Either we've been there or know somebody who has: A house on the market needs to sell fast, but … it just won't. It sits, sometimes for many months or a year. Perhaps the price needs to be lowered – or not, depending on how much the owner has invested in the property and how much money is on the line and may be lost – or the property type isn't as desirable as it once was.
These days, plenty of condo owners are feeling pressure to sell in what many experts call an oversaturated market, but before taking the house off the market to become a landlord or taking a loss on the property, there are three easy tips to make property selling not only easy, but hopefully lessen the wait before offers roll in too.
Easy job No. 1 – Pay careful attention to windows
Any real estate agent will tell potential buyers that location tops the list of homebuyer wants, so why are you hiding that fabulous location behind outdated or bland window treatments? Updating curtains and blinds are a cheap fix that can change the way an entire room looks. Bring in as much natural light as possible, and don't forget to pay special attention to spots in the property that are seen right out the windows. Flower boxes or landscaping maintenance can be cost-effective solutions that help prospective buyers fall more in love with all parts of a property.
On the same note, potential buyers may be discouraged from buying a property if they are under the impression that the home's windows must be replaced immediately – keep the windows clean, scrub the screens and don't give house hunters any reason to believe the windows will become an upfront expense that will take away money they've squirreled away for other projects.
Easy job No. 2 – Paint and style your home carefully
People are encouraged to decorate, style and maintain their homes to their choosing – but only while they're actively living at the property. When the house is up for sale, it's a different story entirely.
Most real estate agents, HGTV shows and design blogs are a treasure trove of suggestions and guidance for properly staging a home, but it doesn't have to be an expensive, time-consuming process. Start by removing personal touches like photos on the refrigerator, products on bathroom counters, favorite paint colors and specialized art. Instead opt for a clean, customizable living space that the prospect will actually be able to see him or herself living in.
Easy job No. 3 – Watch where you step
Most first-time homebuyers know that flooring can be far from an inexpensive fix, so keep floors in mind when your home goes on the market. Make sure hard floors are regularly mopped, scrubbed and steamed before any prospective buyers step foot on them.
If outdated carpeting or damaged hard floors are deterring potential buyers and keeping the house on the market for longer than necessary, consider installing inexpensive, neutral flooring, paying for professional cleaning services or having the floors refinished. Although it may cost a bit more than you'd hoped, it can make a world of difference for first-time buyers eagerly looking for a move-in ready house.
When in doubt, use area rugs. Just make sure they're clean and don't distract from the house's existing staging or design elements.
Get even more help selling your place
Sometimes no matter the property updates and staging techniques you employ, selling a home remains difficult. Although there are plenty of tips featured on housing websites and HGTV programming, it's no substitute for making contact with a mortgage broker or financial professional, especially if you're toying with changing the asking price.