10 Tips to Sell Your House

Ever wonder why some homes sell right away but others linger on the market? Price is a major factor, but there are other things that can help sell a home fast. If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, give this list a once over and see which items you can do now.

  1. Great photos are EVERYTHING.

It probably won’t come as a great shock to learn that 92% of buyers use the internet in some way in their home search process and 50% of buyers use a mobile website or application in their home search. 83% of buyers found photos very useful. Great photos are a MUST in selling a home. Buyers want to research a home online before seeing it in person. If your home doesn’t look great online, your home will not get seen in person. Here’s a list of things you can do to prepare for the photo shoot.

  1. The average age of a home sold in 2014 on the West Shore was 44 years old. Shows on networks like HGTV have increased what buyers are demanding from a home sellers.Clean & deodorize your house. 

Buyers expect to a like-new, perfectly clean and fresh smelling home. Dirty kitchen cabinets often lead buyers to believe they need to be replaced. If you are not replacing the carpet in your home before you sell, hire a professional carpet cleaner. Touch up the paint so that the walls look flawless. Finally, make sure your home smells good.

The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect (or disconnect) buyers to your house. Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, has been studying the effect of scents on the buying habits of people for over 20 years. He recommends infusing the scents of lemon, green tea, cedar, pine, basil or vanilla into your home to encourage a positive showing experience. Need some deep cleaning tips? Check out this Buzzfeed article.

  1. Use a REALTOR®.

A study by the National Association of Realtors shows that people who use an agent sell their homes for 16% more than people who don’t. I know when you think about that real estate commission it’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s worth every penny to hire a professional. With a 16% increased sales price, you can afford the agent and still make more than if you sold it yourself. Not to mention the reduced stress level and work involved in selling a home.

Also, most real estate agents have a professional photographer to take photos of your home (refer back to #1!) for marketing and advertising purposes. A real estate agent can also get your home listed in the local MLS and get you premium positions on Zillow, Trulia and other real estate websites. Other cool things that agents can do to ensure a speedy sale is make a floor plan of your house, help you with staging and promote your home on social media. Make sure you interview a few agents before you sign a contract to avoid future regret.

  1. Declutter & Depersonalize.

By removing the clutter it makes your home look larger than it actually is. If someone enters your house and sees a lot of stuff lingering around, they could assume that the home may be too small for their needs. A great way to make closets seem super spacious is to clean out 50% of what you have in there now. Another way to declutter is to rent a POD or storage unit and put 50% of your stuff in it. I know that’s an extra step, but you’re moving all that stuff anyways. Other popular decluttering techniques include giving what you don’t need or have outgrown to charity, throwing away any duplicates you have or simply better organizing what you currently have.

Be sure to depersonalize your home by taking down family photos. Your kids are totes-adorbs but buyers want to imagine themselves in your home.

If you have a collection of anything, pack it now. Eliminate your knickknacks. All of the knickknacks! No more knickknacks!!! You’ll be surprised how much cleaner your house looks without these in it.

  1. Brighten Up. 

I’m all about energy savings but when you’re selling a house, make sure it’s as bright as possible. No one wants to live in a dark, dreary cave. Make sure all of the lights are on and blinds are open for the photos AND when you have an open house or a showing. You may have to pay a little extra for the electric bill but that electric bill is a lot cheaper than having your home sit on the market for months.

  1. Get found online. 

As mentioned in #3, a REALTOR® can get your home found on multiple websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. A good REALTOR® can get you premium positions on Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. A great REALTOR® will go even further and get your listing extra exposure on Craig’s List, their social media sites and add in some hyper local online advertising.

  1. Improve your curb appeal. 

First impressions are so important! Even if the inside of the home is spectacular if it looks run down outside, it won’t sell for top dollar. Pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, washing windows, painting the front door and adding flowers all make a huge difference in how your home looks to buyers.

  1. Do pre-inspection repairs.

If you know something has to be fixed, fit it now. The home inspector will find it and the buyer will most likely ask for it to be repaired. If the buyer doesn’t ask for it to be repaired during the inspection process, they’ll account for it in their offer price. Whatever your handyman/plumber/carpenter is charging you is much cheaper than what a buyer will. Trust me.

  1. Use a creative description. 

After photos, buyers cited the description as being very useful in their home search. Make sure your description includes your favorite features of the home or how convenient it is to the local shopping center, supermarket or major highways. Highlight anything that could be of use to potential buyers. Try to avoid reiterating any information that can be found elsewhere in the listing such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage or acreage. These are all popular search terms and probably why someone is already looking at your home online. Use the description to tell them why your house is their new home.

  1. Set the right price from the start. 

I don’t think that most seller’s start out being greedy and set a high listing price to see if someone will pay it. If the listing price is set too high from the start, it’s usually because they see more value in the house themselves. It’s not a house to them – it’s a home full of memories. However, by not setting the price right from the start – or quickly reducing it to get it right – you are only hurting yourself and will more likely thannot end up with a lower sale price and a longer sale period. Don’t believe it? I was working with a gentleman who was bound and determined that his home was worth a certain amount even though comps showed otherwise. Despite the higher-than-recommended listing price, I still brought him two solid offers – the first month of it being for sale. Both of which he rejected. When the house finally sold, he lost $5,000 on the sale price and about $5,000 in mortgage, utility and maintenance costs. A $10,000 loss plus extra months of frustration – who needs it? Don’t be stubborn when it comes to pricing your home. Always remember that your home is only worth what the market says that it’s worth and not a penny more. Do your research (like finding recent local sales of comparable properties) and use a professional REALTOR to help you set the price. If you need a professional opinion of your home’s value, please feel free to call me at (717) 979-297.

Other great articles about preparing your home for sale: