How to Sell Your House in a Under a Week
Part 1: Home Improvements
Part 2: Clean Up
Part 3: Staging Your Home
Part 4: Listing for Sale
Part 5: Show and Sell
Please note, I’m not a real estate agent, nor do I play one on TV. This advice is strictly from my experience. My experience was tremendous, and it just happened last week. Not during the big real estate boom of 5 years ago (or whenever it was, exactly). This all happened in May 2013! The market does seem to be changing for the better!
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Now comes the fun part! Once pictures are taken and info is given about your house, it will be “listed.” What that means is the “for sale” ad will be posted on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a service used by Realtors to find houses for sale. Realtors also need to pay a subscription fee to access the MLS. The average person can usually view home listings, but not the private info reserved only for Realtors. There’s a fee for listing your house, but that is typically covered by the listing agent and comes out of their commission.
What to expect: People and their realtors will see your house is for sale (they may even put a sign out front), and they’ll come by to see it. You can ask your selling agent to state that viewings are by appointment only if you want. If you’re in more of a hurry to sell, you may want a “lock box” with a key, locked with a special combination only Realtors can find by looking at the MLS listing. With a lock box, people can come by and see your house whenever they want. So, be sure to keep it tidy!
Weekends are BIG for showing homes, and after the weekend is when you’ll probably see those offers come rolling in. Often, an offer will expire in three days if not responded to appropriately by your Realtor. In our case, we mentioned in the original listing that all offers would be reviewed after the weekend – after our open house. That gave us more time to collect more viable offers, and gave people more time to see it. (And, as we hoped, gave them more chance to bid HIGHER for the house!)
TIP: When someone offers to buy your house, they write up a legal document known as an offer. Typically offers are good for only three days (although it can be written for different amounts of time). So, when you list your house in an active market, it’s a good idea to note in the original listing that all offers will be reviewed early in the week following. I specifically asked for this. Although we had a solid offer the first day, I had asked beforehand to write in the listing that we’d review offers the week after the listing. That way we had time to have an open house the Sunday after listing, and then we had a few days to review all 26 offers. (Yes, we had 26 offers!)
Have an open house! Open Houses are a great way to get a lot of people to see your house in a short amount of time. You want people to come and see it! Otherwise, they’ll never know what they’re missing.
HIDE YOUR VALUABLES! Especially during an open house, but any time your house is on the market, lock up or hide your valuables (e.g., cash, jewelry, etc.) Chances are nothing will happen, but why chance it? Strangers will be in your home, and we’d like to believe that wouldn’t happen, but it’s easier to just put it away than be sorry later.
Do not be too quick to jump on an offer and take your house off the market. And, don’t make any verbal promises. Get it in writing!!
REVIEW YOUR OFFERS: With lots of offers pouring in, it’s time to review those offers! Select the top offer and a backup which puts you in Escrow. To select the top offer, be sure to consider all aspects of the offers. Is the buyer making a cash offer, or is it a conventional, VA or FHA loan? VA and FHA loans have more restrictions than conventional loans and sometimes your house may need repairs before the loan will go through. They also may require the house to appraise for a certain amount, and specific inspections may be needed and you may be asked to pay for them. Buyers may ask for repairs, or they may ask for things like a home warranty. AHS sells their home warranty for about $350; you may be asked to pay for that. Some offers may be contingent on the buyer selling their own home, which can really slow down the process. Come up with a bottom line for each offer (the amount they’re offering minus any things they’re asking for) and compare the bottom lines. You’ll also want to choose an offer that has solid financial backing. If you pick someone to buy your home that won’t qualify for a mortgage big enough to pay for it, you’ll be back to the drawing board in a few weeks with time wasted. On the other hand, if someone is offering a very large downpayment, they are more likely to be able to qualify for the loan as well. A good realtor will be able to guide you in choosing the best qualified offer that will result in a smooth sale. (No pun intended.)
Next in our series ~ Part 6: Escrow