How to sell a house fast for the best price: Make people fall in love with it

How to sell a house fast for the best price:  Make people fall in love with it  

 

Do you want to sell your home fast for the best price possible?  If so, your goal should be to make people fall in love with it.   Basically, you want your house to look its best.  You want it to be priced right.  You need to make sure that the real estate agent uses good quality photographs that will capture potential buyer’s attention.   It also helps to have a real estate agent that is good at listening, negotiating and problem solving.   If you skimp on any of these things, it will likely take longer for your house to sell.   In the sections below, I will explain how to make people fall in love with your house.  In doing so, I will explain how to sell a house for the best price.

 

How to Sell a House Fast: 

Make your Home Look Its Best – Inside and Out

Fix It Uppers: 

First, let’s talk about fix it uppers.   ANY house will sell in a timely manner if it is priced properly.  With a properly priced house, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Location is still important.    There is a very small set of buyers out there that love “fix it uppers” or “diamonds in the rough.”    These buyers are typically smart enough to know that it cost money and time to fix up a house.  They also realize that there frequently unseen risks associated with a home that hasn’t been properly maintained.   These buyers are generally smart business people that expect to be able to make a healthy profit from the time and money that they invest into renovating a home.  “Healthy Profit”  is a key word here.  They do not expect to make a couple thousand dollars.  They expect to be able to buy another fix it upper with their profit.

If you home needs new carpet or paint, you will get the best price if you take the time to have the new carpet installed and the have the home painted.    You might be asking, “But wouldn’t the buyers prefer to pick out their own colors?”   No and yes……   Most buyers don’t want to feel like they HAVE to paint or replace the carpet as soon as they move in.   However, it is not uncommon for a buyer to decide they WANT to repaint a room as soon as they move in.    Having “needs” or “fixing” highly unpopular colors will result in you getting less money for your house.

That said, there some sellers that would prefer to accept a reduced price on the house rather than invest the time and money into fixing it up prior to placing the home on the market.   My elderly Dad and uncle opted to sell my 93 year old grandmother’s home for roughly $40,000 less than market value of a home with fresh paint and carpet or shiny wood floors because they didn’t want the hassle.   The first buyer that looked at it bought it.  (It still makes me sick to this day because I wanted to buy my grandparent’s home but I couldn’t compete with a cash buyer.  Oh well…..)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – IF the property is priced right.

 

Clean your house!!!!  Make it sparkle and smell good.  

 

De-clutter.  After you have de-cluttered find more stuff to get rid of.   After you have done that, start packing and moving some of your belongings to storage or your new house.   Don’t put it in your garage.  Don’t put the stuff in your barn.  It needs to be gone.   The fewer things you have in your home, the larger it will feel.

However…… you don’t want the home to be vacant or empty.   Vacant homes do not look loved.  Remember….we want buyer prospects to fall in love with our home.   The financially qualified buyer prospects that love our house, or are at least infatuated with our house, are the people that will put in offers to purchase the home.

Each room should have a purpose.   One purpose.   Bedrooms should be a room to sleep in.   One bedroom might be an office or a gym.   When you are trying to sell a home, don’t leave your exercise equipment in your bedroom.   That makes the bedroom feel  small and cramped.  If you need to, start moving things to a storage building.

The more effort you put into getting your looking great for a sale, the faster it will sell.

 

Imagine what your home might look like on the cover of a magazine.    Imagine it in a magazine.  Imagine it blasted all over the Internet…..     Unless you have a horrible real estate agent, pictures of your home will be all over the internet.    There is a good chance it will be in a real estate magazine of some sort.

Fresh paint, new carpet and clearing shrubs from around the trees helped this home sell quickly.

 

  • Repairs:   Have all those little things that need to be fixed repaired….   The fewer things that the home inspector finds, the smoother the route to a closing is.   Homes that look loved and well cared for appeal to buyers.

 

  • Make sure all light bulbs are working.  Light and bright houses sell.  Dark, dingy houses do not sell.  If you have a darker room, make sure the lighting is correct to create the right ambiance…..

 

  • Pets:   People that have indoor pets frequently do not realize that their “children”/indoor animals smell.  Overall, Colorado is a very “pet friendly” state.  So, the majority of the time, it is not necessary to remove your pets and/or pretend like you do not have pets.  However, it is imperative that you clean carpets and keep the cat box clean.  Kitty box should be hidden if at all possible.

 

Major Remodels and/or Renovations:  To best understand the appropriate price for your home, it is necessary to consider what the homes that are going to be competing with yours looks like.  What colors and features are standard in new homes?  What are the current trends in your respective price range?  

For example, stainless steel appliances are much more preferred than Harvest Gold or Avocado Green kitchen appliances.  The exception would be if you are selling a home that is retro….   Retro homes look loved.   Outdated homes look like they belonged to grandma, great grandma or they look unloved.  Retro is good.  Outdated is bad….

