When selling anything, from a hamburger to a vehicle to a house, 99% of the time, you want to sell it fast. Time is money, so selling fast will put more money in your pocket, and waste less of your time.
The challenge with real estate is that it is normally not a fast sale. Because a piece of real estate is very different from a hamburger, it can take weeks or even months to sell it.
But what if you don’t have months to wait for a sale. What can you do to speed up the sale and sell your house fast?
These are 27 tips to sell your house fast:
1. Commit to selling!
If you are just toying with the idea of selling, then you aren’t ready to sell your house fast, or at all. Make a decision and commit to selling. If you have doubts or aren’t committed to selling, the rest of these tips are pointless. So, as Yoda says (sort of), “Sell, or sell not. There is no try.”
You have to make a firm decision that you are ready to sell and be prepared to spend lots of time and energy, and probably some money too. If you are on the fence, you aren’t going to follow through with this list and all of the other steps it takes to get your house sold.
2. Set a Selling Deadline
There’s a reason your dentist wants to set your next appointment that is six months away while you are still sitting in the dentist chair: appointments work. Appointments get you back. You get healthy teeth. The dentist gets paid
Setting a deadline for completing something has a powerful impact on getting it done. You may not like going to the dentist, but because you have a deadline date for your next appointment, you will go. The same can be true for selling your house. By setting a date for having a sale completed, you give yourself motivation to get the sale done by that date.
If you have never sold a house before, you may not have any idea what is a reasonable amount of time to get it sold. According to Zillow, in 2020, the average home was on the market for 25 days. Then there was an additional 30-45 day closing period, during which inspections, repairs, loan approvals and other parts of the process are conducted. So, a typical sale requires 55-70 days to completely conclude.
But you are reading this because you don’t want typical. You want a fast sale. What if you set a deadline that was just 21 days? Is that doable? By setting a deadline, then working backwards to figure out how to meet that deadline, it is certainly doable. A quick sale in that timeframe will probably require some unconventional thinking and marketing and an unconventional type of buyer. But it is an achievable goal, if that is what you need.
3. Know Where You are Going
Before selling a house fast, you better know where you are going to land once your house sells. If you aren’t prepared to move out immediately, you may be the biggest obstacle to getting your house sold fast.
Be prepared to move into your next house, apartment, or other residence right away. Map out where your belongings will be going and where you will be living so you are prepared to get out of your house and close quickly. Line up a moving company ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute to find one. If you have to store your items, find a storage facility that can handle your belongings as soon as you need a place to put them.
By planning your future steps, you will be ready for the step of selling your house now, and you will be able to sell it faster because you won’t have to hesitate in the process.
4. Know Your House
To sell anything, you must know something about what it is that you are selling. You have to understand the product so that you can choose the right way to sell and so you can communicate the benefits of your product to potential buyers.
Every house is different and by spending time evaluating your house, you will have a greater understanding of its positives and its negatives. This valuable information will help you sell your house faster because you can reach the right buyers more quickly.
Who are your likely buyers? An older house with outdated features is probably not going to appeal to a sophisticated buyer. On the other hand, a first-time buyer with limited finances may be willing to buy a fixer-upper property to save money.
If your house has lots of damage or is deteriorating, you may find regular “retail” buyers hard to come by since a typical family buying a house will want a house that is “move-in ready.”
Taking an honest inventory of your house’s pros and cons will help you better target your potential and likely buyers.
Decide How You Will Sell Your House
Once you have a better understanding of your house and its pros and cons, you can pick a selling method that works for your needs and that is faster for your situation.
The following are options you have for selling your house. Some may be faster than others. You will need to make a decision about which is the best for you.
5. Sell Your House With an Excellent Real Estate Agent
If you are having brain surgery, you would want the best surgeon you could get, right? So, if you need to sell a house quickly, and you want to use an agent, be sure to find the best agent you can. The real estate commission rate you pay is going to be the going rate in your area, no matter which agent you use. So why not use the best?
Ask for referrals from friends.
Look for agents that are active in your area.
Interview the agents. Emphasize your need for speed. Ask about how they will sell your house quickly.
Agents can help you get the word out quickly because they put your house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which gets syndicated to hundreds of other websites. Only agents can post properties on the MLS. This exposure is almost certainly more exposure than you can get on your own without an agent.
6. Sell Your House For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
When you sell your house yourself, you remove a layer of communication. In other words, potential buyers will communicate with you directly, not through your realtor. Negotiations can move more quickly when you and the buyer are talking to each other without an intermediary.
Selling the house yourself has its advantages and disadvantages. As mentioned above, you may find it hard to advertise your house to the masses without using the MLS. But you can make quicker decisions since you aren’t working through an agent.
