How to Sell Your House in a Under a Week
Part 1: Home Improvements
If you’re thinking of selling your house, be sure to allow yourself enough time. Time for what? Well, you need time to make any last-minute home improvements and Home Repairs. You also need time to list the house for sale, allow people to look at it and entertain any offers that come in. You then need time for escrow (which is the when your buyers will get their financing ready (e.g., mortgage) and when any inspections, appraisals or title searches are done. Escrow usually takes at least a month.
We listed our house for sale and had full-price offers within hours. We had decided ahead of time to give it time for an open house, and because we didn’t jump on the first offer we made tens of thousands more than we were asking!! Learn how we did it!
Okay, what did I just say? Let’s break that down.
Like it? Pin it or REPIN it!
If your house is in bad shape, you might want to consider making some improvements. Do-it-yourself stuff will obviously cost less since you don’t have to pay someone else to do it. But, you’ll need time to complete these things. And, before you tear your whole house apart, remember in most cases you have to live there while construction/improvements are happening. You’ll also want to weigh your investment in these improvements as compared to how much more it might mean you’ll get for your house. If it won’t make a difference, consider skipping it. If improvements are needed to increase the chances of selling, then really consider making them. Weigh your options, and do what’s best for your situation.
COUPONS: Apply for the Home Depot Moving Club and Lowe’s Moving Club. This will give you a 10% Home Depot coupon and a 10% off Lowe’s coupon. That will help if you are buying paint, carpet, or anything to fix up your house. If you’re near a Harbor Freight, they have wonderful coupons for 25%, 20% and 15% off. My Lowe’s and Home Depot accept competitor coupons from Harbor Freight. These coupons are usually for a single item, but if you’re buying bigger items it can really add up. Saving 25% on $200 of carpet means $50 in savings!! It’s worth it to ask them to ring things up individually so you can use all your Harbor Freight coupons at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Find Harbor Freight coupons in the backs of many major magazines such as Maxim, Outdoor Living, Reader’s Digest and others. They also started advertising in our Penny Saver, which I was thrilled to see. And you can print Harbor Freight coupons or grab Harbor Freight coupons on Facebook.
You might try your hand at home improvement projects yourself to save money. That’s what we did! You might surprise yourself at how much you can do yourself. And, DIY is popular now, so you can find lots of great how-to videos online, as well as free classes at your local home improvement stores. I took a refresher course in laying tile, and did all my own work. Well, with one exception. At the end we were running out of time, so I hired someone recommended by a friend. Which leads me to the next, possibly most important topic:
When hiring work done, you MUST have a clear idea of what you expect and make sure you convey that absolutely. Write it down in a very detailed description. Whether you draw pictures, find pictures online or just write it out in words: you have to make sure your hired help understands what you want and what you expect. Make sure they tell you if you’re asking for something impossible. Come to an understanding of what your budget allows, and make sure you’re on the same page. Then, get it in writing. Both parties sign an agreement. When entering into any kind of agreement, think of this: “What would Judge Judy say?” lol! But, it’s true. Be thorough and you won’t be sorry. This is true whether you’re hiring your friend, a recommendation by a friend or a licensed contractor. Especially true if the person is just a handyman-type who’s “doing you a favor.” You can imagine all the headaches that could come along with that! It can be a great way to get work done much cheaper, especially if your family is like mine is. We do that kind of thing for each other; we’re all good at home improvement projects and enjoy them. Our friends help, and it’s usually all good. But, if you’re just trying to save money by hiring someone who does this under the table, be very careful!
When we sold our house, we spent a good deal of the last six months fixing it up. I love home improvement projects anyway, but we definitely ramped up the effort for the sale. I’ve also been able to find a lot of really great deals (and freebies!) on Cheapcycle, Craigslist and Freecycle, including free tile, free wood laminate flooring (and cheap), and even free tools.
Updating your home with cosmetic improvements is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to help your house sell for top dollar, faster. If you have major safety issues with your home (asbestos, lead paint, etc.) you really should fix those problems before you list! Even if you get a bunch of offers from buyers, your house will not pass a home inspection. You’ll need to fix those issues then, and it can hold up the escrow. I’ve even seen offers totally fall through because of safety concerns! That can waste weeks and months if you let it go. Fix it now.
How to Find a Contractor
But how do you find a reliable, trustworthy, skilled contractor you can afford? That’s a VERY tall order, it seems. Probably doesn’t help that I’m cheap and always on a budget a fraction of what others seem to be. 😉 You’ve probably heard of Angie’s List. You can find a landscaper and you can find a plumber. You can find someone to do almost any home project. It’s awesome because if they’re not doing their job, the real-life reviews will warn you and save you time and money – and headaches!
My Home Improvement Story
Watch a Before & After Home Improvement video I made for my house’s Open House, which showcases some of the improvements we’ve done. Take pictures before, during and after your projects and you can enjoy them for years to come. Plus, potential buyers love seeing how much you’ve improved the property! It shows pride of ownership, and gives value that might otherwise be overlooked.
After fixing up anything that needs updating, it’s time to DECLUTTER!!
Check out How to Sell Your House Part 2: Clean Up!