8 hints to help sell your home fast
a hurry to sell your house? Here are some ways to set a winning pace in the
1. Hire a top-notch sales agent.
"You need a good agent, an agent who knows your neighborhood" says
Julie Greenwood, co-owner of Greenwood King Properties, a Houston real estate
2. Price it right.
The No. 1 thing that will sell a house quickly is price. "That's the name
of the game," says Tom Innes, president of Re/Max Commonwealth in Richmond,
Va. "If you price it right, it will sell. If you price it wrong, it won't
OK, so just how do you play the home-sale-version of "The
Price is Right"? That crackerjack agent you hired should have a good sense
of what price will help sell your home sooner rather than later. As the owner,
you are probably not objective, so give your agent free rein, within reason,
to set the price. The broker will look at the average days a home in your neighborhood
is on the market, how your home compares to others in the area and its condition.
3. Create an adjustable sales plan.
Come up with a sales strategy, but make sure it's flexible. What's your initial
asking price? How long will you insist on it before making a reduction? How
much of a cut will you accept? What about after that? Having a plan in place
will help you react quickly, according to Greenwood, and will move your home
that much more quickly.
4. Clear out the clutter.
"Get the clutter out of it," says Stephen Roulac, author of the forthcoming
"360 Housing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them." It will make your home
more inviting to buyers. "After you thought you got out the clutter, take
out more. Get it spare, open and fresh."
5. Offer incentives.
Incentives can help shorten the sales cycle, but be careful. Agents are divided
on how much they help.
"I think it can be a fine line between wanting to sell a
house quickly and having it look like it's a fire sale," Greenwood says.
If prospective buyers get the idea that you're desperate to sell, they will
try to get you to accept a bargain-basement price.
Roulac, however, believes that adding premiums can help speed
a house sale. A popular incentive offered purchasers is closing-cost help. You
also can encourage your sales agent: Offer a higher commission for a speedy
sale or give your broker show tickets, a meal at a fine restaurant or some other
perk if the property moves quickly.
6. They buy houses, don't they?
What about those "cash for homes" ads you see on matchbook covers,
billboards and late-night TV? Agents say houses sold this way are heavily discounted.
You will sell your property quickly, but it will go cheap, probably at a price
that really won't make you happy. "If it's too good of an offer to be true,
it is too good of an offer," says Re/Max's Innes.
7. Ask for company help.
If you're relocating because of a job change or company transfer, you may be
eligible for home-sale help from your employer or a relocation company representing
your employer. "Generally speaking, these buyouts are fair," says
Todd Thornton, a real estate instructor, consultant and author of "Home
Buying Without the BS."
"An appraiser would appraise the property and the buyout
would be for the suggested fair market value less a sales fee," he explains.
"The company would then put the home on the market with a local real estate
While that's a great deal for the home sellers, Thornton notes
that many companies are scaling back on their relocation packages, so it may
not be an option.
8. Rent it.
If time runs out and you've got to get out of Dodge without selling your home,
consider renting it. Just be sure to strike a deal with the renters so your
home will be available for showing. For example, if a home such as yours normally
rents for $1,000 a month, offer a discount (say $750) in exchange for the renters
making the house accessible for showings to potential buyers.
The downside of renting a house that you're trying to sell is
that its condition probably won't be as pristine as you or buyers would like.
One way around this problem, says Innes, is to rent with an option to buy. "Let
people move in six months and pay rent and then close," he says.
Jenny C. McCune is a contributing editor
based in Montana.
-- Posted: July 1, 2003