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Ask Our Broker With Peter G. Miller: 6 Tips To Sell Fast

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Question: We want to sell our home this summer and are looking for a speedy sale. What are the best steps we can take to quickly find a buyer?

Answer: While there are no guarantees, there are certainly steps you can take to boost your odds. A good basic list looks like this:

First, it's important to recognize the vast majority of homes today are sold through the brokerage system – in fact the percent of for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) properties has declined.

"In 1981,” reports a study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “FSBO home sales accounted for 15 percent of all sales, and agent-assisted sales accounted for 85 percent. FSBO sales have declined over time and in 2016, FSBOs accounted for 8 percent of total home sales."

Given the success of the brokerage system it makes sense to line up the best broker in your community several months before you expect to market your home. As part of this process speak with several brokers and ask each one to provide a marketing plan showing how they expect to sell your property as well as a listing price based on recent and nearby home sales.

Second, curb appeal counts. It will pay to invest in landscaping, painting, and repairs. All systems and appliances must be working.

Third, all households have a given amount of excess stuff. The property will appear larger and more spacious if it has less content. You may be able to donate such items as clothing and even furniture to local charities while books can often go to nearby libraries. Such donations may be tax deductible so get needed receipts. No less important the more stuff you get rid of the less stuff you have to move.

Fourth, it's important to have a property that shows well when presented in newspapers and online. Good photographs and good staging can get more people through the front door.

Fifth, open houses can be important but not for all homes. If you're selling a multi-million dollar property where every dish and trinket is worth a lot of money, you really don't want an open house. Instead you want to show the property by appointment only. In general, however, open houses can be important and bring additional traffic to the property, including perhaps individuals who will become real buyers.

Lastly, in some markets we can see so-called pocket listings, homes where an MLS-member broker effectively looks for buyers before entering the property onto an MLS system.

While pocket listings may somehow seem like an attractive way to quickly sell a home, they actually hurt sellers because with wider marketing you might find a buyer willing to pay more for the property. And that, after all, is the whole point of selling.

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Peter G. Miller Peter G. Miller is author of "The Common-Sense Mortgage," (Kindle 2016). Have a question? Please write to