How to Sell Your House in 24 Hours

by Elizabeth Lang on 5 July 2013 5 comments

If you're thinking about selling your home, there are two things that you probably want: to sell it for a high price, and to sell your house fast with as little hassle as possible.

We recently sold our home in just over 24 hours and had five offers. Our first offer came in above asking price within 7 hours of the house being listed, and we had the purchase agreement signed just over 24 hours after listing. How did we do it? (See also: 5 Tips to Sell Any Home Fast)

Be Emotionally Ready to Sell

Perhaps the largest roadblock to selling a house quickly is that you aren't emotionally ready to sell, and so you don't take the steps you need to get your house ready to market. If you aren't ready, you won't take your realtor's advice about getting rid of mementos because you'll be personally offended. Or you won't fix things because you'll think that the buyers will be OK with the damage — just as you lived with it all these years. If you're not sure whether you're ready to sell, ask yourself the questions in this checklist at Women's Money Week. Only once you are ready to let go of your home will you be able to get in the best place for a quick sale.

Prepare, Stage, and Get Rid of Stuff

The No. 1 way to sell your house quickly is to have it 110% prepared. This takes A TON of work.

We spent at least 100 hours preparing our house to list. We packed up clutter, painted ceilings, put away personal photos and mementos, and moved furniture to the garage and basement closet. We had a full truckload of giveaway items and sold a number of things on Craigslist, and we staged the house using tips from a book from the library. Friends and family said they didn't recognize the listing pictures of our house because it looked so different from all of the staging and decluttering we did.

Use a Realtor

In our area it's a seller's market, and we probably didn't need to use a realtor. That said, it's highly unlikely that you'll sell your house fast without a realtor. Besides the knowledge and skill they possess with years of experience, they also have the administrative support to handle everything from calls scheduling showings to fax machines that receive the offers. A realtor will help you sell your house as quickly as possible.

Use Your Realtor's Listing Price

This piece of advice is going to be controversial — but I believe that you should list your home at the listing price your realtor recommends. Ideally, you'll have interviewed several realtors and have chosen the one that you feel is the best experienced in your market. If that's the case, choose a list price in the range he or she suggests based on market research. Ask to see the comps he's put together for the price — and do some research on your own, too. Even if you think you should sell your home for $5,000 more than the price, follow your realtor's advice. The reason? Your realtor is your salesperson. If he doesn't believe 100% that it's a great product at the right price, he's not going to be able to convince buyers that it is, either.

Be Prepared When You Go Live on MLS

The moment your home goes live on the MLS listings, it should be ready to sell. The outside should be in top shape, as you don't know how quickly someone will drive by to take a look. We had our first showing one hour after our home was listed on MLS. If we had planned to still be doing work at that time, we could have missed out on an offer.

When the Offers Come In, Make an Educated Decision

In order to have your home sell quickly, you have to be ready to accept an offer. This means knowing what you want in an offer — closing date, percentage down, earnest money, etc. No two offers are exactly the same. For instance, while you may walk away with the same amount of money from two offers, someone who puts 20% down and a large earnest money check is going to have more cash available than someone who puts just 5% down. Why is cash important? Because if there are problems with the inspection or appraisal, the person with more cash is going to be better able to cope with those issues than the person with less cash. By understanding what criteria are important to you, you'll be able to quickly evaluate offers and sign the purchase agreement.

If you've sold your home before, what did you do to ensure that it sold quickly?

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Julie Rains's picture

We sold our first house in 2 days and our second in 30 days. What helped the most was choosing a desirable neighborhood and buying at a good price (so that we could sell at decent price). Plus, choosing a good agent to represent us (there are great ones and some that are not very professional).

I think your point about being emotionally ready is a great one, often overlooked by sellers. I learned this when we tried to buy houses, making decent offers that were snubbed. The agents and owners tried to say we were making too-low offers ($1,000 below asking price for example on houses that had been listed for 12 months or more) when the owners just weren't ready to move.

Guest's picture

My favorite comment is to consider the cash the buyer has available. It's an excellent point that many may not think of as they get offers.

Guest's picture
Guest

Interesting article but not helpful for those of us who live in a buyer's market area. Also, rural properties are difficult to sell with gasoline prices so high. Another problem with a quick sale: if the house was built for the current owner, it is likely to meet housing needs of only a small number of like-minded people. Yeah . . . I'd love to sell my house but it fits all the problem criteria: buyer's market, rural, semi earth-bermed (odd in this area of the country).

Guest's picture
Jessica

We've done all those things, and our house has been on the market for 30 days. The average in our area is 90 days. You need to do all of that to sell, period. If you're looking for speed of sale, price it low, low, low.

Guest's picture
Guest

We sold our home in four hours! Thank God! I placed two ads in our local paper. I got a form for an offer from our realtor. We decided we would sell it "as is". I put tons of stuff into garbage bags and stored it at my in-laws home. I arranged my purses on the top shelf of my closet, the current home owner commented about it looking good. Lit candles, scrubbed everything, bought flowers and turned on light music. I had my husband touch up paint on corners that my kids had chipped off and we stained a few tiles of parquet flooring. He also acted as realtor by staying with the house during an open house. I asked a friend to do the lettering on for sale signs and placed them around the neighborhood. The house smelled good and looked good. It was a two bedroom, one bath in a good school district. We saved about 8K doing it ourselves.