65 Killer Tips for Selling Your Home Fast
This list should give you some actionable steps that you can take TODAY to help your sell your home. Following any of these steps should set you apart from the crowd, since the majority of home owners will simply list their property with an agent and wait for the offers start rolling in.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always happen that way!
The resource below is split into three sections giving you tips for (1) Finding a Buyer, (2) Making the Most Out of Your Viewings, and (3) Closing the Deal. Feel free to click on each to jump ahead to that section.
Finding a Buyer
1. Get a “For Sale” Sign and Put it In Your Yard – This may be one of the oldest techniques known to man for marketing your home, but it’s one that a remarkable amount of people forget to do. At the same time is one of the easiest techniques that requires very little time and money and will do the work for you once you put it up. You can either buy one at places like Build a Sign, or make one yourself.
2. Audit Your Agent’s Online Marketing – Make sure your agent knows what they are doing on the marketing front and is able to bring the best out of your property. This includes online marketing. A quick way to do this is to look at other listings from that agent, and do a comparison to competitor listings. You should be asking yourself whether there are enough pictures, whether the quality of those pictures do justice to the house, whether the add sells the good points of the home and finds solutions for the negatives. Also, how established is the agent in social media? The more followers, the more potential buyers the agent is able to reach.
3. Create Your Own Website – According to the National Association of Realtors, 92% of all prospective home buyers use the internet at some point in the search process, showing just how important it is to have an online presence when you are selling your home. Creating a website is a great way of achieving this and is a must on our list of tips for selling your home. Make sure you don’t just include pictures and information of your home, but also of your neighborhood, the schools, amenities, restaurants, shopping centers and anything else that may be interesting to a prospective buyer as the lifestyle you portray will sell the home just as much (if not more) than the home itself. The Strobist has a great guide to help you set up your site from scratch, otherwise you can use services like vFlyer that are dedicated to property websites and will have your listing distributed to a number of listing portals as well.
4. Take Convincing Photographs – Photographs are extremely important in creating a first impression on a potential buyer and could mean the difference between that person wanting to see the house in person or not. In fact, a study by Trulia showed that advertisements of homes that contained more than 6 photographs were twice as likely to be viewed by buyers than those that had less. Of course, it’s not just the quantity of photographs that is important, but also the quality of them. Bidvine put together a good tutorial on how to improve your property photography.
5. List Your House on Craigslist – Whatever some people say about Craigslist, it remains one of the most actively used online market places there is. You could probably sell nearly everything including the kitchen sink through Craigslist! There is a lot of spam on there, but just make sure you stand out from the crowd by writing an attractive headline and make sure you include plenty of pictures in your advertisement and you’re guaranteed to at least get a number of real inquiries. Also make sure you refresh your listing every couple of days to make sure you’re back on top of the list. For a great guide on Craiglist in general, check out this one from Apartment Therapy, on which will likely give you some tips on how best to list your home as well.
6. List on Ebay Classifieds – Similar to Craigslist, you can list your home on Ebay Classifieds to reach potential local buyers.
7. List on Backpage – Backpage is another option on which you can list your home and reach a local audience.
8. Write a Convincing Real Estate Advertisement – You can list your home on as many websites as you want, but if you don’t have a convincing advertisement, you won’t be getting as much out of it as you could. Especially your headline is critical as this is the only information a potential buyer will see before deciding to either click on your add for more detail, or move on the next one. Seth Williams from ReTipster has written a very detailed guide on how to do this!
9. Produce a Video and Market It Online – According to research by the National Association of Realtors, a significant gap exists between how prospective buyers are finding homes and how sellers are listing them. One of these gaps is in video for real estate marketing, where only 14% of agents use them to market homes, and more than 50% of prospective buyers searched specifically for videos on houses for sale. As such, this is one of the must-do tips for selling your home. YouTube accounted for the largest share of these searches, so this is probably the best starting point when marketing your video. There are plenty of good guides available on how to make a video showcasing your property.
10. Write a Neighbor Letter – Why not inform your neighbors that you are looking to sell in the near future and inform your neighbors about it before anyone else? Seth Williams from ReTipster has written a great tutorial on how to do this and found that many neighbors would actually love to buy the property next door to them as long as they were given the chance.
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11. Let Your Current Neighbors Choose Their New Neighbors – If the above doesn’t work why not encourage your neighbors to communicate it to their network as well? If they have someone in mind, they’ll be some of your biggest proponents in getting your home sold to the right people since ultimately they will be the ones that will be living in the same neighborhood. Rather than having a stranger move into their neighborhood, they may be able to convince someone that they already know which would be a win-win for everyone.
