20 Creative Ways to Sell Your Home in Under a Month
20 Creative Ways to Sell Your Home in Under a Month
You’ve made the decision to sell your home and you want to do it fast. Selling a house is stressful, and every day it’s on the market can ramp up the anxiety. You just want it done so you can move to your new home and get on with your life.
There are ways to speed up the process and improve your chances of selling in under a month. Remember, your time is valuable, and the clock is ticking down as soon as the “For Sale” sign goes up. Every little thing you can do to speed the process along will help.
First: The Basics of Selling a Home
Before you try any special approach, first make sure you’ve laid a good foundation for selling your home. There are things that every home seller must do:
- Prepare the house inside and out. Work on the exterior “curb appeal,” fix and update where necessary, freshen up paint and interior finishes, clean and declutter, stage the home attractively.
- Hire a real estate agent with good credentials and a solid reputation. In the St. Louis area, that’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties.
- Price the home competitively for the local market.
Once your house is on the market, shift your mindset from home seller to marketing exec. Yes, marketing your home is part of your real estate agent’s job. But there are things you can do to showcase your home and create buzz with potential buyers. We’ve compiled some creative ways to help your home sell fast.
Beyond Simple Curb Appeal
- Low-maintenance landscaping. Curb appeal is important, but make sure your outdoor improvements are the right kind. Flowers and ornamental shrubs may attract buyers, but anything that requires constant care and pruning could be a turnoff for anyone but an avid gardener. Check with your local nursery for low-maintenance options that look pretty.
- Theme staging. If you’re selling a home built in a certain period, accentuate it with your staging. If you have a Victorian, think about borrowing or renting some antique furnishings. Turn your mid-century modern into something right out of Mad Men. Buyers interested in these styles will love it.
- Make a movie. Your real estate agent will arrange for photos of your home, but you can do your own too. Most smartphones can give you good 360-degree panoramic views and videos. Do video walk-through or some drone footage to share on your Facebook page. A word of caution, though: If you can’t make it look professional, leave it to the experts.
- Make it real. Add a “real life” feel to photos and videos. You want prospective buyers to picture themselves enjoying the home. Think about staging some pictures of kids playing in the backyard, people enjoying the front porch or patio, family cooking together or gathered around the dinner table. Just as with videos, make sure they look professional—think of a magazine’s idea of “real life.”
- Ditch the junk. Make sure any photos or videos are done with an eye for detail. Take a few minutes to remove things from the shot like cereal boxes on the counters, toothpaste tubes on the sink, and toys in the corner. We’re amazed at how many DIY photos include messy, unmade beds and junk in the background. Many people have a hard time looking past these things.
Make the Most of Who You Know
6. Spread the word on Facebook. Share your realtor’s listing of your house or your own video and photos on your Facebook page. Ask your friends to share it. You could find some great prospects via word of mouth. You can also offer a “finder’s fee” in the form of a gift card or gift if one of your friends’ leads turns out to be “the one.” This might make them even more willing to help you out by spreading the word.
7. Send letters to your neighbors. Create a flyer to drop off door-to-door, or reach out to neighbors via apps like Nextdoor. Let them know your house is on the market. They may have coworkers, friends or family who would love to live nearby. As a plus, they are in the perfect position to vouch for your neighborhood as a good place to live.
8. Reach out to the big names. Are there any large employers that have a steady stream of new people coming into your area? For example, the St. Louis region boasts several large corporations, hospitals, universities, and a military base. See if you can tap into their organizational resources to get your property in front of newcomers to the area.
Get Creative with Advertising
9. Have a sense of humor. Have some fun with your listing and the Facebook posts you use to promote your property. Quirky listings occasionally make their way into newspaper articles and TV spots for their creativity. One described a Brooklyn building as being in a “relatively stabby-free neighborhood.” Another touts its proximity to a school, explaining that the kids could simply be tossed over the fence when they’re running late. This can be tricky, as not everyone shares the same idea of what’s funny, but if you can do it tastefully, it can definitely make you stand out from the crowd.
