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Tips For Selling Your Home Fast, No Matter The Season

Kevin Graham10-Minute Read
December 15, 2020

Home is yours. It’s a place to make memories and host friends and family. When we move in, there’s the feeling you could be staying there forever or maybe just a few years. No matter your original intent, if your home no longer fits your current circumstances, it could be time to sell it.

If you’re ready to move on and move out, read on for our helpful list of tips for selling your home. These include getting the house ready, learning how to navigate the market and how to sell no matter the time of year. Let’s help you get that closing check!

How To Get Your House Ready To Sell

Before putting your home on the market, there are several things you can do to make sure your home is ready to be put up for sale.

Clean, Declutter And Make Repairs

Although your home’s value won’t be tied to how clean it is or the amount of toys or objects on the floor as potential buyers go through the house, it’s not a bad idea to do a deep cleaning. You can do this yourself or hire someone. Just make sure that it’s thorough. Remember, this is all about showing your home in the best light possible. Cleanliness could also give people an extra sense of comfort in the post-COVID world we find ourselves in.

It’s also not a bad idea to declutter and get organized. For starters, removing unnecessary items from the room can make the space easier to navigate. It’ll also feel bigger to buyers who might be looking for more space. The process could also give you a head start on packing things up and throwing away what you don’t wish to take with you.

Next, you’re going to want to make any repairs that need to be done. Our homes sometimes take a beating. Whether you’re home has a few dings or the walls look like someone was excavating in them for buried treasure, you’ll want to patch and repaint those spots.

If your roof’s life expectancy is a year or two from expiring, you’ll want to get that taken care of because it can cause issues with appraisals. Finally, if you know of any major systems that need replacement, such as HVAC or the water heater, be prepared to take care of these or lower your sales price in consideration.

Finally, after making any necessary repairs, take a look at any cost-effective upgrades and home improvements you can make that might add to your home value. One of the most important rooms to think about in the minds of many home buyers is the kitchen. Open concepts are the trend right now, especially if you’re going to have multiple people in the space where you’re looking to cook. From there, you’ll want an easy pathway from the kitchen to the dining room, if you have one. Don’t have the money for a major remodel? Take a look at replacing the countertops. Smart appliances are also popular with home buyers.

In the bathroom, tile from floor to ceiling is where things are headed. If that’s not in the budget, it can be fairly easy to drop in a new vanity or update the hardware in your bathroom.

In bedrooms, you may want to paint in neutral or calming colors if you feel the room could use an update.

You’ll also want to make sure the exterior of your home is maintained, whether this means power washing the exterior and any deck or patio or replacing missing floorboards or steps.

Stage Your Home’s Interior

When you sell your home, it’s in the spotlight. Maybe that’s why it’s called home staging. You really want it to shine under the bright lights. Most importantly, you want prospective buyers to be able to see themselves living in the space. Here are a couple of tips.

Functional spaces are well lit, so you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of lighting, whether natural or artificial, throughout the home. In addition to helping buyers navigate the home as they tour and try to get a feel for the rooms, this will also help with your photos. More on that in a minute.

Second, you want to appeal to as broad a swath of people as possible, so now is not the time to have your house painted like Legoland. You’ll want to go with neutral colors. Someone should be able to go through your home and see a blank canvas that they can make their own.

Work On Your Home’s Curb Appeal

We’ve spent some time already touching on first impressions and how important they are. You only get one, so it might as well be good. With that in mind, it’s important to think about the fact that the first thing potential buyers will see is your home’s exterior. For this reason, curb appeal should be a strong consideration.

In addition to general upkeep like mowing the lawn or shoveling, depending on the season, some other things you can do to increase curb appeal include having a walkway, planting a small flower garden and making sure your exterior is well lit with either built-in or plug-in porch lighting. Driveway running lights can also be nice to look at.

One thing you can do is take care of any peeling paint on the exterior and repaint it. Additionally, one simple update that can add a pop of color is painting your front door.

Minimize Signs Of Your Pet’s Presence

Our furry family members, in addition to being so freaking cute, are a huge part of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean everyone is down with everything that goes along with your pet.

Let’s be honest about the downsides of our pets. I love my silky terrier, Tyson. However, he does have the occasional accident. He also has some interesting smells. He also likes to get right up next to you, and because he doesn’t move as fast as he used to, it’s easy to trip over him. Finally, he barks at strangers. None of this is good if you’re trying to sell a house.

For starters, you may want to hire a professional if you can’t get any urine fully out of the carpet. If they can’t help you because it’s fully gotten through the pad, it may be time to replace the carpet altogether. Have a plan for your pet as well. You might have a friend watch your pet while the house is being shown or you’re having an open house.

Alternatively, maybe you and your pet can take an excursion somewhere while your house is being shown. You may not want to be there, either, to limit your exposure to others at this time or to generally be out of the way. It comes down to agent recommendations and personal preference.

How To Navigate The Market

Once you have your house ready, it’s time to put it on the market. Here are several steps you can take.

Hire An Expert Real Estate Agent

For people who aren’t regularly buying and selling properties or used to making out the legal contracts, hiring a real estate agent can be well worth it. For starters, because they sell houses as a profession, they likely have their finger on the pulse of current market trends, including what people are looking for and the price you can realistically expect to get for your house.

Secondly, they can give you advice on how to stage your home and help you with showing it in the best possible light. They can also help you negotiate and understand the pros and cons of each offer.

Finally, they’ll have the best understanding around current regulations regarding home showings and health and safety guidelines. They can help you navigate that landscape.

Looking for an agent? Rocket HomesSM can help! We’ll pair you with an agent in our partner network who is aligned on your goals in the transaction.

