7 Ways to Sell a Not-So-Perfect House

If your house isn't perfect but you still want the highest possible price, here are seven ways you make it shine bright enough to attract ready, willing and able buyers.

Mar 30, 2014 at 10:00AM

No for-sale house is ever perfect. But some houses are in better shape and consequently easier to sell than others.

If yours isn't one of the stars, but you still need to sell it for the highest possibly price, it's going to take more than low mortgage rates to attract a crowd. How can you make your imperfect home shine bright enough to attract ready, willing and able buyers?

Here are seven tips to sell your not-so-perfect house.

1. Make it clean and clutter-free
First, de-clutter your house, removing anything that might distract a buyer's attention, says Mark Fleysher, Realtor and broker at SellState Deluxe Realty in Las Vegas.

"Get rid of everything on the countertops," Fleysher says. "Buyers don't want to see your toothpaste or your bobble-heads."

If you're not sure what to remove, Wendy Furth, a Realtor and assistant manager at Rodeo Realty in Calabasas, Calif., has a suggestion: walk through your house with your Realtor and a big cardboard box and start packing as you go.

Also remove anything that's dirty or outdated, and if necessary, put in cheap replacements.

"Sometimes it's as simple as taking down those awful curtains and having a good cleaning crew come in. Cleaning is always a good idea," Furth says.

2. New carpet and fresh paint
Fleysher says fresh paint and new carpet may or may not be worth the investment.

But Furth says the cost might be less than you'd imagine and even an inexpensive paint job and commercial-grade carpet can make a positive difference.

"It's worth a few bucks to get the carpet and paint looking decent," she says. "Otherwise, you have to cut your price and generally you'll have to cut it a lot more than paint and carpet would cost."

3. Stage it well
If you can afford to spend a little more money, hire a home stager.

Linnette Edwards, an associate-broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Piedmont, Calif., says staging "can go a long way" -- if it's done properly.

"Buyers' eyes go to some of the newness and they don't notice the older nuances," she says. "Don't go cheap, though, because no one likes to see bad staging. It becomes a funny talking point."

Curb appeal counts, too.

"Picking appropriate ground cover and plants and painting the front door is so important," Edwards says. "That initial impression really helps."

4. Price it to sell
If your home isn't perfect, you must price it accordingly, Edwards says.

"If you price slightly below the comparable listings, you're making it affordable for buyers to put what's needed into the property," she explains. "More buyers mean the potential for multiple offers. Multiple offers yield a higher net result."

If your house needs major repairs, you can sweeten the deal by offering buyers a repair credit to subsidize the cost.

5. Agent incentives
Another tip is to offer an attractive commission or bonus to the buyer's realty agent, Fleysher says.

For example, your agent might put a note in the multiple-listing service that says, "$1,000 bonus to buyer's agent if sold at asking price." That creates an incentive for agents to show your house to buyers.

"It gets buyers' Realtors excited about selling the property," Fleysher says.

Edwards says neither a repair credit nor an agent incentive will overcome a too-high price. Still, these tactics could help if you and your agent want to try them.

6. Truthful marketing
A tip that's particularly on point for a less-than-perfect home is to be honest in your marketing, disclosures and photographs, Fleysher says.

Otherwise, buyers who want a home in prime condition will be disappointed and buyers who are open to repairs might not stop by at all.

"Give the pluses and defects," Fleysher says, "because the home inspector will find those issues and that will lead to renegotiation, or the home will come back on the market and the next buyer might not look at it because it fell out of escrow."

7. Hire the right Realtor
A savvy Realtor can help you price your home, recommend a stager and paint and carpeting contractors and even point buyers to financing opportunities, like the Federal Housing Administration ( FHA) 203(k) loan, that could help them buy your home and make improvements or repairs, too.

Marketing matters a lot as well.

"It's important that an agent not cut corners with marketing even if a home needs to be fixed up," Edwards says. "Find a good, local seasoned agent who's willing to spend the money to make it shine and stand out."

The original article: 7 ways to sell your not-so-perfect house appeared on HSH.com

The dead simple "Tax-Skipping" strategy
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Additional real estate articles can be found on HSH.com.

4 factors will influence housing inventory in 2014

2014: ARMs are poised for a comeback

How to shop for a home online

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information