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August 2, 2018 12:02 PM   Subscribe

I need to sell my house and get rid of most of the stuff in Like within a month. How can I do this?

I need to sell my house fast. I need help prioritizing what to do. I plan to call agents Saturday.

Hypothetically i could if absolutely necessary stay at my parent's place or move pets there for a short time while things are sorted (I'm moving overseas). I have to work for at least the next two weeks while doing this. I'm overwhelmed and need a checklist or something. This is the first property I've owned. I'm more concerned about getting it ready and listing than i am about how long it takes to sell. Hope me.
posted by WeekendJen to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Pack up everything you want to take with you. That is what you can live out of for the rest of the month.

Then have one big yard sale, rest goes to donation and storage.

Hire a stager and a landscaper, and they will take care of the curb appeal and set dressing.
posted by MountainDaisy at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2018

I would call an agent today. Right now! Waiting until Saturday just gives you more time to sit around and worry about it. If you make contact today, even if it's just leaving messages, you're getting the ball rolling, and maybe you can even set up time as early as Saturday morning to sit down with them and start the process. A good agent will walk you through every single thing you need to do.
posted by something something at 12:25 PM on August 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

Seconding MountainDaisy on having the place staged by a professional. Note, a good agent will have access to a good stager--this is not a professional you'll need to find yourself. (Others will comment on how to find the best agent.)

The stager, in turn, will know the painters and handymen they may need.

Part of staging includes moving excess stuff out of the house and storing it during the sale--so the stager will be able to get movers to put your stuff into storage, and you can keep it there after you go overseas if you want.

Summarizing, find an agent, who will know someone good to do the staging, and a good stager can take care of nearly everything else you need.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:28 PM on August 2, 2018

1. Move all of your stuff out. Hire a mover. Pay $2000. They will box it up. Move it out. Wherever it's going, move it there.

1.5. Hire a housecleaner to come in and clean your empty house. Pay $200.

2. Hire a realty photographer in your area to take photos of your house. Pay $300.

3. List your home on MLS using an online-only MLS listing agent. It should cost $400 or so. Put in the description "Buyers with and without agents welcome."

3.5 Look on Zillow - zoom in really far. Look at "recently sold" and find a similar house to yours or two. Look mostly at square footage and if it looks about the same. List it for 10% higher than the final sale price of those homes.

Offers should come in after a few people have walked through! If they don't, lower the price. If you'd like, you can skip steps 2 and 3 by paying a realtor 3% of your home value. Usually not worth it though.
posted by bbqturtle at 12:35 PM on August 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Do you need to have the house sold in a month or on sale In a month? If you have someone that would be willing to have power of attorney to handle the sale while you're overseas and don't need the cash immediately, you'll generally get more for the house if you can take a few weeks to have it professionally cleaned, landscaped, painted, etc.
posted by Candleman at 12:45 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here's how to find the most effective agent: go to Zillow and enter your address. Then back to Zillow's main screen to "Agent Finder", choose "selling" in the dropdown. This gets you a list to start with, but that list is sorted by things other than your interests.

The crucial thing: click on each realtor. There's a map on each realtor's page. Zoom in and look for where that agent spends most of his/her time and expertise. That will help you choose the agent you need.

You can also hire an organizer or even just day workers to get you packing. Go buy a bunch of boxes tonight from Home Depot (those are the best boxes). Your first priority is to empty the place.
posted by Dashy at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I have a backup plan that is becoming my default plan to give my dad power of attorney if necessary. More concerned about getting stuff out and making it pretty for sale.

I should also mention here that this is a philadelphia row house so it's basically identical to every other house on the block outside. Landscaping can fall pretty far down the list.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2018

are you selling most of your stuff? I would sell first while you're in the process of talking to agents, getting market analysis, and getting organized. You could certainly talk to an estate sale agent about selling your stuff for you--they will come in and get it set up and man the sale for you, and also handle donating things that don't sell. Or you can do it yourself.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 1:07 PM on August 2, 2018

Money gets things done. Find a realtor who has had at least 12 sales in your area in the past year. Ask them! These people are the doers and will hook you up with all the other professionals you need to make this as fast, hands off and painless as you want it to be.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:53 PM on August 2, 2018

Unless you really need the money ASAP, don't stress about selling the house immediately, just prioritize finding a competent agent.

