20 Tips for Selling Your House

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By Luke Babich Updated August 13, 2021


Whether you’ve been offered a job across the country or you’ve found the perfect home in your dream neighborhood, it might be time to sell your house. If the purchase of your next home is dependent on selling your current residence, chances are you probably want to move fast.

Thanks to technological advances, homeowners have never had more options when it comes to buying and selling homes. With websites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, homebuyers can tour dozens of homes without getting out of their pajamas. Sellers also have plenty of options at their disposal.

As a seller, you can find a top-rated real estate agent through various web services such as Clever. You can sell your own home using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Homeowners in a big rush can make a cash deal with an iBuyer.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to selling a home, so it’s smart to find the option that best fits your goals. Here’s a look at 20 tips for selling your home fast in 2021.

Related: Do I need a real estate agent?

1. Price to sell

One of the first factors any prospective buyer will consider is a home’s price. If you want your home to be competitive in the local market, you need to set an asking price that is comparable to similar homes selling in the area.

At the same time, a home is a major investment, and you want to get the best return for it. Make sure to take into consideration any updates or renovations you have done during your time as the homeowner. A top-notch local real estate agent will also be able to help you set a price that strikes a balance between earning a return on your investment and pricing to sell.

2. Reduce the price

If your house has been sitting on the market for longer than anticipated, it might be time to reconsider your asking price. The housing market can fluctuate, so what may have been a reasonable asking price a few months ago might be pricing you out of prospective buyers.

By reducing your asking price, you can draw attention from more buyers shopping on a budget. In some cases, such as if you’re already paying a mortgage on a second home, selling your home for less than the initial asking price will save you money in the long run.

3. Seek pre-approval

There are few things more frustrating than having a home sale fall through after you’ve accepted an offer. In most instances, this happens because the prospective buyer does not qualify for a mortgage to purchase your home.

To avoid finding yourself in this situation, you can tell any buyers that their offer must come with a pre-approval letter from a mortgage broker. Make sure they have pre-approval, rather than pre-qualified, to ensure the sale goes through without any unpleasant surprises.

4. Photograph your home

Don’t cut corners on photographing your house in preparation for listing. The saying "less is more" does not apply when it comes to photographing your home for sale. For most prospective buyers, more is more.

Have plenty of interior and exterior photos of your home available on websites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia. Make sure the photos accurately show the space so prospective buyers will know what to expect before they come for a tour.

Although you may be good at snapping family photos, you might consider hiring a photographer. Real estate photography requires special skills that will show your home in its best light.

5. Make a 3D tour

Once upon a time, creating a 3D tour of a home seemed like something out of a science fiction thriller. Now, technology has advanced to make this something the average homeowner can do when selling.

You can create a low-tech 3D tour by creating a video on your phone as you walk through your home. If you have access to a drone, you can get even more footage, including great shots of your home’s exterior and neighborhood. Check with local realtors to see what options they have available when it comes to creating a 3D tour.

6. Do a deep clean

Before you photograph your house or set up an open house, make sure your home is at its cleanest. Go beyond mopping and picking up toys. Take the time to clean floorboards and remove cobwebs from the ceiling. You may not notice these little flaws day to day, but prospective buyers will.

Once you have your home cleaned, do your best to keep it in pristine shape while it is on the market. Taking a few moments every day to run the vacuum, wipe down surfaces, and put dishes away will keep you from a frantic scramble every time a buyer is coming for a tour.

7. Declutter your space

In addition to making sure your home sparkles, take the time to declutter your home before listing it for sale. Your family photos are important to you, but they can distract buyers from seeing themselves living in your home.

As a bonus, packing up these keepsakes in advance will save you time later. Once you accept an offer and begin the closing process, you will have fewer things to pack.

8. Add curb appeal

You can’t turn on a real estate show without hearing someone talk about curb appeal, and that’s for good reason. It doesn’t matter if your home has crown molding or a wood-burning fireplace if buyers are turned off before they even set foot inside the door.

Adding curb appeal doesn’t have to involve full landscaping. You can make a big impact by trimming back overgrown bushes and trees and making sure the lawn is kept trimmed and watered while your home is on the market. For bonus points, place some potted plants on your porch or plant a tree in the front yard.

9. Make a good entrance

After seeing the front of your home, your entrance or foyer is the next space a future homeowner will see. Take special care to keep this space clean and free from clutter while it is on the market so it looks its best.

For an extra flourish, consider having a vase with flowers on an entry table or give the walls there a fresh coat of paint. Speaking of paint, you may also want to consider painting your front door. Did you know homes with black doors sell for more than others?

