15 Home Selling Secrets Nobody Really Talks About

Don't miss these 15 little-known secrets for a stress-free home selling experience.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Woman holding house keys

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Selling a home can be stressful. There is big money at stake, and you probably hope to make a significant return on your investment.

Yet, the entire process can be a bit of a mystery. Knowing the right secrets might help you sell the home for top dollar so you can boost your bank account.

Here are 15 secrets the best real estate experts use to sell homes fast and for more money.

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Price it right the first time

Eric/Adobe selling life insurance to senior

You may think it’s better to start high, hoping someone will bite at that price. In a hot market, that strategy can work.

But, in many cases, a high price scares would-be buyers away. Pricing it a bit lower might generate more interest. In fact, it could cause buyers to start a bidding war, driving the price even higher than you expected.

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Remove any personal items

Monkey Business/Adobe moving in to new home

When you invite buyers into your home, you want them to envision their lives among those four walls. Try to remove personal items from the home.

Family photos, trophies, and anything else that represents you personally will make a buyer feel like they’re intruding on someone else’s home. Remove these personal items to create a blank slate.

List at the right time of year

Andy Dean/Adobe for sale real estate sign

Different times of year can lead to different results when selling a home.

If you want to sell quickly, March might be the best time to list. However, you might get the highest price in July as families grow eager to buy before the school year starts.

Winter is traditionally the slowest time, although low inventory could work to your advantage if you are one of the few sellers with a home on the market.

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Try it

Clean every corner

Photographee.eu/Adobe cleaning a private home

If there was ever a time to do a deep cleaning, this is it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a surface cleaning will do the trick.

Buyers will likely open drawers and cabinets and even peek into the oven. Nothing is off limits, and any grime they find will make them wonder what else could be hiding out of sight.

Leverage technology

Hoda Bogdan/Adobe camera on a tripod

Good professional photos make a big difference. But in today’s market, video is also an expectation if you’re trying to get top dollar.

A virtual tour and even drone footage can set a listing apart from other comparable listings. So, consider hiring a photographer who offers those additional services.

Take a closet half-empty approach

Kalim/Adobe dress in walk in closet

Most potential buyers are looking for the largest space within their budget, and storage space is nearly always a high priority.

To make your closets and cabinets look more spacious, empty out half the stuff. This will give those areas an airier feeling and trick buyers into thinking they’re larger.

Improve your lighting

Angelov/Adobe installing and connecting a lamp

Holding an open house on a beautiful, sunny day is ideal, but that’s not always how it plays out.

So, make sure all interior lighting and lamps have warm, bright light bulbs. Add lighting in rooms that get less natural light.

Rarely will a buyer want a home that isn’t bright, so this improvement will help the home appeal to the maximum number of buyers.

Clean your windows

Makasana photo/Adobe cleaner deep cleaning window blinds

You want to let in as much light as possible when the sun shines. It’s shocking how much light dirty windows can block.

To bring in more light, clean your windows or get them professionally cleaned right before your open house.

Upgrade correctly for the market

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe making e shopping during renovation

Stunning, top-of-the-line appliances in the kitchen are great. But is that what’s expected in your neighborhood?

If not, a pre-sale upgrade might not earn the large return on investment you hoped for. Instead, make affordable upgrades to keep your home in line with comps. Focus on paint, matching hardware, and simple renovations.

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Look for a real estate agent who is active online

REDPIXEL/Adobe couple consultations with a lawyer

There’s a big shift happening in real estate. Agents have discovered Instagram and TikTok, and real estate marketing is going viral.

People love looking at homes. Some do it because they're thrilled by beautiful real estate, while others enjoy a peek at how people live. Fortunately, others looking at videos are actually hunting for a house.

If your agent is promoting your home online, you’re potentially reaching thousands of eyes.

Rent a storage unit

Christopher Boswell/Adobe red pick up truck

Whether or not you hire a stager, many real estate agents recommend you remove any furniture that isn’t absolutely necessary. This helps make the space look bigger.

It’s helpful to have an off-site storage unit where you can stow these pieces. You don’t want a potential buyer opening your garage door and seeing multiple chairs, sofas, and beds.

Be prepared to show at any time

goodluz/Adobe agent visiting house for sale

Keep your home “open-house ready” at all times. That way, you avoid the frantic last-minute cleaning frenzy when a real estate agent calls wanting to show the house tonight.

Keep the counters clear, the rugs vacuumed, and the beds made.

List your house on a Thursday

Atstock Productions/Adobe pointing to new house cutout

Every decision matters when you’re trying to maximize foot traffic through your home. Even the day you choose to list the property can make a difference.

Generally, Thursday is viewed as the best day to list. Doing so gets your home in front of house hunters who use the end of the week to search listings and build a list of places to see over the weekend.

Bring the kitchen up to date

bnenin/Adobe discussing apartment renovation ideas

You don’t have to do a complete kitchen renovation, but take a quick look for features in your kitchen that are easy to bring up to current trends.

Would painting the cabinets freshen things up? What about swapping out the hardware? These fixes range from a hundred dollars to a few thousand, but they can make a big impression on buyers.

Keep the lawn mowed

Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs/Adobe senior man mowing the lawn

You never know when someone might drive by your home after seeing the listing online, so keep the yard in tip-top shape at all times.

This is the time to splurge on the sprinkler system and pull out your lawn mower every weekend.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe family running to new house

Putting these tips into action can help draw more buyers to your property. That might help you to sell the home quickly and at a higher price.

Use these tips to get ahead financially so you can use the profits to pay for your next home or pad your savings.

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Author Details

Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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