Preparation is key
You’re getting ready to emigrate out of the country and you need to sell your home.
It could be for a job, for permanent or even temporary relocation. Either way, you don’t want to deal with a house sale once you’ve left the country, so the goal is to have the property sold in 30 days or less.
While this certainly sounds like a challenge, it’s not an impossible task. The key is in what you do before you list your home for sale and what offers you consider.
If you make the right moves, you can be on your way to your new home in a new area quicker than you think.
Make necessary repairs
Most people won’t want to start fixing a house as soon as they move in, so make repairs before you list your property.
If a buyers see's a house that works the way it should, they'll be more likely to put in an offer.
So, which repairs you should be making to help your home sell faster?
Here is a partial list to get you started:
- Repair or replace leaking taps
- Make sure all lights work
- Replace cracked tiles
- Fix any doors or drawers that don’t open and close correctly
- Replace damaged counter-tops in the kitchen and bath
- Repair damage to sinks and bathtubs and replace grouting
- Walk around your home and pay attention to anything that looks damaged or broken
Cracks in the walls or ceiling could lead buyers to wonder about the foundations. Mould and damp could mean interstitial condensation. Broken windows or windows that won’t open can also deter people as well as doors that get stuck or won’t stay closed. Get out the Polyfilla and WD-40!
Also, remember to check the whole exterior of your home.
Cracks in the sidewalk or driveway can trip people up and doesn’t look appealing. You may need to power wash the exterior of your house to make it look fresh and inviting.
Replace or at least remove dead plants from your garden. Make repairs to fences that have broken boards or gates that don’t close.
You may also want to read: What Makes a Property Unmortgageable?
Update the space
If your home is outdated, you may want to spend some money to make important updates before you emigrate.
Even if you can’t afford a complete remodel, you can make improvements. For instance, replacing old carpet or vinyl flooring can make any room look new. Paint the walls to give it a fresh feeling when buyers walk in.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of money to update a room.
Paint your cabinets instead of replacing them. You can also just replace the doors or even the hardware for a brand-new look. New light fixtures and taps can also update a space. You can often find these items with reduced prices in outgoing styles at DIY stores.
Instead of trying to do everything in one room and forgetting about the other rooms, do a little in every room or at least the main areas of the house like the living area, kitchen and bathrooms. If you only update one room, it can make the others look even more obvious in need of updating.
Buyers usually don’t want to see a lot of work and expense when they're purchasing a home.
Stage your home
Buyers will want to see your home before they commit to buying.
You’ll want to make certain that the home looks its best and provides a warm welcome. Whether you're still living in the house or have moved out, you’ll want to create an inviting space that will draw buyers in.
Staging an Empty House
If you've moved out or are in the process, you should leave a few pieces of furniture and some décor to create a space that still looks lived in. Most expert stagers would advise focusing on the living area, kitchen and master bedroom.
You don’t need a lot of furniture but a few items will help buyers visualize the ways they can use the space.
Leave curtains on the windows and have a couple of chairs in the living room along with an end table and lamp to create a conversation area. In the bedroom, try to have at least a dresser. Hang towels in the bathroom and place a soap dish on the sink.
For the kitchen or dining area, you could have a table with place settings and chairs to invite people to sit down for a meal.
You don’t need a lot of decorations in the space if you’ve already moved out, but a couple of pictures on the wall will prevent that bare feeling that comes with an empty house. A vase of fresh flowers on a coffee table or on the kitchen counter will do a lot to make buyers feel welcome.
Staging a Lived-in Home
You won’t have to worry about adding furniture and decorations if you still live in the house you’re selling. However, you'll want to ensure the home looks its best for buyers. To stage your home, begin by decluttering.
Get rid of any excess furniture and ornaments. You want the space to feel big enough for buyers to imagine themselves being able to function in daily life.