 

HOWEVER….I rarely recommend major bathroom or kitchen remodels or renovations as a way of preparing to sell it.    For those wanting a timely sale at the best price possible, it can be an advantage to be selling one of the lowest priced houses in a great neighborhood – if the home has good bones.  By good bones, I mean is the structure of the house solid.

If your house needs updating but is otherwise solid, you may be able to sell it quicker and for a better “net price” if it will fall into a lower price point that will appeal to buyers that want the neighborhood but are short on funds.   If you remodel the kitchen for instance and paint, install solid surface counter tops and stainless steel appliances the kitchen will be more modern and in style.  Then, you would also really need to update your bathrooms also.   This all takes time and money.

You might be better off listing the home at a lower price point but staging it (decorating it) in a way that highlights the home’s best features and makes the outdated things, such as can make the Formica counter-tops and linoleum floors seem palatable.   If the Formica counter-tops or linoleum floors are palatable, they come closer to being something the buyer wants to change rather than something the buyer has to change.

 

Priced Right:

The house MUST be priced properly based on recent comparable sales.   The asking price needs to reflect:

  1. The location of the home
  2. The condition of the home
  3. How it shows

In the Colorado Springs area, the data indicates that most sellers are getting between 97% to 100% of the asking price.   In other words, there is maybe 3 percent negotiating room.

For example, the Black Forest is an area with multiple rural subdivisions that is located just north of Colorado Springs.  If you live in the Black Forest area, it is a great time to sell.  The number of competing listings (houses for sale) is at a five year low.  However, they still need to be priced properly.   The higher price ranged homes take longer to sell even if they are priced right since there are fewer buyers.  In the lower price ranges, the homes that are over priced tend to sit on the market until their price is reduced.

 

You need to be aware of what price range your house falls in.  The higher the price range, the fewer buyers prospects that you will have.    The price distribution for the Black Forest area is shown below.   In this particular area, $600,000 is a price point to watch out for because the number of buyer in the $600,000 and above price range is significantly less than below $600,000.

 

2016 Black Forest Sales Data by Price Range

(Source:  Pikes Peak MLS)

 

Sale Price Sales, Number of
$0 – 50 0
$50 – 75 0
$75 – 100 0
$100 – 150 0
$150 – 200 3
$200 – 250 5
$250 – 300 14
$300 – 350 23
$350 – 400 38
$400 – 450 46
$450 – 500 35
$500 – 600 49
$600 – 700 21
$700 – 800 8
$800 – 900 2
$900 – 1,000 5
$1,000+ 8

 

Sometimes it feels like pricing a home is part science and part art.   The better you price your home, the faster it will sell.   The longer a home sits on the market unsold, the less profit the owners are making on their home due to the cost of keeping and maintain the home.

 

If you want buyers to notice your home, you need good photographs! 

Sellers need to insist that their real estate agent uses good quality photographs.   Too many homes are listed with poor quality photographs.

At an absolute minimum, the photographs need to be:

  • Bright enough that a buyer can see what they are looking at.
  • In focus
  • Representative of what the house or room really looks like.
    • Pay attention to the tint of the photographs.  For example, you do not want a room to look yellow if it isn’t.   Grass can be too green and the sky can be too blue.
    •  HDR photographs can look present a very fake look.   Artistic renderings do not sell houses.
  • Not have distracting spots in the picture.  The spots are typically caused by a water spot or piece of dirt on the lens.
  • The photograph should not be crooked.

 

Great photographs are a powerful marketing tool.

A great photograph can highlight things about the home that a buyer prospect might not notice when they walk through the home.     For example, look at the picture of the bathroom below.  The claw feet on the tub are not nearly as noticeable as they are in the following photograph.

 

If possible, use some of the photographs to show more than just the rooms of the house.     Try to have some photographs that will  evoke emotions or feelings.   As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Many home owner’s will benefit from having someone “stage” their home for a photography session.   Staging is not about hiding negative things or putting lipstick on a pig. Staging highlights the homes best features.

If you go to a nice restaurant, the food on your plate is arranged so that it will look amazing and appetizing. The food has been staged.   Food photographers carefully use lighting and “stage”  the food prior to photographing it.   Your home will benefit from being staged prior to getting photographed.  

 

Conclusion:  Even in a great market, there are several steps that need to be taken in order for a home to sell fast and at the best price possible.    In order for a home to sell fast, it needs to be priced property.  The price needs to reflect the location and the condition of the home.   If you want to sell your home fast and  for the highest price; the house needs to be clean and in good repair.  Staging your home for photographs and showing will help buyer prospects fall in love with your home.  Finally, quality photographs will help buyers notice your home and it’s great features.

If I can be of any assistance in helping you sell or photograph your home in Colorado, please let me know. I will be more than happy to answer any questions online if possible.

