(Almost) 100 tips for a Fast Real Estate Sale

  • New pulls on kitchen cabinets and drawers- Replacing the pulls and handles on kitchen cabinets and drawers give an overall new appearance to older cabinets. This is one of the easiest and lowest cost replacements you can do to make your kitchen pop.
  • Buy it Right - You’ve heard it said before: you make your money when you buy – so one of the best ways to ensure you’ll sell your home is to buy it right in the first place. Don’t overpay for a property, or you may find yourself underwater when it comes time to sell. By “buying smart” – you open up many more options for your exit strategy!
  • Pressure wash driveway and any decks – You probably haven’t noticed just how much dirt has slowly accumulated on your driveway and deck over the years – but trust me: it’s not clean. Having a pressure washed driveway and deck is inviting and can be one of the first things potential buyers see when walking up. First impressions are everything – so make sure your first impression shines and reflects the quality of life they’ll find inside.
  • New mailbox – The mailbox is often overlooked as a trivial part of the home- but having a brand new mailbox is another simple and inexpensive way to show potential buyers that the house is fresh and updated. A creative mailbox will also help distinguish the home from the hundreds of other homes on the market.
  • Fresh mulch, grass, or plants outside – Landscaping is a small cost, yet is one of the most important things to do to help sell a house. The good thing is it generally just requires some sweat equity and an afternoon to turn a boring front lawn into a beautiful work of art.
  • Spray and plug-in air fresheners – I’m sure you’ve heard the claims before – the human sense of smell can trigger powerful emotions in a potential buyer. A fresh scent signifies “new” – which everyone loves! Additionally, a good smell can hide the old smell of the house, if there was any.
  • Keep it free of clutter – If you are trying to sell a property that is not vacant, it’s important to clear away the clutter. By getting rid of junk and putting all your extra stuff in storage, you bring out the beauty of the room and help the room look larger, cleaner, and all around awesome. Additionally, by clearing out the clutter, people can
  • Drop Your Price – Don’t hold on to a high price if you aren’t getting any offers. Drop your price quickly and accept that your original price may have been wrong.
  • Stage a Neighborhood Clean Up Day – This probably won’t work… but you never know! Encourage your entire neighborhood to clean up their properties on a given day … maybe even give each person a gift certificate for the local dump.
  • Replace light bulbs – Make sure that darker rooms have higher wattage bulbs to brighten them up. It’s good for presentation and they’re very affordable to replace. Bright rooms = happy rooms.
    Beautiful HousePhoto Credit: reallyboring
  • Fresh paint – You can’t go wrong with fresh paint on trims, doors, or windows. You’d be surprised at how new you can make a house look with just fresh paint.
  • Update the front door knobs and hinges – If they seem outdated, update them! Every prospect will subconsciously notice these small things each time they open the door. If the knobs already look good – just keep them clean.
  • Have all windows cleaned – Do the cleaning inside and out. It gives better lighting and view to the outside. A $.99 bottle of window cleaner and a roll of paper towels can do wonders!
     
  • Do a quick clean on everything – Sometimes, right before a showing, you just need a “quick clean” if time is limited. Things you may want to consider first are the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen sink.
  • Price it right – Nothing beats doing your research and setting the right price. More often than not, you may need an expert to help you calculate what that perfect price is – so don’t be afraid of speaking with some local real estate agents.
  • Hiring the right Realtor – To sell your house faster, a good Realtor might just be all you need. Make sure you choose one who’s good at marketing and is “hungry” to sell your property. If you are selling an investment property, focus on finding an investor friendly agent.
  • Spread the word whenever you can – Even if you hire a real estate agent – they won’t do as good of a job marketing as you could. Be the marketer you are looking for! Spread the news on social media, inform everyone you know that you are selling your home, and encourage others to share the news as well.
  • Leave neutral furniture and accessories – Naturally, you want to get rid of all personal items and all family pictures from around the house (clear the clutter, remember?) However, having neutral furniture and accessories in the home can help a buyer visualize what the home will look like for them. For more on “staging” your properties, check out this article.
  • Turn on lights – Makes a good presentation by turning on all the lights in the home when having a showing. It’s a simple trick – but it works.
  • Open blinds – This is great for letting the light in. It also gives buyers an idea on how they can set the mood of the room with your blinds. If your windows don’t blinds or curtains, consider staging the home with some to add softness and dimension to the room – but keep them open!
  • Create a flyer – Flyers are great for marketing! Don’t forget to include all the positive attributes of the house and get include some high-quality pictures if possible on the flyer. Find creative places to put the flyers, like colleges, supermarkets, and more.
  • Play some good music while presentation – Turn on a stereo or iPod with speakers playing some soothing or popular music during showings or open houses. This may or may not have any effect with the buyers – but it may give you a boost in confidence when you present your house while having your favorite music in the background!
  • Clean and paint the closets – Women buyers always look at closets and visualize their clothes or shoes in them. Since typically closets are for women, and women often have the final say when it comes to buying a home, you can understand the importance of not neglecting the closet.
  • Clean and re-do the laundry room – A dirty laundry room is like a dungeon – it’s dark and creepy. Everyone wants a lovely laundry room, and it doesn’t take a lot to spruce it up. Some paint, new towels, a couple baskets, and fresh flowers can transform a room. Keep the colors light and airy.
  • Put in new kitchen cupboard doors – You don’t need to completely replace your cabinets – you actually just replace the doors for significantly cheaper. Or for even more savings, you can simply paint the doors to make them look brand new. Check out this product from Rust-Oleum to easily transform your cabinets (I’ve used it – it’s great!)
  • Clear fridge of all magnets – Make the kitchen special without those personal items. As odd as it sounds – buyers have a hard time buying a property that has “Little Johnny’s T-Ball Photos” all over the front. This is actually one of the things that most sellers forget to remove- so stand out from the pack and pack those magnets up!
  • Clear all kitchen and bathroom counters – There’s certainly no need for your own toothbrush hanging around when presenting the house. Remove them whenever buyers are coming over.
  • Remove pet bowls, toys, and beds before showing – This is usually missed out if you have pets. Although you might love your little cat or dog- the next buyer might not want to be reminded that you have pets.
  • People look in medicine cabinets – Don’t leave your medication out for the world to see. Once again, remove personal objects as much as possible.
  • Beware of nasty pet odors – You may be used to the smell of your pets, but your potential buyers are not. If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Try to keep pets outside or at your grandparents house.
  • Organize pots and pans – Pack up and store the bunt, angle food cake pans, waffle iron, fryer and other large items not used often to clear out the kitchen cabinets. Without all those random items – your cabinets will look much larger.
  • Always follow the “clean clean clean” rule – Cleanliness is next to godliness, they say – and this is especially true for buyers. You can’t go wrong with a solid cleaning of the house, even the tiniest detail. Pay special attention to light switches, door knobs and other areas that hands are always on.
  • Have a complete information sheet of the house – It should be accurate and mentions anything important. You don’t want to miss any of the crucial details, so have several other people look over the information sheet and make sure it’s up to par. Make enough copies so they can take the information sheet with them when they leave.

    A new mat at the front door – It’s cheap and it shows the home is fresh. Check out discount stores like Marshalls or Ross for nice, inexpensive mats.

  • Park a luxury vehicle in the driveway or garage – This might not apply for everyone, and it works better for more upscale homes, but taking a picture with an expensive car in the garage or driveway sometimes subtly gives buyers an feeling that the home is also a luxury item.
  • Take a video of the property – Although you or your agent may walk people through the house – it’s also helpful to provide a walking tour before the buyer steps foot in the home by hosting the video online. You can use YouTube or Vimeo – but if the ads are too much, look at welcomemat.com or another source to store and play videos.
  • A slideshow presentation for prospects – If you’re not into making videos or it’s just not possible with your available resources, then you could go for a simple SlideShare presentation showing the best features of your home in a photo slideshow.
  • Make a take home booklet – This is more extensive than the MLS flyer you usually get and can include multiple pages with graphs, charts, and pictures in it.
  • Update the outlets and switches to coordinate – Make sure they match in color – and make sure they work.
  • Ensure that any little “dings” or dents in the wall are taken care of – These are quite noticeable. Depending on the severity of the dents and dings, it may cost you to do a full repair, but if they are minor you can do the repairs on your own with just some wall putty and paint.
  • List it on selling sites – There are a number of listing sites online, like Craigslist, Zillow, ForSale.com, Trulia, and more. It’s easy to create an account and place your home details there for maximum exposure. Once again, the bulk of buyers are found online.
  • Do your own assessment – Go stand in front of your house and take a quick look: what stands out? You’ll be surprised to discover a lot of things to improve just by trying to get a new perspective. If this doesn’t work – as your friends to stop by and ask them what they notice. Multiple perspectives are great.
  • Have an accent on the front door – Paint or repaint your front door. This is your chance to draw people’s eyes, and a freshly painted door can do wonders for the property. A nice contrasting accent color is a good one.
  • Make sure lawn is mowed – This just requires about 30 minutes of your time but the results are spectacular. Once again, landscaping wins. If you are unsure you can maintain the lawn at the appropriate level, hire a local landscaping crew to maintain it for you while the house is on the market.
  • Never cram furniture – Staging is good … but cramming a room full of furniture will make it look small and uninviting. Leave the ones that you think are necessary that show off the best features of the room, but get rid of anything that makes it look old or too “busy.”
