Dominique Brown is a financial planner, landord, personal finance blogger and video blogger. He is the owner of YourFinancesSimplified.com where he talks about everything from being a new father to his worst financial mistakes. He is also the owner of InsiderRealEstateTips.com where he talks about real estate exclusively. You can find him either on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.
It can be overwhelming to wake up one day and realize, OMG! I need to sell my house.” Maybe you lost your job or hopefully, you got that big promotion, and you have to move halfway across the country. Whatever the catalyst may be, when you need to sell your home quickly do these four things:
1. Establish a Selling Price
Get an appraisal. You’ll need to know what your home is worth before you can think about a selling price. Research your neighborhood for asking prices of homes similar to yours. While you’re at it, find out how long have they been on the market. Gather information on recently sold homes, specifically, actual selling prices and length of time on the market.
With an appraisal as your starting point, researching homes currently for sale and homes that have sold in the recent past can guide you to a reasonable market price for your home. You must recognize the probability of your selling price being less than its appraised value. The brutal fact is that your home is ultimately worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. As a result, pricing your home for the market is more a function of how similar properties in your neighborhood are priced and what similar properties have sold for in the past. The appraisal prevents you from radically under or over pricing your home, and the other house prices point you in a direction that is realistic for your market.
Saying “I need to sell my house,” begs the question, by what date? How long do you have to conclude the sale? One month? Two? The length of time available to you to sell your property will determine how receptive you will be to offers that fall below your asking price.
Things could get complicated if the appraised value and/or proposed selling price of your home fall short of the pay-off on your mortgage. This puts you in the position of trying to negotiate a short-sale with your mortgage lender.
2. Develop a Marketing Plan
Once you’ve established a selling price, you’re well prepared to sell your home on your own (for sale by owner), or to list your home with a realtor.
Regardless of your choice, be proactive. Draw attention to your home. Bulletin boards (online and otherwise), flyers, signs, and word-of-mouth efforts in conjunction with your realtor’s marketing strategies can hasten the process.
Don’t underestimate the power of the Internet! A Facebook page for your home including photos and a video tour is a great way to generate a buzz.
3. Spruce the Place Up
Inside your home you’ll want to remove clutter, especially personal items. You’ll also want to ensure everything works, including the light switches and plumbing. Outside, you’ll want to make sure you keep the lawn mowed, weeded, and trimmed and any toys or tools are put away. You’ll also want to repair any broken or cracked windows, clean the gutters, and mend fences.
When you have people visiting to look at the house, you’ll want to keep the interior well lit. Open the curtains during the day and turn on your lamps after dusk. And remember — some people don’t like pets!
Also, keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Potential buyers don’t want to share in your austerity program.
In short, make sure everything is presentable, clean, and in good repair. Personal items make it more difficult for potential to visualize your home as theirs. If everything is in working order, they’ll not be thinking of additional ownership costs.
4. Formulate Alternatives
You must consider the possibility that your home will not sell quickly. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to beware of scammers and avoid attracting these operators by not seeming desperate to sell (even if you are). You’ll also want to avoid multiple price reductions that can signal your desperation, or worse, suggest something is wrong with your home. Instead, you can try offering incentives such as prepaying the property taxes or paying the closing costs, and you consider renting the property until market conditions are more favorable.
If, at the end of the day, you end up renting or leasing your home, consider hiring a property manager, especially if you’ll be living some distance away.
Are you thinking of selling your home, or have you recently sold one? If so, do you have anything to share with those who are trying to sell?
Photo Credit: Charles D P Miller