Real estate agents reveal their secrets to get your home off the market fast
If you’re selling your home, you probably want to get it off the market ASAP. A quick sale will prevent you from having to possibly maintain and pay for two properties at once, and it also means you’ll probably get a better price for your home. Homes that don’t sell quickly tend to sell for less than asking price.
Price It Right
“If you want to get a house sold fast, the best way to do it is to price it right from the start,” said Corey Chappell, a closing options analyst with 181-Close-Now. “The majority of agents go for the easy deal. That means every morning they look to see which houses just hit the market and look like good deals. If the house is priced right, these agents will attack you in droves the first few days, and you may end up with multiple offers.”
A home that’s priced too high for its neighborhood and comps simply won’t sell quickly.
“You need to know what has sold and hasn’t in your neighborhood so you understand how to price your home right from the start so it won’t sit on the market as stale inventory,” said Renee Kuperman, a realtor with Best Homes Miami Beach.
Consider Getting a Home Inspection Before Selling
Home inspections can delay the closing process if it turns out that there are many issues that need to be repaired. If you want to sell your home fast, preempt this holdup by getting the inspection done before even listing it. A home inspection typically will cost around $325, according to HomeAdvisor.
“Getting a home inspection ahead of time and addressing any issues is a smart investment,” said Lara Cox, a realtor with Heidel Realty.
Sell When Inventory Is Low
There are times of the year when there are more buyers than inventory, and capitalizing on this is a good way to sell your home quickly, said Alison Bernstein, founder and president of the real estate firm The Suburban Jungle.
“Late summer and late fall are both great times to throw your listing on the market,” she said. “Even though it is not prime selling season, your home will be sure to stand out.”
Work On Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Buyers make quick judgments, and the first impression they have about a home will be based on its curb appeal.
“I advise clients to stand out on the street and imagine they are shopping for a home, and look at their house with a critical eye,” said Cox. “Trimmed landscaping, clean lighting and sidewalks, and a flowering potted plant can work wonders on a first impression.”
Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
“Paint is relatively inexpensive and can make a big difference,” said Cox. “A new coat of paint in a trendy neutral color can make a house feel fresh.”
The average cost to have a professional paint the exterior of a home is $2,816, according to HomeAdvisor. The investment could be well worth it if it gets your home off the market faster.
Don’t Neglect the Front Door
Even if your lawn is perfectly groomed and the exterior walls have a fresh coat of paint, an unsightly front door can turn off potential buyers.
“Many sellers paint the front of the house but leave the front door untouched. This is a big mistake,” said Benjamin Ross, a realtor, investor, landlord and owner of My Active Agent. “Be sure your front door looks great. Buy a new one if you have to.”
Having a new front door installed will set you back around $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor.
Consider White Paint for Interior Walls
Don’t go crazy choosing paint colors for the interior to get your home market-ready — white is always a good option.
“This makes the whole [home] look clean and new, and gives a sense of more light,” said Rafael Feldman, an agent with Warburg Realty. “It can often make it appear larger as well. Dark colors shrink the size of the space and can diminish the effects of natural light. Dated colors and wallpapers also give a feeling of ‘old’ and may cause buyers to feel the [home] needs more work than it really does.”
Depending on the size of your home and how many rooms need to be painted, expect to spend between $965 and $2,729 on average to have professionals repaint your interior walls white, HomeAdvisor estimates. However, you can save a lot of money if you DIY this upgrade.
Make (Inexpensive) Upgrades To Set Your Home Apart From Others on the Market
Jerryll Noorden, owner of We Buy Houses in Connecticut, flips up to five houses at a time, so he has become a pro at getting homes off the market quickly.
“When we flip houses we make sure to add little things to the renovation that are evident and stand out,” said Noorden. “It gives the impression we went beyond the minimum requirements, and people feel like they are getting a ton of value.”
For a recent flip, he added tiki torches to an outdoor deck. The torches only cost $9 each, and they were definitely worth the small investment.
“We obviously did not have to do this, but the gesture makes an impression that we went beyond what we had to do,” he said.
“Think about what you don’t need and throw it away or give it away,” said Kuperman. “That extra clutter is making your home look smaller and that can have a significant impact on the purchase price. Bigger place equals bigger price.”
Remove Personal Items
“The goal here is to help the potential buyer see the home as theirs,” said Ross. “That is pretty tough to do with wedding pictures and footprints of your babies’ feet displayed on the wall.”
Leave the Staging to Professionals
Robert Taylor, a rehabber in the Sacramento, California, area who typically sells homes in less than a week, said that having your home professionally staged is one of the best ways to sell it fast.
“Don’t try to use your own knick-knacks or furniture to stage your home,” said Taylor, known as The Real Estate Solutions Guy. “Use a professional stager who is aware of what the current colors and styles are. Not only do they have different styles, but a professional stager will have different sizes of furniture. Stagers will choose chairs, beds and tables that make the rooms of your house look larger.”
Although this can be a major investment — staging costs an average of $2,000 to $2,400 a month — it can definitely pay off. According to Realtor.com, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than those that are not staged.
