Do you have an urgency and want to sell your house fast?
Or do you need to move it because you just don’t like to wait the average amount of time it takes to sell it?
The reasons to speed-up the property sales process can be different from one person to another.
But all will ask a similar question. “How do I sell my house in 5 or 7 days?”
Five conditions need to be met to increase the chances of selling a house in 5 or 7 days.
- The house needs to make a good first impression
- The person selling it (realtor or directly the seller) needs also to make a good first impression
- It needs to be priced between 2% and 5% below market value
- The property listing needs to make a good online impression
- The offer needs to create some persuasive scarcity
Today we discuss several factors that influence the time a house is on the market until it gets sold.
It is more addressed to someone who wants to sell to retail buyers, although I am sure some of the tips apply also to other types of buyers, such as investors.
Why are First Impressions so Important?
There is some buyer psychology you will need to take into consideration when it comes to selling a house fast.
Since buyers are humans the effects of first impressions also apply to them.
You may know it already but people make decisions about others within the first few seconds or minutes (source).
To form a better first impression you can modify things like your clothing style, posture, conversational topics and more (source).
This is no different when a retail buyer goes to a showing and sees a house for the first time.
What many forget is, that not only the product (the house) needs to make a good first impression but also the realtor, the real estate investor or directly the private owner.
So, not one, but actually two good first impressions are necessary.
With regards to the product (the property) it is no wonder that 80% of potential buyers know if a property is right for them as soon as they step inside (source).
So, to make a decision that fast for something as complex as a house, something unconscious seems to be going on here.
And yet this is indirectly confirmed in a study called “Unconscious Thought Theory” from 2006.
It explains how people make unconscious decisions when they have to deal with complicated choices (e.g. buying property).
According to this study conscious thought is more suitable when you need to solve a simple task, such as making a choice for the curtains (well, for some people this might not be that simple though).
This also explains why potential buyers often may focus in an almost exaggerated way on certain features that supposedly caught their eyes during a showing (e.g. the nice wooden floors, source).
Now, you may realize why it’s so important to prepare the property for sale before it is put on the market.
The easier you make it for the potential buyer’s subconscious mind to come to a fast decision the faster you will sell it.
Prepare Your Home for the Real Estate Market
As a consequence from the above psychological facts mentioned you want to focus your attention on the most noticeable and obvious areas that can influence the first impression of a potential buyer, such as:
- The front door
- On Point Landscaping (curb appeal)
- Condition of the paint (avoid cracks, dimples, or paint chips on the walls)
- No clutter (declutter the house)
- A pleasant smell (deodorizing)
- Spotless bathrooms and kitchens (shined sinks and faucets, no dishes in sink)
- Dust-free and shiny clean surfaces
- Clean, shiny, debris-free, and freshly vacuumed floors and stairs
- Have the home overall well-maintained and as move-in ready as possible
- Sealed asphalt, speciality or stamped driveways
- Conditions for as much natural light as possible
A good idea that includes most of the above points is home staging.
Some (mostly staging service companies) always recommend to stage for obvious reasons.
But it is not always a good idea to fully stage a house, as I have already covered in this article.
Very often soft staging is a good and economically sound alternative.
The stats are inconclusive regarding speeding up a property sale by fully staging it, but it definitely helps in generating a good first impression, which is one important precondition for a fast sale.
If you have a tip-top staged but not well-priced house, the chances of the positive effects on a speedy sale is likely to be affected in a negative way.
Another important point when preparing a house for a fast sale is to show that the seller is ready to move.
It seems common sense, but if a seller really wants to sell his house within 5 or 7 days, he should also be ready to close fast and move, should it actually sell during this period of time.
Therefore, when potential buyers can still see clutter in the house, firstly it doesn’t make for a good impression and secondly it signals that the seller is not ready to sell it soon or fast.
So, if the seller hasn’t moved already to the new property, renting some storage space might not be a bad idea.
With regards to presenting a well-maintained home a seller doesn’t necessarily need a big wallet.
It can be done with effective low-cost renovations or repairs, such as a quick touch-up of paint, a professional carpet clean or the fixing of a leaking roof.
All of the above can be realized quite quickly and on a budget.
The seller should also show that he is completely transparent regarding improvements made and further ones recommended.
So, a list of all the renovations, repairs, improvements and upgrades done and further ones that should be prepared too, including estimated costs should also be prepared for potential buyers.
If these improvements were made just recently, this will make the potential buyer feel even more comfortable and increases the chances of a faster decision and thus a faster sale.
Price The House To Sell
Even though the seller has done everything right regarding the preparation of the home for the market, the above measures won’t realize their full potential for a fast decision making of a potential buyer if the home is not priced right.
To find the right and first and foremost a competitive price for a house, you can use tools and websites with recent home sale data in the respective neighborhood (also called comps).
Chances are that the potential buyers will be using the same tools, and there are several services and tools available to do just that:
- Realtor.com Just Sold
- MLS Comps (if you have access to an MLS as a realtor, or have help from a realtor)
- Zillow using the ‘recently solds’ filter
- Zillow Zestimates (note: this is an estimation tool, and not data of recently solds)
- Redfin (note: this is an estimation tool, and not data of recently solds)
- Trulia U.S. Assessor Records
- Realty Trac’s Database of Recently Solds
- Property Shark Comparables
- Propelio – MLS Comps for Real Estate Investors
If you are a seller or real estate professional from outside of the United States, this part will be trickier.
The U.S. is one of the most transparent real estate markets worldwide (source).
Most other countries don’t have these tools and to access comp data is more difficult and would involve some more manual research on-site.
Once you have found the market value of your house and are confident about it you can start pricing it for a fast sale.
Since ideally you aim for a sale within 5 to 7 days the price should be below market value (between 2% and 5% of comparable recent sales in the respective neighborhood).
There is one little warning though.
You may think that you can first list it at a price above market value to then lower the price later on.
This might work if you don’t aim for a fast sale. But even then it’s not a very good idea.
Many realtors are of the opinion that this will damage the success of a sale in general.
The reason for this is, that the most perceived value a property receives from potential buyers is on the first day it hits the market.
The more days pass the more the perceived value decreases.
This is actually quite normal.
If you put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and watch a property online for weeks and months on the market you will start to doubt and wonder why it isn’t selling, or what might be wrong with this property.
Make a Good Online Impression
A good online presentation is part of the first good impression you want to make.
As the seller or the realtor you want to have a great property description (good copywriting), and great pictures or videos.
Ideally you also need a virtual tour and/ or drone photographs or videos.
Introduce Some Persuasive Scarcity
Although in my opinion it won’t move the needle much, if the house in question doesn’t make a good first impression and is not priced correctly for a fast sale, introducing some scarcity to increase the persuasive power of your home offer could help the fast sale a bit further.
One method of doing this can be an exclusive bargain through a ‘one weekend only’ open house event.
When you promote this kind of event in the copywriting it should be emphasized that it’s a time sensitive offer.
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