  • Clean the carpet – You may try to steam clean them yourself using a Rug Doctor or you can bite the bullet and have a professional take care of it. When living in a property, it’s hard to notice how dirty a carpet can become – but after a good cleaning, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Fresh flowers on tables – Fresh flowers are great to include on a table. Just having this simple piece of art can brighten an entire room.
  • Have a little snack at open houses – It encourages people to mingle and get a feel for the place. The longer they spend in the home – the higher chance they’ll make an offer.
  • Don’t ignore the back yard – Back yards are a big deal for buyers with families. The back yard is where the “entertaining” happens – and is a huge source of pride for homeowners. Be sure the lawn is kept short and defined, and include space for kids to play.

  • Check fences and trim boards – Do they need replaced or painted? Don’t let the fence tell a false story of how you have maintained the property.
  • Clean the stoves and ovens – Prospective buyers spend a lot of time in the kitchen at open houses and showings – and you can bet they are going to open up the oven to see how large it is. Make sure it’s fresh and clean for them.
  • Clean the baseboard trim – It may seem silly, but you can lose a sale just because a potential buyer sees dirty baseboards! Take some time to dust and, if needed, repaint any baseboards that need it.
  • Appeal to a woman first! – Again, it’s usually a woman that makes the final decision to buy, or not buy, a home. Even single guys house-shopping tend to look at it from a perspective of “I’ve made enough to afford this place, but would i bring a date here?” If you are a man, you might want to ask help from the women in your life to check out your home and make sure it appeals to women.
  • Aim for the “wow” – Every room or space in a home should be a “wow” of some sort, providing something that is beyond what’s expected. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small or large “wow” – just be sure there is always a “wow.” For example, “Wow, look at these old beams and tall ceilings in the living room” or “Wow, cookies in this bright but small bedroom”. Lead the buyer though a property and make them discover those “wows” on their own – from front property line to the back area of the garage. Every room should have a “wow.”
  • Apple cinnamon smell – Many home sellers recommend the smell of apple cinnamon when trying to sell a house. Don’t ask me why!
  • Pressure wash the siding - If the home is not being fully painted on the exterior – at least take the time to clean the siding with a good pressure washing.
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers – Sometimes, just the number of the house matters. New numbers are just a couple bucks each, but help a buyer feel that the home is “new” just by seeing the new numbers.
  • Take the right photos – Always find the sweet spot of the house to entice prospects. This requires a bit of artistry on your part, but sometimes getting the right angle can make the difference between a room looking boring and a room looking amazing. For inspiration, check out houzz.com
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed – If you have a front porch – chances are, it’s dirty. Buyers tent to congregate here while waiting for their agent to open the front door, so make the porch floor clean and nice to look at.
  • Forget your style – Focus on the style of the prospect buyers. Try to understand the demographics of the potential buyer – and learn what style they like. For example, if you are selling to first time homeowners, they are probably young and not as interested in dark wood trim – so paint it white!
  • Open the closet doors - Although it may depend on the size and style of your room, it may be a good idea to actually open up the closets, making the room seem larger. Of course- these closets better be clean, near, organized, and mostly empty.
  • Pull your furniture off the walls. Although it seems counter-intuitive, pulling your couches away from the wall actually makes a room look larger and more inviting.
  • Make it easy for buyers to live in – Ask yourself, would you live in this house? Sometimes a house that buyers can picture themselves living in is the key. If there are any drastic reasons why you wouldn’t live in the home – try to fix them before marketing the property.
  • Style your dining room table – A dining room table is great for staging – but if it’s empty, it just looks out of place. Besides the flowers we talked about earlier, consider setting the table with nice plates, silverware, wine glasses, or knick-knacks.
  • Symmetrical arrangements usually work well – Consider this when rearranging your furniture if you have no idea how to do it. If you have two couches in the room, they should either be perfectly perpendicular or perfectly parallel.
  • Know the “Rule of Three” – Knick knacks- such as candles, books, lamps, etc – tend to look the best when placed in a group of three.
  • Put up Arrow Signs – Direct traffic from the neighborhood to your home using inexpensive “for sale” arrow signs at the nearest intersections.
  • Create comfortable conversation areas – When staging, create areas that are conducive to conversation. For example, place a couch, chair, and bean bag around a coffee table – to make a nice conversation area in the living room. The same applies for the dining room, the back yard, the family room, the front porch, and more. Encourage conversation!
  • Appeal to everyone – Try to appeal to everyone who might come through your property by using minimal design. A six foot painting of the statue of liberty might appeal to you – but it’s probably a little too “taste specific” for selling a home. open closet
    Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond
  • Underprice to Create a Bidding War – If you are in a hot market, try listing your house below the average … and let the buyers fight in a bidding war to increase the price. This way – you get you pick of the best offer, not just the first that comes in.