10. Tell your story. Sharing your own listing online, separate from your realtor’s, can give you the opportunity to go into more detail. You can tell prospects why your home is so special, explain all the improvements you’ve made over the years, and talk about the great things in your neighborhood. The personal touch can go a long way to show a buyer that your home is worth a look. If you’re not confident with your writing skills, there are plenty of freelance writers who can craft something for you at a reasonable price.
Be Open to a Different Kind of Open House
11. Throw an open house party. Instead of the traditional open house, consider having some catered food—maybe a morning brunch theme with upscale coffee and brunch items. If your house has a great backyard for entertaining, set up some corn-hole games or light the fire pit. Advertise to people with kids a “playdate” at the playset out back. Not only will this show off your house’s great features, it can also create urgency with interested buyers when they see the interest of their competition.
12. Create some traffic. Ask your realtor to schedule showings back-to-back. This can work on two fronts. First, it’s more convenient to get all of the showings done in one solid block of time. Second, ushering out one potential buyer as the next arrives can create buzz that the property has multiple interested parties.
Give Your House a Job
13. Take advantage of the work-from-home trend. The “gig economy” is everywhere these days. People work from home for themselves, or telecommute for a business. Take a look at your house from a home business perspective. Is there a room that would make a great office? Could the garage or shed be outfitted as a craftsman’s shop? Maybe there’s a separate entrance that would make it easy to see clients. Advertising your space as a buyer’s new potential place of business could help your chances.
14. Look for investors. Instead of focusing exclusively on finding a new owner for your home, think about finding a landlord instead. Investors don’t only buy apartment buildings to rent out. Many of them own single-family homes too. Contact local management companies. They may know of local individuals who are in the market for homes to add to their investment portfolio.
Bring on the Special Offers
15. Throw in a freebie. If there are things in your home that you don’t want or that won’t fit in your new house, you could offer to include them in the sale price. This is especially nice for the buyer if the item was custom built or fits well in the space. This could include things like a wall-mounted TV, custom-built shelves, treadmill and other exercise equipment, or patio furniture. It can be a win-win, as you won’t have to go to the trouble of moving them, and they can “sweeten the deal” for the buyer.
16. Pay for a service. If you have services such as lawn care or pool maintenance, you could continue to cover them for the new buyer until your contract with the service providers run out. One less expense in the first few months could be appealing to them, provided you can afford it.
17. Complimentary moving help. You could offer to cover the cost of a moving truck for a day. Again, if you can afford it, it could be a good incentive for the buyer.
18. Let them try it out. Have you thought of letting a serious potential buyer spend the night or a weekend in your home? There are obviously some logistics to work out—you’ll want to discuss it with your real estate agent and attorney. And it helps if you register with Airbnb or some other home-sharing network first. But if a family could see what it’s really like to spend the night in your house, it could seal the deal.
19. Help defray costs. If you can afford it, you can offer some help to potential buyers who might be having a hard time getting financing. This should be considered only if selling fast is more important than getting the highest possible offer. You could offer to pay closing costs or points, or chip in for part of the cost of inspections. In some scenarios, offering a lease-to-own option might make sense. Obviously, you will want to be sure that any of these ideas are feasible for your particular situation.
20. Lower your price. This one can be risky, but you can consider an asking price that is below the market value. The idea is that a great price will generate interest, and therefore multiple offers. A bidding war can potentially move the selling price back up to where you want it. This plan can work if the house (its condition, location, and price compared to other properties) truly is desirable enough to produce enough interest.
Being Unique Can Seal the Deal
Your real estate agent will work hard to help you sell your house fast. But if you’re really motivated to sell in under a month, you may need to think outside the box. Whatever you can do to make your home stand out from all the others on the market might just be the thing that does the trick.
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