Home > Mortgages > 5 Secrets to a Quick Home Sale

Comments 0 Comments

Forget the Great Recession. Old-school real estate agents are probably what killed any possible home sale for Michelyn Petersen in 2009.

The Alpena, Mich., resident was trying to unload her Grand Rapids home and listed it with real estate agents she had located through the grapevine. First, it was an agent who had sold a relative’s house, and then Petersen tried the daughter of a neighbor.

Yes, the economy wasn’t great, but there was no shortage of people going through the open houses. And yet the house sat and sat and sat – for nearly a year without a bite. Eventually, Petersen gave up the dream of selling the house and rented it out instead.

That is, until she relisted it last month and got a full-price offer in less than 48 hours.

“It was listed on Monday, and I had an offer on Tuesday night,” she says.

She attributes the quick home sale to more than simply an upturn in the economy. It was also the result of picking an Internet-savvy Realtor, making some strategic updates, and many hours spent power-washing, carpet-steaming and deep-cleaning the house.

If you are hoping for a quick sale of your own, here are five tips to get that “sold” sign in your front yard ASAP.

1. Choose your listing agent wisely

It all starts with selecting the right real estate agent. In Petersen’s case, she originally selected her brokers based upon personal recommendations and ended up with agents who apparently had not yet stepped into the 21st century.

They placed ads in the newspaper and scheduled open houses but must not have gotten the memo from the National Association of Realtors that 62% of people who use the Internet in their home search (90% of people do) walked through a home after viewing it online. With Internet marketing not a priority for these agents, the online listing for Petersen’s home featured unflattering, poorly lit photos taken from odd angles.

That was one mistake this homeowner wasn’t going to make again. This time around she interviewed several agents until she found the one she liked.

“This [new] Realtor was all about the Internet,” Petersen says.

Instead of a generic listing, her new agent created a dedicated website for her home complete with a virtual tour and interactive elements. But tech savvy was just part of the appeal of this broker. She also knew the area and seemed committed to a quick sale.

“I picked her because she knows the west side and seemed fairly aggressive,” Petersen says.

2. Stage for success

Much has been written about the need for staging a home, and if you’ve picked the right broker, that person should walk you through it.

Petersen’s broker included a consultation with an interior designer as part of her fee.

“She suggested the house needed to be either completely staged or completely empty,” says Petersen. Since her home was vacant, she opted to go the completely empty route.

However, if you decide to stage your house, you can either hire a pro or go the DIY route of clearing clutter, removing personal items, and cleaning from top to bottom.

3. Light up the place

Another suggestion made by Petersen’s interior designer was to brighten all the rooms with new lighting.

“She recommended we replace all the light bulbs to make all the rooms as bright as possible,” says Petersen.

The improved lighting made the 1,000-square-foot house feel light and airy rather than dark and cramped.

4. Say goodbye to the ’70s

You might think the 1970s were groovy, but an open house shouldn’t be the time to show off your retro cool. Homebuyers want to envision themselves living in your house and that is hard for them to do when every room screams “I’m from another era!”

However, updating your house doesn’t necessarily mean gutting it or emptying your wallet on new décor. It can be as simple as painting the walls with neutral or modern hues.

The interior designer recommended that Petersen remove the valances from the windows and update light fixtures. Not only did these changes allow more light into the house, but they also removed what were otherwise dated accents.

5. Price it right

Finally, nothing helps spur a home sale faster than the right price. A good broker should be able to help you settle on a competitive listing price.

Otherwise, look at what comparable homes are selling for in your area and, if you can afford it, cut 5% to 10% off your listing price to make your house stand out.

If you can’t stomach dropping the price that much, take heart. Petersen choose to forgo a cut in her price and instead invested a couple of weekends power-washing the exterior, edging the lawn and cleaning from top to bottom. And, obviously, that approach worked just fine for her.

This post originally appeared on Money Talks News.

More from Money Talks News:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team