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Whether you need to sell your house fast to move for a job, help a family member in need, or trade-up into a bigger home, we’ve built an 11-step plan, separated into non-physical and physical factors, for selling your home in record time:
Non-physical aspects of selling your house fast:
- Hire a real estate agent proven to sell homes fast.
- Choose the optimal time of year to list your home.
- Price your home at or slightly below market value.
- Run a strong digital marketing campaign.
- Consider selling to a cash buyer to expedite closing.
Physical aspects of selling your house fast:
- Conduct a pre-listing inspection.
- Start decluttering your house ASAP.
- Invest in a deep clean — and keep it clean.
- Go neutral, neutral, neutral.
- Stage the key rooms in your home.
- Crank up the curb appeal.
Non-physical aspects of selling your house fast
Hiring a top real estate agent, pricing your home correctly, and effectively marketing your listing are all steps to consider if you want to sell your house fast.
1. Hire a real estate agent proven to sell houses fast
To sell your home fast, you need to work with a top real estate agent with proven experience selling properties quickly. Depending on your market, these top real estate agents can sell homes anywhere between 10% to 50% faster than the average agent — which is a huge difference.
When you interview your top matches, let them know, “selling my house fast is my main objective for my home sale.” Then ask them questions on their experience selling homes fast like these:
- What sets you apart from other agents when it comes to transaction speed?
- What would your marketing plan for my home look like?
- How long do you expect pre-listing activities to take?
- Does your service fee include staging?
- If I choose you, what’s the first step to getting started?
Experienced real estate agents have the insider tips you need, including doing a pre-listing inspection to help speed up the sales process.
“A buyer that knows you have already had the home inspected is going to feel a lot more comfortable in negotiations for a purchase contract. Most people don’t want to buy a house that has hidden issues,” says Lisa Sanford, a top-selling real estate agent in Kankakee County, Illinois. “Ninety percent of buyers choose not to do another home inspection if they see a pre-listing home inspection dated within a couple of months of their offer.”
2. Choose the optimal time of year to list your home
Across the nation, spring traditionally ranks as the best time to sell your home, but you might find that any time could be a good time to list in a seller’s market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales in 2021 were highest in January, October, and November.
However, HomeLight’s deep dive into transaction data reveals the best time to sell your home truly depends on your market. For example, in San Diego where the sunny climate entices buyers to purchase homes all year round, February leads as the top month to sell your house fast. Use HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator to check days on market trends for your area.
3. Price your home at or slightly below market value
Your home’s fair market value is the amount your house is worth based on the current status of the real estate market in your area and the condition of your home. To sell your home fast, it’s essential to price your home at or slightly below this value.
HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Summer/Fall 2021 finds that 54% of agents have seen or heard of buyers backing out of purchase contracts because of inflated prices. This reveals the potential importance of avoiding overpricing when listing your home.
To find your home’s fair market value, your real estate agent runs a comparative market analysis of comparable homes sold in your neighborhood in the past 2-3 months. Your agent will then set a listing price at or slightly below this number, taking into consideration online pricing benchmarks, or specific price range filters used on listing websites.
In a strong seller’s market where prices are trending upwards, underpricing your home is another optional pricing strategy for a fast sale, encouraging buyers to bid up in order to lock it down in a competitive market. To find out what your home is worth in less than two minutes, use HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator.
4. Run a strong digital marketing campaign
Survey results from NAR reveal that 41% of recent buyers started the homebuying process by looking for properties online and 95% of buyers used online tools during the search process.
Buyers want to get a feel for a home before putting in further time and effort. And what better way to give them a helpful glimpse of your house than through a detailed online listing?
Nail these digital touchpoints to make your listing stand out on the web:
- On point listing photos and descriptions: “Photos are obviously good,” says Sanford. “Sometimes we do professional photography, but the iPhone 12 Pro works beautifully as well. Buyers like exterior drone photos, too.” Pair your listing photos with well-written, creative listing descriptions that highlight your home’s best features.
- Strong social media marketing: Take advantage of technology to sell your house online, including using Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, and any other platform your Realtor has a large following on. Advertise your open house or listing across the internet to reach potential buyers.
- Short and sweet e-blasts: Email buyers’ agents a digital flyer with photos or a video tour of your home and a link to your single property listing website. Include basic information such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and special features, along with a call to action encouraging them to arrange a showing with your agent.
