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Retired Couple Shares Secret to a Fast Home Sale: Hire an Amazing Agent, Then Hop in the RV

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When Carl and Debbie Kindle finally retired, they couldn’t wait to leave everything in Missouri behind, get on the road, and see where their RV would take them. With their kids grown and relocated to the East Coast, the only thing standing between them and their open-ended road trip was selling their 5-bedroom lakefront home in Katy Lake Estates, a housing community in the college town of Columbia, Mo.

One day, after some thought, the couple figured, why wait any longer? In the spring of 2019, they decided to start their road trip and leave their home sale in the hands of a professional.

Ryan Lidholm, top real estate agent in Columbia, Mo.

Enter Ryan Lidholm, a top area real estate agent the Kindles found through HomeLight’s agent matching service. With Lidholm’s impressive stats (he sells homes 53% quicker than the average agent in Columbia) and his background in construction, the Kindles trusted him to expedite the selling process while they were away.

“We were wanting to basically move out and have the work like painting and carpet done while we were out of the house. So we just left!,” Debbie recounts, sharing how they gave Lidholm the keys to their house, hopped in the RV, and hoped for the best.

Lidholm got right to work. The first week after the couple departed, he booked the repairs and improvements and landed on a competitive list price. The second week, he listed the home on a Tuesday, hosted viewings during the week, and held an open house on Sunday. The Monday of the third week, the future buyers submitted an offer.

Courtesy of Carl and Debbie Kindle

All told, the agent listed the Kindles’ home on April 23, 2019, and sold it on May 1, 2019.

Their house was on the market for just 8 days.

Courtesy of Carl and Debbie Kindle

It starts with finding the right agent

When the Kindles set out to sell their house, they planned to leave everything in the agent’s hands—from major repairs to keeping the plants alive. They needed someone they could trust 100% to get the job done.

So HomeLight matched the Kindles with a few top agents in their area based on factors like their track record for selling homes quickly and for the most money, their number of transactions near where the Kindles lived, and past client reviews. The Kindles then had the chance to interview their agent matches to find out who would be the best fit for their needs.

Lidholm stood out as a top candidate with his impressive stats for selling homes quickly in his agent profile. Beyond statistics, Lidholm has a degree in Civil Engineering, construction experience with one of the biggest builders in the area, and a licensed and insured remodeling company which he pairs with his real estate career.

“That was his selling point,” Carl shares. “Restoration Ryan!”

During the interview, Lidholm assured the Kindles that he could assess what improvements were necessary and hire the contractors in his network to get the work done fast while they were away.

“After we talked to him we just felt like we could trust him to do what he said he was going to do, which he did. He followed through with everything,” Debbie reflects.

The Kindles left town to begin their adventure, leaving Lidholm with the house to begin the work.  The agent created a short list of essential improvements and focused on value adds he could knock out quickly. He then called his contractors and booked all the jobs for the same week.

To freshen the interior, Lidholm opted to replace the carpet and paint the walls—two of the most recommended improvements for home sellers according to HomeLight’s Q1 2019 Top Agent Insights Report. The team replaced the original carpet with a versatile multi-tone variety which can complement grey or beige styling.

For the walls, Lidholm chose to color match the original paint and apply liberal touch ups throughout the home, saving time and money compared to a full repaint. Exterior wise, Lidholm’s team power washed the front and cleaned all of the windows to boost curb appeal.

Of all the improvements, the most needed fix was mending a hole in the metal wrap around the garage door. When the Kindles had previously reached out for a quote, a contractor suggested the repair would be complicated, expensive, and time consuming. Worst of all, the contractor couldn’t book the job any sooner than three months out. Determined to find a better solution, Lidholm rang up his siding contractor who agreed to do the job the same week for a fraction of the previous quote.

Lidholm explains that his relationships with contractors gives his work priority scheduling over other real estate agents:

“When I call my contractors, I have a history of paying quickly. When they show up to the job, it is what I say it’s going to be, they’re in at the right step of the process, and everything goes smoothly.”

At the end of it all, for a process that could have easily taken 3 to 4 weeks, Lidholm completed in the array of projects just 7 working days on a $5,000 budget.

A home that had a fast sale.
Carl and Debbie Kindles’ home listing (Credit: Jet Streak Photography)

A competitive pricing strategy sets the Kindles’ listing apart

Pricing is one of the most critical factors in determining how fast a home will sell. If you price a home too high, the home may sit on the market for months, inspiring low offers from buyers looking to negotiate a deal. On the other hand, if you price a home too low, you could leave money on the table.

To price the Kindles’ home, Lidholm conducted a comparative market analysis that took into account various factors that play into price. To start, he found comps on homes that had sold on the lake from the last two years. Most were listed for around $380,000, but sold for closer to $350,000 after sitting on the market for 140 days.

