The right price matters, but so do flowers and fresh paint.
Whether you’re selling in a buyer’s or seller’s market, the basics of how to sell your house don’t change. Buyers will be most interested in your home the first few weeks it’s on the market, so you’re in the best position to sell when your house is ready to go on day one. By using these easy and inexpensive tips, you can expect an offer in no time.
1. Decide if you’re really ready to sell.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time later if you don’t start the process of selling your house before you know for sure if you’re ready for it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Have I built up enough equity in this house to sell? If you owe more than your house is now worth, it might be better to wait.
- Can I afford the costs of selling a home? Getting your home ready to sell and hiring the right people to help come with costs.
- Am I ready to leave this home behind? Homeowners tend to love their homes. Make sure you’re emotionally ready to let go.
- If space or functionality is the issue with the house, is buying new the smartest financial move? Sometimes taking out loans for renovations can be a better fit for you than a bigger mortgage.
If you’re a yes, it could be time to go for it.
2. Check Zillow Offers to consider a quick, convenient sale.
If the biggest thing holding you back from selling your home is the time and effort required to do it, check out Zillow Offers to see if a simple, easy sale right to Zillow though an iBuyer sale might be the right move for you. Zillow will purchase your home directly, which saves you the need to do repairs, host showings, or wonder if you’ll get the price you want in a timely fashion. You can even choose your own closing date to make the timing perfect for you.
You can request a free, no-obligation cash offer from Zillow Offers today. Whether or not this fast, convenient option is the right choice for you, the free offer is a great starting point for understanding your market and pricing.
3. Find the right real estate agent.
Hire a real estate agent with a track record of sales that proves they know how to sell your house fast. Are they familiar with your neighborhood? Can they walk into your home and tell you precisely what buyers will love? Ask them what they’d recommend changing about your house, too. Make sure your agent hires a photographer for your home, shares a variety of photos on their listings, and promotes their properties online, including social media. Interview several agents to ensure you’ve found a good fit for you, your home, and your neighborhood.
Trulia can help you connect with trustworthy agents who will work hard for you through their Premier Agents resource. You can request to be connected with a Premier Agent on any property listing. These agents meet Trulia’s high standard for quality service, so you know you’ll have a great home buying experience with their personal support.
4. Choose the right time to sell your house.
Spring and summer are typically the best times to sell your home, as families want to move before the school year starts, and nice weather makes for easier home viewings and inspections. But increased inventory means spring and summer buyers can afford to be pickier, and the climate in different areas can affect the best time to sell a house, too.
Your needs will factor in, too. If you’re moving for a job that starts next month in another state, the time to sell is obviously as soon as possible. Or, if you’re house hunting, the time to sell might be to-be-determined based on when you’re in the process of buying.
Work with your real estate agent to decide when the best time to put your house on the market is where you live, and then use that as a target date to have your home sale-ready.
5. Declutter your home
Your home will look bigger and its best features will stand out best when there is the least amount of stuff in it. Plus, storage space is a big selling point for buyers, and the less of your stuff they see in the closets, the bigger your storage spaces will look. Now’s the time to go through all of your stuff and donate, give away, or trash anything you don’t love or need. And decluttering now will reduce the amount of stuff you have to move when it’s time to go.
6. Remove personalized items for your house.
You may not want to throw them away, but put personal photographs or memorabilia into boxes for now. Taking yourself out of your house allows the prospective buyer to imagine themselves living in your house and making it theirs. For example, your kids’ baby pictures are adorable, but empty nesters could see them as a sign that this is a house for a family with kids, not for them.
7. Invest in temporary outside storage.
Where’s all your personal stuff going to go? Not into the closets—that’s not how to sell your house fast. Opt instead for a storage unit to house the things you won’t need while your home is on the market. Include your boxes of holiday decorations, baby gear, seasonal clothes, and that bread maker you’ve never used but can’t let go. And if you have two couches in your living room, consider putting one into storage to make the room feel bigger. If you choose a portable unit, it can be transported to your new home, making moving day a cinch.
8. Make small upgrades to your house.
Don’t go overboard on major remodels— you probably won’t get your money back. Instead, focus on small upgrades that can wow buyers, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, where you’re most likely to see a return on investment.
Walk through your home and make a list of anything that could use a little more polish or replacing. A few new lamps and a fresh coat of paint can brighten a room and make the home feel more welcoming. New cabinet hardware in the kitchen, light fixtures, shower curtains, and faucets are inexpensive ways to transform your space.
9. Decide how to price your home.
Pricing your house right is how to sell your home fast. But pricing is as much of an art as a science sometimes. It’s not just about what you need financially, but what the market will handle and how much value your home—and your neighborhood—has. Research what similar homes in your area cost, known as “comps.” You can find price trends and comparable sales on any Trulia listing for homes near yours. Also take into consideration upgrades you’ve made to the home and its features. While you probably won’t get 100% return on your investment for renovations, they’ll likely affect how much your house is worth.
That’s a lot to consider—which is why the most important thing about pricing is to work with your real estate agent and trust their advice. This is one of the most important ways their expertise will help you sell your home fast.
10. Amp up the curb appeal.
Your home’s exterior is the first thing a buyer sees, in person and online. If it doesn’t look good, a buyer will move on to the next listing. In the yard, trim hedges, refresh mulch, and edge the lawn. Consider pressure-washing your house, walkways, and driveway, and painting trim and shutters. Polish the front door hardware, paint the door, and clean any cobwebs or bird droppings off your front porch. Flowers, particularly near the entryway, make your home feel alive and inviting.
11. Stage and photograph your house.
Home staging is basically cleaning your home and rearranging the furniture (or renting furniture if it’s empty) so your home looks like a showroom. A professional home stager sees your home from a buyer’s perspective and understands how to highlight its strengths and soften its flaws, and a photographer can make it all look brilliant in your listing.
But not everyone has the money for professional staging and photography. Here are a few tips for DIYing it:
- Pick neutral colors for walls, decor, and furniture
- Let in all the natural light you can
- Leave just enough furniture in each room to make it look functional and roomy
- Deep clean everything
- Take photographs with as much light as possible
- Invest in a wide angle lens for great photos
- Take high-resolution images—a camera will typically take higher resolution photos than your phone.
- Edit the photos. Brighten them up and crop them so every room is straight and beautifully centered.
- Take horizontal photos. They look better in online listings.
12. Promote your house yourself.
Your agent is officially in charge of marketing, but you can help get the word out, too. Use your own social media accounts, and send the listing page to family and friends. You never know what friend of a friend or distant relative may be looking to buy. Use your Trulia listing link to make your home sale info and photos easy to share.
Consider spreading the word about your home in your neighborhood by sending the listing to your homeowners association email list or neighbors, and ask them to pass it on. The more people who know about your sale, the likelier you are to find someone who is interested, and that’s vital when you’re figuring how to sell your home fast.
Not quite ready to sell? If you’re considering renting it out before—or instead—of selling your home, check out our guide on how to rent out your home.