Oooh, ooh! I listed my condo in the Chicago area on December 8, got a cash offer on December 9, went through some negotiations to reach a good deal, and closed December 17. No one could believe it.
Here are my suggestions – totally acknowledging that every market is different. The Chicago market isn’t good though, and my condo wasn’t in a hot building or anything (actually had some real drawbacks like not FHA certified and backed up to railroad tracks):
– Hire someone to clean it. Pay the good money and get that place scrubbed like none other. Baseboards, inside closets, inside cabinets, drapes, EVERYTHING.
– Have only the bare minimum stuff in there that you need to survive. Rent a storage unit if you need to and stash at least 50% of your stuff there. You want the place staged but with as little as possible.
– Consider having a stager come for a consultation. Depending on what they do, the cost can be very reasonable or they may even give you some tips you can do on your own (that they know you would do on your own, not stealing from them). I brought one in and she was like “I can’t help you, here are the two things you should do but otherwise it is perfect, don’t hire me.”
– If you can, recruit your neighbors. If they’ll tidy up their lawns, take down lingering holiday decorations, keep trash bins inside, move a junky car, whatever, it will help you. And it helps them because it will bring up their values and likelihood to sell some day. You have to show them how it will help them, not just you.
– Be extremely particular with your realtor about having everything on the listing exactly right. Sometimes the systems pull from past entries and they are wrong.
– Be flexible in what you are willing to accept. I ended up having to sell a few pieces of furniture in the deal to get it to the price I wanted. Totally worth it. Consider the costs of keeping it and paying the mortgage vs. coming down on price.
– Check those online listings every day and make sure you are coming up in them as your realtor promised. If you are supposed to have a highlighted listing or whatever, it better be in there.
– This one my realtor suggested – handwrite a note to leave on the counter about why you have loved your home and neighborhood. It helps people emotionally connect to the property.
– I put a fresh bar of soap in the shower (I was not living there at the time) to make it smell clean and fresh but not over the top.