  • Organize Kid’s Rooms – If you have kids – you know how tough it is to keep their stuff organized and clean. Help convince your buyer that this house will do just that – by organizing your own kids’ toys neatly.
  • Give every room a purpose- No room should be without a reason for existence. This is why staging is so important- because it allows you to show potential buyers what a room could be.
  • Demonstrate purpose in awkward areas. – If you have an awkward room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. Again: staging is key. A storage area?
  • Promote a lifestyle – Most buyers are not shopping for a home – they are shopping for a lifestyle. That lifestyle could be “luxury” or “simple” or “lavish’ – so try to create a feeling around your entire house of that lifestyle.
  • Plan for the Season- Your home should be staged to compliment the current season. If it’s winter – go ahead and show off the storage area for snow boots. If it’s summer, bring out the canopy in the back yard.
  • Double check your agent’s online marketing – Although we like to believe our real estate agents are super men and women – the fact is, sometimes the homes they list are just one in dozens that they are listing – so it’s easy for them to post your house on the MLS without any style or hint of promotion in it. Remember that the vast majority of prospects come from seeing your listings online, so be sure that listing looks great.
  • Network with the neighbors – Invite your neighbors and their friends in your open house – or send out mailers that let they can “pick their new neighbors” by sharing the house listing with their family and friends.
  • Facebook is a good way to sell your house – Post your house pictures on Facebook, and consider using Facebook Ads to sell the home.
  • Leave some good stuff behind – Consider what you could include with the sale of the home – that the homeowner would probably need to buy. Could you offer to include the washer and dryer? How about the kid’s swing set? The gas grill? Get creative!
  • Beat the competition by offering quality – There’s a lot of homes on the market – however, you can stand out by offering quality properties. For example, you may be the only one in the area to offer termite checks or a lifetime roof warranty.
  • Check out the competitions – Drive around and look at other homes that are on the market. Get your agent to give you a tour of your most similar comps – and find ways to beat them!
  • Choose sophisticated neutral colors. – It doesn’t mean that you need to go all white. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and “gray” create a sophisticated backdrop that can make everything look pulled together and modern.
  • Look at the sold comps – By looking at the information on homes that have recently sold, you can get a good idea of what people are looking for in a home. If every home sold has a swing set in the back yard – you may want to consider adding a swing set yourself.
  • Don’t act desperate – Selling a home is largely about negotiation. If you are desperate to sell, you may end up getting significantly less than what the home is worth. Don’t put yourself in desperate situations through over leveraging or obtaining too much debt. If you are desperate – at least don’t act like it!
  • Keep a good mindset – Always focus on maintaining a positive mindset. There are buyers out there looking exactly for your property – you just have to find them. Look at the sale of your property with “business eyes” – and try not to take it personal.
  • Consider your agent’s opinion – Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.
  • Walk in the shoes of a buyer – Start by shopping online for local houses similar to yours. Learn how they price and present their house. What stands out to you? What makes you turned off? Take note of how you react, and then make adjustments accordingly.
  • Visit neighborhood open houses – This will give you an instant education in what not to do when marketing your own home, as well as what you should do.
  • Build trust – Be professional, talk with no hesitation, and create a “win win” atmosphere when marketing your property. If the buyer senses that you are trying to pull something over them – they are going to run for the hills.
  • Never over-upgrade – Only do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Overdoing the repairs won’t always raise the total price of the property but it might just make you owe more than it’s worth. Look at the competition and seek to be slightly better than them – but don’t over do it.
  • Always be up for a showing – You never know when your buyer is going to walk through the front door, so be prepared at all times. Keep the home organized, clean, and smelling great 100% of the time.
  • It’s about first impressions – Sometimes, the first impression is the only impression. In fact, most buyers decide if they’ll place an offer on a house within just seconds, so make sure it counts.
  • Make all necessary repairs – A leaky faucet or chipped paint on a baseboard can suggest to buyers that you might not be maintaining the house well. Do quick fix for these before any open houses or showings.
  • Check the season – Determine when the best season to sell your property is – and aim for that season if possible. In most areas of the country, selling in the late spring is usually the best time. swing
    Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific
  • Just Do It – All the tips on this list are helpful – but don’t think that you need to do them all in order to sell your home. Focus on the few tips that you think will give you the biggest bang for your buck – and do them well.
  • YOUR BEST TIP:  I want to leave this open for you to add your favorite tip in the comments below! What have you tried in order to sell your properties in the past? What do you plan on trying in the future? Leave your comment below!

Source: http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2013/09/19/how-to-sell-your-house/