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Tips for Selling Your Home Fast at the Price You Want

Updated on February 1, 2016

How to make your home show well and sell quickly.

For most homeowners, sooner or later there will come a time when you want to sell for whatever reason. Maybe you're moving to a bigger or better house or you're relocating to a new city or state or maybe just a new neighborhood. Whatever the reason, there are a couple of ways to go about putting your house on the market and some things you should do to spruce it up and get it ready to sell. With a discerning eye and a little work, you can make your home look like the best value on the market without spending a pile of cash.

There are easy ways to dress up your home to make it look better to a buyer from the moment they drive up in front. Learn how to make your home more desirable and how to show it properly and you'll sell it faster and at a higher price. It's easy and affordable and you'll like the results.

So here are some tips to help you sell your home fast and at a good price.

Do You Use a Real Estate Broker or Sell It Yourself?

After you make the decision to sell your home, you will have to decide whether you are going to use a real estate broker or sell it yourself "by owner". Most people opt for the help of a real estate professional, for the simple fact that they take on a lot of the burden of marketing your home so you don't have to. Real estate professionals can help in every aspect of selling your home to give you the best chance of selling it fast at it's fair market value.

One of the first things a broker will do is help you determine the value of your home. They will do this by taking detailed information on your home, evaluating it and then "pulling comps", or pulling up houses comparable to yours in the multi-list system that have sold recently and that are presently for sale to see what they are selling for. After analyzing the information they will give you a "Broker Price Opinion" on what your home is worth in the present market. With that information in hand, it will then be up to you to decide the price that you wish to ask for your home.

Once you list the home with the broker, it will go into the multi-list system where all of the other area brokers can see it and offer it to any waiting buyers that they have looking for a property such as yours. The multi-list system and the instant exposure it gets you is probably the single biggest advantage to using a broker. Your broker may also use other forms of advertising to market your home, including the internet, local real estate publications, mailers, etc.

Your broker and others will show your home for you and if a buyer wants to make an offer, they will handle all of the paperwork for you. You alone decide whether to accept, reject or counter any offers that come in, but they will make sure everything is done properly all through the process. Once an agreement is reached, they will schedule all of the title work and schedule and assist at the closing. They are with you every step of the way.

For all that they do though, you will have to pay them a commission, usually a percentage (5 or 6%) of the sale price of your home. Some people don't want to pay this commission, so they decide to go it alone and sell their home themselves. This is known in the real estate market as a FSBO, (Fiz-bo) or For Sale By Owner. While you can save paying the commission, you will have to do everything the broker does to market and sell your home yourself. It's up to you to decide which way is better for you.

Now, let's take a look at both and some things you should look at changing or improving inside and outside your home to make it look better to the buyers.

Make It Pretty

Here are a few tips on what you can do to make your home more presentable when you are offering it for sale.

First you should take a good look at your house from the street. This is how it looks from the buyers perspective when they first drive up and see it and you want their first impression to be a good one.

If the home looks dull or drab, especially around the front door, you may want to consider a little paint. You don't have to paint the whole house but you can dress up the look by painting the trim and/or the front door.

If the gutters or window shutters are shabby looking, they are fairly inexpensive to have repaired or replaced. If you don't have shutters, consider installing them. They are easy to install for the average do-it-yourselfer.

Take a look at the landscaping and lawn. If the lawn looks bad or it's weedy, you could consider hiring a lawn service temporarily to bring it back to a healthy, lush green. As for the landscaping, trim it up as needed or even plant a few extra flowers or small plants to dress it up. A new layer of mulch looks great too. If you have any brush or junk piles in the side or back yards, get rid of them. You want it to look neat and well maintained.

If you have a paved driveway, a seal-coat on blacktop makes it look new. If it's concrete, you can paint it with driveway paint. Either can be done easily in a single weekend. Consider power-washing your sidewalks and if you have a bare concrete driveway. Power-washers can be rented inexpensively at most equipment rental stores.

On the inside of the home, the main thing you want to do is get rid of the clutter and clean, clean, clean. You may even want to get the carpet professionally cleaned. It can dramatically improve the look of it sometimes making it look new.

Buyers will always scrutinize the kitchen and bathrooms so pay particular attention to these rooms. You want them spotlessly clean. Keep the kitchen counters clear of clutter. Never have dishes in the sink or extra items on the counter when you show the home. Clear countertops make the kitchen look bigger.

Clean all the glass in the house. Mirrors and windows look a lot better crystal clean.

In the bedrooms, keep the beds made and the closets neat and not packed full. Buyers will sometimes look in the closets and a 2/3 full closet looks a lot roomier than one that's stuffed full and you want to show that there's lots of closet space. Pack up seldom worn clothing and move it into storage if need be.

Make sure there are no burned out or missing light bulbs anywhere and you will want to turn on all the lights when you show the house. Day or night, it always looks better if it's bright and airy. Open blinds as well to let in the most natural light.

Make sure everything works throughout the house, especially anything that the buyer may turn on and test, like the garbage disposal or ceiling fans. If it doesn't work, get it fixed.

If there are any unpleasant odors in the home, get them taken care of. Try not to show the home after cooking dinner. Some foods can leave unpleasant odors. You may even want to use air fresheners or scented candles before a showing.

When you think you have your house in shape to sell, do a walkthrough. Walk through your house with the mindset of a buyer. Go through every room as if you were considering buying it yourself. You can even ask your friends and neighbors to take a look and give you feedback.

Price It Right

All of the paint, fix and clean will ensure your home is presentable and looks desirable to a buyer but the single most important factor in selling your home will be the price. If you list with an agent, they will run a list of "comps", comparable homes that have sold within the last six months that will give you an idea as to what your home is worth in the real market. You can also hire a professional home appraiser to tell you what your home is worth. If you have been paying close attention to other home sales over the last few months before you put it on the market, you may have a good idea what it is worth but any way you get there, you must arrive at a price that is in line with the existing market in your area. If the price is too high, it won't sell and if it's too low, you may get a very quick sale, but you may also lose out on several thousand dollars so it pays to know your home's value before you put a price tag on it.

Professional Home Staging

Home staging seems to be growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. You hire consultants to come in and basically redecorate your home to make it look more desirable. These professionals are experts at presentation and will make your home the absolute best it can be. They may just dress it up a little or they may even move furniture in or out of the home to make it look it's absolute best and most desirable to a buyer.

it's also possible to learn how to do home staging yourself if you don't want to hire it done. There are lots of books available on the subject that you can study.

A Little Marketing and You're Done

If you're using a real estate agent, they should do the marketing and bring buyers to your home, but if you are selling it "by owner", you will have to do the advertising yourself. Place ads in the real estate section of your local paper or sale flyer. There are now online real estate sites that you can advertise on and many of them are free. You can post all the details of your home including photos. Some cable TV operators even have real estate programs on their local channel that you can place an ad on. It also helps to have an "info box" on your yard sign with single page info fliers about your home available at any time for buyers that are driving the neighborhood.

Another great way to bring in buyers is to have an "open house", especially if you advertise it in advance. Most newspapers have a special "open house" section in the real estate ads that buyers look for. Plan a day, usually on the weekend, where you will have your house open for potential buyers to come and walk through. This can bring a lot of traffic to your home in one day and you never know, one of those people might just fall in love with it after they see it.

If you follow these easy tips, you should be able to sell your home fairly quickly and for the right price.

When all else fails

Get a little help from Saint Joseph

Have you heard the legend of St. Joseph? There is an interesting custom that involves burying a small statue of St. Joseph in the ground in front of your house and this will help your house to sell.

It dates back hundreds of years to Theresa of Avila. She prayed to St. Joseph when the convents needed more land and had the nuns bury St. Joseph medals in the ground as symbols of their devotion. Somehow this evolved into burying a St. Joseph statue in the ground and praying to the saint for him to help your house to sell.

There are stories of people that had their homes on the market for weeks or months to no avail. Then when they found out about the legend, they buried the statue and their houses sold in a week or in some cases, within 24 hours. Of course, there's no way to know if these urban legends are true, but hey, it might be worth a try...

Do you have any ideas to add to the list?

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