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6 Tips to Sell a House Fast in Any Market

Money Girl recommends 6 tips to speed up the sale of your home without sacrificing profit--in any real estate market.

By
Laura Adams, MBA,
August 27, 2014
Episode #368

Page 2 of 3

While a remodel certainly adds some value, it’s like buying a new car that depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot.

Selling Tip #2: Make Upgrades

So how much should you spend to upgrade your home before selling it? Well, remember that the return on investment, or ROI, on home improvements is generally less than 100%.

Let’s say your home is worth approximately $200,000, and you spend $30,000 to remodel the kitchen. Many people mistakenly believe that the home is now worth $230,000. That’s dead wrong.

While a remodel certainly adds some value, it’s like buying a new car that depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot.

So, while I recommend making small upgrades--like replacing the kitchen sink faucet or updating an old water heater--I don’t suggest doing any major remodels. If you have a sorely outdated kitchen or bathroom, you’ll generally come out ahead by discounting the asking price, so a buyer can choose their own finishes.

The vast majority of buyers make a purchase offer that’s contingent upon receiving a satisfactory report from a certified home inspector. Why? Well, most home lenders require it, and also may require additional inspections--such as a termite report--depending on the state where you live.

So, don’t try to ignore necessary repairs that would be a red flag to a home inspector or a mortgage company. These include major problems--such as an outdated electrical system or a leaky roof--as well as minor ones, such as sticky windows and leaky faucets.

If you don’t address needed repairs, you risk a potential buyer walking away when problems turn up on a home inspector’s report. Depending on the wording of your contract, the buyer could walk away, or require you to complete the necessary repairs within a certain period of time, in order to go through with the purchase.

See also: Should I Short Sale My Home?

Selling Tip #3: Depersonalize Your Home

After you improve your curb appeal and make necessary upgrades and repairs, it’s show time, baby!

The best way to get your home ready to show prospective buyers is to depersonalize it by removing family photos, quirky art and collectibles, and vibrant paint colors. Your goal is to create a soothing space that allows buyers to visualize their own family and lifestyle in the home--not yours.

Don’t take it personally, but no one likes your pet accessories, over-stuffed closets, movie collections, and clutter, except you. Simplify and neutralize your home as if it were a model home, because that’s exactly what it is while it’s on the market.

If you have to rent a storage unit to de-clutter and remove excess trinkets and closet junk, it’ll be worth it. Then it will also be easier to freshen up the paint on interior walls and tone down any bright colors with off-white or beige.  

Make your home like a clean, welcoming, blank canvas that any buyer can visually paint their own dreams upon. I know it won’t feel like your home for a little while, but once you sell your house and move into your next place, you can decorate any way you like.

See also: Selling a Home? 6 Tax Tips to Save You Money

Selling Tip #4: Price Your Property Competitively

Choosing the right listing price is one of the most important tips for selling your home quickly. If your home is priced too low, you’ll obviously leave money on the table, and if it’s too high, you’ll get few offers and watch it get stale on the market.

Many times, sellers try to sell property without hiring a real estate professional, because they believe it will save money in the long run. As a former Realtor, I can tell you that the good ones will save you both money and time.

Since a real estate agent is paid a percentage of your selling price, it’s in his or her best interest to price it perfectly. They want to earn the highest commission possible, but they also want to earn a commission within a reasonable amount of selling time.

Real estate pros know the local market like the back of their hands, and will review comparable sales to make sure you set a realistic price. While you might be tempted to start with a high listing price to see what happens, overpricing can be a bad strategy.

After a home sits on the market for an extended period of time, many people will assume that it hasn’t sold because something is wrong with it. Agents and buyers may mistakenly assume that an old listing can’t pass inspections, or that it has a poor interior layout.

So, don’t let your home become a stale listing because it’s overpriced.

See also: How to Get Rid of Your Mortgage PMI

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