The housing market is looking up—finally! Once again, it’s a great time to sell your house. Home buyers are on the move, but they are as cautious as ever—and rightfully so! Which means overpriced homes are not selling at all, while homes priced at market are selling only after careful consideration. Here are ten tips to help you sell your house fast, at the best price in todays’ market.
- Get the Price Right. Naturally, the first step to selling your home is to find out what your home is worth. Then, cut that number down by at least 10 to 15 percent. Sound crazy? Well, it’s not. Pricing your house under market will drive the demand up overnight. As the bids start to come in, your potential buyers will bid up the price until it hits the market value, or even higher. There is some risk involved, of course, but, in the words of one realtor, “it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.”1 (Which leads to tip #2—see below.) Also, bear in mind that research by the National Association of Realtors© reveals that pricing your home at “market value” attracts the most buyers and that, “most buyers buy within “market value”—not above it.”2 Other sources show that, 60% of buyers who want to buy a house with your amenities, in your location will visit when your house is priced within market value. Only 30% visit when your house is priced 10% above market. This means that 70% 0f buyers that could buy your house won’t even see it.”3 The conclusion? Know the market! “Keeping abreast of current “market conditions” and adjusting your price accordingly will help you attract the most buyers and reach a faster sale for the highest dollar.”4
- Focus on the First 30 Days. Keep in mind that the first 30 days your home is on the market are usually the best in terms of the activity and interest you’ll see. Therefore, it’s far better to get the momentum building during this key window, and price is one excellent way to do that. According to once source, “If your house is not priced for the market during this time, you miss the peak level of interest. Activity diminishes substantially after 30 days resulting in a longer time on market and a lower price.” In fact, there are a number of things you’ll want to do before you put it on the market, so that you can hit the ground running on Day 1. Keep reading to learn more.
- Turn Up the Brightness. Dark homes are a downer. In fact, the research shows that bright, cheerful homes consistently sell better. But it’s not just the color and location of your home that matters. Turning on the lights, trimming the trees and bushes outside that are blocking sunlight (particularly, here in Georgia where the trees can be thick and huge), opening the shades and drapes; all of these simple adjustments can go a long way toward helping you sell your home.
- Go for the Tech Savvy Agent. An agent with a good grasp on technology and online resources would easily outperform an experienced agent of a few decades ago. Why? Because, as with everything else, information has revolutionized the real estate industry. Be sure your agent can deliver when it comes to online tools and resources. Ideally, your agent has a finger on MLS (multiple listing service), but can also pull up the relevant numbers and comps at a moment’s notice. A tech savvy agent will also be sure to have your home listed on the major real estate websites—especially the big three: Trulia.com, Zillow.com, and Realtor.com. (If you list with us, we’ll put you in Keller Williams Listing System and your home will be listed with over 50 national search engines tapping over 500 websites to attract both local and out of town buyers.) What’s more, it may surprise some to know that those agents who are up to speed are also making great use of Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, some major realtors boast of selling more homes through social media than anywhere else. Online marketing really is key, as the statistics show. Indeed, according to a recent Reader’s Digest article, “92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures!”5 Which brings me to the next tip.
- Get Loads of Photos and Video. You’ve probably heard it many times before—whether we’re talking about reading articles online, getting connections on LinkedIn, getting Likes on Facebook, Shares on Twitter, ad infinitum—something with a photo (even a mediocre photo) does better than something without a photo. Moreover, oftentimes those posts with lots of photos do better than those with just a few. This, of course, is equally true of your home. “A study by Trulia.com shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.”6 Obviously, you want to have lots of bright, quality photos, although the law of diminishing returns will apply here too (25 is a good upper limit. Remember: Overwhelming people with information can be a turn off too). But having a video or two to compliment the photos can be an excellent way to stand out. In fact, that’s a great question to ask your potential agent. You want someone who is both comfortable with video (or has a team that can help) and someone who understands the value of video in today’s marketplace.
- Paint the Bigger Picture. It’s never just about the house. People live in their communities too. Neighbors, nearby homes, community landscaping, local school ratings, shopping and recreation—all of these factors are relevant to your buyer’s decision. So, don’t neglect to highlight all the stuff you love about living there and, of course, take a few photos of this stuff too. Also if there are amenities through an HOA, it might make sense for you to include pictures of that as well.
- Keep the Pets Away. I’m a big animal lover, especially cats and dogs, but the reality is that not everyone cares for pets—especially not yours. And, frankly, pets can be hard on homes. So it’s better to keep the pets and their toys and bowls out of view when your home is being shown. In a similar vein, you may want to hide the whiskey bottles and beer cans and the empty keg too (people can be so darn judgmental ;).
- Break Out the Paint. Painting your home is another great, fairly affordable way to significantly enhance the appearance of your home. You want your home to look like it’s in with the current style and the hottest market conditions, and minor enhancements, including paint can be a great way to do that.
- Dramatically Reduce the Clutter. The problem with clutter and knick-knacks is two-fold: 1.) First, it leaves the buyer with the impression that the home itself is not well taken care of, and 2.) Second, it makes it more difficult for them to imagine themselves living in your home. The less personal stuff they see, the easier their imaginations can fill in the space with what they want.
- Be Flexible and Ready to Show at All Times. This is one of the harder parts of selling your house: You have to be ready for your real estate agent to walk through the door with the buyer at any moment. The more flexible you are about when you can show it, the more likely you are to get it sold. Pretty simple. Don’t neglect this one. Keeping it clean at all times with everything put away might be a great habit anyway, but, more importantly, it can make the all-too-important difference of whether or not your home sells.
- Get it Right from the Curb. As with most everything in life, whether we realize it or not, we make our initial judgments about people, places and things within seconds. “Thin slicing,” Malcolm Gladwell calls it.7 In real estate, we call it “curb appeal.” And as important as the first impression is (the view from the driveway or curb), with homes, it includes the first impression when standing inside the front door. You can maximize the advantage here by keeping your front yard clean and manicured. It could also mean replacing the grass, the mailbox, or adding some flowers. But it may also mean creating a nice entry way inside the front door—another great place for flowers.
- “10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home.” HGTV. http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/10-best-kept-secrets-for-selling-your-home
- Keller Williams, National Association of Realtors©
- “13 Tips for Selling Your Home.” Reader’s Digest. http://www.rd.com/home/improvement/13-tips-for-selling-your-home/
- Gladwell, Malcolm (2007). Blink. Back Bay Books, Little, Brown and Company, first published 2005, p. 23.