Ten Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

  • Price it right If you're going to sell your home in a down market, you may have to be willing to make some concessions on price. In many areas foreclosures have depressed the prices quite a bit. While you may not be able to cut your price to the level of some of those bank owned homes, you can still do your research as to what comparable homes are selling for, and undercut their prices. You may not get as much action as the foreclosures, but you will at least get more action than other sellers who aren't as flexible on price. Try not to get emotionally stuck on a certain price.
  • Clear the clutter People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.

    If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?

    Remove all books from bookcases.
    Pack up those knickknacks.
    Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
    Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
    Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
  • De-Personalize Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."
  • Rent a Storage Unit Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"
  • Remove/Replace Favorite Items If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer she can't have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
  • Make Minor Repairs
    Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
    Patch holes in walls.
    Fix leaky faucets.
    Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
    Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
    (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.")
    Replace burned-out light bulbs.
    If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
  • Make the House Sparkle
    Wash windows inside and out.
    Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
    Clean out cobwebs.
    Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
    Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
    Clean out the refrigerator.
    Vacuum daily.
    Wax floors.
    Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
    Bleach dingy grout.
    Replace worn rugs.
    Hang up fresh towels.
    Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
    Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no
  • Check Curb Appeal
    If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.

    Keep the sidewalks cleared.
    Mow the lawn.
    Paint faded window trim.
    Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
    Trim your bushes.
    Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.
  • Consider staging the house Staging cost can range from a couple hundred dollars for a basic consultation to several thousand dollars, particularly if you rent modern, neutral furniture for showing your home. Many people feel that stagers can make a home more salable, so hiring one deserves some consideration.
  • Sweeten the Deal Another way to make the home and deal more attractive to buyers is to offer things or terms that might sweeten the pot. For example, sellers that offer the buyer a couple of thousand dollars credit toward closing costs, or offer to pay closing costs entirely will in some cases receive more attention from house hunters looking at similar homes. In a down market, buyers are looking for a deal, so do your best to make them feel they're getting one.

    Another tip is to offer a transferable home warranty, which can cost $300 to $400 for a one-year policy and will cover appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators that fail. Depending on the policy, other appliances and house gadgets may be covered as well. A potential buyer may feel more at ease knowing that he or she will be covered against such problems, which could make your home more attractive than a competing home.
  • The Bottom Line Selling a home in a down market requires a little extra work. Do everything you can to get the home in excellent shape and be prepared to make some small concessions at closing. These tips, coupled with an attractive price, will increase the odds of getting your home sold.