Preparation is the most important part. A properly listed house shouldn’t be on the market for more than a week or two. There are buyers who know exactly what they want and have been waiting, so when your listing pops up with the right specs, they’re ready.
1. Set the right price the first time.
Have the house appraised, maybe twice. Most people price way too high thinking they can do all those price drops, which just raises time on the market and makes the seller look stubborn. Pick a reasonably fair price and just negotiate on the terms (closing costs, which items stay, how much deposit). Real money is always worth more than imaginary money.
2. Have a professional do the painting, or at the very least, use painter’s tape.
There are an insane amount of houses that scream “OMG I have to sell my house so I’m painting all the walls neutral and I’ll save money by doing it myself.” They look good in the pictures but when you go to see the house, the paint is horrible and would have to be re-done anyway. And it makes you wonder what else the seller slacked on.
3. Functional updates, not cosmetic.
When people choose cosmetic updates for other people and not for themselves, price is the main consideration, and it shows. You can’t predict someone else’s tastes anyway. Set a fair price and let them update it if they so choose. You’ll never make back your full investment on a cosmetic update anyway.
(Not deal breakers, but they help)
4. Take pictures that show the flow of the house, so people get an idea of the layout and not just a lot of separate rooms. 25 pictures should be the minimum.
5. Write a solid detailed description without the cliches. None of that “Prepare to be moved… into your new home!” “This house won’t last!” and so on. Someone looking through a lot of listings doesn’t want to read that a hundred times.
6. Hiring a cleaning crew to detail clean. I’ve seen dirty window blinds ruin a sale.
7. Remove anything that screams uniquely “you.” People want to imagine themselves in their new home, not yours, especially “shrine” rooms with religious items or hunting trophies. It happens more than you think.