You will have more responsibilities without an agent, which may be daunting. You may find that you need to fire a lawyer to help with some of the legal issues, since you don’t have an agent to deal with the contract negotations for you.
7. Sell at Auction
Auctions can get anything sold quickly, from cars to horses to piles of scrap metal to real estate. Auctions are conducted both online and in person. The upside with auctions is a quick and definite sale, with payment due immediately. Sometimes there can be an emotional frenzy that drives prices up in the heat of the bidding moment. But the downside and more likely scenario is that you will probably not get full market value for your house.
8. Sell To An iBuyer
iBuyers are companies that use computer algorithms to make offers on houses like Offerpad, Opendoor, Orchard and others. You can contact these companies, give them your address, and they will give you a tentative offer on your house, often without an inspection. However, the offer will probably be contingent upon a final inspection.
The advantage with iBuyers is that you can get a quick sale since these companies have their own funding and they don’t need weeks to get a loan. You don’t have to show the house to a bunch of buyers that your agent drags in. You deal with a single buyer.
9. Let Someone Else Assume Your Mortgage
Some mortgages can be “assumed” by another person. So another person can effectively step in to your position as the borrower, begin making payments and take the house off your hands.
Assumable mortgages were much more popular years ago, but they still exist. Check the fine print on your mortgage to see if this might be an option as a way for you to get rid of your house quickly. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls. Ask your lender about your liability, should the person who assumes your mortgage stop making payments.
10. Sell to a Professional Homebuyer
Another type of buyer is a Professional Homebuyer. This type of buyer is typically a local real estate investor who is similar to iBuyers in some respects, but is not a faceless corporation located in another state. This type of investor will often be willing to purchase homes that are in poor condition, unlike most of the iBuyer companies.
The Professional Homebuyer companies specialize in buying a house, and spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the house and restore it to its former like-new condition. You will deal with a person, face-to-face, who will work with you to understand your particular situation and any problems that you need to overcome to get the house sold quickly. These investors are creative and flexible, unlike iBuyers. A big part of what Professional Homebuyers do is to come up with creative solutions to difficult home problems.
We are this type of buyer, and we would love to provide you with a cash offer on your house if you are anywhere in the Metro Atlanta area or surrounding counties.
Like iBuyers, we have our own funding, so there’s no delay getting a loan approved. We can close in as little as 7 to 21 days, depending on your needs. So you get out from under a house that may be a burden, you get cash in your hands, and your home will get the care it needs to be a wonderful home for another family.
Another benefit is that we buy houses in any condition, even heavily damaged. You don’t have to clean the house at all. We can dispose of the junk inside if you don’t want to move anything yourself.
11. Set a Price That Will Sell Your House Fast
Let’s face it: lower prices usually sell faster. If you want to sell fast, you should consider pricing your house at the lower end of the real estate market.
Pricing can be tricky. Price a house too low, and you risk giving up some of your potential profit. And you risk creating skeptical buyers who may question why the house is priced below market. “Is there something wrong with the house?” buyers may ask themselves.
But if you price a house too high, you will drive buyers away. When buyers search for houses, they usually set a minimum price and a maximum price. If your house is above their maximum, your house won’t even show up as a potential choice. It can take longer to find a buyer when your price is higher than similar houses.
You want to be in the right ballpark just to be considered. And to sell a house fast, you want to be a little lower than the market. Now, in a competitive market, with lots of buyers and few available homes, what you initially ask for a house could be a starting point that gets driven up by multiple buyers making above-asking-price offers.
To set your price, you need to look at similar houses in nearby neighborhoods that have sold recently. A real estate agent will do this for you. If you are selling by-owner, some of this data may be available on sites like Zillow, but much of it may be missing or old.
Consider hiring a real estate appraiser who will provide you with a professional evaluation of your house for a few hundred dollars. With the right information, you can set the right price for your house.
12. Plan Ahead to Reduce Your Price
We already discussed setting a deadline for selling your house. While you are setting that deadline, consider setting dates when you will reduce your price. Build this price reduction plan into your process so the reduction is expected and not a painful surprise or a painful concession you have to make.
Again, a low price will attract buyers faster. As you drop your price, you can expect a faster sale.
13. Insist on an All-Cash Offer From Your Buyer
Most buyers will need to borrow money to buy your house. The problem with this is it takes time–usually several weeks–to finalize a loan and close the house.
As the seller, you can insist that a buyer be a cash buyer, meaning that they have the entire house purchase price available immediately. That will help you sell the house fast.
However, finding a cash buyer may be unlikely, especially for higher-priced homes. Most people don’t have several hundred thousands dollars in cash lying around that they can plunk down on a house.
14. Write a Thorough Listing That Gets Your House Sold Quickly
Posting the right information about your house in the ads or listings is critical to attracting your buyers. Of course, you want to include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc. But don’t forget some of the intangibles like talking about the nearby schools, shopping, access to public transportation, etc.
