How to Sell My House Fast
In this article
- Clean and declutter
- Pick a selling strategy
- Set an attractive price
- Invest in minor repairs
- Stage and add curb appeal
- Use professional photography
- Create a listing strategy
- Time your sale right
- Be flexible with showings
Selling a home can be stressful, but if you are under a serious time crunch, it can be even more nerve-wracking. Whether you need to sell quickly for a new job, for financial reasons or because of a personal situation, there are a few tactics you can use to increase your home’s marketability, decrease your time on the market and attract strong offers. Here’s how to sell a house fast.
1. Clean and declutter
There are many strategies for selling a house fast, but when you’re short on time, one definite must is making your home’s interior appeal to as many buyers as possible.
- Get a storage unit and pack away any extra belongings or large furnishings that are making rooms look crowded, small or messy.
- Organize the closets. Buyers are looking for storage space, so they’re definitely going to peek in closets, storage areas and pantries. Don’t cram extra belongings into closets leave enough open space to give the impression that the home has plenty of storage. After all, 64 percent of buyers surveyed for the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018 said that ample storage was extremely or very important.
- Personal belongings, like family photos, keepsakes and religious items, distract buyers and prevent them from picturing themselves living in the home.
- Do a deep clean on every room of the house, including baseboards, kitchen cabinets, bathroom tile and carpets. Since you’re short on time, consider calling in some professionals.
2. Pick a selling strategy
When deciding how to list your home, there are two conventional sales options selling for sale by owner (FSBO) or with a real estate agent and a few alternatives.
One of the big benefits to selling on your own is that you save on the commission (you’ll save the 3 percent you’d pay your own agent, but you’ll still have to pay 3 percent to the buyer’s agent). But if you want to sell fast on your own, you’ll have to be prepared to negotiate like a pro.
Be ready to negotiate escrow timelines, juggle contract paperwork, and consult an attorney to make sure all forms are filled out correctly. Knowing the ins and outs of the process is especially important if you need to sell your house fast.
Hire an agent
The upside to hiring a professional real estate agent is that they know what it takes to get a house sold quickly in your area. They’ll streamline things like contract prep work, negotiations, signing and closing. Of course, you’ll have to pay them a 3 percent commission for their services.
Alternative ways to sell your house fast
If you want to completely bypass the preparation it takes to sell your house in a hurry, consider these alternative strategies:
- Sell to an investor. There are numerous reasons why selling to an investor may be a good fit, but there are potential trade-offs to keep in mind.
- Sell to a developer. This is usually only an option if your home is a teardown and/or on a large lot.
- Sell at an auction. You can sell quickly by auctioning off your home, but you are likely to sell for a lower price than on the local market.
3. Price to sell
According to the Zillow Group Report, 21 percent of sellers said that their biggest challenge was selling within their desired time frame. Even if you’re selling in a sellers market, where there are many buyers competing for fewer homes, selling your house fast isn’t a guarantee.
One thing that can really speed your selling process is pricing your home competitively. Overpricing will lead to more time on the market, and ultimately, you may end up selling at that lower price anyway it’ll just take you longer to get there.
You may even want to price your home a little lower than comparable homes in your area to drum up interest and cause a bidding war. The effectiveness of this strategy depends on the state of your local real estate market and how homes are selling in your area.
When setting a price, you also may want to consider the price points that the majority of buyers search for within in your area. For example, if you list your home for $399,000, it’ll show up in search results for anyone that’s looking for homes under $400,000. But price it at just $405,000, and it’ll never show up in their search results.
Set a timeline for a price reduction
Before you list, take a hard look at your timeline and decide on a day to lower your price if you haven’t received any offers. The amount you discount can be decided later, because it might change based on feedback you receive from home tours, but you should at least have a date in mind. And if that time comes, it’s best to act quickly. The longer your home is on the market, the lower your odds are of selling it for listing price.
Consider sales incentives
If you know your home is going to be a tough sale, either because of some unusual feature or because you’re selling in a slow market, it can sometimes be worth offering incentives to potential buyers to sweeten the deal. Examples include upfront repair or improvement credits, paying the buyer’s closing costs, or offering to include things like appliances, which aren’t always included in a sale.
4. Handle any quick repairs
While you don’t have time for major renovations, it’s still important to take care of any easy fixes that might deter potential buyers:
- Patch up spots where paint is peeled or scratched.
- Fix loose tiles.
- Repair loose door handles.
- Tighten leaky faucets.
You may also want to invest in a few minor upgrades that will make your home show better:
- Apply a fresh coat of paint inside.
