When selling their homes, owners generally want the same things: to
sell their home quickly and for the highest price. While your real estate
agent will be a trusted partner in the sales process, you'll need to do
your part as well for a successful sale. Here are 6 steps sellers can take
to increase their chances of a quick sale — and still get a healthy offer
on the home.
1. Research your market
When you're thinking about selling, it's important to know what's happening in your local housing market. To
decide if the time is right to sell, check the recent sales of nearby homes and see how quickly they sold. You
can ask your real estate agent for market statistics. At least a few weeks before you're ready to list your
home, browse photos of nearby homes that recently hit the market to compare the listing price and condition
of the home to yours.
2. Find the right listing agent
While you may want to hire a listing agent you already know from previous interactions, it pays to interview
at least two or three agents to gain their market insight. Ask to see a listing of homes they've sold in the
past year or two. You want to find someone with experience selling homes in your neighborhood or town —
and at a price point similar to your own. In addition, ask potential agents to review recent sales statistics
with you. While you may have already reviewed these when deciding if it made sense for you to sell, the
right agent should be able to add color and insight into the data, shedding light on issues such as how
quickly homes like yours are selling and whether they are selling for close to the asking price. And finally, ask
prospective agents to describe how they plan to market your home.
3. Work with your agent to price your home
Use the information from your market research and agent interviews to discuss the potential listing price for
your home with the agent you choose. Keep in mind that pricing your home correctly from the beginning is
vital. In a 2019 survey by Homelight.com,1 70% of agents said that overpricing is the number one mistake
sellers make. If you've made upgrades to your home or are aware that your home offers something special
(such as a larger yard or a better view than others in the community), share that information with your agent
to help you establish your listing price. A list of upgrades with dates of when the projects were completed can be used to market your home to buyers, too. Tell your agent about community amenities and any planned
4. Decide what to repair
Generally, you'll need to repair anything that could be hazardous to buyers,2 such as a structural defect, a
malfunctioning furnace, or a damaged roof. If you're concerned that your buyers will find too many flaws
during a home inspection, you can have a pre-listing home inspection3 for about $250 to $700 to identify any
5. Strategically choose cosmetic upgrades
While cosmetic changes are optional, you may want to do some minor upgrades to make your home more
attractive to buyers. Replacing or painting your front door and sprucing up your landscaping are important exterior projects4 that can attract buyers without costing too much money. Whether you hire a professional
or do it yourself, a deep cleaning including all your windows is essential before you put your home on the
market. Your listing agent can help you identify rooms that need fresh paint and areas that just need
cleaning. Buyers typically focus most on the kitchen and bathrooms,4 so it could be worthwhile to replace
your fixtures or paint your cabinets to make those rooms more appealing.
6. Stage your home
Buyers prefer to visualize how they would live in your home, so it's smart to neutralize your rooms5 by
removing personal items such as photos and unusual artwork. Decluttering surfaces, cabinets and closets
make everything look more spacious and cleaner. Since you're planning to move, this is a good time to
donate, sell, or throw away items. Depending on how many boxes you have, you may be able to store them
(neatly!) in a garage or basement — or you may want to rent a storage unit to temporarily store belongings
until you move. Buyers pay attention to storage such as primary bedroom closets, a pantry and a linen
closet, so having some open shelves in those spaces can help them see the space your home offers. Adding
fresh towels in the bathroom and a new dishtowel in the kitchen can also make your home look brighter and
newer. Ask your real estate agent for staging help and pick up ideas from open houses and model homes to
add interior and exterior appeal to your home.
Important disclosure information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
HomeLight.com. "Top Agent Insights for Q2 2019: List Now, Amp Up
Your Curb Appeal, and Attract Those Summer Buyers," published June
25, 2019, accessed March 12, 2021.
Cathie Ericson, “Common Repairs Needed After a Home Inspection:
What Must Sellers Fix?" Realtor.com, published October 16, 2020,
accessed March 12, 2021.
Zillow.com “Should I Get a Pre-listing Home Inspection?" Accessed
March 12, 2021.
Valerie Kalfrin, “What Upgrades Increase Your Home Value? 19 HighROI Improvements Buyers Love," HomeLight.com, published November
13, 2020, accessed March 12, 2021.
Natalie Burg, “81 Home Staging Tips That Help Buyers Fall in Love ,"
HouseLogic.com, accessed March 12, 2021.
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