Now that the house hunting season is in full swing, I thought it’s a good idea to revisit these house selling tips again. Although the economy has been improving, the housing market still favors buyers over sellers in many areas (with the exception of some low inventory areas where there are more buyers than sellers). Regardless, sellers are still finding themselves in a competitive market and have to differentiate themselves in order to sell their house faster. Fortunately, there are proven techniques that you can use to help you sell your home quicker and some of these will even help you get more money for your home.
Tips to Sell Your Home
To make sure your home sells faster, there are a few things that you could do. Here are 9 home improvement techniques to help you sell your home more quickly:
1. Make sure you are selling at the right price
I know it’s very difficult to sell your home for less than what you bought it for a few years ago. It’s even harder if you’re upside down on your home loan. But you can’t insist on unrealistic price if you want to sell your home in a down market. To find the right price, the best thing to do is contact a local Realtor. Alternatively, you can check other homes for sale in your area, using web sites like Reatlor.com or Zillow.
You can hire an appraisal, but understand that this appraisal result is not used by your buyer’s lender (they order their own appraisal and use that result).
Although you can’t compete with banks that are selling foreclosed homes, you’ll be in a much better position to compete against other sellers who aren’t as flexible on price.
2. Remove clutter from your home
Photo by Annahape via Flickr
No one wants to buy a messy rat hole. So make sure your house is clean and organized. Remove as much clutter as you can, even if you have to store your stuff in storage. You can get an idea of how your home should look by browsing through magazines or even IKEA catalogs. And here are some general tips to help guide you:
- Tables, desks, and counter tops should be mostly clear to show as much surface space as possible.
- Remove majority of family photos from walls, shelves, and fireplace mantle (if you have one). You want the potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house, not looking at your family history.
- Remove any unnecessary furniture and put it into storage to give your house more living space.
- Remove unnecessary electronics, extension cords, and power strips. Most buyers don’t care about your mega entertainment system. And you don’t want it to be obvious that your electrical system is old and lacking.
- Remove clothing from your closets and put it into storage to make the closets feel bigger.
- Remove all the extra clutter throughout the house to make it feel bigger and more spacious.
3. Improve your home curb appeal
Photo by MichiganMoves via Flickr
First impression means a lot, and for your home the name of the game is curb appeal. If you’re a fan of HGTV Curb Appeal, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The goal here is not to spend a lot of money to improve your home, rather you’re trying to do inexpensive things (that may require some sweat equity) to improve the appearance of your home. You want your home to look better than other houses in the area and in a “move in ready” condition.
Here are a few things you could do to improve your home curb appeal:
- Trim hedges and mow your lawn.
- Clean all windows and surfaces.
- Repaint walls, doors, and trims in neutral colors.
- Replace old window blinds or drapes, and update the window treatments.
- Power wash or paint the exterior.
4. Fix problems around the house
Now go throughout the house room by room, and take notes of all the things that need fixing. Little things matter and they could turnoff your buyers. If you noticed them, the buyer will too. Take the time to go around and fix those things one by one. Remember that fixing these small problems doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will take time and effort.
However, do not spend money on major home improvements. Consult with your local Realtor and they can give you a good advice on where and where NOT to spend your money.
5. Learn the art of Home Staging
Photo by Wonderlane via Flickr
Home staging is not decluttering and cleaning. Home staging goes beyond that and happens after the steps above. It involves much less tangible things that include:
- Making the home smells fresh and airy. Some will even go as far as baking cookies before a showing to give the house a pleasant aroma.
- Making sure the temperature is right. You want the potential buyer to feel comfortable.
- Making sure rooms are properly lit by adjusting the window treatments and turning on/off lights.
- Arranging pieces of furniture in an appealing manner.
- Putting vases of fresh flowers on tables, or a small fruit basket on the dinning table.
- Showcasing various fabrics, decors, and knickknacks.
- Arranging items on shelves, bookcases and fireplace mantels to draw attention to predetermined areas.
You can read more about home staging at: Home Staging & Staging a House – What is Home Staging.
6. Leverage the power of the web to market your house
This is the Internet age and you should not let your agent limits your reach. Leverage online venues to help sell your house. For example, put home for sale ads on Craigslist, Reatlor.com, and Zillow. Promote the house through your online social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also send out a copy of your listing to people on your email list to see if they know anyone that might be looking for a house in your neighborhood.
Use every channel that you have at your disposal!
Note that a good Realtor will be taking care of these steps for you. Make sure you ask a few Realtors about their Marketing Plan.
7. Get a good agent to help you sell
In general, it’s better to work with an agent than trying to sell the house on your own. It’s their full time job to find buyers and show your home. This is harder than it looks and it’s generally better to leave this to the pro. However, you have to remember you’re the boss and that we are dealing with a lot of money here. So don’t just pick any agent that comes along. Call several real estate offices and ask to talk to their top sales agents. Make sure you are comfortable working with the person and ask questions. Here are some good questions you can ask your real estate agent.
Another important thing to remember is to review the Early Termination clause. You want to be able to fire your real estate agent if he or she cannot get the job done.
Here are some thoughts on how to find a realtor to sell your house.
8. Be creative
Buying a house is still very expensive for most people. If you have a buyer that needs help to close the deal, consider offering some sort of incentives to make the deal happens. For example, you can offer to cover some parts of the closing costs. This works especially well with first time home buyers.
9. Don’t be there
When you are having an open house or a house tour, LEAVE the house! It’s uncomfortable for you to have strangers in your home, and likewise, it’s uncomfortable to be in other people’s home. So why create any more tension? Leave the house and let the agent takes care of business. Let your buyers look around at their leisure without your scrutiny.
Selling your house isn’t always easy, but you can do some work to make your chances better. In the end your house will show better, and you’ll be able to sell your house that much quicker.
Do you have your own tips to help a home sell faster? Were there things that you did when selling your house that made it more attractive to buyers? Let us know about it in the comments section!
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.