The Busy Person’s Guide to Selling a Home Quickly

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It’s around 9 p.m. You’re just heading home after a long day at work. You’ve finished rounds at the hospital or are buttoning up a long case in court. You love your job and wouldn’t have it any other way, but your responsibilities mean you have to delegate certain tasks.

In everyday life, you prioritize. Maybe you send out laundry because if you don’t you’ll have loads sitting in the dryer for two weeks at a time. Maybe you UberEats your dinner a few times a week so you can spend your free time playing catch with your kids in the backyard instead of slaving away in the kitchen. Maybe you have a nanny who picks up the kids from school.

Selling your house is no different. If you have a busy life filled with long hours and high-stress projects, you’ll likely need to farm out some tasks to the pros if you’re going to get the job done quickly and keep your sanity intact.

Here are a few ideas to take the load off:

Hire a Realtor

Say you are working on a particularly difficult cardio case in the O.R. You’re in a pinch and aren’t quite sure what your next steps should be. Do you wing it?

No. You page the head of cardiology for a consult, or you pass off the responsibility completely to someone who has the expertise and proven track record to keep that ticker ticking.

In real estate, it’s not life or death, but finding a good Realtor is critical to how the patient (homeseller) fares. The housing industry is full of fraudulent loans, cash-for-houses lowball offers and weekend side-job real estate agents. Finding a high-performing agent in your area with the help of HomeLight can make all the difference.

Stephen FitzMaurice, rockstar agent in Portland, Oregon, says, “A good agent is not a designer or a contractor but can provide you with recommendations.” Great agents know their industry and their community. They “have a guy” for everything, and are the best place to start if you’re looking for someone to stage your home, clean your kitchen, landscape your yard, or host your children’s birthday party (just kidding about this one).

Ask for a Smart Lock Box

You’ll find everything from old-school numeric combo lockboxes to BlueTooth-enabled sleeves that open with the swipe of a card. Some are about as useful as a Hide-a-Key rock and others are advanced enough to transmit valuable information about the buyer to the seller. If you know who’s looking at your house, you can market it accurately.

Say for example, your home is right next to the best school in town. You assume those interested in it will be families who have school-age children. However, after a dozen people do walk-throughs, you learn that actually most the people who are interested in your home are older empty-nesters, likely looking for something with a view in a gated community. This insight may completely change your marketing strategy.

Though a good real estate agent will do the marketing research and advertising for you, access to buyer information keeps you involved in the process, even if just from your phone screen at the office.

Enlist the Skills of a Stager

Walking into a vacant home is a lot like exploring the inside of an empty refrigerator — it doesn’t smell like your house and it feels a little sterile. It’s also pretty hard to visualize what living there would be like. Where would you sit for breakfast? How would you place the bed for proper Feng Shui? According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 81 percent of buyers surveyed indicated it was easier to visualize a house when it was staged.

If you’re not naturally a designer or you simply just don’t have the time, hire a professional stager. Your agent might work with one directly, or have a reference for one. This professional service — ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars — typically pays for itself with a quick sell.

According to the Real Estate Closing Association houses that have been staged sell 90 percent faster than houses that aren’t staged. Think about your savings on utilities.

Schedule a Regular Cleaning Crew

Whether you use the cleaning lady your neighbor uses, or you find a company via Yelp or Angie’s List, pay someone else to mop your floors. It’s one of those super time-consuming tasks that someone else can do much better and much faster than you can, at a price that’s simply worth it.

First, have your home deep-cleaned; it’ll cost you a few hundred bucks. Think about the dust on the window blinds, the too-often-skipped baseboards, the dried watermelon juice drippings on the front of the kitchen cabinets. A pro will vacuum every corner, shampoo the carpet and Magic Eraser all those kids’ fingerprints and Frisbee marks off your glossy door jambs.

Start with a clean slate and then upkeep is easier. If you’re living in the house at the time of the sale, you’ll need to pick up your laundry from the bathroom floor in the morning and because it’s not The Westin, you’ll also have to make your own bed. You can however, hire a cleaning crew to come in once a week and do all the maintenance cleaning.

Keep a Landscaper on Call

It’s what’s on the inside that matters … but it’s also what’s on the outside. No house hunter is going to look twice at your property if they have to weedwack their way to the front door. Actually, they probably won’t even look once if that’s the case.

First, go big. Hire tree trimmers. Rake debris. Ask a gardener to plant new colorful perennials in your front beds. Find a company to wash all the bird poop off your windows and siding. Powerwash your driveway.

Once you get it into good selling shape, keeping it up is as easy as hiring a landscaper to come in once or twice a month. They can mow the lawn, rake the leaves and keep the garden beds weeded so your curb appeal is top notch until you close escrow.

Selling a home as as busy person is no simple goal. It is possible though. Find a good Realtor, ask for service recommendations and then hire people to help. Don’t they need you back at work anyway?

Article Image Source: (Startup Stock Photos)