12. List Your Property in Local Newspapers – Although one of the older school methods, it’s still a valid one to reach potential buyers in the area. The best way to do this is to pick up a couple of local newspapers at your grocery store, call them, and ask them to run your advertisement in their classified section. Your listing might be squashed inbetween good morning images and quotes, or tattoo quotes ideas, but it’s worth a shot!
13. Facebook Your Listing – Social media is becoming increasingly important for many businesses, and real estate is no exception. It can give you a real edge over others when you list your home on Facebook especially as an FSBO home. See how Hooked on Houses details out the sale of a 1900 Victorian home in only three days by just using Facebook.
14. Pinterest Your Listing – Similar to Facebook, you can also put your listing on Pinterest. An interesting approach would be to do a search for “dream home” and see if anything comes up that resembles the home you are trying to sell. Then pitch your home to that person with pictures set up to resemble their dream home. This is exactly what the folks at Saving to Sail did to successfully sell their home by “Pinterest Stalking”.
15. Use the BiggerPockets Marketplace – For those of you that don’t know, BiggerPockets is perhaps the largest online community of real estate professionals. Whether it be investors, brokers, realtors, or those aspiring to learn more about real estate, you’ll likely find them there. The BiggerPockets Marketplace is a place where you’re allowed to freely promote and advertise and as such is a great place to list your property as well and show it to those that are likely to have an interest right away.
16. Network on Real Estate Forums – You can join a number of real estate forums and establish a relationship with the people there and let them know you have a property for sale. Just remember that these are active communities and if you go there solely for the reason of advertising it will often be frowned upon. Make sure you have something to contribute as well before you join these communities. A simple Google search with “real estate forums” or “real estate” + “powered by vbulletin” will give you a plethora of forums to choose from. Alternatively you can try the two most popular forums outside of BiggerPockets, Redfin or the Real Estate Forum.
17. List on For Sale By Owner – If you’re selling your home without the help of an agent, you can list your property on For Sale By Owner. This is a site that has gained popularity for FSBO homes and it helps you with the pricing through their online tool, marketing by syndicating your listing to major websites, and walk you through the types of paperwork you will need during the process.
18. List on Connected Investors – This is a marketplace where properties are listed before they hit the MLS, and is a place where real estate investors gather. As such, Connected Investors is a place where are likely to be able to find a cash buyer that is serious about buying your property.
19. List on Landwatch – Similar to the above, Landwatch is a portal where you can list your home and sell without the use of an agent.
20. Use Google Adwords – If you did decide to create a website for your property you can use set up Google Adwords to drive traffic to your site so that people will see it. Try buying the keywords “Homes for Sale in [Your City]” and you are likely to get extremely targeted traffic. The cost per click and search volume will vary based on where your property is, but generally it is pretty affordable – especially when you look at it in the context of the value of your home.
21. Auction Your Home – If you really need to sell you home quickly, you can list it for auction and you will be almost guaranteed to sell it. A good place to start would be at Bid 4 Assets, where you will be able to list your property. Note, however, that many of the properties listed have no reserve value and can go for as little as $1.
22. Visit Real Estate Auctions – Alternatively to auctioning your home, you can visit real estate auctions in your area. These places are often full of investors and cash buyers that you can tell about your property and you may just be able to sell your home to one of them. A good place to find local real estate auctions in your area is Auction Zip.
23. Use Meetup to Find Real Estate Networking Events – Create an account at MeetUp and use it to find real estate networking events in your area. While meeting some of the key players in the industry, it’s a great time to tell them about the property that you have for sale.
24. Put Bumper Stickers on Your Car – Bumper stickers may seem old school, but they are still a great way to reach people. Especially when you’re selling something that is location-dependent like a home. Make sure you use one that stands out and include your phone number and website if you decided to build one for your home.
25. Join Your Local REIA and Network – Look for your local Chapter of the National Real Estate Investors Association and join them to tell them about the property that you have for sale.
26. Make a Brochure and Post it to Local Bulletin Boards – Similar to bumper stickers, this type of advertising has been around for decades but for reaching people locally, they still do the trick. Try putting your add on bulletin boards in your local library, grocery stores, laundromats, schools, universities, and health clubs. As always makes sure your advertisement stands out from the rest to make sure you reach as many people as possible.