- Install new hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Swap out old or outdated light fixtures.
- Purchase matching (newer) appliances.
5. Stage and add curb appeal
No matter your timeline, every seller can benefit from a weekend spent sprucing up their home’s interior and exterior. After all, making a good first impression with buyers is crucial. According to the Zillow Group Report, 48 percent of recent buyers said having the home staged is extremely, very or somewhat important to their home-buying decision. And 29 percent of sellers said that landscaping their yard was one of their pre-listing activities.
Pack up and hire a stager
Staging is a common tactic in real estate sales, especially if you’re looking for ways to sell your house fast. Staging helps define spaces and makes rooms look larger. If you want to speed up this process, you’ll want to put all of your belongings in storage. A professional stager will bring their own furniture and decor,arranging it in a way that highlights your home’s best features and makes it feel warm and welcoming.
Create curb appeal
Your home’s exterior is the first in-person glimpse potential buyers will have of your home, so it’s important that it looks welcoming, well-maintained and tidy. Here are some tips to make your house sell faster with good curb appeal. And when speed is key, consider hiring a professional landscaper to make quick work of these tasks:
- Trim hedges, shrubs and overgrown tree branches.
- Clear walkways and paths.
- Clean windows and doorknobs.
- Sweep away spiderwebs and debris from the front porch.
- Replace broken lights or mailboxes.
- Paint the front door.
- Plant flowers.
6. Hire a professional photographer
It may seem faster (and cheaper) to snap a few pictures of your house on your phone, but poor listing photos could make your home sit on the market longer. In fact, a whopping 77 percent of recent buyers said that viewing professional photos was extremely, very or somewhat important to their home-buying decision, according to the Zillow Group Report.
Professional real estate photos only cost a few hundred dollars, and if you’re using a full-service real estate agent, they may even include the photos as part of their services. Check to see if your agent or photographer offers a 3D virtual house tour. They are quick to capture and improve listing page views on Zillow.
Before images are taken, make sure your home has plenty of light. Open the blinds, replace old lightbulbs or update fixtures, and let in as much natural light as possible. This is also a best practice for listing appointments!
7. Write a great listing description
Once you have chosen a listing price and your house is in order, you’ll want to create a listing description that will help you sell your house faster. This is especially important if you’re selling on your own. If you are using an agent, they will probably write the description for you, but it’s still important to know what makes a good listing description.
- Highlight your home’s best features in the listing description, using effective keywords that’ll stand out to buyers.
- Include anything that makes your neighborhood desirable, like the school district, proximity to public transportation, or local restaurants and parks.
- Include a sense of urgency: “All offers must be submitted by [DATE],” for example.
- Use your professional photos.
Where to post your listing
If you’re selling FSBO, you can upload your own listing to Zillow. Sites like Zillow also allow you to post 3D tours or virtual walkthroughs, which can give buyers a good sense for the layout of your property. If you’re using an agent, they’ll post to your local MLS, which will get pulled into all of the major real estate search websites.
If you don’t have an agent, you can pay a flat fee to an agent to upload your home to the local MLS on your behalf. In this case, you’ll be listed as the point of contact for all inquiries.
Additionally, whether you’re listing your home with an agent or going the FSBO route, you can post your listing on social media (via friends and family or with paid placements), as well as place flyers and signs around your neighborhood.
8. Time your sale right
According to Zillow, the best time to list your home is in the first half of May on a Saturday. Homes listed during this time frame sold six days faster than average and for an average of $1,600 more.
The peak selling time varies a bit based on your local real estate market, so check out info for your local area if you need to sell your house fast.
9. Be flexible with showings
When selling your home quickly is the goal, it’s important to be as accommodating as possible with showing requests. Yes, last-minute showings can cause a scheduling scramble, but nobody can buy your home if they can’t see it for themselves! If you aren’t willing to accommodate buyers’ schedules, your home is at risk of sitting on the market for a long time.
Hold an open house
A well-timed weekend open house is a must for selling your house quickly. It’s the easiest way to get multiple buyers through the door. Make sure to prepare accordingly clean the home, arrange fresh flowers, offer a few treats, and prepare flyers that buyers can take with them after their tour.
Buyers requesting a private showing may have never seen your home before, or they could have attended your open house and are returning for a closer look. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to be as accommodating as possible in showing your home, even if it means keeping your house tour-ready around the clock.
If you’re listing your house FSBO, be prepared to host your own tours. If you’re working with an agent, they should either do a tour for you or leave a lockbox for the buyer and their agent. If at all possible, the seller should avoid attending the showing it can make buyers uncomfortable.