How I Sold My House in 3 Days: Above List Price

November 5, 2015

how to sell house fast

New Year’s day 2015, my husband and I decided to place a contingency offer on a run-down ranch home. Reality quickly set in….in order to get our fixer upper, we would have to quickly sell our current home. No time for messing around and missing out on the home we wanted. So, the following days, I busted my bottom prepping my home for listing. Actually, the entire time our home was on the market (less than a week), I was a crazy biaaatch. I made sure the home was in pristine condition at all times which is hard work with a one year old and four indoor animals. Thank the Lord, my hard work payed off. Within three days of placing our new construction home on the market, we received an offer above list price. Some of it may have been luck- a blessing from above, but the majority of it was hard work, competitive pricing and strategic home staging. Let me share my formula for selling your home fast.

Check Your Ego at the Door- Price Competitively

In your mind, your home be worth more than your realtor suggested listing it for, but your realtor is the pro. You are paying for their expertise and marketing connections. Sorry, but the comp prices don’t lie. It is crucial to be realistic about your expectations. Before officially placing your home on the market, have your realtor review comp listings with you and prepare yourself for best and worst cast scenarios. A prospective buyer may love your home, but if the price is not right, you aren’t going to close the deal. Buyers need to feel like they are getting a bargain. Trust your realtor! A qualified realtor will know how to properly price your home.

(For you fellow Chattanoogans, I highly suggest my realtor, Sarah Ketterer at Uptown Firm. She was amazing to work with.)

Make Arrangements for Your Pets

Being an avid animal lover, I cannot understand those who don’t appreciate furry friends, but your prospective buyer may be, in fact, turned off by the thought of animals dwelling in their future residence. I have four indoor pets (two cats and two dogs). This is where I had to get creative. While our home was on the market, my mother-in-law fostered our two cats and our dogs were evicted from the living areas of our home. At night, the dogs slept in the garage and during the day, we took them to doggy-daycare. When we showed the home, we made sure to take the dogs with us and we removed all signs of our pets (pet bowls, toys beds). This solution also made it much easier to keep the home clean.

Deep Clean and De-clutter

Before placing your home on the market or taking photos for your listing, do a thorough deep-clean of your home. Clean the carpets, scrub the baseboards, remove the cobwebs…you get the picture. Make sure your home is squeaky clean. Remove clutter from counter tops, closets and rooms. Heck, we even removed some of the clutter from our garage. We actually payed for a storage unit and hauled all of the excess items off before we ever had our first showing.

living room 2

Make Necessary Home Improvements

Because we had a new construction home, we did not have much to do under this category but we did do paint touch-ups on the walls. If your room needs a fresh coat of paint, paint the walls in a nice, neutral color. Replace dead bulbs. Patch damaged walls. Repair broken doors. You want your home to appear well cared for…not neglected.

Neutralize and De-Personalize Decor

Naturally, my style is a neutral take on transitional and contemporary design. From the research I have done, this aesthetic is the best for staging a home to sell. For those of you with a love for the bold, funky or taste-specific, you may need to take a trip to Homegoods and buy some more neutral décor. Maybe tone your taste down a bit by switching out those busy throw pillows or drapes with something that will that appeal to a broader audience. Have crazy paint colors on the walls? You may want to paint over those daring colors with taupe, “greige” or white paint. For specific examples of paint colors most ideal for selling a home, visit this post.

In addition to neutralizing your space, you need to de-personalize. Your home needs to be less of an heirloom and more of a blank canvas. I removed personal photos and artwork that I suspected wouldn’t appeal to the masses and replaced them with black and white, landscape photos. I removed a monogrammed decal in my son’s nursery and replaced it with a mirror. I even went as far as to remove his high chair from the house (I placed it in the garage) before each showing.

dining room

Take Great Listing Photos

This is another perk of listing your home with a realtor. Our realtor actually included beautiful, professional real estate photos in her fee. Make sure your realtor will provide professional quality photos for your listing. If not, you may want to consider investing in a photographer experienced in real estate photography. With the prevalence of real estate sites like Realtor and Trulia, you must captivate your internet audience as this is the vast majority of buyers. You cannot afford to lose a buyer before they even step foot in your home.