27. Use the Power of Google – Do a search in Google for “We Buy Houses in [Your City]” to find potential buyers in your area. Many investors will set up websites as a tool to help them purchase investment properties. Depending on where you live, this should give you a list of around 10-15 potential buyers that you already know have an interest in buying properties, have the cash to do so, and are located in your area.
28. Find Potential Buyers on Linked In – Linked In is another great tool to find potential buyers. Log into your LinkedIn account and simply go to “advanced search”. Under keywords simply type “Real Estate Investor”, and under “Zip Code” fill out the Zip Code in which your property is located. Then look for anyone within a 35 Mile radius and it should come up with a list of potential targets that you can tell about the home that you have for sale. You can try the same with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn generally works best.
29. Conduct Buyer’s Agent Outreach and Incentivize Them With Bonus – If you’re looking to sell quickly, you can reach out to all the buyer’s agents in your area and give them an incentive over and beyond the traditional commission that you would pay normally upon successful sale of the property. You can even make this a time-sensitive bonus that will only be valid until a certain date so that there is urgency attached to the transaction as well. The potential downside of this is that it puts the seller at a negotiation disadvantage if the buyer sees that bonus that is being offered and picks up on the fact that the seller is obviously in a hurry.
30. Choose the Right Time to Sell – Believe it or not, timing can be everything when trying to sell your property. Generally speaking, the summer and warmer months of the year is when most people start looking for new homes. From the research done by Think With Google where they analyzed search terms related to real estate, you can see that there is significant seasonality where interest peaks in the summer months. This would also be the best time to sell your home.
Making the Most Out of Your Viewings
31. Make Sure You Have a Renter Lined Up – If you’re selling to an investor that is simply looking to buy-and-hold, what better way to sell the property with a renter already lined up? This means that the buyer doesn’t have to go through the hassle of finding a renter after completing the purchase, taking a lot of risk out of the equation. A good starting point to finding a renter would be to list your property with Postlets, which will automatically submit it to the major rental listing sites.
32. Prepare a Complete Information Sheet on Your House – One of the best ways of making sure you show your home in the best light is to have an information sheet that you can give to potential buyers or attach to the “For Sale” sign in your yard. It’s a good way for them to remember your home, since they may forget after visiting a number of homes. Good information to include are all the most salable features of the home, total square footage, number of rooms, sizes of the rooms, schools that serve your neighborhood, nearby restaurants and amenities, and anything else that you think may be of value to a potential buyer. You can make one yourself, or you can simply print your advertisment on For Sale By Owner if you decided to list there.
33. Let Buyers Know Why Your Home is a Good Investment – Everyone is interested in knowing the home that they buy is also a good investment from a financial standpoint. Put a leaflet together that showcases why your area is the right place to buy a home, what is being done in the area to improve it, what investments have been made locally, and anything else that you can think of.
34. Make Small Home Improvements – Making the right home improvements can help tremendously when trying to sell you home. Do some research to investigate what buyers are looking for in your area and what small improvements you can make to increase your home’s appeal to buyers. Things like refinishing floors, upgrading hardware on your kitchen cabinets and in your bathrooms, upgrading your lighting, and putting on a layer of fresh paint, are improvements that don’t have to cost much but will usually help sell your home.
35. Don’t Over Upgrade – The last thing you want is to be stuck in a major renovation project when you are selling your home. Also, most larger projects don’t recoup their initial investment through home value appreciation as per the Cost vs Value Report if you don’t know exactly what your market is looking for. Even though I think it is possible to generate a positive return on your home improvements, you have to have a very clear understanding of your market and know exactly what buyers are looking, and be extremely diligent at keeping the costs of your project to a minimum and don’t spend money on any “non-essentials”.
36. Stage Your Interior – Staging your interior can help sell your home since it shows potential buyers what the potential of the home is. According to research done by the Real Estate Staging Association where they conducted an experiment in a controlled environment, staged homes sold in 45 days while non-staged homes sold in 102 days. Furthermore, according to the National Association of Realtors, the average investment for staging was around 1-3% of the homes value, while an average of 8-10% return was generated.
37. Stage Your Exterior – Just as staging your interior is important, it’s just as important (if nor more important) to stage your exterior. This is what buyers see first. With very small changes you can make a very large difference. Just take the example in the picture below from Jane at First Time House Flipping, where all she did was add shutters, removed overgrowth, trimmed bushes, and added mulch and mums. Something like this would cost very little money, but at the same time does wonders for the first impression you give buyers.
