If you’re ready to sell your home, you may have reason to want to sell it fast. Whether you're relocating for a new job that starts soon or have a pending offer on a new place, it's important to drum up interest in your house especially if you're looking to close quickly. The more potential buyers you can attract, the better your chances of selling fast - and at a good price.
Whatever your reasons for selling, here are six ways to sell a house quickly even in a slow market.
- When looking to sell a home quickly, begin by hiring a real estate agent to manage much of the process on your behalf.
- You or your agent can price the home competitively and can adjust the terms and conditions if there is lukewarm initial interest.
- Prior to showings, clean the whole house, remove clutter, and hide personal items so buyers can picture themselves in the space.
- Boost the curb appeal to make the right first impression. Clear away the cobwebs, paint the front door, and plant flowers.
- Offer terms that might sweeten the deal for buyers—such as paying part of the closing costs.
1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
If you want to sell your home fast, the first step is to hire a real estate agent. The ideal person will know the local market and have a sales record that proves they know how to sell. Keep in mind the seller is often responsible for paying the commission for both the buyer and seller agent. In exchange for the convenience of an agent, you're likely on the hook for a selling commission between 2%-4% of your selling price.
Keep in mind that a real estate agent will help with the entire process. They'll oversee the professional photographer who will take top-notch photos of your home as well as negotiate the best price. They also will write up a real estate listing that sells, schedule and host showings, and market your property to get it seen.
2. Price It to Sell
One of the most effective ways to sell your home fast is to price it competitively. If you price it too high, you detract prospective buyers out price out potential bidders. In addition, it make take longer to settle the negotiation process if prospective buyers want your price to come down.
Your real estate agent (or realtor) will research comparable homes (aka “comps”) in your area to set a realistic price. If you really need to sell fast, then consider pricing your home a little lower to attract interest (and maybe even spark a bidding war). If you haven’t received any offers by a certain date, your agent can further reduce your selling price.
It’s also helpful to think about the price points that buyers search for in your area. If you list your home for $302,000, for example, then you’ll miss all the potential buyers who are looking for homes under $300,000. It’s probably not worth asking for the extra $2,000 if it means fewer buyers will see the home.
Just-below pricing is a popular pricing strategy as $299,000 has a different psychological effect on consumers than $300,000. This pricing strategy is employed throughout supermarkets and online retail.
3. Clean, Declutter, and Depersonalize
Buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the space, but they won’t be able to if your house is a mess. Give your home a thorough cleaning from top to bottom, get rid of clutter, and hide the family photos and other personal items. It's fairly standard industry practice to hire external cleaners especially prior to a major showing.
Rearrange the furniture so your home looks inviting and so buyers can move through your home without bumping into anything. If necessary, put bulky items in storage. A crowded room looks like a small room.
Consider hiring a stager to help you showcase your home’s best assets, impress potential buyers, and sell it quickly for the best possible price. Staging isn’t cheap, but the National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates that, on average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged homes.
4. Boost Your Curb Appeal
If you want to sell quickly, it’s essential to make a good first impression. The first thing a buyer sees is a home’s exterior and how it fits into the surrounding neighborhood. To boost your home’s curb appeal, give attention to both the house and its surroundings.
It may be too late to do major renovations. If a sale is urgent, consider minor repairs and maintenance to the outside of your house such as touch-up painting, window washing, and fixing anything broken. If repainting your entire house doesn't fit in your timeline, slap a coat of paint on just your door. You can also swap out your address numbers or door handles for newer, more attractive replacements.
If applicable, make sure the pathway from the curb to your porch is clean and safe to walk on. This includes straightening any uneven paths and pruning overgrown bushes. In addition to being a safety hazard, you want to make sure prospective buyers can see and focus on the appearance of the house as they approach.
Don't forget the lights! Swap out exterior and interior lightbulbs especially if you are showing your house later in the evening or during winter.
There's plenty to do with your surroundings as well. Plant flowers or sprinkle bark mulch to give your yard a freshly-landscaped feel. Lay out a welcome mat and make sure your mailbox is clean. Dust away spiderwebs and debris from windows, eaves, and porches.
Not only does a positive curb appeal welcome prospective buyers, it signals to the market that you've cared for the home and they can believe the rest of the house has been well-taken care of as well.
5. Take Care of Quick Repairs
You won’t have time for any major renovations, so focus on quick repairs to address things that could deter potential buyers. Survey the house and take care of the easy fixes including:
- Fix all loose tiles in the bathroom or kitchen.
- Fix all loose hinges on doors or cabinets.
- Unclog or replace stuck drawer tracks.
- Repair any leaky faucets and ensure all plumbing systems work.
- Remove carpet stains or refinish hardwood floors.
Depending on how much time and money you want to spend getting the home ready, you might also want to update fixtures, buy new appliances, install new hardware on the cabinets, and give the interior a fresh coat of (neutral) paint.
If you want your home to sell fast, consider only working with cash buyers or buyers who have secured financing pre-approval. Buyers who have not been approved may delay the process and end up not qualifying for your home.
6. Sweeten the Deal
Another way to make the home and deal more attractive is to offer something to sweeten the pot. Buyers love financial incentives, and if you are pressed for time, consider how you can make your offer attractive. Examples include:
- covering all closing costs.
- accommodating move-out/move-in schedules with the buyer's preference.
- agreeing to all inspections.
- agreeing to pay for known items of concern to a buyer.
- offering a transferable home warranty that provides discounted repair and replacement services for household appliances and systems.
How Do I Sell My Home Fast?
If you need to sell your home quickly, consider the short-term improvements to both the interior and exterior of your home. Consider hiring a real estate agent, photographer, and staging company. Be prepared to have flexibility on sale terms and conditions.
Should I Hire a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent handles many aspects of selling your home for you including researching the market, coordinating viewings, and negotiating the price. For these services, the seller often pays the agent a commission between 2% and 4%.
For some, the cost is too high and the service might not be worth it. For many, a real estate agent is indispensable as they often provide peace of mind during the selling process.
How Long Is the Home Closing Process?
The average home closing process lasts between 30 and 45 days. Delays are also possible, though you can close quicker if you and the other party are prepared.
The Bottom Line
Selling a home can be stressful—even more so if you’re on a tight deadline. Fortunately, whether you need to sell fast because of a new job, a life event (e.g., a divorce), or financial reasons, there are ways to speed up the process.
If you don’t have a big budget to get your home sell-ready, focus on that first impression of what buyers will see when they see your home for the first time. Buyers can make a decision within seconds—a few from the curb, and a few when they step inside the front door. Make those seconds count with a great agent, spruced-up house, and strong financial offer.