You’ve been thinking about it. You’ve been talking about it. Now it’s time to actually figure out how to sell your house fast. There are many steps involved in selling your home and it can seem like an overwhelming task. But if you break it down into manageable pieces, there’s no reason why you can’t attract the right buyers, sell your house quickly and move on to the next phase of your life.
How To Sell A House
Selling a home is not something most people do very frequently. So of course you might not know how to prepare. The first thing you need to do when selling your house is realize that it is it is no longer “your home.” It is now a product on the market and it has competition. You need to prepare and position it properly.
Look around. Those purple walls may make you smile every time you see them but they will turn off prospective buyers. You’ll be smart to pack up your personal items and neutralize your home before you put it on the market. Doing so drastically increases the chance for a quicker, more profitable sale because your home will appeal to a broader range of buyers.
Here are the first three steps to take:
- De-clutter –Pack away all of your favorite knick-knacks and collections. That includes dolls, tea-pots, cat figures, gun collections, war memorabilia, etc.
- De-personalize – Put away all your personal photos and memorabilia. If you’ve incorporated bold colors or patterns or themes throughout the house, you need to tone it all down. Pack away anything with strong style, such as bold rugs or imposing art.
- Neutralize – Paint is the best and easiest way to neutralize. Good neutral colors include softer shades of gray, beige, green and sometimes a bluish/gray. Keep colors light. You want prospective buyers to be able to picture themselves living in this house.
Make Necessary Repairs And Updates
Most buyers don’t want to the headaches of having to make repairs to their new home. If you’re serious about learning how to sell your house fast, you’ll pay attention to everything that needs repair, replacement or upgrading.
Are the electrical and plumbing systems up to code? Is there water damage in the basement, bathrooms or around the hot water heater? Have rodents been chewing wires, nesting in the attic insulation or running inside the walls? Home inspectors are going to find any and all of these issues and you will be responsible for fixing them or adjusting the sale price of your house to compensate, if you’re lucky. The buyer could alternately choose to walk away from the deal, costing you even more time and money. Better you find and fix them yourself before trying to sell your house.
More minor repairs, such as leaky faucets, doors that stick or squeak, and broken light switch plates are equally important to address.
Real estate agents will tell you, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Depending on your particular property and where it’s located, you may find it worthwhile to upgrade the kitchen. Today’s buyers want granite or quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Changing door knobs, cabinet hardware and light fixtures are additional ways to update a home for sale. Brushed nickel or oiled bronze fixtures are in vogue right now. In contemporary homes, you’ll see chrome. Whatever you choose, keep the finish on the doorknobs the same as the finish on the light fixtures. This coordination gives your home a pulled together, cohesive look.
Sell My House Fast
Now look around again. You say, “I want to sell my house fast!” How clean is your house? You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that dirty homes do not sell well. A super clean, meticulously organized home will sell faster and for money than its dirtier counterparts every day of the week.
Maybe your house doesn’t look that dirty to you. The challenge is we tend not to see our own dirt because we naturally get used to seeing past the dust and grime. However, prospective buyers see your house very differently. Buyers possess very keen and critical eyes. They see every little spec of dirt and are completely grossed out by it.
If you want to sell your house fast, you can either hire a cleaning service or you can do the job yourself. Either way, here’s what needs attention and scrubbing:
- The insides of kitchen cabinets, the pantry, bathroom cabinets and all closets. You’ll be amazed at what has accumulated in there.
- The inside and outside of all appliances. Crumbs, fingerprints and dried on food aren’t inviting.
- Bathtubs and showers, which tend to build up mold or mildew. Get rid of it completely. If commercial sprays or bleach don’t work, you may need to remove the grout or caulk and replace it with a fresh layer.
- Carpets and rugs. Nothing beats a professional cleaning to remove years of dirt, crumbs and pet fur.
- Upholstery – yes even if you’re taking the furniture with you; it needs freshening up to make a good impression.
- Windows – inside and out
One of the most important steps to take when you’re thinking about how to sell your home fast, is staging. You can hire a professional or you can attempt to stage your home yourself. If you’re doing it on your own, start with furniture.
Arrange furnishings to highlight a focal point and the assets of the room. At the same time, stay mindful of allowing potential buyers to move easily within the room and from one room to another. You want to keep all the furniture in balance. If you have a large heavy piece on one side of the room, balance it with something on the other side of the room. This balancing act also applies to art, accessories and color. Each element needs to be balanced throughout each room.
