If you need to sell your house fast, you’re in luck. Statistics from the National Association of Realtors indicate that job growth, low inventory and low interest rates continue across the nation. This means you’re about to list your home in a seller’s market with competitive buyers ready to snatch up properties fast.
Once you find your buyer, there’s even more good news: the closing process is speeding up too! The numbers show that the majority of contracts avoid delays and settle on time— only two percent of contracts failed to close. So chances are, once all parties have signed on the dotted line, you’ll have your home sold within the agreed upon 30 or 60-day timeframe.
But there’s a lot of work to be done before you reach that contract stage. These are the steps every seller should take to line up a buyer quickly and avoid potential delays.
Step 1: Select a Superstar Agent
When you want to sell fast, getting a great, full-time agent on board has to be your first move.
Full-time agents have more experience in helping clients avoid issues that can hold up a sale, such as accepting an offer from a buyer who hasn’t pre-qualified for a mortgage. They also know more people in the real estate business, like other agents who’ll bring in prospective buyers the moment your home is ready to show.
According to Cindy Bunch, the #2 seller’s agent out of over 4,000 in the Lawrenceville, Georgia region, “If you hire the right agent, who has solid experience and a solid track record, then you’re getting solid information on pricing and the current market conditions.”
Top agents also have a solid marketing plan in place that’ll help your home sell fast. Bunch says, “most professional agents have a plan that’s in writing.” Ask them to show it to you.
The first step to finding the right agent is to create a list of all the top seller’s agents in your neighborhood. We’ve made that easy for you: see the top real estate agents near you.
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Step 2: Packing, Cleaning and Staging—Oh My!
The second you know you need to sell fast, is the moment you need to start packing to move. Why? Because excess clutter and personal items lead buyers to speculate about the current occupants, rather than envisioning themselves as the future owners.
While you’re packing, you need to get cleaning, too. A dirty home turns buyers off and sends up a red flag that the seller hasn’t maintained the house. And you need to do a whole lot more than just tidying up for company—when you’re preparing to sell, you’ll need to deep clean like never before.
Once it’s clean, you’ll need to stage each room as if it’s a department store window display. According to 62% of sellers’ agents, a well-staged home sells faster than unstaged homes. If you don’t have an eye for decor and curb appeal yourself, hire a professional stager or ask your agent for a recommendation.
And you’ll need to get your home in show-ready condition long before your first showing.
Many top agents hire a professional photographer to produce the images they’ll use in both the MLS and marketing materials. This is because statistics show that 95% of prospective buyers begin their house hunting with online searches.
When you want to sell fast, it’s key to have your home cleaned and staged in time for that photo shoot (and keep it that way until your home sells). This way, the home prospective buyers see in photos on the internet is the same one they’ll experience when they see it in person.
Step 3: Get a Pre-listing Inspection (and Fix the Big Issues)
It’s no surprise that houses requiring major repairs linger on the market longer than those that are move in ready. And if those maintenance issues aren’t found until your buyer’s home inspection, your home sale may stall or fall through altogether.
For sell fast sellers, the best way to avoid this sale-slowing problem is with a pre-listing inspection. A pre-listing inspection says to your buyers that your home has a clean bill of health, especially if it’s done by a professional inspector.
Any issues that do crop up in the seller’s inspection, such as faulty wiring or foundational flaws, can be repaired prior to listing your home to ensure a speedy sale. If you don’t have time for home improvements, expected repair costs can be negotiated into the sales price from the get-go.
Step 4: Price to Move
When listing in a seller’s market, it’s tempting to list your home at or above what the last comparable home sold for in your neighborhood. But if you want your home to sell fast, this is the wrong move.
According to Bunch, “If you’re in the wrong market price range it’s going to delay your sale, so you’re not going to have a fast sale. And it may cause you to ultimately get less money than you could have if you’d come on the market in the right price range.”
Competitive price practically guarantees a quick sale. Just don’t go confusing current listing prices with confirmed sales. If your neighbors aren’t in a rush to sell, they may be listing for more than the last comps sold for. If you want to sell fast, you’ll need to price based on recent sales data rather than the asking prices your neighbors want to get.
An agent will have expert advice on what your local market looks like and recent comps on actual sales. With this information, you’ll be able to determine the right value for your home—and then list for just below that mark.
Pricing under the current market value is the best way to get offers on your home immediately. Bunch advises sellers looking for a quick sale to list at three to five percent under the current market value. This strategy will lead to multiple offers, which will ultimately push up your sale price.
Just don’t go too low. Years ago, when buyer’s markets were flooded with inventory, the NAR advised undercutting the current market value by up to 10%. Not anymore.
These days, a severely undercut property is often red-flagged by buyers’ brokers who’ll expect the wallet-friendly listing has some hidden flaws that will be pricey for their clients. Not to mention that a too-low asking price will take a bigger bite out of your profits than necessary.
Step 5: Help Spread the Word
The best agents will have a marketing strategy and materials in place to sell your home, but there’s no harm in lending a helping hand. Start by creating a list of all the things you love about living in your home to share with your agent.
Maybe it’s the hummingbirds that flit about the flowerbeds each summer, or the mom-n-pop restaurants within walking distance. Those little details may be the selling point that gets your best buyer to bite.
As Bunch explains, “Even though I have done this for a long time, people know their home better than I do. So I welcome input regarding key things that the sellers think are important to communicate in the marketing.”
Top agents know that use social media sells homes faster, so they’ll share their seller’s listings on Facebook and Twitter. Bunch advises her clients to do the same by sharing links to the MLS listing and any other website links for the property on their social media pages.
If you really want to help your home sell faster, don’t just share a bland link—
get creative with your posts. For example, if your home was built in the 1980s and happens to be located in the middle of your block, create a compilation slideshow of the professional photographs sound-tracked with the 1982 hit song “Our House” by Madness.
Just make sure to run all your creative marketing efforts by your agent first. As Bunch says, “I think it’s always better to have a coordinated effort.” After all, the last thing you want is for your marketing efforts to fail because you forgot to include the proper contact information in your marketing materials.
Making major life decisions, like selling a home, is never easy. Add in the ticking clock that comes along with selling your home fast and the swiftness can leave sellers feeling uneasy. But if you approach the sale with a clear understanding of the process, a solid plan and the help of a savvy agent, you can sell your home both quickly and with confidence.