5 steps to a quick home sale

In a hurry to sell your home? Here's how to make sure you snag the best price in shortest amount of time.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Beth Braverman, Money Magazine staff reporter

Mortgage estimator
Estimate monthly housing payments
Price of home:
Downpayment:
Interest rate:     %
Yearly property taxes:
Yearly homeowner's insurance:
CALCULATE  
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 4.36%
15 yr fixed 3.39%
5/1 ARM 3.36%
30 yr refi 4.34%
15 yr refi 3.38%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

(Money Magazine) -- 1. You have to seriously undercut the competition

Selling a home in a down market almost inevitably means settling for a disappointing price. But to unload your home fast, you're going to have to dip 10% to 15% below what comparable homes in your neighborhood recently sold for. You still may not be able to compete with foreclosures and short sales, but at least you stand a chance of getting buyers to notice your listing.

To prevent yourself from becoming overly attached to your asking price, try to determine the lowest possible offer you'd accept before your listing hits the market. That will help remove your emotions from the negotiating process later on, says Palm Beach realtor Heidi Cole.

2. Outside fixes have the biggest impact

Since your house won't be cheaper than the distressed property down the block, it has to look far better. But you may not have the time or money to redo the kitchen, so focus on cosmetic improvements that will bring the most buyers to your door.

Spending a grand can go a long way toward improving your home's exterior, says staging expert Sandy Hare of Eugene, Ore. Get the outside of your house power-washed, paint the door, replace the knocker, and hire a gardener to give your yard some TLC.

3. First-timers are your friend

The most efficient way to market your home is to target the most likely buyers. First-timers bought over half the homes purchased so far this year, thanks to a new federal tax credit and the flexibility to buy without the burden of selling another property (super-low mortgage rates don't hurt either).

The average age of the first-time buyer: 30. To boost your chances of reaching the Gen-Y crowd, get yourself a snazzy online presence (see No. 4) and spread the word about your next open house through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, says Warwick, R.I., realtor Ron Phipps.

4. Online tricks will make your home pop

Buyers are faced with thousands of listings. Help them find yours by peppering your description with amenity keywords like "deck," "pool," and "granite counters," says Heather Fernandez of real estate search site Trulia.com. Then make sure they like what they see by using a wide-angle lens to make your rooms look bigger in pictures. And set your home at the lowest end of its price range; a $299,000 home will seem expensive to a buyer in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, but a $301,000 home is a deal to someone looking between $300,000 and $350,000.

5. Your secret weapon is a speedy deal

It can take months for banks to approve a deal for a short sale or a foreclosed property. Make sure your agent lets potential buyers know that you can close the deal within a few weeks.

Another advantage you hold over distressed sellers: the ability to be creative in negotiations. If a potential buyer is wavering, offer to pay part or all of the closing costs or cover a year's worth of association fees. At the very least, consider throwing in some new appliances or a paint job. After all, in this market no one is going to want a home that doesn't seem like a bargain.  To top of page

Find mortgage rates in your area


Send feedback to Money Magazine
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
50 years of the Ford Mustang Take a drive down memory lane with our favorite photos of the car through the years. More
Cool cars from the New York Auto Show These are some of the most interesting new models and concept vehicles from the Big Apple's car show. More
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.