How to sell your house quickly
When you have an unwanted home you need to get off your hands and precious little time in which to do it, you quickly realise that real estate advertising, finding potential buyers and ultimately getting your home sold is a lengthy and frustrating exercise. The property market can be tricky – but it doesn’t have to be. This guide will give you all the information you need, with step-by-step instructions on how to sell your house as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Agent or Solo?
Selling your house on your own can be an intimidating venture, especially if you haven’t had any prior experience selling in the property market. Making your property look presentable, negotiating with prospective buyers, handling advertising and showings – it’s a lot of pressure to deal with. Ask yourself: am I ready for this? If the answer is “No” or “I’m not sure”, you need help from someone who knows their way around the block. That’s why there are real estate agents – they‘re there to take care of the dirty business. When trying to find the right agent for you, look for one with experience – ask for their resume and base you judgment on their past successes. Ideally you want an agent with a flawless track record of quick closes with good payouts for the previous owner, but unfortunately the best agents tend to have the steepest price tags. If you’re the average Joe or Jane, you’ll have to compromise.
A word of advice, though: don’t trust everyone you meet. You have every reason to be skeptical of cheap agents who offer you , and attorneys who smile and promise you “highly affordable” advice and representation. In either case, you will be required to sign a legally binding contract which will stipulate the estimated selling price, commission (fee paid to the agent/attorney), costs of advertising, the details of the selling process, and duration of the contract itself, among other things. Scrutinize it carefully before hiring him/her on. If you’re in doubt, seek counsel from a qualified property law attorney. Once you’ve hired an agent, communicate with him/her regularly so you know how the sale is progressing and whether your side of the deal is being fulfilled.
Think you can handle the business of selling a home by yourself? No one can fault you for bravery, but be aware that there are many factors that need to play in your favor for you to make it work, not least of which include finely-tuned people skills. Level-headedness and a firm (but not antagonizing) attitude are necessary. You should have some understanding of property law, the real estate market and advertising – after all, you want to sell your house and not get cheated in the process.
Advertising is one of the most important, most tricky, and potentially most fun parts of selling solo. It involves taking photographs of the home, getting a copy of the floor plans or drawing them up, and posting ads online or in your local newspaper. Have a plan to make as many people as possible aware of your property using ads that pique a buyer’s interest – that’s how you sell your house quickly.
Now that you’ve help selling your property (or confidence in your ability to sell on your own) it’s time to decide how you’re going to sell.
Step 2: Pick your Strategy
When most people think of selling their home, what comes to mind is an asking price sale: in this case, you set a reasonable but flexible price, wait for offers, then negotiate until you come to the best deal. It’s a tried-and-tested strategy, but oftentimes turns into a time-consuming ordeal. If you’re really in a hurry and itching to sell your house quickly, consider the other options available to you.
Fixed date sales are similar to asking price sales in that they begin with advertising and showings. However, rather than negotiating with prospective buyers, you (or you and your real estate agent) will set out an acceptable price range and a date and time by which offers must be formally submitted. The offers are then collected and reviewed, after which you can accept the highest offer, negotiate further with one or more buyers to get a better offer, or re-list the property and start over if none of the offers were satisfactory.
Auctions occur on a set date and start with a reserve or minimum price, often relatively low for the property’s real market value. Auction-goers offer increasingly higher bids until the highest bidder is reached, at which point the property is sold. The competitive nature of auctions makes it quite possible that you will come away with more money than you would have received for an asking price or fixed date sale. Note that laws applying to auctions prevent you from conducting this type of sale on your own; you’ll have to hire a certified auctioneer, which will cost you.
You now know how you’re going to sell – all that’s left is doing the thing.
Step 3: Making the Sale
A lot of things have to be done right for a sale to go off smoothly. Presentation, for one thing, is key. Whether you’re selling through an agent or on your own, this part is up to you. To make a great first impression when your house is being shown to potential buyers, you’ll have to clean, refurbish and redecorate before the showing period. That means dusting out the house, making the floors shine, eliminating clutter, and arranging furniture and decor into the most attractive configuration you can manage.
Then there are the buyers. Having an agent in your employ means it is not necessary for you to interact with the people actually buying your house; although, in some cases, buyers may seek you out for answers to questions that your agent cannot answer. If you‘d rather avoid these kinds of questions (or are simply not good with people) it is necessary for you to keep your agent as informed as possible in regards to the history of the house. If you’re selling solo, however, you must be able to talk to people in a way that walks the line between friendly and businesslike, steadfast and reasonable. If you’re too eager to be every buyer’s “buddy” or too impersonal and stand-offish, you’ll put a lot of people off. If you don’t come across as firm enough, you run the risk of prospective buyers seeing you as spineless and trying to persuade you to lower your price. If you’re stubborn and not willing to compromise when it makes sense, it could be months before you get another chance to close a deal.
The fact is, every buyer is different. You need to be adaptable; after all, it’s not a forgone conclusion that any prospective buyer will buy your house, even if they appear to like it at first. Opinions change, often for reasons outside of your control. Sometimes it helps to be subtly persuasive (confidence and a touch of charm will work wonders in this regard) if you want things to go your way. Admittedly, not everybody has these social skills, but it’s up to you to develop them if you’re hellbent on selling all on your lonesome. Just remember that buyers‘ first impressions of you are tied up with their impressions of your house, and a bad tour of an otherwise great house is enough to convince someone that they didn’t want the house after all. The same way you put so much effort into the presentation of the house, you need to put some thought into the way you present yourself. Your job is to make as flawless a first impression as possible, and hopefully persuade buyers that your property is worth their money.
Whatever you choose – agent or solo, auction or fixed date sale – you should now have a better idea of how to sell your house quickly. Best of luck to you, brave seller!
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