Take High-Quality Photos For Your Listing

Especially in the digital age, it’s hugely important to take high-quality photos of your listing. The first place people go in their home search is increasingly online listings. Given that, your photos have to be good enough to make your home stand out in the eyes of buyers.

You’ll want to make sure that you have great lighting. You should also take your photos with the best camera you can lay your hands on so that you can show sufficient detail. Your agent may be able to take pictures or recommend someone who can if you don’t feel confident enough to take them yourself.

Hold An Open House

An open house allows members of the general public to walk through your home at a time arranged by you or your real estate agent so that they can get a home tour and a real feel for what living in the home might be like in a way they can’t in the photos. This gets the most possible eyeballs on your house.

Be Flexible

Everyone’s busy, so it’s important to be accommodating when you can to the people who want to walk through your home. Be willing to schedule a showing after work hours or during the day if you have to. Your potential buyers will appreciate it.

You need your personal time as well, so if there’s a cut-off time after which you just want to be alone, also be mindful of your mental and physical recharge time, but it doesn’t hurt to work with people where you can.

Consider A Virtual Tour

Depending on regulations in your area, the current health situation may make hosting an open house impractical or impossible in the traditional sense. If that’s the case for you, you could consider filming a virtual tour of your home. Even outside the current situation, it might be a useful tool to go along with the photography that you have for your listing being that people start online now.

Tips For Selling Your Home During The ‘Off-Season’

If you’re looking to sell your home during an off-peak season for home sales (often fall or winter, but this can be variable), you may think your task is harder. While it’s true there may not be as big of a market, sometimes that can be an advantage. Here’s what to consider when it comes to selling in the off-season.

Conduct Thorough Research On Local Market Trends

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the trends in your local market when selling at any time of year, but this can be particularly critical when trying to attract buyers outside peak home selling season. What kinds of amenities are being offered within the homes similar to yours that have sold recently? What were the purchase prices?

This is another area where an experienced real estate agent can help. They’ll be able to work with you to do a comparative market analysis to ensure that you’re pricing your home correctly given what it has to offer.

Decorate For The Season

Decorating for the season isn’t a bad idea. Going with a fall theme on the front porch or a wreath on the front door depending on the season lets people know this is a home that’s being lived in and can help them start to envision their own traditions in the space. If you really want to set yourself apart, the smell of fresh-baked cookies can create a homey feeling (and people have a hard time turning down sweets).

It’s important to note that you can go overboard with this one. Having multiple nutcracker statues in the foyer creates clutter. Additionally, not everyone celebrates the same holidays, so you don’t want to be completely known as the Christmas house and accidentally turn off part of the market.

Promote Your Listing As Much As Possible

In addition to promoting your listing through traditional sources like the multiple listing service (MLS) and home listing sites, consider getting creative if you’re selling during the off-season.

Work with your real estate agent to also post your listing photos on social media. In addition to posting on your feeds, you may be able to target potential home buyers through social ads. Just be sure not to post anything that casts your home in a negative light.

Mistakes To Avoid While Selling Your Home

Now that we've gone over the things that you should do in order to sell your home at any point in time, it’s worth going over the things to avoid.

Unrealistic Pricing And Unwillingness To Negotiate

Listen to your real estate agent. You don’t want to set your home at a rock-bottom price where you don’t have room to negotiate, but you also don’t want to be so unrealistic in your pricing that people are turned off and don’t bid. Realistic pricing will let people see the value and may potentially start a bidding war.

You should also be mindful that buyers may want certain flexibilities from you. Common contingencies include mortgage financing, the need to sell their current home and a home inspection. If you’re not willing to accept some risk with these contingencies, it could be difficult to find a buyer.

Concealing Property Issues From Potential Buyers

While we discussed above the fact that you don’t want to actively talk about issues with your home on social media, you may have to disclose these issues to potential buyers. In most states, you have to list any issues that you know about. These could be health hazards, structural damage to the property or a system on the way out.

Forgetting for the moment any potential legal liability, if you know of a problem with your home that you don’t disclose, it’s likely to come out in the home inspection. If that happens, your potential buyer is going to have a hard time trusting you.

Keeping Your Home Too Personalized While It’s Listed

You likely have photos and other items in your home that are very personal to you. And you should. It’s your home. However, if you’re looking to sell your property, it’s a good idea to take them down.

If you have too many personal items on display in your home, it can be hard for someone walking through your house to imagine their things in the same space. As mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to create a blank canvas on which the buyer can paint a picture in their mind.

The Bottom Line

Selling your home takes a bit of work, but it can be accomplished in any season by following the right steps. Begin by doing a deep clean, decluttering and making repairs to get your home in tip-top shape.

Then focus on staging your home, thinking about things like lighting and space. You want people to be able to envision themselves living here. Curb appeal is important because it’s the very first thing a potential buyer will see. Finally, keep Fido out of the way.

When it comes to navigating the market, an expert real estate agent will be able to help you set your price right and figure out how to take high-quality photos. In order to get the most eyeballs on your home, consider open houses, flexible showing times and virtual tours.

Particularly when selling during an off-season, it will be important to research the local market and know what features are offered at what price. Decorate for the time of year, but don’t overdo it. Finally, promote your listing everywhere you can.

The biggest mistakes you can make include setting unrealistic prices and not negotiating. You also don’t want to hide issues from buyers. Finally, don’t keep so much that’s personal to you in the home that someone can’t see themselves living there.

We hope this gives you the resources to be successful in your home sale. You can get started today by working with a Rocket HomesSM Verified Agent.

Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Rocket Companies. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Rocket Mortgage he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.