Sincerely,

Sondra Meyer

 

Sondra Meyer
Real Estate Broker
Hayden Outdoors, LLC
sondra@haydenoutdoors.com

 

12 thoughts on “How to sell a house fast for the best price: Make people fall in love with it

  1. An excellent article with a step by step sequence to selling a home at top dollar. I liked the preparation steps with cleaning, decluttering and staging. The giving emphasis to quality photography cannot be underemphasized and your “proper” clawfeet bathtub photo with drinks was very inviting for the purpose of that room as a romantic getaway from busy everyday life. I liked also you mentioning the agent who knows the market and has good negotiation skills for the transaction. Lastly, so valuable the Black Forest market data, for that community to give everyone a real world idea how things are selling and priced. Superb discussion.

  2. Gary, thank you very much for the feed back on this post about what people need to do to sell a home quickly. As a Texas real estate broker with Keller Williams in the DFW area, you also understand that a lot of things take place before a home that sells quickly is even placed on the market. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. This is a great article. I learned some of this through trial and error when I was selling my home in the UK to move to Spain. It was a pain staking process and I really wish I had come across your article first. It would have been so much less stressful. I´m going to send this to someone who is selling their house at the moment. They will definitely benefit from reading this.

    Many thanks

    Sean

  4. An interesting article if ever I saw one!! Now that I own my own home, if I should decide to sell in the future, this article has provided me with the information I need in order to maximise on the selling price. Simple things but, they clearly make a difference!!

    Many thanks
    Jackie

  5. Hello Sondra,
    Awesome article. I am a realtor myself and you couldn’t have said it any clearer. ALL your points are ‘on point’ and they work in any location. I love all that you have written. People need to be aware of the best advantages to secure the best price – of course, as long as time is not of the essence. Ther are times when time determines a ‘quick sale’ and that is totally fine and understandable.
    I will surely refer to your article from time to time.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Much success.
    Michelle

  6. Hi Sondra,
    You are spot-on on all the points. I’m not a real estate broker but have read some really good books about real estate and investing. Details matter and buying a home is a very emotional and visual process. It’s so true that pricing a home is part science and part art. That’s where I would rely on a broker like you because as a seller or buyer, I would either want to sell too high or buy below market. I just get too emotional.

    Anyway, do you think the RE market is in a bubble? Where I live, inventory is limited and houses go fast. They do not sit, yet they are priced above market. Anyway, I like studying RE and it will be interesting to find out where prices are headed in the next couple years.

    Warmest regards,
    Cindy

  7. Hi Sondra, I really enjoyed your post. Some really great tips all the through. Love the idea of moving stuff out of the house to a storage unit I hadn’t thought of that, make sense and would make my rooms seem larger. You are so right about the photographs you can always tell when people haven’t put much thought into photographs. The forget how much difference a great photo makes. In the end, you get maximum benefit from putting in maximum effort. I have bookmarked your post for future reference.
    Thanks again and keep up the great work, Graham

  8. Hi Sondra
    This is a really useful article packed with great advice for anyone wanting to sell a house, wherever they are in the world.
    I would never have thought of moving stuff out to a storage unit, but you are so right, no one wants to see other people’s clutter!
    And we all know that great photos are the first thing that attracts potential buyers to view a house.
    I will certainly be taking your advice should I ever want to move house!
    Many thanks
    Chrissie 🙂

  9. Wonderful tips you give here, thank you.

    Photographs are very important, as you say, but I’m not a great photographer. Would it be worth it to hire a professional to get some help in staging and getting good photographs?
    In my experience the broker likes to take the pictures themselves, but when I look in the brochures, the photographs tell another story than reality. The house usually looks a lot bigger both on the inside and the outside, which of course is a disappointment for the customers.

    I would be grateful if you could share some of your insights on this matter.

    In advance, thank you

  10. Odd, that is a GREAT question! Yes, if your Realtor does not do a very good job with photography, I would use a professional photographer. Small spaces can be tough to photograph because they are small. Some people will try to overcome that problem with a wide angle lens – which makes the room look bigger. Sometimes, the wide angle lens will also distort the space giving it a fish bowl look.

    As a photographer and a real estate broker, I don’t think that it is necessary to have a photograph of every room if some are small. If a room or house is cozy (small), that is what some people are looking for. So, I think it is important to take pictures that show it off to it’s best. Cozy, intimate, what ever. Small rooms make take a bit more imagination to show off well.

    Thank you for your comment.

  11. Hi Sondra, I really like your tips on how to sell a house fast and everything mentioned makes so much sense.

    I really agree about the photographs. As a home buyer, I don’t even give a listing too much attention if it doesn’t have good photos. I like looking at listings with lots of photos, but also high quality photos as well, not just quantity.

    Is it always best to stage your home or leave it empty? I myself like to see the homes empty but many I’ve heard having it staged is better so people can get an idea how the room fits with furniture in it. I like a blank canvas and think of what I’ll do with the place, what do you think?

    Thanks for your tips!
    Grace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *