As you know, we’re in the process of moving from central Indiana to northern California. Our Indiana home is the second residential property we’ve put on the market, and it is the second house we’ve owned that has sold in 15 days or less. In fact, it beat out our Connecticut Cottage (which was sold in a hot market during the height of the real estate bubble) by 24 hours, selling in 14 days. And we definitely don’t live in a hot real estate market here in Indiana.
In any market these days, unloading a house in less than a month is a feat worth mentioning. It’s also worth mentioning that we’ve actually been living in the homes that we’ve sold during showings with three children and pets. Both times we’ve sold, we’ve used some of the very same strategies to get our houses ready to sell fast. Those strategies include preparing to sell well in advance, aggressive pricing and marketing techniques, focusing on staging, and prayer. I’m totally not joking about the use of prayer, but since prayer is pretty much self-explanatory, for the next couple of weeks I’m going to share some of my tips for applying the other strategies.
Hunter the dog double checks to make sure the house is ready to show.
This post is just the teaser–I’ll give more details in upcoming posts. Please keep in mind that I’m not a real estate professional and neither is my husband, The Bionic Man. We’re a couple of average Joe’s that have figured out a system that works for us. Here’s a summary of that system.
Prepare to Sell Well in Advance
By well in advance, I mean from the moment you purchase a piece of property, you should view it as a potential future transaction. Treat it like the investment that it is: keep an eye on the neighborhood market, just like you would if you’d invested in the stock market. Make choices about your property that will add–not subtract–from it’s value. Maintain your home to be in the condition you would want it to be if you were buying it.
Aggressive Pricing and Marketing
Experts agree, when it’s time to put your house on the market, you want it priced as close to the actual price at which it will sell as possible. This means doing your homework BIGTIME and hiring experts (realtors, appraisors) as necessary. Especially when you are living in a buyer’s market–meaning there are more homes available than there are buyers–pricing your home too high is never going to work in your favor. Scrimping on advertising is never going to work in your favor, either. The longer a house sits on the market, the more potential buyers are going to wonder what’s wrong with it…which will keep them away or cause them to offer waaaaay less than your listing price.
In my humble opinion, it won’t matter how aggressively your house is priced and how well it’s advertised if it doesn’t show well to potential buyers. It’s not enough in a slow market just to make a few basic repairs, run the vacuum around, and make sure there aren’t any dishes in the sink. The goal of staging a home is for buyers to be able to walk in and imagine how great it would be to live in your house. That’s going to take some effort, a little cash, and an ability to think like a potential buyer. It’s also going to require some flexibility on your part if you’ll be living in your house as you are selling.
Stay tuned over the rest of this month for more tips and tricks you can use–or file away for the future–to get your home on and off the market in a hurry.