No homeowner ever wants to find themselves in a situation in which they need to sell a house fast. Trying to sell a house without deadline conditions is stressful enough, but when you add in variables out of your control like an adjustable interest rate about to explode or a sudden urgency to hire a contractor like Avalanche Roofing & Exteriors to make sudden repairs, the drama increases exponentially. If this is the situation you find yourself facing, you really only have one choice. You have to put that anxiety on the back burner and take control of as much of the situation as possible.
You just might be surprised at how much control you can actually have when trying to sell a house under the pressure of an approaching deadline. The first step to taking an active, hands-on approach to unloading your house quickly is avoiding some common mistakes made by others.
You are not Walmart
Ever notice those Low Price Rollback signs that Walmart is so proud of? Pay attention next time you shop there and start tallying up how many of those falling prices are actually as little as just one penny less than the original price. After awhile, it become difficult to take the signs seriously. The same will hold true if potential buyers begin to notice that you lower the price of your home by single digit percentages very week or so. The odds of selling your house quickly are much greater if after a legitimate period without serious inquiries you go ahead and slash the price to a significant degree. How significant? Give 10% below the average value of similar homes in your neighborhood. Cutting the price in this way accomplishes several things at once: you won’t look as desperate as trying the slow incremental approach, the price will suddenly look like a bargain too tempting to ignore and 10% below fair market value is still above average for the typical home seller in a hurry.
Go for Broker
Here’s one of the dirty little secrets of the real estate game: the top 10% of brokers are involved in 90% of the business. Don’t let the pressure to sell quickly deter you from putting in the research to find a quality broker. Finding an effective broker can make all the difference, but even more to the point, getting stuck with one of the bottom 90% can make things even worse.
Don’t Straddle the Fence
Your particular situation may be one where the pressure to sell quickly is not defined by a deadline, but rather a desire for a change. If so, you may find yourself straddling the fence between trying to unload the house now or waiting it out to see if market improves…or gets worse. Of course, that’s the thing about the housing market. Maybe a year from now prices in your neighborhood will have skyrocketed. Or maybe a year from now the unemployment line will be overflowing with construction workers in jeans who have become victims of Wall Street types in three-piece suits who got too greedy. You never know. If you feel the urge to sell now, then sell now.
Don’t Sell Your Home…Sell Their House
One of the biggest obstacles to a quick sale of a home also happens to be one of the easiest to overcome. Get rid of as many distractions for the buyer as possible. Nobody wants to buy a messy, cluttered house because they are charmed by its “lived-in” appeal. Buyers don’t arrive to give you home a look because they are looking to takeover your lifestyle. Instead, when it comes time to show the house to prospective buyers, present them with something more akin to a blank slate upon which they visualize their version of a dream home. If transforming your home into a house requires temporarily storing or moving some of your possessions, then rest assured it will actually save you money in the long term.
Refusing the First Bid
It is positively amazing how much of an emotional roller coaster selling a house can become. You start out overcome with anxiety because you know you have to sell the house quickly and then become depressed when you get no inquiries. Then suddenly you get a bite, but not quite the big fish you hoped for and you convince yourself that if you just wait it out for a little bit better offers will come your way. That overconfidence is just as dangerous as the lack of confidence that causes some sellers to cut the price by a single percentage point every week. Examine any first offer closely even if it is significantly less than you are hoping for. You just may find there is a perfectly good reason for the gap between what they offer and what you want and that gap may never be so small again.
In addition to avoiding common mistakes, some homeowners experience undue difficult in achieving a quick sale because they fail to take control of the game. Make no mistake, selling a home is a game fraught with penalties, setbacks and spectacular plays. The difference between your home growing stale on the market and heading off to your next house in record time could come down to making one of those spectacular plays.
Show the House…Everywhere
The single biggest lure for a home buyer is visual. You can hire the best copywriter in the world to produce terrific text describing your home as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it still won’t produce as many interested buyers as a few quality photographs. If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, at least rent a high quality camera and then spend at least a weekend taking photos from every angle imaginable. Once you narrowed down the selection to the absolute best, post them anywhere you can.
Don’t stick with still images. Grab your camcorder or smartphone and shoot some moving video of your home. Then upload that raw footage into a video editing program and create a thrilling movie that showcases all the best features of your house. Begin by uploading to YouTube, but by no means limit yourself to that one site.
Seriously? Auctioning off your home on eBay? The truth is that listing a house for sale on eBay probably isn’t anything at all like you imagine. Give yourself an hour and take a look at how selling a home on eBay actually works.
Take full advantage of the expansive reach of the internet to interest buyers who may not have the chance to actually visit your house. Post listing information on Yahoo!, Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com, among others. With just a few minutes of work, you will have expanded your potential base of buyers in a global fashion.
Hold an Extreme Open House
Ever notice that most open houses are rather dowdy little affairs more suitable for a 1950s sitcom family than for the typical 21st century home buyer? An open house is the kind of actively controlled marketing gimmick that cries out for planning and investment. Make sure to hold it on a weekend in order to get the most visitors. See if you can convince your neighbors to build a block party around your open house. Rent one of those inflatable bounce houses to attract the kids of parents looking to buy a house. Offer one-time incentives to anyone willing to make an official offer and hand out grab bags to everyone who enters to check out the interior of the house.
Don’t stop with actual visitors. Entice virtual visitor to your open house by live streaming the event over the internet. Create a 3-D presentation so online visitors can experience the feeling of actually walking through your house as if they really were there.
Anything you can do to get people to attend your open house has the potential to create a serious buyer. Hand out free beverages in cups emblazoned with the url of a website you built to sell the house. Print up T-shirts adorned with an outline drawing of your home to give to every tenth visitor. In other words, come up with as many wild, wacky and offbeat ways to attract visitors and make your open house memorable as possible.
Remember that trying to sell a home while facing the intense pressure of a deadline is all about retaining as much control as possible. Don’t let the panic of that approaching deadline cow you into making poor decisions or overlooking the many tools you have at your disposal.