We Sold Our House! I am still getting over how fast it happened. Everyone wants that sold sign out front, but every homeowner dreads the house showings it takes to get there. That’s why I compiled a list of 14 things we did that sold our house fast. We used these methods and sold our house TWICE in under 4 showings. Yes, you heard me right, twice, with 3 offers! Read on for more details.
How we sold our house Fast – The Backstory.
The past couple months have been a whirl wind. We were supposed to have our house put up on the market early September, but there was a mix up, and it was listed half a week early. On Tuesday we had a sign put up on our yard, and on Wednesday, we had just finished dinner, and my phone got a text requesting a showing for that night. Ahhh! Our house wasn’t supposed to be on the market for 5 more days!
We’d been planning this sale ever since we bought our house two years ago, so everything we’ve done to our house has been with selling it in mind. Staging, remodeling, improvements, and not going too crazy with personalization. Thankfully, we had been keeping our house super clean in preparation to putting it on the market, and had already deep cleaned it the week before. We had nothing to lose, so we approved the first showing. The next morning, our realtor called us to tell us that we had an offer coming in… from that one showing!
In between doing some paperwork for the first offer, we had two more showings, and another offer came in. This was all in 48 hours.
We accepted one of the offers. Unfortunately, the offer we accepted fell through because of a simple fix the house inspection found & the buyer backed out. We put the house back on the market and on got an offer on the first re-showing. We accepted and this time everything went through smoothly with no hiccups.
So to recap: in 48 hours we had 3 showings, resulting in 2 offers… then it fell though… so 15 days later on it’s first day back on the market we had 1 showing, resulting in an offer which SOLD our home! Because we accepted two offers, we joke that our house sold twice.
Now that it’s officially sold, I am going to let you all in on everything we did to get our house to sell with all those multiple offers on the table:
1. Deep, Deep, Deep Clean & When You’re Done, Clean Again.
Despite being very clean, organized people, when you have two kids with one on the way, things can get a little messy. Handprints on the windows, toothpaste spitting competitions in the bathroom (ugh… why?), and toys tucked in every nook and cranny. Some simple things I did to get the house ready to sell ahead of time were:
-Pack away all DVD’s.
-Use magic erasers to scrub every stuff mark.
-Organize all the closets & cabinets, and empty out everything assuming people will probably open up all the drawers and cabinets.
-Make sure there were no hidden eggs stolen from the refrigerator (otherwise know as “baby chicks”) behind the chalkboard… true story!
2. General Repairs.
Any repairs needed to the house should be made before you list, that way you will avoid any surprises from the home inspection. Have a pest problem? Get it taken care of before hand. Need to fix a leak? Do it now. You don’t want your buyer to be scared off by simple things that are generally easy to fix (and by easy, I mean I have a handy husband. Haha!) Also, you want to be completely honest if there are any outstanding issue with your home, but addressing them beforehand is preferable.
3. Patch Damaged Walls, & Touch Up Paint.
This one is especially important. It could technically fall under general repairs, but I think it deserves it’s own spot. All our paint was relatively new (less than two years), but I ended up freshening the white kitchen cabinet paint, and touching up any areas in the house that needed some love. Little kids love touching walls… so most the touch up was on the lower halves.
4. Neutralize Everything.
I am a fan of bright and airy, calming colors. Almost all of my walls are white. You don’t want a super loud space that has too many colors competing for attention. I like to stick to the following formula in my room decor:
Walls: White or neutral. The great thing about white is that it looks clean, and is much more appealing than the thought of having to paint over a color like neon green or cherry red (those were the former colors on our houses walls when we bought it, btw. I kid you not.)
Accents: White, one natural wood color, one metal type, and one common color for accessories (usually blue.)
Remove as many family photos as possible. Also, it’s probably best to remove any sort of political or potentially controversial content in your home. You want your buyers to envision themselves living there, and want to appeal to a broad range of buyers.
Remove 50-70% of your belongings from your closets. I basically only kept my husbands suits & Marine uniforms hanging in our closet. Everything else was either packed and stored in our garage, or put into dresser drawers. We did the same with the kid closets, and took out anything we didn’t need from the laundry, linen, and entry way closets. We also styled our custom built in master closet with pretty folded towels, baskets, and my high heels (which aren’t getting any use these days!) to appeal to the Pinterest dream closet lovers.
7. Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words.
Get or take professional looking picture of your house. This is honestly what made our house sell so fast. I personally took all our house listing photos, even though our real-estate agency offered to. Since I blog about home decor, I was familiar with the right angles to photograph from & how to edit my own photos. If you are doing them yourself, made sure to take the pictures on a bright, sunny day with lots of natural light. Pictures are what will get your house online recognition & make people schedule showings. You can see all of our listing photos HERE.
8. Style the Front Door.
Stage your front door with pretty plants and/or pots, and a friendly welcome mat. First impressions & curb appeal matter.
If you are selling your appliances with the house, make sure they are clean and as empty as possible. That means no fingerprints on the fridge, no burnt stains in the oven, and no dirty dishes in the dish washer.
One HUGE thing I did to make my life easier, was to pack up & put into storage 90% of my kids toys, stuffed animals, & books. We only kept their daily favorites out. Large toys were all put into rubbermaids in the garage. This allowed me to be able to clean super fast before each showing, as my kids LOVE to dump EVERYTHING on the floor.
11. Move Contents of your Garage to a Storage Unit.
So this is something we meant to do the weekend before putting the house on the market, but we didn’t actually get to it because of the showing going live a week early. We have tons of bulky tools, workout equipment, strollers, bikes, and home improvement stuff in our garage and wanted to move it into a storage unit. Some people might think that doing that is a tad bit excessive – but if you are like us and your garage looks like an episode of hoarders (Home Depot Style!) – you should try to move all that stuff into storage. Optimistically you are going to be packing up and moving anyways, right? This also goes for any big items you may have in your yard… in our case, old tricycles and plastic kiddie pools. We ended up consolidating everything as much as possible.
12. Hype your Listing Up.
Our realtors also put our house in a “coming soon” status for a week. This supposedly helps get the hype out about your listing and allows for potential buyers to plan out a visit. Personally, I’m not sure how much of a difference this made for us, as it ended up being listed early. But it never hurts to get more publicity.
13. The Lock Box (that extra key!)
Remember to get a third key. We gave them our spare key for the box, and my husband took the other one to work, so I had to lock myself out of the house. And it was pouring rain… So do yourself a favor and don’t overlook that extra key.
14. Price your House Realistically.
When we sold our house, we priced it to sell. Now that didn’t mean that we would lose money from selling it at that price point, but we paid attention to the other houses in our neighborhood & made sure not to price it outside of what it would appraise for.
We definitely got top dollar for our neighborhood, and all offers were asking price. But we priced it so that if we needed to have a price drop for a faster sale that we would still make a profit on our house. All this was considered when we bought our house as a foreclosure. As our real-estate agent told us, “People make money when they buy their house, not when they sell it.” So if you are looking for a good return on your investment, buy a house with a good profit margin in mind. That way, you can be strategic when it come time to sell.
In conclusion, there is nothing like selling your house to motivate you to finish all those house projects you have been avoiding for years. Fresh paint on the oven hood, chalking paneling in the bathroom- staining the undersides of the shelves… finally everything FINALLY LOOKS PERFECT! And then within 48 hours, you learn that you need to pack it all up and move to the next fixer upper.
See my post on 11 Things To Do Before Every House Showing.