38. Depersonalize Your Home – According to the National Association or Realtors, 90% of people can’t visualize the potential of a home if it’s not laid out to them. If you’re able to lay it out, it will be much easier to reach this group of people than if you don’t. This includes depersonalizing your home. The presence of too many personal belongings can form an obstacle for people in imagining themselves living there. Your goal would be for your property to resemble a furnished model home that you might see at a new housing development as closely as possible. That means packing away extremely personal belongings such as wedding photos, family pictures, trophies, and collections of memorabilia.
39. De-clutter Your Home – I’m sure you have seen this one come up and up again. It comes back to the same point above that most people can’t visualize the potential of your home and you need to help them with that. When your home is cluttered, it looks smaller, more confined, and people struggle imagining what they can do with the space. Definitely not great selling points!
40. Have an Open House – Having an open house is one of those tried and tested methods to showcase your home to as many buyers as possible. The big advantage is that if it’s busy, other buyers will feel that they have competition to deal with. This not only gives them a sense of urgency, but will also make sure that they put in a good offer if they like your property, not wanting to lose out to others.
41. Empty Half of Your Closets – People love storage space and it can be a key factor when deciding to buy a house. When your closets and cabinets are jam packed with your belongings it’s hard for buyers to imagine them being able to fit all of their belongings there too. If you clear out half of your closets, and organize the remainder, it gives the impression of more space and can help you sell your home.
42. Conceal Your Pets – It’s unfathomable to believe that some people don’t love pets, but whether you believe it or not, they do exist! To make sure your cater your home to the broadest possible audience, it generally a good idea to remove pets (or any signs of pets) when you are showing your home. You can some good tips at Rover on how to prepare when you are selling your home and have pets.
43. Clean Up Toys – Of course there will also be people that have children viewing your home, however that doesn’t mean that having toys all over the place is a good idea. It’s bets to put them away for your viewings. You may even be able to get the little ones to help out too.
44. Show How You Use Awkward Areas – If you have any awkward areas in your room, why not show how best put those to use? Going back to the point that 90% of people can’t imagine the potential of a space – do it for them so that they don’t have to imagine!
45. Make Sure That Your Home Smells Nice – Sometimes there’s more than meets the eye and making sure that your home smells good can help sell your house. Some will go as far as to bake cookies, but just making sure that you wipe out any bathroom odors or smoke should be enough.
46. Put on Some Fresh Paint – Repaint your walls with neutral and light colors to make the space seem larger. It’s a small investment but can make your home appeal to a much larger audience. To see what a bit of paint can do, check out this post by the Decorologist.
47. Clear Fridge Magnets – Fridge magnets are another one of those personal belongings that you should probably remove before showing your house.
48. Clear Medical Cabinets – Viewers will most likely open up your medical cabinets to see how much space there is. The last thing you want them to see is the medication you’ve been using to get rid of that fungal infection that’s been bothering you so much.
49. Put an Expensive Car in the Driveway – Half of the battle when selling your home is by showing and convincing people of the lifestyle they will be living. According to research done by the Independent in the UK, parking a luxury car in the driveway can give buyers that your home is in a desirable area to live and can even add value to your home.
50. Put up Mirrors – Putting up mirrors can give the perception of a bigger space. When it comes to selling homes, the more space the better. Of course, before putting up mirrors everywhere, you have to make sure it fits with your current decor and the style of the home.
51. Don’t Hover Over Viewers – The last thing you want to do when you are showing your home is breathing in the neck of your viewers. You should try to leave them alone as much as possible – preferably leave the house when any viewers are around and have someone else show them around. Vendors doing the viewings can make potential buyers very uncomfortable.
52. Rent Furniture in an Empty Home – When trying to sell a home that is already empty it is hard for buyers to imagine the potential of the property. A good way of getting around this is by renting furniture (and perhaps even going as far as adding a coffee machine) for the short-term to make the home feel like it’s being lived in. Similar to with staging, this makes it easier for potential buyers to recognize the potential of the home.
53. Remove Extra Chairs from Tables – Removing “excess” chairs from your dining table will make the dining room seem larger which is a good selling point.
Closing the Deal
54. Deal Sweeteners – These are a great way of drawing potential buyers over the line and standing out from the competition. One such example is through seller financing where the seller in essence provides a loan to the buyer. This isn’t an option available to everyone and it’s not without its risks, but is a great way to stand out from the crowd in a difficult market. Some other examples of deal sweeteners can be found on Brick Underground.