5. Consider selling to a cash buyer to expedite closing
When speed is your priority, cash is your friend. According to Ellie Mae, the average time it takes to close on a home purchase clocked in at 54 days as of December 2021. That essentially adds almost two months to your selling timeline. If your home attracts multiple offers and one of them is from a buyer who can pay cash, make sure to weigh the value of the cash offer.
Keep in mind that cash offers aren’t always common. According to the NAR, 87% of recent homebuyers financed their purchase, so cash buyers could be a rare find depending on your market. However, recent reports from the NAR showed cash sales saw a significant increase in 2021, accounting for 25% of sales in April 2021.
If you want a cash offer to help sell your house fast, tap into HomeLight’s network of cash buyers across the country using our Simple Sale platform to get an offer in as little as 48 hours.
Physical aspects of selling your house fast
Your home needs to be visually appealing for most buyers to be interested. If you want to sell your house fast, here are a few physical aspects to keep in mind.
6. Conduct a pre-listing inspection
What’s the point of doing a pre-listing home inspection when many buyers plan on doing their own home inspection?
“By getting an inspection before listing, you can help eliminate a lot of stress surrounding the sale,” responds Sanford. “With an inspection, you will know if any issues exist and you will have the opportunity to address them. Perhaps you know how to make the necessary repairs or your agent may be able to suggest a contractor of their choice.”
When you complete this step before buyers’ offers roll in, you shorten the window between the offer and closing, effectively cutting out the time needed for inspection, the time needed for repairs, and the time spent on related negotiations.
7. Start decluttering your house ASAP
HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report reveals decluttering costs an average of $486 and adds $2,584 in value — that’s a 432% ROI. Here are our top tips for expediting the process:
- Set benchmark goals: Create a plan to declutter room-by-room with deadlines to stay organized.
- Ask for help: Friends and family help speed up decluttering, offering objective eyes on what you should keep and what you can toss.
- Pack as you go: Knock down two birds with one stone and pack everything that is non-essential to your daily life for the next few months (yes, that includes the Margaritaville machine).
- Place “maybes” in storage: Rent a storage unit for your “maybes” to get them out of the house. The average cost of a storage unit ranges from $100–$300 per month — enough to motivate you to face up to those “stay or sashay away” decisions.
- Call in the pros: If you’re hoarder adjacent, consider bringing in professional organizers to assist. Fee structures vary, but you can expect to pay $35-$80 an hour for these services.
8. Invest in a deep clean — and keep it clean
91.34% of real estate agents agree that deep cleaning is an essential home improvement project that truly adds to your bottom line (an estimated $1,728 increase!).
Use HomeLight’s exhaustive house cleaning checklist for a room-by-room guide to cleaning, including product recommendations and links. Maintain your home’s cleanliness with a weekly cleaning list and improved organization systems, especially for kid’s toys. The cleaner you keep your home, the less preparation you need for buyer showings. The sooner buyers can see your home, the quicker they can make offers.
9. Go neutral, neutral, neutral
Most real estate agents will tell you the key to selling your house fast is to make it as neutral as possible so it appeals to a wide range of buyers. Start by depersonalizing every room, removing photos, religious objects, and sentimental items. As much as you love your family, friends, and pets, these items block buyers from visualizing themselves living in your home.
10. Stage these key rooms in your home
A 2021 NAR survey reveals that 82% of buyers’ agents said staging a house made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home. At a minimum, it’s recommended to stage your living room, master bedroom, and kitchen: the three most important rooms according to the NAR.
11. Crank up the curb appeal
Beautiful curb appeal attracts buyers like bees to honey. Get buyers buzzing to arrange viewings to help sell your home fast. Data from HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Survey reveals curb appeal is the number one way homeowners can boost the marketability of their house.
This includes focusing on the front porch, which could add up to $5,686 to the dollar amount of your listing. Overall findings conclude that curb appeal could add, on average, $11,718 in resale value.
Along with landscaping, here are some easy ways to give your home’s front a facelift:
- Pressure wash your driveway and home’s exterior walls
- Clear leaves and debris from your lawn
- Blow snow off your driveway and walkway
- Build a stone paver driveway
- Line your walkway with solar lights
- Paint your door an accent color
- Accessorize the entry with a welcome mat and wreath
- Clean or replace your mailbox
- Beautify your driveway with a plant or stone border
There are plenty of factors to consider when selling a home, and it might feel overwhelming if you haven’t been through the process before. But an experienced real estate agent can be your guide and help you reach your selling goals. Find a top local agent today for help selling your house fast.
Header Image Source: (Digital Marketing Agency NTWRK / Unsplash)