Be careful not to overcrowd a room with too much furniture. It’s easy to make this mistake when you have a room that serves two or three purposes, such as a bedroom that’s also an office. When you’re staging your house, however, each room can only have one main purpose and the furniture you put in there should highlight that purpose.
Next, consider area rugs on solid floor surfaces. Typically, rugs go under the center of a coffee table for living rooms and family rooms, under a dining table for formal dining spaces (make sure it’s large enough that the dining chairs are still on the rug when pulled out), and under the bed with about two feet on each side of the bed if the bed is in the center of the wall. If the bed is against a wall, place the rug next to the bed.
Homes with good lighting show better than dimly lit houses. Even if your rooms have overhead lights, place lamps next to the sofa on end tables, next to the beds on side tables, or in any corners where it’s dark. For even more extra lighting, add table lamps to foyer tables or dining room buffet tables.
Lastly, upgrade what’s known as your “soft goods.” This is your bedding, throw pillows, bath mats and towels. Stick to neutral colors and make sure everything is clean, up-to-date, ironed and neatly placed or folded. Then drape a few throw blankets on sofas, chairs and beds.
Keep Clutter at Bay
Once you’ve taken care of all the repairs, upgrades, cleaning and staging, there are still a few more things to manage. Your house is going to be on display day in and day out. It needs to look like a model home at all times. Make sure you do these last few chores daily.
- Make the beds every day
- Keep toilet seats down.
- Tuck away trash cans or at least make sure they are not exposing any unsightly or personal items.
- Store dirty clothes neatly in a hamper.
- Keep all surfaces tidy.
- Arrange throw pillows neatly on the sofas or chairs.
- Put away all toys or place them in a large container.
- Leave a light on at each level of the house.
- Maintain a kitchen sink free of dishes.
- Make sure the house is free of any odors, from cooking or pets or anything else.
How to Sell Your House with Better Landscaping
Once you have the inside of your house in pristine condition, it’s time to prepare the outside of your property for selling quickly.
First, evaluate your overall property to create a plan. Stand at your curb and look at the entire picture. Is your front door nicely painted and inviting? Perhaps add a nice new welcome mat and a couple of potted plants on either side of the door.
Make sure your lawn is thick, green, and weed free. If it’s not, think about calling a lawn service for treatments. Or apply some weed and feed and sprinkle some grass seed and hay so it will grow into a lush lawn.
Next, look at your trees and bushes. Remove anything dead, dying or overgrown. Fill in corners or sparse areas with new plants and bushes. Then put in some annuals in front of the bushes at the front of the house. Blooming flowers always make a house look and feel more welcoming. Make sure everything is well pruned, nicely shaped and free of weeds, with clean edges and fresh mulch.
Attract Home Buyers
Finally, here you are – your house is all prepared for show. Now, what actual steps are you taking to get buyers to come look at it? You can list it with a real estate agent, in which case they’ll do the work of getting buyers to your doorstep. Or you can advertise and show it yourself.
If you’re going to list your house for sale by owner, you certainly want to use the internet to get the word out. Websites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Craigslist are a good starting point. You can even setup your own website for the property. You may have to pay to list your property on some of these sites, and others may be free, but it’s a smart idea to get on as many as possible.
As you’re strategizing how to sell your house, consider listing your property in a local newspaper. One place buyers look for houses is in the “homes for sale” section of their neighborhood papers. Include your phone number, the address of your website if you created one, the asking price, and a picture. Speaking of pictures, spend the money and hire a professional to take photos that enhance the look of your house. Sure, everyone has a camera on their phone these days, but that doesn’t make you a photographer. If you really want to sell your house quickly, don’t try to save money by rejecting the services of a professional photographer. It will end up costing you in the long run.
Don’t forget about getting a listing in the MLS (multiple listing service). This is the service real estate agents use when listing properties they are trying to sell. The listing for your house goes into a central database that all Washington DC area real estate agents can access when they are looking for properties for their clients to purchase. For between $300 and $500, you can list your property there through one of the many For Sale By Owner websites.
There you have your checklist of how to sell your home fast. If making your way through all these to-do list items looks like more time, work and money than you care to spend, Express Homebuyers can offer you a fair price and quick sale.