary and loud colors. Visit model homes nearby for ideas on the color palette you should use.Paint the walls.Advertisement
- 2Every fixture, from the wall sockets to the light switches, to the lights themselves can date your home. Styles change, and to attract buyers and get them interested enough to purchase your home, you're going to have to modernize it to today's standards. Again, a walk through new model homes will give you an idea of the current style in fixtures.Replace old fixtures.
- 3Prospective buyers will walk all over your home, so clean your home from top to bottom. If you are tempted to leave a room untouched, thinking that there is no way a buyer will ever see it, don't give in.Make sure that every room is clean.
- 4If the carpets in your home are very old or too dirty and stained to get clean, you will need to replace them. Cheaper options include leaving a bare floor (though not bare concrete) and using throw rugs over it or using laminate flooring instead of carpet.Replace old and dirty carpets.
Declutter and Depersonalize Your Home
An important factor in enticing homebuyers to purchase your home is making it easy for them to see themselves in that space. The more personal clutter you have around, such as family photos, stacks of papers, and personal knickknacks, the harder it is for someone else to picture themselves living in your home.
- 1Yes, that means the doilies and that picture of your Aunt Emma have to go. The same goes for family photos hanging on the walls.Remove personal clutter from all surfaces.
Staging Your Home for a Quick Sale
There is a reason that model homes look like they do: from the neutral paint to the type of furniture used in each room, everything is designed to evoke comfort and feelings of home in prospective buyers. You must do the same with your house.
- 1If you have a spare bedroom that you have never done anything with, turn it into a home office. For furniture, you can find cheap pieces at used furniture stores. You don't even have to go through the trouble of refinishing the pieces if you don't have time; just throw a colored sheet that matches or contrasts with the walls over any unsightly pieces.Give every room and space a purpose.
- 2A few carefully placed vases on end tables and as a centerpiece on your dining table can go a long way toward creating an attractive atmosphere in your home. You can also try arranging a fruit bowl and placing it at the center of your table as well.Scatter vases with colorful flowers around your home.
- 3Realtors know this trick well: fill your house with the nostalgic scents of home by throwing a pie in the oven or baking bread. You can use frozen pies or ready-made bread dough for this, there's no need to bake from scratch. Another way to simulate these scents is to boil cinnamon sticks in a pot of water on the stove top.Bake an apple pie or bread right before a showing.
Pricing Your Property for a Quick Sale
While you don't want to price your home too low, you'll want to price it at or just under what comparable homes in your area have sold for. Finding this data can be tricky, since most real estate listing sites only just the prices of homes that are still on the market, but you can still use these numbers to arrive at a realistic price for your home. Pricing is one area where working with a realtor is worth the commission. Additionally, you can use psychological pricing tricks to make the price more appealing, such as pricing it at $299,000 instead of $300,000. The former seems to be more palatable than the latter with prospective buyers.
Advertising Your Home
Of course, you will need to advertise that your home is for sale if you want to make a sale. If you are selling it without the help of a realtor, you can use any of the free listing services, as well as advertising it in your local newspaper and on free online classifieds such as Craigslist or Kijiji. Here are some tips on listing your home for sale:
- 1You need to make sure that the widest addressable market knows about your house, and that means listing it in the newspaper and on multiple sites online. If you are working with a realtor, they will take care of this for you.Advertise everywhere.
- 2Advertise and host an Open House that is a set block of time during which anyone who is interested can come and see your home. Again, if you are using a realtor, they will make the necessary arrangements, but if not, you will have to do the legwork to set it up.Host an Open House.
- Place signs on telephone poles and at the corners of the major cross streets to your address.
- Host the Open House in the evenings or on weekends for the most traffic.
- Make yourself scarce while people are looking around inside.
- 3Since many people use photos of homes advertised for sale to weed out the ones they don't like, make sure that you're using good photos that display your property to its advantage. In fact, consider using a professional photographer.Make sure your listing includes good photos.
- 4Giving buyers more information to consider will set your listing apart from others with less information. People are interested in what the neighborhood looks like as well as its character, so this is good information to include.Include photos and information about the neighborhood in your listing.
- 5While you can't always help it in the case of a distressed sale, try and list your home during the spring. Spring is the most popular time for buying houses.List your home at the right time.
What About Using Those We Buy Houses Fast for Cash Companies?
Even in situations of dire need, such as facing foreclosure, you are still much better off using an agent or selling your home on your own to buyers on the open market. Companies that advertise about buying homes fast will always make extremely low offers, usually, the amount you owe on your mortgage, or less, in some cases. They do this because their business model relies on buying homes at a steep discount and either reselling them and pocketing the difference, or renting them out. Try to avoid them, if you can.