He then weighed square footage and age variables in the analysis; the majority of lake front homes sold had 20% more square footage than the Kindles, but the Kindles’ home was 10 years newer.

With these factors in consideration, Lidholm arrived at $345,000.

“The idea was that we didn’t want to go up to that $360,000 price range like all the other ones were and have it sit for 150 days. Let’s just price it where we think it’s actually going to sell and then move it quickly,” he explains.

“Initially I thought the price was a little bit high, but apparently it was spot on,” Debbie reflects honestly. In the end, there was only a $4,000 difference between this listing price and the money the couple ended up with in the contract.

Carl and Debbie Kindles’ home listing (Credit: Jet Streak Photography)

Great marketing highlights home’s lakefront location

Since the home’s biggest selling point was its lakefront location, Lidholm decided not to waste time staging the interior. Instead, he moved the majority of the couple’s furniture into storage to make the rooms appear as large, blank canvases for prospective buyers. The Kindles also played a role in decluttering, having spent the past two years removing unneeded belongings in anticipation of retirement.

When the home was ready to showcase, Lidholm brought in a professional photographer to take beautiful pictures from the inside, the outside, and from 50 feet above with the help of a drone camera.

“Our home looked even more awesome than it really was,” Carl admits in admiration of the drone’s abilities.

Debbie laughs. “It looked really, really good,” she said.

Hot on the market, over 25 people view the Kindles’ home in 6 days

With fantastic photos and a well-formed pricing strategy, Lidholm listed the Kindles’ home on the Tuesday following the week of repairs.

“I like to list on a Monday or a Tuesday, as in this case, so a lot of Realtors see the listing while they’re in their office in the beginning of the week,” Lidholm said. “They can send it to all their clients. Their clients can try to get in that week, but then it gives them time to schedule showings for the weekend.”

Almost immediately after posting, interest brewed for the property. Lidholm scheduled 5 viewings before the end of the week. He updated Carl and Debbie each time with texts and daily phone calls.

That Sunday, Lidholm hosted an open house which saw a record number of attendees: 22 people walked through the Kindles’ home, including the future buyers who spent over an hour assessing the property. The interested couple requested a private showing the next day and quickly submitted an offer the day after.

After 8 days on the market, the Kindles’ home sells for near asking price

The buyers’ offer was fantastic; it was not only incredibly close to the listing price, but also entailed a 50% down payment upon purchase. Since the bank did not require an appraisal with such a high down payment, going with these buyers would help guarantee the home would close quickly.

When Lindholm revealed the offer to the Kindles, they were ecstatic—they never expected their home to sell so fast. In fact, it was almost too fast. During the negotiation, the couple asked the buyers for a few extra weeks so they could return, pack the remainder of their belongings, and say goodbye to the home they lived in for 13 years.

Source: (Jet Streak Photography)

Never underestimate the power of a top agent to sell your home fast

The Kindles credit the speed of their home sale to Lidholm, believing that his restoration knowledge, local market expertise, and consistent communication culminated to pull off the quick sale they needed to fully embrace their travels.

Take a page out of the Kindles’ book, and master the elements of a quick home sale:

  • Price:
    Price is essential to selling a home fast. Experienced agents understand the market on a deeper level from years of studying trends and analyzing sales data. A top agent will set the price at market value based on actual sale prices, not listing prices, to encourage competitive offers from buyers.
  • Network:
    Not all agents have Lidholm’s unique background in restoration and contracting, but they will have an extensive network of professionals in the area. They can connect you with reliable contractors who get the job done right the first time.
  • Strategic improvements:
    Don’t overhaul your house to sell it fast. Full remodels take time and expend money you won’t necessarily recoup when the home sells. Instead, consult your agent to select easy, high return on investment projects to make your home stand out against the competition.
  • Marketing:
    Market your home to highlight its unique features. If your home’s best asset is its location, edit drone shots to perfection. If the open floor plan kitchen is the crown jewel, stage the space to sell the chef’s dream.
  • Communication:
    Your real estate agent plays the ultimate liaison between you, hired professionals, and prospective buyers. The agent’s response speed propels every phase forward, ultimately saving you weeks, even months off the total time it takes to sell.

Debbie praises, “Ryan went over and beyond what a normal Realtor would do. He was very hands on.”

“We wouldn’t be where we are right now in the position we are had we chose somebody else,” Carl echoes.

Where exactly are the Kindles now?

Courtesy of Carl and Debbie Kindle

Enjoying the freedom of their ultimate retirement road trip across America—no house, no bills, just bliss.

Header Image Credit: (Jet Streak Photography)