10. Be neutral

If you’ve lived in your home for any amount of time, you probably have scratches and scuff marks on your walls. While some of these can be reduced during cleaning, it might be time to add a fresh coat of paint.

When painting your home to sell, look for neutral colors, such as ivory, beige, and gray. While your personal taste might include red accent walls, neutral colors will appeal to more buyers. If you’re pressed for time, focus on painting the most frequently used spaces, such as the living room and kitchen.

11. Let there be light

People aren’t the only ones who look their best with good lighting. One of the best ways to show off your home in its best light is to let in the light.

If you have windows, make sure to keep the drapes drawn or the blinds open when giving tours. If your home is sparse on natural light, consider strategically placing lights around the house to show off the best features.

12. Stage your home to sell

While living in our homes, we tend to arrange the furniture in a way that best suits our needs. But that arrangement doesn’t always display the space at its best.

Expert real estate agents or home stagers can help you create a layout that helps buyers see how they could use the home. Effective staging creates a blank slate, where they can imagine living.

In some cases, stagers can even use furniture you already have, which could save you the expense of renting furniture. If you are planning on moving your furniture before listing, then you may want to consider temporarily renting furniture to help with the staging.

13. Make necessary updates

When you’re pressed for time to sell your home, hitting the pause button to do any kind of work may sound counterproductive. But you could save yourself time by making a few minor updates that will appeal to more buyers across the board.

For example, you can change out the hardware on cupboards and drawers or change faulty light fixtures for relatively low expense and time. These little efforts will help your home stand out in a good way during home tours. If your home has more work than you can manage, consider factoring in the cost of these changes during negotiations to sell your house as is.

14. Disclose major issues

Everyone wants to show their home in the best possible light, especially when it’s time to sell. While touting all of the good parts, it’s also important to disclose any major issues that might turn off buyers.

For example, if your home has plumbing or electrical issues that require significant repairs, you should include that with your write-up. While this may turn off some buyers, there are others who won’t mind and are looking for a fixer-upper.

If you fail to disclose these issues during the selling process, they will most likely come up during inspection. At that point, it could be a rude awakening for the buyer. They may get cold feet and withdraw their offer, leaving you to start at square one all over again.

15. Be flexible

Once your home is on the market, keep your schedule flexible for prospective buyers to do home tours. Unless you are selling the home yourself, you will need to leave your home for an hour or two at a time while a real estate agent gives the tour.

You can avoid losing a prospective buyer by being flexible with your time and accommodating their schedule.

16. Keep your emotions in check

There are few things more stressful than moving. Keep that in mind and cut yourself — and prospective buyers — some slack throughout the process. This is an emotional time for all of you filled with questions and unknowns.

One way to help keep your emotions in check is to adjust your mindset. Once you decide to sell your home, think of it as a business transaction rather than personal. Think about what will help you get the best return on your investment and take actions accordingly.

17. Work with a top local agent

As of 2021, there are about two million active real estate agents in the U.S. No pressure, but who you work with could be the difference between selling your house fast — and at a good price — or juggling two mortgages while you navigate a long sale and losing out on profits.

A buyer’s agent will represent your interests throughout the whole process of listing, selling, and closing on your home. When it comes to hiring a real estate agent to help you sell your home, you want to work with one of the best. You want someone who understands the local market and what it will take to make your home stand out to prospective buyers on your timeline.

To find a top local agent, you can sometimes depend on word of mouth or by checking reviews online. You can also save time and take a look at how to find a top agent in your area who will best understand you and your selling goals.

18. Sell to an iBuyer

An iBuyer is a large company that buys and sells homes using proprietary technology aimed at streamlining the process. Through this technology, most iBuyers will make an offer on a home in 24 to 48 hours. In some cases, you can expect to close on your house within two weeks.

While selling to an iBuyer is fast, it comes at a cost. Most offers and sales are below market value. iBuyers also charge a service fee that ranges anywhere from 5% to 15%, which will also cut into your profits. Find out more about what you can expect from selling to an iBuyer.

19. Sell to a wholesaler

You’ve probably seen the billboards and signs around town offering to buy your house for cash. Similar to iBuyers, a wholesaler will buy your home as is and pay you in cash, typically within one to two weeks.

Since they buy it as is, you don’t need to worry about fixing up your home to appeal to buyers. Like with iBuyers, you can expect to earn less than market value for your house. Some sellers have reported selling for 50% of market value.

20. Transfer your mortgage

Some mortgage brokers will allow you to transfer your mortgage to someone else. This option may work out if you have a friend or a family member who likes your home and understands your time crunches.

There are a few catches with this approach. First, not all mortgage deals or brokers will allow it, so you need to do your research and check your paperwork. Second, you have to make sure the person taking over your mortgage can handle it.

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