Do you need to know how to sell your house fast while preparing to move? There’s a lot involved in buying a house and selling a house at the same time, but there are steps you can take to be completely prepared! Below, we’ve created a guideline of detailed steps and considerations to help you through this common but challenging process.
1. Investigate the housing market.
The very first thing you should do when deciding to sell your house fast while you’re in the middle of moving is to investigate the current market. This gives you an advantage when dealing with both agents and buyers, and will help you right-size your own expectations. When investigating, consider the following:
- Price – What are similar houses in your area going for? You can get some information on websites like Zillow or Realtor.com, but you will probably need to speak with a realtor. When researching similar houses, consider the age and condition of the home, the specific area, and amenities such as schools, restaurants and other services. You can estimate your own home’s value by using the price per square foot of the houses that are similar to yours that have sold recently or are pending sales. Just make sure they really are very similar.
- Time on market – It is very important for you to know the average time on market for the houses in your neighborhood. Time on market refers to how long a house is listed for sale before it sells. Knowing the time on market will help you better prepare for the timing when moving and selling at the same time.
- What type of market – Is the market in your area a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? The type of market will influence your sales strategy. A seller’s market would give you the greatest advantage when selling your home. A seller’s market can be caused by low inventory and high demand, but there are other factors that could contribute to it as well. In a seller’s market, time on market will be low and housing prices will be higher. However, since you are both selling and buying, a buyer’s market has advantages as well. In a buyer’s market, sellers are more anxious to sell and you will have more wiggle room to negotiate a better price.
2. Get an appraisal and consider getting an inspection.
The order of the next few suggestions can be swapped, but the next thing you should do is to get as much information about your own property as possible. An agent can help you determine the price of your house, but having some hard facts ahead of time will give you an advantage with buyers and speed up the sale of your house because your agent will have less leg work to do.
Getting your house appraised gives you a great general idea of the amount you can list it for. Buyers who are pre-approved for a loan will know exactly what price they can afford, so this information is very helpful to them. Additionally, having an inspection done will shorten the negotiating process, as buyers will already know exactly what is wrong with the house (and so will you). Alternately, you can use the appraisal and/or inspection to fix problems before any potential buyers get concerned about them.
3. Understand WHY you are selling your home.
Understanding exactly WHY you want to sell your house will help you to know what you are willing to compromise on when the selling and buying process begins. While it is important to communicate this to your agent so they understand your specific needs, you do not want to share this information with sellers when you look at houses to buy. If they know what you can compromise on, you may not get the best deal.
4. Find the right agent.
Make sure you get an agent that understands what you want and is willing to listen. Make sure they know that timing is crucial, and that they are knowledgeable about your neighborhood, as well as the neighborhood in which you want to buy.
5. Decide what to fix and what to leave alone.
After your inspection, you should already have a good idea of what you want to fix and what you are going to leave alone. Your agent can also help you decide which repairs, if any, will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Ask your agent which repairs will increase the value of the house the most, and which ones won’t affect the selling price much if you don’t do them.
6. Prepare the house for sale.
Preparing the house for sale includes repairs, but also includes things like landscaping and staging the inside of the house. Consider repainting and installing new carpet using neutral and universally liked colors. Anything too specific or creative might limit your buyer’s ability to picture themselves in the home, so give them a blank canvas! Some sellers choose to have a house professionally staged, but if that isn’t an option, make sure to keep your house extra-clean and clutter free. Make sure your furniture is arranged in a way that makes best use of each space, especially for rooms that are unusual.
7. Be a smart seller.
We could write a whole post on this! Here are some suggestions:
- Market your house to get as many prospects as possible. Use popular house marketing websites, but also consider social media and referral marketing (ask your friends to tell their friends!) Even if someone expresses interest, don’t limit your options. Keep marketing until the house is SOLD.
- Make sure contracts are complete: Read offers and contracts completely, and ask your agent to explain anything you don’t understand.
- Disclose everything. No one likes surprises when they are buying a house, unless your plan is to dish out some surprise bonuses. Buyers would probably like that!
- Make SURE buyers are qualified – If your buyer is not pre-qualified by a lender, then don’t even consider their offer.
8. Try not to sign on your next house before finding a buyer for yours.
This last part is the trickiest … the timing of selling your old house and buying a new one. Ideally, you want both closings to happen on the same day or within a couple days of each other. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out this way. That is why we suggested above that you try not to sign on your new house until someone has signed on your old one. Financially, it would be better to rent a hotel for a few nights or weeks than to pay two mortgages at the same time. If there is no way around owning both houses at the same time, one option is to utilize bridge financing.
9. Are you overwhelmed yet?
If all this sounds like a LOT to worry about…it kind of is! But people like you do it every day, and the process won’t be new to your agent.
Another way to create a smooth transition from one house to the next is to work with real estate investors like Idaho Neighborhood Solutions. While you may not get the full price for your house, you also won’t have to worry about paying for agents, making repairs, or staging your house, and you will know exactly when the house will close (you get to choose!) You will also have guaranteed cash in hand at closing, so you don’t have to worry about a buyer’s financing falling through. Idaho Neighborhood Solutions has bought houses from several homeowners who were buying another house and wanted the selling side to be more simple. If you’d like to explore that option, give us a call and we can tell you all about it!
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