11 Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly in a Tough Market

1. Research and prepare

Before you contact an agent, do your homework and research the market in your area. What are similar properties selling for, what features are popular, and which listed properties stand out for you, and why?

2. Play the agent field

Good agents are worth their weight in gold, but the wrong agent can just as easily scupper a deal. Interview at least two agents and don’t be won over by the highest valuation received, especially in a tough buyer’s market when the highest valuation is usually not the best valuation.

Rather select an agent based on their skill sets, their local market and area knowledge, the company’s marketing ability, and their track record in your neighbourhood.

3. Pocket your pride and price your property right

You can’t afford to price yourself out of contention, especially in a strident buyer’s market. If you have appointed a strong agent, you should trust them to guide you. 

Remember that there is a difference between market price and the bricks-and-mortar value - and there is always a ceiling to what the market is willing to pay. Rather create a bidding war with competitive pricing than have your home sit on the market for ages with no offers.

4. Touch up – but don’t over-upgrade

Quick fixes always pay off, but you are unlikely to see a return on investment for major makeovers just before selling. Make sure all fixtures and fittings are working, replace broken door handles, and fix leaky taps. If possible, give the interior and exterior a fresh coat of paint, but stick to a neutral palette so that the new homeowner can add their personal touch and splash of colour.

That said don’t underestimate the importance of the kitchen! It is the heart of the home and it’s the one room where you can splurge a little more when touching up - and recoup most of the money. If you have a little extra cash, buy one quality stainless steel appliance because when people see one high-end appliance, they assume all the others are also good quality. It will also update the kitchen nicely.

5. Professional photographs – and plenty of them

With so many properties on the market at the moment, you need to grab potential buyer’s attention and the best way to do this is with quality photographs that show your home to its best advantage. A meager selection and pictures depicting mess and clutter will ensure your home attracts very little interest.

Ask your real estate agent if they can do virtual or video tours as well as this will allow potential buyers to get a more immersive experience of your home and it will make it stand out from the rest.

Have a look at your property ads online and compare them to other similar properties in the area. Particularly examine the photos, what the lead image is, how big the rooms look, and also read the property description. If yours doesn’t stand out from the others, ask your agent to amend the advert.

6. Keep it light and bright

Good natural light features on most buyer wish lists so maximise the light in your home by cleaning the windows, tying back curtains, opening blinds, increasing the wattage of light bulbs, and trimming bushes and trees outside windows. A light, bright and airy home is much more sellable.

7. Always be show-ready

You never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door and it’s very possible that he or she will want to view it at short notice. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, make sure the bathrooms are always sparkling and that bedroom floors are sock- and underwear-free.

Yes home viewings can be a pain, but the sooner you let prospective buyers view your home, the sooner it will sell, so be flexible.

8. Never show the property yourself

It may be true that no one knows your house better than you, but viewing properties when the owner is at home can make buyers feel very uncomfortable. They are also less likely to ask questions or voice opinions for fear of offending the homeowner. Rather give your estate agent a set of keys and schedule viewings for when you can be out of the house.

9. De-personalise your home

This is very important because the more personal items in your house, the harder it is for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Pack away photographs and personal clutter, and keep the fridge clear of kid’s drawings.

Potential buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home so make it as inviting as possible. Try to stimulate all the senses with enticing aromas like freshly baked biscuits, and brightly coloured flowers, and set the dinner table with the good china. The goal is to make people feel reluctant to leave the warmth of your home.

10. Clear the garage

Yes, it’s the perfect place to hide the clutter from the house, and it's where you store all the things you seldom use, but rather take the opportunity to clear it now to make a better impression and save yourself the hassle when you move. A messy garage will detract from the effort you make in the house.

11. Conceal the pets

Not everyone is a dog- or cat-lover and being welcomed by wet licks or stumbling over a smelly litter box could put off a keen buyer. If possible, take them with you when people are viewing – or spoil them and take them for a walk.

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