I can’t believe it has been almost two years since we decided to return home to Florida. A lot has changed in that two years as well. We are currently thinking about shifting some priorities and maybe even downsizing, as our current house is a bit too big for just two people. While we haven’t completely settled on whether to sell now or in the near future, we are doing some small renovations around the house to prepare for when we are ready to list.
This got me thinking about how we prepared our house in Massachusetts to sell so we could return home to Florida. We were lucky to have our house sell in just one week. So, I’m thinking about some of the successful steps we took to make that a reality and thought I’d share them with you as well.
While neither one of us are realtors, I do want to share what we learned from our experience and these are just some simple steps that we’ve learned in the process through either our own experiences or through what we learned from working with a professional Realtor. So, here are our top 9 Tips to Selling Your Home Quickly.
Tip 1 – The Right Time
The first thing you need to think about when listing your house is if it’s the right time do so. You want to make sure that the market is what they call “hot”. When we listed our house in Massachusetts it was the right time because there were a lot of buyers out there but there weren’t a lot of properties on the market so our place really stood out. In fact it was such a great time that we actually had four offers within the first week.
We listed our house on a Tuesday, our realtor held an open house that Saturday and by the following Tuesday we had four firm offers. So make sure you are aware of how the market in your area is before deciding to list and sell your house.
Tip 2 – Hire a Quality Realtor to Represent You
Of course, the one thing you’re really going to need is a realtor and you are going to want to hire someone that you trust. Make sure that your realtor is knowledgeable, not just about the business of selling a house but is also knowledgeable about the area that you live in.
Your realtor is going to represent you and be the face of selling your house, so they need to know about your neighborhood, the town that you live in, etc. While searching for a good realtor make sure that they have good reviews. We were lucky to find a knowledgeable realtor who actually lived in our area and was great at selling not just the area but also sold our house so quickly.
A great example of a realtor that is knowledgeable about a specific area is Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Erin E. King. Erin is a Best of Zillow realtor, with a ton of experience in the greater Jacksonville area. He specializes in Jacksonville’s historic real estate such as Avondale, Riverside, Murray Hill, Fairfax, and San Marco real estate (plus more). If you were planning to search for a home in Jacksonville, especially for a historic home, Erin King would definitely be THE person to reach out to, and even if you do not use his services, check out his website because it has great information on everything related to home buying and selling.
Tip 3 – Price to Sell
It is very important that you price your home to sell, which means you don’t want to sell your house or list your house too high or too low. If your house is overpriced for your area, it’s not going to sell very quickly. We found it beneficial to give ourselves some wiggle room though. So what we did is set a very firm price in our minds of what we wanted to walk away with and then we added on a bit more so we had some room for sellers to talk us down to the price we actually wanted to sell at.
Your realtor can help you with this and help you set a price that will be attractive to people but will also be within your comfort zone. Your realtor should also be able to pull comps of what other houses in your area have sold for. This will help you to make sure that you’re setting a fair price for both you and potential buyers.
Tip 4 – Get Your House Ready for Listing
The next thing you need to do is to get the house ready for listing. This includes things like upgrading, improving, fixing and decluttering the house. That could be things like fresh coats of paint inside and outside, or maybe doing some landscaping on the outside to improve curb appeal.
We really only had to do some minor things such as replacing a few screens with holes in them. It is a good idea to go through your house and make those little touch ups where you can. We also had all of the carpets steam cleaned so that they were fresh and clean for prospective buyers. We also did some deep cleaning like scrubbing the walls and the baseboards. I highly suggest if you are not up to doing the cleaning yourself, hire cleaners to come in and do the deep cleaning for you.
Tip 5 – Remove Yourself from the House
I don’t mean leave the house, although we will get to that in a minute. This is a tip that our realtor shared with us and I think it is a good one. Remove any personal traces or clutter from the house so your house looks more showroom ready. Remove as many personal items as you can. You want to take away things like family photos, any items of a political or religious affiliation so that when a buyer walks into the house it’s very clean and potential buyers can envision their family living there. Think about when you look at a model home or apartment and how it is staged. You want to do something similar with your own home to have it be more enticing to potential buyers.
Also take into consideration people who are allergic to pets, so they might not want to come in and see a house that looks like pets live there. I recommend that during showings you remove your pets and you also remove any sign of a pet. So, hide items like food and water dishes, cat boxes, etc. That is part of that decluttering and really making the house more like a show home or a model so that people walking in it can envision themselves and their family living there.
Tip 6 – Go Minimalist
While this does go hand in hand with the previous tip. I think the best thing you could do is go as minimalist as possible in your décor. As I mentioned earlier, you might want to take down personal mementos or photos. I suggest keeping some art on the walls, but don’t have a cluttered space.
Also play to the strengths of the rooms. Showcase how well furniture can fit into each of the rooms by having just enough to allow buyers to see the potential. In our bedroom we had a King size bed, two nightstands, a small bookshelf and two large dressers with mirrors so we were able to have the room set up to be very balanced. This showed potential buyers how well the furniture could be placed, and it also showed the type and size of furniture that can be put in that room.
Tip 7 – It’s Showtime!
Hopefully you get to this next step pretty quickly in the process. The next step is showing the property, which to me is the worst part of the whole selling process. It can be not only unnerving but inconvenient to have strangers passing through your house at all hours. But with the advice below, you can make it a smoother part of the house selling process.
Firstly, and if you want to sell quickly, you have to accept every listing request that you receive. I know it’s not super convenient, but you never know if you decline a listing, if that was the perfect buyer for your house and you just missed out. If the time is not convenient, see if you can reschedule. If not, then accept it and hope for the best.
Secondly, when it comes to showing, keep your house clean! Once you’ve done all this deep cleaning you have to maintain it. I’m sorry to say this but you can’t do one cleaning and let the house fall apart after that. Every time we had a showing, we’d have to freshen up the space, put things away, vacuum, etc. I highly suggest that you get really good at cleaning up after yourselves as you go about your daily lives. Less to do before a scheduled showing.
Tip 8 – Camera Ready
This goes back to getting your house ready, but I put it at the end because of my thought process. Obviously when you list your house, you want to have really good photos taken and posted on the listing. The reason you want really good photos is that this is the first thing perspective buyers will see of your house.
If your market is flooded with houses for sale, you have to stand out and good photos is the perfect way to do that. Take photos that make your house look bright and cheerful. When you’re taking the photos, you want to set the house up like you’re doing an open house. No pets, no personal items, and no clutter. Showcase your house in the best light possible.
Tip 9 – Hire a Lawyer
So, after you have listed your house, hired your realtor, and started your showings you might want to hire a lawyer. A lawyer is really there to protect you and make sure that they’re reviewing all of the documents such as the purchase and sale agreements. For instance, in Massachusetts there’s a requirement that you have to have all of your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms inspected by the fire Department which our lawyer helped us through that process.
Hiring a lawyer is more about peace of mind and having someone help you with the legal documents. It is reassuring to know that someone is there that’s protecting and representing you.
So that is our top 9 tips for you selling your house quickly. I hope these are useful for you when it comes time to sell and if you have any questions about the selling or buying process, please let me know in the comments below. As I mentioned, I’m not a realtor but I can share what my experience was like. For more great tips and to learn more about the roadmap to selling your house, check out the image below from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Erin E. King