If you have too much stuff, store it elsewhere. Clear off counter-tops, tables and other open storage areas. A cluttered space feels small and overwhelming, and it can give the impression that there’s not enough room in the home.
Remove all personal items.
You want buyers to imagine themselves living in the home, so they don’t need to see pictures of your family. You do want to keep some neutral décor and accent pieces in the home to keep it from looking bare. Keep everything picked up so you can show the home at a moment’s notice. Pack away most of the kids’ toys and keep a bin or crate handy to store the others when they aren’t playing with them.
Do a thorough cleaning of your home before you list it, and then follow up with spot cleaning every day or two so that it’s ready to show. Many times, you'll only have a short window of time to get ready for a tour, so you want to spend those moments doing last-minute pickup and wiping off counters or sweeping floors.
Market your property
No one will buy your home if they don’t know about it.
If you're going sell the property yourself, you must put a lot of focus on marketing your home to potential buyers. Homes which don’t sell within a few days will often sit on the market for several weeks, so the first week after listing is important for marketing.
Whether you sell your home on your own or enlist the help of an agent or cash buyer, you should work to bring attention to your property. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to let buyers know your home is available. According to a study by HSBC a staggering 98% of property buyers are searching online.
Use Social Media
One of the easiest ways to draw attention to your house for sale is by sharing it on social media. You can post that you’re looking to sell your house or even include a link to photos and other information about the property. Get your friends to share it on their pages so more people will know.
You may be wondering which social networks are best for mentioning a house for sale. Basically, the answer is any network that is visual.
Facebook makes it easy to connect with family and friends so they can spread the word.
Instagram and Pinterest
Instagram and Pinterest allow you to include photos of your property, Pinterest is specifically good as you can create "Pin Boards" and then show all your rooms within that one board.
If you're brave enough to put yourself in front of the camera, you can even create a YouTube channel where you can upload videos of your home. Do a walk-through with your video camera where you not only show the different areas in the house but you talk about them.
An estate agent may do some of the same marketing to sell a home, but the difference is that you can be more personal in your information – and of course save money in the process.
You can talk about how you love living just a few roads away from a park, how close you are to that top school in the area or how wonderful your neighbours are.
Tell a story about the first time you saw the house and what made you fall in love with it.
It’s these details that will make your home stand out from others on the market. It’s also what will help you appeal to buyers who are looking for the same things in their home.
Don’t forget to use offline marketing as well like signs in the garden or window and even an ad in a newspaper for those who still prefer to look for properties the traditional way. You can put up flyers on bulletin boards or try other methods to find the right buyer.
You never know which approach will bring in the right person, but using multiple methods will help your home sell faster.
Look for cash buyers
Buyers who need financing and go through a lender will need additional time to finalise the purchase of a home.
There can be delays in the financing which could mean you may have to wait 45, 60 days or even longer before your house is sold.
The better option if you're moving overseas is to locate a cash buyer.
A cash buyer has the money available to purchase your home in less time than a traditional buyer who needs a loan. According to a report from BBC.com on a study by Nationwide, over one-third of homes sold in the UK in 2015 were bought by cash buyers.
To ensure you're dealing with a reputable cash buyer who has the funds available for the purchase, you can ask for proof of funds, which they should be able to provide. If they're legitimate, you should be able to complete the sale in less than 30 days or even in as little as 7 days, ideal for your emigration.
Another benefit of using a cash buyer is that it reduces the amount of work you must do before you're ready to sell the home. You may not need to make updates, worry about staging your home for buyers or handle solicitors and the conveyancing process.
Most cash buyers plan to resell the property to another buyer to make a profit. There's nothing illegal or wrong with this plan, but you should be aware that they'll want to pay less than the full value for the home in return for the convenience of your ability to sell it quickly.
Some cash buyers will pay up to 80 or 90 percent of the cash value of the home.
Just know how much cash you need to pay off for any existing loan and give you money for another home in your new location or for whatever you need the funds for as you emigrate.