Whether a town’s market is hot or not, certain homes seem to effortlessly attract packed open houses and multiple bids. What’s the secret behind these brisk and brilliant sales? From pricing to staging, here are a dozen proven strategies for winning at the real estate game.
Find the Right Agent
When a home sells quickly, a top-notch real estate agent might just be the hidden ingredient. Savvy sellers shop around for an agent who knows the local market inside and out and understands exactly how to position the house for potential buyers.
Price It Right
Every homeowner thinks his or her humble abode is worth a whopping price, but it’s not always the best tactic to charge top dollar. To prevent your home from sitting on the market too long, hit the perfect price point by carefully studying the local comparables and following the advice of that well-chosen real estate agent.
First Impressions Count
Drive-by browsers often turn into open-house attendees. That’s why smart homeowners focus on maximizing their home’s curb appeal. It pays to freshen up landscaping with mulch and annuals, trim overgrown shrubs, repaint the front door, and install attractive new entry lighting.
Update Kitchens and Bathrooms (Cautiously)
A tired kitchen or bath will scare away scads of prospective buyers. The best strategy is to make judicious upgrades: Consider painting cabinets, swapping out faucet hardware, or replacing the oldest of the appliances.
Homes that move quickly tend to be clean and tidy. Though it’s a ton of work, clued-in sellers invest the time and elbow grease needed to scrub the house from top to bottom. And because they know that home buyers love to poke their noses into every nook and cranny, smart sellers don’t neglect closets and basements.
Fix Potential Inspection Snafus
While it doesn’t make sense to invest in huge renovations before a sale, it’s wise to address any major problems that might crop up during inspections—roof leaks, sticking windows, outdated wiring—as they can torpedo a deal at the last minute.
Send Pets on Vacation
Resident dogs or cats aren’t a selling point—even if open-house attendees happen to be animal lovers. Pet owners who are serious about nailing a sale bundle their furry pals off to a friend or relative’s place or their favorite pet-boarding locale, then hide away toys and bowls and thoroughly air out the premises.
The most successful sellers understand that certain up-front expenses can really pay off, so they hire floor refinishers, painters, and landscapers to make their place shine. After that’s all done, they hire pro real estate photographers to show off their spiffed-up home in the best light possible.
Have Great Timing
Spring is the optimal time to enter the real estate market, and that’s when the savviest homeowners take the leap. By putting a place up for sale from March through May, you’ll attract more potential buyers, your home’s curb appeal will be at its peak, and you’ll have more to choose from when it’s time to find your next address.
Refresh Your Home
In a crowded market, canny sellers know that a few spruce-ups can turn a ho-hum house into a standout. Newly painted walls in warm neutral shades, stylish furnishings brightened with brand-new textiles (remember, you can take them with you when you go!), and decluttered shelves, cabinets, and closets will help a home sell quickly.
Talk It Up Everywhere
A real estate agent will usually take care of the major marketing outlets, including online listings on Zillow and Trulia as well as in local newspapers. Still, word of mouth can be an extremely effective tool, so shrewd homeowners also post about their place on Facebook and spread the news everywhere they can, from the dentist’s office to the local playground.
Always Be Ready to Show It Off
It’s hard to think of crowds of strangers trooping through your private space, but astute sellers understand that the more shoppers they get, the greater their chances of snagging a buyer. To make sure that their home can be shown at a moment’s notice, wise sellers set up a key box (or have their agent do it) and they keep the place neat as a pin—all the way down to fresh flowers on the dining table and fluffed-up pillows on the bed.