I’ll repeat that: They sold their home in Las Vegas… in three days.
My response, knowing the slow housing market, not to mention the slowness of the season, was, “WHAT?!! GIVE ME THEIR NUMBER, I WANT TO TALK TO THESE PEOPLE!”
A few hours later I had Rose, the home seller, on the phone. She graciously gave me an hour interview, in the midst of packing up her boxes. During this conversation, she told me all the home selling tips that led to her success:
First off, she was motivated. Rose and her husband wanted to move to Arizona to be close to their kids and grandkids. They didn’t want to spend months, or years of quality time waiting for an offer.
One of the most important steps was to get an appraisal. Even though they were once told, during the height of the housing price boom, that their house was worth around a million dollars, the appraisal value in today’s market was in the mid $300′s. They blinked, swallowed hard, faced the cold bite of realty, and set their asking price just a wee smidge above that figure — taking into account they had one of the only models of a particularly sought-after home style on the market.
Then they got to work. They brought in a Realtor and home stager to go through the property with a fine-tooth comb and tell them exactly what to do to make buyers fall in love with their house. Rose took copious notes and then set out to execute every last detail of what the stager told her to do.
During the next four months, they held off listing the house until it was perfect. Rose knew that the first few weeks a home is on the market, are the most critical weeks for landing a sale. What this meant though, was their home wouldn’t be listed until mid November… right before Thanksgiving. Even though this wasn’t exactly the high season for home sales, she prayed the right buyer would find her house.
Then they started upping the home’s curb appeal. She brought in a truckload of new landscaping gravel and varnished it until it gleamed in the Las Vegas sun. Then they refinished the driveway and added a coat of varnish so it also gleamed.
Rose’s friend suggested she bury a Saint Joseph statue next to her “For Sale” sign at the property line, which she felt contributed to her own quick home sale. So Rose bought one online and followed the instructions carefully — burying it upside down and outward, facing the street. She was also told that she had to truly believe it would work, so Rose’s next task was to change her own belief system.
In terms of the interior, Rose’s stager told her she had to make the house “Turnkey-Ready,” so buyers would feel all they needed to do was carry in their toothbrushes.
Here is a list of the changes Rose made:
- When the stager first visited Rose’s house, it was crowded with decorations, furniture and Asian art from the couple’s travels. They immediately moved two-thirds of the furniture out, took almost everything off the walls and emptied the place of every last stone lion head.
– Next, they painted all the rooms a soothing celadon green, which is a newly-defined neutral that goes with practically any furniture.
– Rose took down all the draperies, leaving only the honeycomb shades, which she kept open to show off the gleaming landscape outside her window.
- She was also instructed to take the majority of knick-knacks out of her China cabinet, so visitors wouldn’t get distracted and ask, “Oooh, look at those cute little temple figurines! I wonder if these people traveled around China?” By taking out the personal items, buyers focus on the details of the house — instead of the details of the seller’s lives.
– Next, Rose updated her lighting fixtures. Even though she loved her expensive Tuscan fixtures, she was told today’s buyers prefer contemporary, classic designs. So Rose went to Lowe’s and bought some beautiful, yet economical fixtures that instantly updated the interior.
In terms of marketing, Rose piggy-backed their open house to coincide with others in the area, to maximize their exposure. She also had gorgeous photos taken of the home, put them on an attractive flyer, and set the flyers next to their “For Sale” sign.
Two days after setting out the sign, two buyers driving by the area with their Realtor saw the flyer and made an appointment to tour the house. Within 30 minutes, they made up their mind to buy it and presented a cash offer for $30,000 less than the asking price.
Because the house was immaculate, Rose negotiated to split the difference and they settled on a price of $15,000 under the asking price. The buyer wanted the house badly, and both parties wanted a no-muss, no fuss deal.
This week Rose and her husband are going to Phoenix to start shopping for their new home next to the grandkids and to get an early jump on celebrating the holidays. They earned it.
For many more details on how to sell a house quickly in a bad market — and how to stay happy while you wait — check out my book, Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and as an eBook from Amazon.com.