If you are using an agent, they will prepare the listing information, but if you are selling by-owner, spend some time looking at other nearby listings and include information that you find interesting in those listings.
Buyers search with keywords, so include keywords that are pertinent to your house.
Now that you have the preliminary decisions made, it’s time to get your house ready.
15. Deep Clean Your House
What would you rather buy–a clean used car, or a dirty used car? It’s a dumb question, right? Of course, given a choice, you would choose a clean used car. The same is true of houses. Buyers want to buy clean houses. If you want to delay the sale of your house, don’t clean anything. Potential buyers will be turned off or even disgusted by the house and leave in haste. On the other hand, to find buyers quickly, spend time cleaning the house thoroughly, so when they see it for the first time, they are immediately interested.
What does it mean to “deep clean” a house? Deep cleaning requires you to remove the blinders that most of us wear when looking at our own homes. We get used to the dust and dirt and imperfectly clean surfaces and items in our house. We settle for good enough. Deep cleaning means that you stop ignoring the dirt and see all the warts, and then remove those warts.
Dust everywhere: tops of doors and door frames and windows and cabinets and other out-of-the-way places.
Vacuum the carpets. Clean the carpets. Wash windows, inside and out. Clean air vents. Clean fireplaces. Remove smudges on doors, door frames and door knobs. Thoroughly clean tile, tubs, and toilets. And much more.
Approach the cleaning as if you were a guest in your house. As a visitor, would you be disgusted to see a room the way it is now? Then keep cleaning!
If you hate to clean, you can always hire an outside cleaning crew.
A clean house invites buyers in and helps them focus on seeing themselves living there. A dirty house is distracting at best and repulsive at worst. The house may have all of the rooms a buyer wants, but if the rooms are dirty, they probably won’t buy.
Bottom line: Clean houses sell faster.
16. Remove Excess Junk and Clutter
Your house is probably loaded with your stuff. That stuff is specific to you. It identifies you. Your pictures and your things are very personal.
When a potential buyer tours your house, if your family photos are on the wall, and your collection of purple unicorn salt and pepper shakers are on the shelf, those buyers are going to be distracted. They will have a hard time imagining the house as their own because it has you all over it.
Remove personal items. Remove excess items.
A house with less stuff looks bigger. A house that looks bigger will have a perceived value that is higher than the same house, loaded with junk making it look smaller.
If possible, reduce the amount of furniture in the living areas. Store the excess furniture in a basement or other area that isn’t used for living space.
If you have a lot of junk, consider getting a storage space and removing your excess junk.
Clear counter spaces of most items. A few, appropriate, tasteful items are ok and will be expected. For example, a small oven, toaster or coffer maker are items people would expect to see in a kitchen. A decorative item or two would also be inviting. But a pile of dishes and some bags of chips would not be inviting, and should be put in their appropriate cabinets.
17. Repair Any Broken Items
Do you have a broken item like a loose doorknob you’ve been ignoring for the last two years? We humans are great at getting used to broken things and ignoring them. Now is the time to pay attention to those items and fix them.
Walk around your house with fresh eyes. What needs a repair? Do you have holes in walls? Is there a spot that needs paint touchup? Is a faucet dripping? Is there a stain on the ceiling? Fix these items.
If you don’t know how or just don’t want to do it, find the appropriate person, whether it is handyman who can take care of most simple problems, or hire a specialized person to deal with the tougher issues.
Broken things or obvious defects will turn off buyers. Fixing these items will help you find a buyer much more quickly.
18. Stage Your House
Making a house look like a “home” is what stagers do. When you stage your house, you hire a company to bring in furniture and decorative items to make the house inviting. If you have ever been to a new subdivision, the model homes will be staged to look like a typical family is living in the house.
The theory is that potential buyers can see a house the way it could look if they were to move in (assuming they have really nice furniture and a flair for decorating). Contrast a staged house with an empty house with bare floors and bare walls, and you can understand why staging is popular.
Buyers may have a hard time imagining how grand a house could look without seeing nice furnishings in it. A nicely staged house can make buyers feel at home, and may help the house to sell faster and for a higher price.
You’ll have to decide if you want to spend the money to stage a house. Plan to spend $1500 at a minimum, and much more for larger, luxury homes. And the longer the service is needed, the more you’ll pay for furniture rental.
19. Get Professional Photos Made
High quality photographs sell houses faster. The majority of home buyers start their search online. The photos they see on the listings will determine which houses they actually tour and possibly purchase.
Yes, you could pull out your phone and start shooting photos yourself. But to truly capture the look and feel of a room, you need a pro who knows what lens to use, proper shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings, and how to combine multiple shots in post-production to capture lighting in a pleasing way.