living room 3

Stage Your Home

I went over-the-top with staging. Figuratively, I wined and dined my potential buyers before each showing . I had cookie-scented candles burning, Bossa Nova music playing low in the background, lights dimmed in a flattering glow and a vase of fresh flowers in the kitchen. If you have ever skimmed through the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog, you will notice how they stage each scene. It makes me want to jump though the pages and crawl into their space. This was my point of reference for staging an inviting space. I also love the way Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper stages her homes. Basically, I went out of my way to make the space feel clean, new, inviting and serene.

With all of the emphasis on the interior of your home, don’t forget to make sure you have tended to your lawn and any other aspects that contribute to curb appeal. It was the dead of winter when we listed our home, so there was not much we could do here but I did Windex all of the windows and cleaned dirt and cobwebs off the siding and doors. I also scooped up dog poop…how glamorous.

Below is an example of how beautifully Pottery Barn has mastered the art of staging. Doesn’t it look so welcoming and cozy?

home staging

Before each showing, I did a walk-thru of my house and made sure of the following:

  1. House in pristine, clean condition
    2. House smells good (burn a dessert-scented candle. Vanilla Cupcake was my favorite.)
    3. Soft, relaxing music playing on low volume
    4. Take pets along with me
    5. House nicely lit either by opening blinds or turning lights on.

Hope this post helps some of you. Let it be known, putting your home on the market is a stressful event. It was hard work but so worth it when we sold our home in less than a week over asking price.

Also be sure to check our Liz Marie’s blog on how she sold her home after only one showing here. She does a great job elaborating on this.

Now get out there and design some good vibes!

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how to sell house fast

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12 Comments
    1. Great ideas for quick sell of a home! I especially found the suggestion of pet daycare helpful. One of the reasons we haven’t put our house on the market in the past has been questions regarding the pets.

    1. Hi again Erica, at another link party this morning and of all the links its funny that I clicked on yours again! We’re planning to put our home on the market in the spring and your suggestions are great ones. Thanks for the guidance.

      Have a great day

      LYnn

      1. That is so funny, Lynn. Very flattering! Yes, my husband thought I was insane with the daily staging and cleaning I did, but when we sold the house so fast, he finally “got it”.

    1. Hi Erica, Fantastic tips on home staging. Need to neutralize wall paint. Love your warm neutrals shown. What paint colors did you use? Will be painting next week. Thanks!

      1. Thank you so much, Michele. I know the bedroom was Sherwin Williams Tony Taupe, but I cannot remember then name of the main color (and I no longer live there). I loved Tony Taupe more than the other color though. Hope this helps!

    1. Loving your ideas! Can you tell me where your dining room table is from? It’s beautiful!

    1. Thank you for this! We are pretty much organized, yet a bit busy, with a pushed up date from what we anticipated, so we are going for it, and are inspired by the 3 Day article! You are on target and it helped me become more excited over losing this great beach home yet it will be freeing up our $$ and allow us to put it to work in retirement fund plus our farmhouse where we are moving! Luckily, like you , we had re-furbished and painted the entire house just within the past 2 years. Now is the time to get that in our write-up as many people can’t say that additional work and a new space was built with a view, and it’s an office.
      I think it is brilliant to be ready with the red flag elements by taking care of them before showing or if cannot avoid that say noise is high due to a busy summer season in a beach town, we share that we have a portion of the home we have created as an income-producer, Airbnb , if they also wanted to do the same. And actually there are a couple of places along the wood work at floor level that you handled brilliantly with a repair done!
      I always hear the same for how I buy a house: I know within minutes it is the one for us unless there are unseen problems. So that in mind, here I go to my entrance and gardening in containers to improve the area in very – early gardening season, but there a lot of flowering and green choices right now, before March, in our coastal N. C.

      Thanks again! Best regards, Debbie S.

      1. Retirement and a farmhouse? Sounds like you are living the dream, friend. So glad you found my article helpful, Debbie. Best wishes!

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