Updated December 2, 2020 . AmFam Team
Your house has served you well, but your dreams are growing and it’s time to move on to a new and improved home. When it comes time for you to sell, you’ll want to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Selling your home quickly largely depends on staying organized in the selling process to give you the chance to close with your prospective buyer when the time comes. Check out these simple steps for selling your home faster:
Most homebuyers start shopping between the months of March and April so they can close around June or July. This lets them move before winter sets in and, if they need to, get their kids settled before school starts. Because this is the busy season for home buying, homes listed in March and April tend to sell for top dollar — up to two percent more than those listed later in the season — and up to 20 percent faster.
If you can’t list in the spring, the second-best time is in early fall when from the outside. A home staged during the dead of winter isn’t always the most appealing.
With this in mind, you and your agent will need to work backward from your target listing date to put together a plan for staging, research, photos and marketing so that it fits your time frame.
Putting your house up for sale can take a lot of prep work. First, get your mortgage, insurance, title and potential selling expenses together. Second, figure out the right home price. It’s a very critical part in moving the selling process along quickly. If you’re taking the for sale by owner route and doing this on your own, you’ll have to do some research to determine the best price.
Before hiring a real estate agent, talk to at least three and have them bring a list of comparable homes that have sold recently. Ask them for a recommended listing price for your home, do a little of your own research using online real estate listing tools and then make your decision.
As appealing as it might be, try not to simply choose the real estate agent who suggests the highest sales price. Setting an unrealistic price for your home will make your sale take longer, and you may end up reducing it in the end.
The most in-depth and most authoritative evaluation is , done in person, by an appraiser who is familiar with your neighborhood. The appraiser will compare the condition of your house to others recently sold, adding value for unique features — like a fireplace or screened in porch — and deducting for features you don’t have, or the wear and tear your house has seen over the years.
An appraisal is often an investment that can cost as much as $500, but think of it this way — it will help you prioritize spending for repairs, replacements and upgrades. Not to mention it will validate your asking price to the buyer and give you authority when negotiating! Learn more about how an appraisal can help sell homes faster.
Before you list your home or take even one photo, make sure you’ve gone through the staging process. It’s time to amp up your home’s curb appeal — making sure it’s clean, depersonalized, de-cluttered and arranged to highlight each room’s best possible use. Don’t be afraid to store those extras in a storage unit while you stage your home.
Many sellers today are opting to hire a professional staging company to make the home more appealing to a wider array of buyers. A small upfront investment can yield a fantastic windfall, with staged homeowners selling on average 17% higher vs unstaged homes, according to a Forbes article (Opens in a new tab) on the subject.
A little tip for big impact? Make sure your floors look like new. Spending a few extra dollars to buff up a wood floor, brighten tile grout or replace/clean worn carpeting can more than pay for itself in your final sale.
You also want to be sure that your walls look clean with a fresh coat of paint. However, as fun as it can be to experiment with new paint colors, try to go for neutral colors that are pleasing to most people — shades of gray, taupe, brown and cream work the best. That means avoiding bright hues like aqua blue or lime green — save those fun, personal touches for your new and improved future home.
You love your pets and probably treat them like furry babies, but potential buyers may not feel the same way. If you have cats or dogs — or even hamsters, birds, or fish — clean their homes and bedding. Shampoo carpets and scrub floors and walls around their beds and pack away their toys for any showings.
Try to keep your lawn free of dog toys and other surprises, too. This is especially important before a showing, but you may want to make it a habit while you await the sale of your home. Some prospective owners will do a drive by and you want your lawn looking picture-perfect!
When you do have a showing, take all of your pets with you. If you have fish, birds, hamsters or other small pets, perhaps you can find them a temporary home with friends while you are working hard to keep your home fresh, clean and ready to show.
Marketing is a key element to sell your house fast, and online home selling tools are a smart bet. To really make your sale, however, you’ll want to employ all the marketing tools in your agent’s (or your own) arsenal. For instance, you’ll want to evaluate whether you’re operating in a seller’s market
Take great photos of your home and share the news on social media. Attach a stack of brochures to your yard sign, and make sure you or your agent schedules several open houses.
Provide your agent with some key information about your neighborhood and schools that only a resident would know. Show your potential owners the benefits of living in your neighborhood that might not be apparent — like the happy sound of softball games from the nearby ball diamond, wild cranes living in the meadow across the street, or a cozy family restaurant within walking distance.
You never know when someone may want to pop in for a viewing! If you haven’t already, you may want to make sure your home is always ready to show off by spending some time every morning and evening putting away items that are lying around and by keeping your kitchen and bathroom tidy.
You may want to do some deep cleaning every week as well. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you the time to do so, you can hire a cleaning service to come in and do a quick cleaning once a week.
Finally, make sure you leave during the showing. You want would-be buyers to imagine themselves living in the home. Leaving the house gives them the freedom to peek into closets, sit in the living room and at the dining room table and discuss its pros and cons honestly without worrying about offending the seller.
Selling a home can feel like a lot of work, but keep your head up and your eye on the prize! Having a new home that better supports your life and inspires your dreams is well worth it! Before you’ve sold your home and move into your new one, talk with your American Family agent (Opens in a new tab) about our homeowners coverage options to get the customized protection your new home deserves.