Fortunately, getting real estate photos is not expensive. Depending on the area you live in, you can expect to spend $200 to $500 for quality photos.
20. Get a Video Tour Made
Photos sell houses, and are absolutely essential. But a video can also sell houses, especially luxury houses. Videos, done right can create excitement that you’ll never capture from a still photo. With proper music, pacing and editing, a video can create a “wow factor” that sells a house faster and for more money.
Some photographers will also offer video services. But be sure they really know how to make quality videos. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars on a short (2-5 minute) video.
Adding drone (aerial) footage can create an extremely exciting video, but will probably cost more money. Commericial drone use does require a licensed operator, so it may become more expensive as the laws clamp down on what is allowed.
21. Get a 3-D Tour
Three-dimensional tours have become an increasingly popular way to sell houses. Specialized cameras let a photographer create a model of your house that a potential buyer can “walk through” by clicking a mouse, turning their view 360 degress, and moving around the house, as if they were actually in it.
Tours like these will add to your photography cost, but they can be effective at showing the house, especially if buyers are not able to tour the house in person.
As with other methods of exposing buyers to your house, 3-D tours can also help find a buyer faster.
22. Make Your House More Inviting
Besides cleaning, decluttering and staging, there are other steps you can take to make your house more inviting. Anything you do to create an inviting atmosphere can help you sell your house faster.
Here’s a quick list:
- Paint the front door.
- Make the entryway stunning. Remember: First impressions count!
- Open the blinds and curtains to let in more light.
- Turn on the lights when buyers are touring.
- Repaint rooms with neutral colors if you have rooms painted in flashy or dark colors.
- Reduce odors in your house. Pet and smoke odors are a turnoff, and may completely eliminate large segments of buyers. Mitigate odors before they visit.
23. Clean Your Yard and Add Curb Appeal
The first thing buyers see when they tour your house is your yard and the outside of your house. Curb appeal is the term applied to creating an inviting house on the outside, from the moment a buyer pulls up to the curb. This literally starts at the curb by properly edging the yard, making sure the grass is cut regularly, removing debris and weeds, refreshing flower beds, trimming back bushes, planting some colorful flowers, removing eyesores like hoses, tools, garden gnomes, etc. and paying attention to the obvious places that potential buyers will view as they walk in.
Keep walkways free of leaves and debris. Refresh the paint on handrails if appropriate. Clean the driveway if it has become stained from years of neglect.
How does the outside of the house look? Is mold growing on the siding and roof? Get them pressure-washed.
Clean the gutters so they aren’t overflowing. Does your mailbox need a quick coat of paint? You’d be surprised at how much of a difference a ten-minute painting session can create.
The first impression that your house’s outside makes on buyers will carry with them as they come inside to tour the house. The inside may be spotless, but if the outside is neglected, you’ve probably lost a sale.
Take a little time to fix the outside of your house, and you are nearly guaranteed to sell your house faster.
24. Market Your House Everywhere
Unless buyers know your house exists, you will never sell it. Therefore, you must make sure the largest number of potential buyers are exposed to the house. The more exposure your house gets, the faster it will sell.
If you are using an agent to sell the house, they will be doing most of the marketing for you. But you can still do some of this yourself.
If you are using social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others, don’t be shy about sharing the listing for your house with your friends and followers. You never know who may be looking for a house. A friend of a friend could be the perfect buyer.
If you are selling your house by-owner, you still have options for getting the house listed on the MLS. Some real estate agencies will provide limited services for a flat fee whereby they add your house to MLS. As a result, your house will appear on the major real estates site, while you still handle most of the legwork when selling the house.
25. Hold an Open House
Love them or hate them, open houses do have the potential to bring you a buyer. If you or your agent have the time to hold an open house, strongly consider doing it.
If you are selling by owner and you are willing to compensate an agent if they bring you a buyer, invite some local agents to view the property during your open house. Post good signage before the open house date and time so you attract more buyers.
Most anything you do to get more exposure for your property will help it to sell faster.
26. Make it Easy for People to Tour Your House
House showings are intrusive. There’s no denying it. This is one of the biggest complaints of people who are selling their house. You have to keep your house clean at all times, ready to be shown to a buyer.
If you can be more flexible in the times you permit buyers to tour your house, you may find a buyer quicker.
Try not to limit your showing-time windows. For example, if you tell your agent they can only show the house on the weekends, expect to lose prospects who don’t have time to wait three to five days to see your house.
Be as accommodating as you can so that the largest number of potential buyers can see the house in the shortest amount of time. That’s what will get your house sold faster!
27. Don’t Delay Starting This Process
The most important step you can take to selling your house fast is: Start.
Don’t think about it too long. Time is money. Just go to step 1 and get moving today!