And Leave the Photography to Professionals, Too
“Buyers choose to either view or cross your house off of their list based almost exclusively on what the pictures look like on the internet,” said Taylor. “If you want buyers to leave their home and go see your house, be sure to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your staged home. Don’t let your real estate agent convince you that their phone’s pictures are sufficient. For less than $150, you can hire a professional photographer who will have the correct lighting and lenses to make your home look its best.”
Advertise Your Home on Social Media
“One of the best ways to sell a home quickly is by utilizing Facebook ads to target an audience that might potentially be interested in the house,” said Russell Volk, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Elite who serves the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, area. “My last listing had over 600 targeted users looking at details, and it sold in three days. One of the leads from a Facebook ad bought the house.”
And Don’t Neglect Traditional Ways To Market Your Home
“Basic marketing can help get a property off the market fast,” said Than Merrill, co-founder of the real estate solutions company CT Homes. “This means letting people know it’s for sale by putting signs in the yard, ensuring the listing is on real estate websites and hosting an open house.”
Prep an Informational Pamphlet About Your Home
Providing information about your home in the form of pamphlets and professional printouts is one way to make your home stand out, said Ross.
“Use more images and fewer words,” he said. “Make it skimmable with awesome pictures. The presentation can almost be as important as the content. This also ensures [prospective buyers] leave your house with a physical item, which will make it easier for them to not confuse your house with the competition. If your content is exceptionally well done, your house will stand out over others.”
Make a Promotional Video
“Video is currently king, so when my team and I list a property for sale, we shoot a video — not just of the house, but of the community where the property is located,” said Aaron Bowman, a realtor with eXp Realty. “We cover the best places to eat, shop and [enjoy a] night out with friends and family. It really helps sell the home.”
The average cost of hiring a videographer is $710 to $1,000, according to Thumbtack.
Personally Contact Buyers’ Agents
“It does not hurt to make the effort to personally contact the agents that work that market and are known to have the best pipeline of buyers,” said Glenn S. Phillips, CEO of the real estate brokerage Lake Homes Realty. “Call — don’t bulk email — and have a very short message that can be the call alone or fit in a 25-second voicemail.”
Hold at Least 2 Open Houses Each Week
Michael Edlen, a realtor with Coldwell Banker, said holding open houses regularly is essential to getting a home off the market quickly. He said to aim for at least two a week, ideally on both Saturday and Sunday.
Make Sure Your Space Is Well-Lit
“Good lighting is really important to make your place show better and to look nicer overall,” said Kuperman. “LED and smart bulbs are a great choice when you don’t have natural lighting. This is a simple trick that makes such a huge difference.”
You can buy LED light bulbs for as little as $4 a bulb, so this is a cheap and easy way to get your home to sell faster.
Make Sure Your Home Is Spotless
“No matter how nice your home is, if it is not clean, it loses tons of value in the eyes of a buyer,” said Ross. “People can overlook some things, but not dirt, dust, mildew and grunge.”
In addition to doing the basics such as making beds and emptying the wastebaskets, pay attention to less obvious areas as well.
“I will give you a tip: Clean the inside of your shower curtain,” said Ross. “Many sellers do not do this and believe me, buyers look. Do the same for your cabinets and drawers. Even if a buyer is not all that interested, they will still open the cabinets and drawers. Also, get a ladder and clean the dirt that accumulates around the HVAC vents. Many times sellers will let this go because it can be very inconvenient to clean. Unfortunately, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Buyers will immediately wonder what else is not clean, especially if they are on the fence about buying a new home or a pre-existing one. Take your time to do this; you will be glad you did when payday comes.”
Make Any Necessary Repairs
Go beyond a deep clean and make sure everything the buyer will see is in good shape.
“Making small repairs will give [your home] a stronger impression than if you simply list as is,” said Gill Chowdhury, a broker with Warburg Realty. “If your outlets are hanging off the wall, fix them.”
Don’t Have Your Pets in the Home During Open Houses
It’s best to leave pets with a family member or friend during showings.
“Pets and home-selling are a terrible combination,” said Ross. “Even if a pet is clean and groomed, it is a distraction. Do you want buyers to notice your pets or notice your house? The best thing to do is to remove the pets during an open house.”
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Scent
“The goal is to have a clean smell with a hint of fragrance in the background,” said Ross.
He advises to not use overpowering scents. And if you are using air fresheners to achieve a “clean” smell, make sure they are out of view.
“Buyers want to know the house smells that way ‘naturally,’” said Ross.
If People Pass On Buying the Home, Ask Them Why
There could be a flaw or undesirable trait of your home that you’re not seeing, which could prevent it from selling quickly. After all, you’re likely attached to your home and have gotten used to its shortcomings. It’s best to get an outside perspective to find out why your home might not be selling as quickly as you hoped it would.
“Interview some who decided not to buy it, and find out why,” said Edlen. “Then, fix it.”
Sell Your Home Furnished
“People love the convenience of turnkey,” said Bernstein. “We are seeing many new construction homes in high-end markets such as the Hamptons and NYC that are impeccably staged, offering buyers the option to purchase fully furnished.”