55. Weed Out Unqualified Buyers – Once you have generated some interest in your home, you would want to weed out any unqualified buyers as quickly as possible. This can save you a lot of time and potential heartache in the future. It is estimated that around 31% of home buyers that express an interest in your home don’t actually qualify. As a result, it’s important that you ask the right questions beforehand so that you can weed these out quickly so that you can focus on those that do. To get an idea of the questions you should be asking, check out this article by Pro Quest Technologies.
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56. Ask for Feedback – When a potential buyer is not interested in your house, many of us take that as a given and move on. However, why not ask this person why they are not interested in your home? This will give you valuable insights into why certain buyers aren’t interested. If it’s something small, you can fix it and give yourself a much greater chance of selling it in the future. You may even be able to convince the person that initially said no to come and have a second look. If you’re wondering how best to go about this, Sell My Castle has put together a list with a number of approaches you can take.
57. Leave Some Good Stuff Behind – Leaving behind some of your personal property is something that can potentially set you apart from other homes for sale in the area. It would have to be something that the buyer will value though, and potentially something that is over what that typical home buyer may be able to afford. Examples could be a plasma screen TV, stainless steel kitchen appliances, chandeliers, or anything else of value in your home. It may have a double-sided benefit in case you’re moving somewhere far away and don’t have to haul all that stuff with you either!
58. Offer to Make Small Upgrades for Your Buyers – This is a tricky one since you may be opening up Pandora’s Box, but in order to incentivize men to commit to buying your home you can offer to make small home improvements to their request before they move in. You have to be careful and very clear about how much you want to spending and exactly which home improvements you’re willing to make, because this could get out of hand very quickly with buyers requesting a complete overhaul of the home.
59. Have Realistic Pricing Expectations – Do some research in the area to see what comparable homes have sold for in the recent past. That should give you a good indication of the approximate price you should end up getting for your home. Always list for around 10% higher to give yourself some room to negotiate. A great way to find what similar properties have sold for is through Zillow’s search function and only select homes that were recently sold in your area. It allows you to not only select the number of bedrooms, but also allows you to filter down to the home type. Be careful though, depending on your area there may be a number of distressed sales also that could skew pricing downwards.
60. Create a Sense of Urgency – One of the oldest sales techniques in the book is to create a sense of urgency when trying to make a sale. This is no different when trying to sell your home. Of course, you have to be tactful when doing this because you don’t want to come across as “pushy” either. A good example would be that if there is a buyer that shows interest in your home to mention that there’s been a lot of viewers already and that you don’t know how long it will be around, but that you would really love to see them get the home (only if that’s true of course). This triggers the potential buyer into a mindset where he/she has to make a decision. If they are willing to make an offer, that’s great, if not then at least you’re clear about everyone’s intentions and can focus on potential buyers that are willing to make an offer.
61. Don’t be in a Hurry – Conversely to the point above, even though you want to instill a sense of urgency into your buyers, you don’t want to be in a hurry yourself. Make sure you have to take the time to evaluate your offers and ultimately pick the one that works best for you. Although it’s easier said than done, you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re forced to make a decision because it is likely that it won’t be the best one if you haven’t had the chance to think about it for a while.
62. Sale and Rent Back – If you’re selling your home simply for the fact that you think it’s time to liquidate, a sale and rent back could be an option. Basically, you would sell your home while continuing to live there and start paying rent. Generally speaking it would be home owners that are struggling to pay their mortgage and it may not always be the right approach. You have to be very careful that you are getting a fair deal as an owner and that you have the right to live in the property for the long-term since a number of people that engaged in this type of arrangement ended up getting the short end of the stick.
63. Offer a Home Warranty – Home warranties can benefit not only the buyers but also the sellers and in many cases make it easier to sell your home. It gives buyers piece of mind that when any big ticket items happen to break it will be covered. When the seller purchases a home warranty (which is typically done at the time of listing and valid for 365 thereafter) it protects also protects the seller during the period when the home is still listed in case anything breaks down thereby also giving reassurance to potential buyers. For a detailed analysis on home warranties check out Rochester’s Real Estate Blog.
64. Analyze the Competition – Last but not least, make sure you do your research up front. See what other properties recently sold at high prices and try to determine what they had in common. Does your property have those characteristics? If not, is there a way that you can enhance your home to have those characteristics? At what price points are comparable properties currently being listed? Is there a lot of competition for the home that you are selling, or very little? All these questions should form part of your overall strategy when selling your home. You should leverage off of those to set yourself apart from the competition.
65. Let Us Know Your Tip – If you have a killer tip that we have missed, be sure to let me know and I will add it to the list.