What does it take to sell a home with lightning quick speed--in just 24 hours?
Gimmicks like offering a free vacation or throwing in a car may lure the curious, but rarely tempt serious homebuyers.
Instead, experts cite a combination of all-out marketing, a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work and savvy positioning of the home, both online and in person. And that's just the beginning.
Try the following four strategies to generate buzz about your house, attract a stampede of qualified buyers and get that home sold in a single day.
1. Price the property "ahead of the market"
Real estate professionals say a home's price, relative to everything else on the market, is the main determinant of how quickly it will sell.
To elicit speedy offers in the current environment, homeowners must price properties aggressively and also price "ahead of the market," says Lisette Guzman, a Coldwell Banker Realtor in Westfield, N.J.
This means closely monitoring local sales trends and pricing it in line with those trends to help demonstrate value. After all, "serious buyers know fair market value," says Guzman, because they've typically scoured the Internet, toured multiple homes and even considered mortgage rates before making an offer. "That's why all homes that sell very quickly are priced right," she adds.
2. Turn the house into a model home
Aside from price, the next biggest factor in getting a home to sell immediately is the property's overall presentation. According to Guzman, to trigger instant interest, a home must be like a showplace.
"Sellers have to always act like they're having a party and maybe the president might stop by," Guzman says. "Also, think like a department store: When you walk in the place, it has to feel good. The displays, the furniture, the aromas all have to be inviting. It has to look like a model home. "
To get what Guzman calls "that Pottery Barn look," hire a stager and professional photographer, emphasize curb appeal, paint the walls, and refinish the floors. If someone's going to make an offer on a home just after seeing it, they don't want to worry about repairs or improvements, they just want to drop their bags and move in, Guzman says.
3. Go heavy on the documentation
Amid the soft real estate market, real estate auctions have taken off in recent years. Some auction houses feature "absolute" auctions, where the home will be sold in a day to the highest bidder--regardless of the exact dollar amount of the bid. But "reserve" auctions function differently; they require a set minimum bid for a sale.
Janet Linaburg Cronin, a Realtor and auction manager at the Van De Ree Auction Company in Venice, Fla., says her company may sell a home at auction, but then buyers still have 30 to 60 days, or sometimes longer, to arrange financing.
In an auction or a traditional sale, one way to prompt immediate offers is to answer every question a buyer might have about a property upfront, Cronin suggests. That means creating a huge amount of documentation.
For an auction of a waterfront mansion on eight acres, Cronin amassed a litany of paperwork, including a property survey, blueprints of the home, a current roof inspection, a seller's disclosure form and more. She also made all the documents available online as well.
"To get all that information, I definitely have to go the extra yard," Cronin says. "But I'm serving everything up on a platter to a buyer to help really move a home fast."
4. Social media is a must
To raise your chances of getting an offer on day one, it's critical to put the word out about the home through every possible marketing channel, including social media.
Ryan Hukill, founder of the ShowMeOKC real estate team in Edmond, Okla., says his online activity and social networking generate about 90 percent of his business.
Hukill recently sold a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home for its $395,000 asking price after he posted a note about it on Facebook. The buyer's agent immediately got in touch with Hukill and asked for photos. By the next morning, the buyers viewed the home and fell in love with it.
"We had it under contract in literally less than 12 hours," says Hukill. "Those are the fun ones."
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller "Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom." A former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, Lynnette has appeared on such national TV programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Today Show and Good Morning America. She can frequently be seen as a guest commentator on CNN, MSNBC, ABC and FOX Business Network. Follow Lynnette on Twitter @themoneycoach or visit her free financial advice blog at AskTheMoneyCoach.com.