You may not realize it, but your home sale starts far before you put your house on the market. With so many sellers vying for the same lot of buyers, you need to make sure your home and your plan to sell are in tip-top shape before listing on the MLS.
Of course, properly preparing isn't always cheap. But fret not. This guide will give you seven cost-saving hacks to get your home sold in a snap.
1. Improve Curb Appeal
The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see when they're searching for a house, so it's crucial that you put in some effort to make it stand out in a sea of listings.
Luckily, wowing buyers with your home's exterior doesn't need to break the bank. Small touch-ups and improvements like mowing your lawn, trimming your shrubbery, and giving your front door a new coat of paint can generate some serious curb appeal that gives your home an edge in a competitive market.
If you want to take things a step further, look into getting a new mailbox, adding a wreath or other tasteful decorations to your front door, or installing some flower window boxes.
2. Depersonalize the House
Buyers need to imagine what it'd be like to live in a home before buying it, and they can't do that if there are still reminders of you everywhere they look.
While you don't need to remove everything from your home (doing so would actually make it harder to sell), you do need to tuck away any items that are exceedingly personal or polarizing. That means taking down family pictures and removing anything with a political, provocative, or religious feel to it.
This is one of the cheapest tips on our list because it's 100% free — you don't need to buy anything, just put things away!
3. Clean the Closets
Few things are as longed for as a walk-in closet, and while not everyone is that lucky, you can always work with what you've got and make your closets seem bigger than they are.
Clean, spacious, and organized closets help homes sell fast. If you don't have an organizational system for your closets, develop one. Invest in matching containers, then spend a little time and elbow grease giving everything a home.
4. Get a Pre-Sale Inspection
Selling your home can come with a lot of surprises — many of them not so welcome. Getting a pre-sale inspection can help avoid major bombshells like finding out your roof's about to fall off after you've found an interested buyer.
As good old Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Don't walk into your home sale blind. Make sure you know everything about the condition of your home before you put it on the market so the sale won't fall through because of an unpleasant surprise.
5. Find a Flat-Fee Real Estate Agent
There's no doubt about it: traditional real estate agents are expensive. With an average commission fee of 6%, most Americans are staring down a bill of around $14,000 when they sell their homes. Ouch.
Thankfully, flat-fee real estate agents can provide the same, high-quality service you'd expect from a traditional realtor, but at a fraction of the price. Instead of paying 6%, you'll pay a single, preset fee no matter what your home sells for, saving you thousands of dollars in commission fees and giving you the assistance you need to successfully sell.
6. Estimate Taxes
There are two things that are certain in this life: death and real estate taxes. When you sell your home, you could owe Uncle Sam some serious cash, so make sure you estimate the taxes you'll owe before you're confronted with an unexpected tax bill.
Home sellers typically need to pay two taxes: capital gains tax and transfer taxes. If you're single and you sell your home for a profit of more than $250,000 (or $500,000 if you're married), you're going to be on the line for capital gains tax.
Transfer taxes are paid by home sellers at closing and can be charged at a state, county, city level, so they can add up quickly. Be sure to do your research so you know how much will be coming out of your profits.
7. Understand Additional Costs
When you sell your home, you're going to incur several miscellaneous fees (referred to as closing costs) in addition to the expenses we've discussed so far. These include various costs like attorney fees, title insurance, title search, and loan payoff fees.
In total, these fees can end up being anywhere from 1-3% of your home's closing price, so don't let them be an afterthought — prepare ahead of time so that you're not blindsided with more fees than you can stomach.
Above all else, remember that a successful home sale requires careful preparation. Start preparing early, and you'll be on your way to a fast, easy, and profitable home sale.