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If you're putting your home on the market, you're probably hoping to complete the transaction as quickly as possible—especially if you need the funds from your home sale to purchase a new property. For 18% of recent sellers, it took more than a month to close the deal, according to a survey from the National Association of Realtors.
Knowing how to attract buyers and remove potential barriers can help you button up your home sale more quickly. Here's how.
1. Find a Good Real Estate Agent
When selling a home, an experienced real estate agent can be a valuable resource. The right agent will understand your local market and take important tasks off your shoulders. This includes:
- Determining the most competitive listing price for your home
- Marketing your property and facilitating home tours with prospective buyers
- Negotiating with buyers on your behalf
- Ensuring that the final contract reflects your needs
Real estate agents are paid on commission. They'll only earn money if they close the sale, so most are motivated to do so quickly. The commission will likely cost you 5% to 6% of the home's sale price, but it could be worth it if they ultimately fetch a higher price. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sale price of an agent-assisted home is $58,000 higher than the median sale price of homes sold by owner.
2. Price Your House Right
A real estate agent should provide a comparative market analysis (also known as "comps") to set the right price. It involves looking at how much similar properties have recently sold for in your area. You can also bring in a property appraiser who will consider comps plus the following factors to determine your home's value:
- The size of your home
- The overall condition of your property
- The condition of major home systems and appliances
Most sellers pay around $350 for an appraisal of a single-family home, according to HomeAdvisor. Your listing price will be unique to your home and market, but gives you a good idea of whether or not your list price is within a reasonable range.
3. Make Your Home Sparkle
A messy, cluttered home could turn off potential buyers. Be sure to prepare your home for open houses by taking the following steps:
- Give it a good cleaning, including lesser-seen spaces like inside cabinets and closets.
- Remove personal effects that could make it difficult for buyers to imagine themselves living there. This includes family photos, knickknacks and children's toys.
- Remove extra furniture and clutter. You might opt for a storage unit until your home sale is complete.
- Consider staging your home. A staging company will bring in their own furniture and décor to create a more inviting environment for buyers. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, 22% of real estate agents said that staged homes sold faster than homes that hadn't been staged.
4. Offer Incentives
Making an extra effort to appeal to buyers could help you sell your home more quickly. Covering some of their closing costs, for example, could be the thing that seals the deal. Just keep in mind that there are caps on how much you can offer based on the borrower's loan type, down payment and occupancy.
Apart from that, you might also consider:
- Reducing your asking price
- Including furniture or home accessories in the home sale
- Buying mortgage points on the seller's behalf to reduce their interest rate
5. Make Necessary Repairs
Most mortgage lenders require a home inspection, so the buyer will likely schedule one. But it's also smart to order one for yourself before putting your home on the market. The inspector will do a thorough walkthrough of your home, examining the roof, foundation, major appliances, home systems and more. It should alert you to any issues that could deter buyers—and ultimately delay your home sale.
Most states require home sellers to disclose any issues that could affect a property's value or desirability. You may choose to make necessary repairs yourself, especially if there are safety issues or major problems. If you don't have the time (or budget), you can sell the home as is. Just be upfront with buyers and prepare to offer a reduced sale price.
6. Optimize Your Online Listing
What's the first step in the homebuying process? A National Association of Realtors survey found that for 41% of buyers, it was looking at available properties online. Work with your real estate agent to create an online listing that shines. The following tips can help:
- Investing in professional photos
- Writing an enticing description of your home, including the neighborhood
- Upping your curb appeal by hiring a landscaper, getting a new mailbox or putting a fresh coat of paint on the front door or your home's exterior. Curb appeal could account for up to 7% of a home's value when it sells, according to a study conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington.
The Bottom Line
To sell your home fast, you'll need to entice buyers and streamline the closing process. Just remember that every home and local housing market is different. Appealing to buyers and finalizing your home sale will depend on your unique situation.
That said, you'll want to keep your credit in good shape if you're hoping to secure a new mortgage. You can check your free credit report and credit score with Experian, and make adjustments to put you in position to get the best rates and terms.