I sold my house a few months after I had moved cross country. Your agent can handle all of the feet-on-the-ground aspects, and the paperwork can be handled remotely via document-signing services and email.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Please don't consider selling it yourself, especially if this is the first property you've owned. So many things can go Badly Wrong between offer and closing - and a good agent will help protect you from those things. There are many legal considerations that agents take care of - such as title search/insurance, and ensuring the clauses in the sales contract are correct, enforceable, and don't go against your interest.
If you know anyone who's sold a house/property in the area, ask for a referral - interview at least three agents;(this doesn't have to take long, but you want to ask what kind of marketing they'll do for you - just an open house, a broker's open, etc. Look at each agents comps, and don't just pick the person who says your house is worth the most, they may not be realistic.
Also, if you're moving for a job, ask if the company has relocation specialists - big companies often do, and that can ease the strain a lot!
Good luck!
posted by dbmcd at 3:59 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

We're in the process of selling our first house now. Here are the steps we took:

1. Move out, move everything you want to keep.
2. There was a lot of stuff we wanted to get rid of so we hired a home clearing company. They deal with deceased estates (and hoarders) and depending on the value of the stuff you're getting rid of they can either sell it for you, donate it to charity or throw it out. They also gave the house a clean. This was the most important step for us because we were downsizing and got decision fatigue about how to deal with all the stuff, but if you are keeping all your stuff you don't need this.
3. Hire real estate agent. We picked a guy who we'd met at an open house who didn't make us want to vomit.
4. Real estate agent will tell you what you need to do to make the house look nice and will probably organise all the tradespeople for you.

Everything moves much more quickly once you have an agent on the case. And the agent can tell you whether your home will sell better with your stuff in it, empty or staged, so what they tell you may decide your next steps. And it is such a relief once you have someone on the case and worrying about selling the house becomes their job instead of yours. Good luck!
posted by escapepod at 4:07 PM on August 2, 2018

I did this in March and my advice is: Agent.

Agent, agent, agent, agent, agent.

Moving people out of houses is one of real estate agents’ specialities. They’ve done it a hundred times. They will know of charities to take your stuff or estate agents to buy it. They will know someone to do inspections, to fix things, to pack and more. They should also come to the house to wait for contractors to show up while you are busy elsewhere.

All of this is part of their job description.

A good agent will take almost everything house related off of your todo list.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:39 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

(for the record I began my move by hiring my agent on February 16 and I left the country on March 4. The property went on the market on March 9. I sold a few things but really everything went to charity or the dumpster)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:58 PM on August 2, 2018

Go with an agent, because if the house doesn't close before you leave it's going to be tough to deal with if you aren't there, and it's unlikely you'll have a closing date before you leave unless you call up one of those "we buy houses" places (as you might guess, they will pay you considerably less for for your house).

Hypothetically i could if absolutely necessary stay at my parent's place or move pets there for a short time

Do this, because prospective buyers can see your house more easily if their agent doesn't have to call you first to set up a time. Also, if you have to pack up your pets every time someone wants to show your house, that's going to take up a lot of time that will be better spent dealing with other things.

I plan to call agents Saturday.

Not sure why you wouldn't do this right away. You'll need to set up appointments with them. It's ok to call agents outside of business hours. You can also email or text if for some reason you can't talk on the phone. Let them know you are moving on a deadline.

Be very clear with the agent on what your timeline is for selling the house. If you do actually need the money in hand before leaving the country you're in a very different situation than if you can wait. It's not at all unusual for an agent to deal with closing without the seller there, but you might want to ask agents you are considering if they have any experience in this area and how they would prepare for this.
posted by yohko at 5:21 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some realtors will buy the house from you now, and then resell it at their leisure (avoiding two commissions). You’ll probably lose some money, but gain time.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:41 PM on August 2, 2018

So we just sold a house and moved, and we did it really fairly shockingly fast. (I am still baffled by how it all happened so quickly)

Some of the things being mentioned, a good agent will take care of for you, so start by finding one you like.

For example -- our agent arranged for, and paid for out of her pocket, a professional photographer to come in and take photos. This isn't necessarily something you need to handle yourself.

She also walked through every room in the house, helping us determine what to get rid of for the showing, and what to keep in place to make it look good. She helped us pick paint colors so that we could have the rooms that were not neutral repainted. That part we paid for ourselves, but it was worth it. Before the showings, she brought over knickknacks, pillows, etc. things to dress the place up.

On our own we arranged for a storage facility, and hurled all our excess furniture and clothing and crap into it, because you really need to empty out as much as you can one way or another. We went to Home Depot and bought a ton of boxes and packing tape. Every day that we could we took more stuff out of the house and to storage, particularly on weekends. I hired someone to help with part of it. Start packing now, as much as you can, because it's exhausting and you don't want to try and do it all at once.

We made sure all minor repairs that might pop up at inspection were taken care of in advance.

We had professional cleaners come in and clean before the showings.

We boarded the cats at the vets during the week of showings, and day-boarded the dog.

This varies by location of course, but I'm in a state where a realtor is not enough. I also very quickly secured an attorney to handle the review of everything (offer, purchase and sale contract, closing docs). The fact that I had one meant I could sign over power of attorney for the closing, and didn't have to be there in person.

I'm probably forgetting a bunch of things, but really, a good realtor is going to be able to walk you through a lot of this. Start by finding one you trust!
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:30 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Side note: With an agent running the show you should be able to trade PDFs and use your bank to send checks all remotely.

BUT, and I got nipped by this, the final step in closing requires an American notary public. Availability of those outside the U.S. can be spotty. If I was going to do it again I would definitely give someone local power of attorney solely to take care of that step.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:45 AM on August 3, 2018

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