This has been an amazing few weeks for us. We bought a new place, welcomed a new baby into our family, and we got a contract on our house before we even put it on the market. I don’t want to claim to be an expert, but our houses sell fast. When we sold our last house seven years ago, we put it on the market in November just two weeks before Thanksgiving. Who even thinks about putting a house on the market right before the holidays? Apparently we do/did. And you know what? We had a signed contract before Thanksgiving even arrived. So, I thought it might be nice to share five of our house selling tips that make our houses move fast.
As you know we have a new place that we bought the last week of December. That meant it was time to sell our current place. I am so happy to tell you that we have a contract on it, and we didn’t even put it on the market yet. Our neighbors told some friends of theirs, and they came to take a tour. Two days before we were to officially go on the market, we had a signed contract from them at full ask.
Tip #1 – Hire a Good Realtor
When we sold our last house, we found out who the top realtors were in our area/zip code. They know what people in that particular area are looking for, and they often have a list of names of clients looking for a certain kind of property in that area. It’s their beat, and they know it. That’s the bottom line. Then we interviewed each of them. We set up the three meetings for one afternoon. When each one arrived, we gave them a tour of our house and asked each of them what their approach would be to selling it. We ended up selecting the right one (Rick Queen for you locals), and he has been the ultimate, helpful, professional. And by all means, if your realtor wants to take the listing photos with his cell phone, don’t hire him. Make sure he uses a qualified professional to take the photos. If he also uses a videographer, that’s even better. Your house will stand out on the listing websites if your photos are good.
Tip #2 – Be Ready
As soon as we knew we were selling, we did a major clean up. Granted, things don’t get too cluttered or too dirty around here since it is just Mr. Right and I living here. However, we each went through all of the closets, cabinets, shelves, basement and garage and got rid of a bunch of stuff. We donated some things, and we took everything else to our new place. We are going to have an inside moving sale there as soon as we have a good Saturday. (I tried to have one on New Year’s Day, but it was too cold.) But needless to say, our place was sparkling when the first (and only) couple walked through the door.
Tip #3 – Stage Your House
This tip sort of goes along with the one above. We removed all of our personal objects, took up throw rugs in the bathrooms, put out new towels and fresh flowers, and removed some furniture and decor. Mr. Right, who works from home, even had his office looking very neat. It is important for the house to be uncluttered as well as free of dog/cat fur, dirty furniture, offensive odors, soiled carpet, bright paint colors, etc. I don’t understand it when people won’t pay a few hundred dollars to a stager to prepare a house, but yet they are willing to reduce the price by thousands after it has been on the market a while. Spend the money upfront. This time around we did our own staging, but for the last house, I used a pro to help me. I learned from her what to do. Often times, realtors will give sellers sound advice about things that need to be done to prepare a house for sell. Do what they say. They know.
Tip #4 – Get Your House Appraised
This is a tip very few people do. Once you decide to put your house on the market, take your emotions out of it. It has been a home that you have loved, but when it’s on the market, it is all of a sudden a piece of merchandise. Its value needs to based on the market and not on what you think it is worth for sentimental reasons. We hired the top appraiser in Lexington to do an updated appraisal on our house. That let us know exactly what it is worth in this neighborhood, in this condition, and in this market. He used comparable selling prices of homes in our area to help come up with the value of the house. Then we could use his information to put the right price on our house. We didn’t want to price it too high or too low. I guess we did it right because…..contract. We could easily justify the selling price if anyone asked because we had a sound appraisal.
Tip #5 – Get Your House Inspected
This is another tip very few people do. Instead of expecting the buyers to get our house inspected, we had it done by one of the top inspectors in town. So many deals fall through when sales are contingent upon the inspection. And when those inspections come back with page after page of problems that need to be fixed, some deals fall through. Or the selling price is greatly reduced to make up for those flaws. As homeowners and sellers, we wanted to know up front if anything was wrong with our house that needed to be fixed. Having our house inspected took away the surprise element. We had just a few minor little things to fix, and we had them done ourselves. There will be no unpleasantries for our buyers to deal with. (And as an aside, we had the new place we bought inspected before we made our second offer. There were so many things wrong with it that we got it at a great price we wanted to pay because we are willing to fix those things.)
My mother always said you have to spend money to make money. Yes, these tips include some upfront expenses that will be coming off of your bottom line. However, following these steps might help your house sell faster and at a higher price. Good luck!
Remember to pin these tips to your Pinterest page.
Our townhouse photos furnished by Turftown Realtors