Selling homes quickly is a constant goal for real estate agents, and many agents today are finding that homes are selling almost as quickly as they hit the market.

According to the National Association of Realtor’s Existing Home Sales Report released in late August, homes averaged less than a month on market for four consecutive months. Homes sold in July spent an average of 30 days on the market (DOM), up from 28 DOM a month earlier and down from 36 DOM a year earlier.

NAR has been tracking monthly days on market since May 2011, and the average over that entire time was 59 days. “This [recent reduction in DOM] speaks to the significant pent-up demand for buying rather than any perceived loss of interest,” said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR.

Economic Issues Media Manager at NAR, Adam DeSanctis, said, “Days on market has been pretty fast now for the past two years. However, the speed has picked up for this year, with the typical listing going under contract roughly one week faster than the same month in 2016.”

DeSanctis also said, “Days on market typically is the lowest during the spring/summer months and edges higher as seasonality factors kick in come late fall/early winter.” Keeping your personal DOM rate low and selling homes quickly is a good way to keep clients happy and earn their future business.

Property Presentation

We talked to three FORCE members with exceptionally low DOM rates to see how they move their properties so quickly. “One of the most important things for REOs is to keep them clean,” said Ronald Campbell of Campbell and Campbell Real Estate. Staging is generally not an option for REO properties, he says, so keeping them clean is the best way to appeal to buyers.

According to Laura Harbison of Realty Executives of Southern Nevada, keeping REO properties in the best condition possible is a good way to attract buyers and buyers’ agents. “We try to think about what the first impression would be for a buyer,” Campbell said.

Since the yard and entryway are the first things a buyer sees, Campbell does his best to keep unsightly weeds out of the lawn and keep the entryway swept. Both Harbison and Campbell instruct all their field agents to carry brooms and dust pans on their weekly property inspections, and Harbison says going the extra mile to keep a property clean and do requested repair work can really pay off.

“People like showing our properties because they know they’ll be clean and looking nice,” Harbison said. While full staging and significant repairs are generally not an option for REOs, agents do have the power to market their REOs as they would their other properties.

“One of the reasons banks have turned to agents who have done more traditional sales is that they do full marketing, not just putting a property up on MLS,” Harbison said. She invests in direct mailers, magazine and internet marketing, full-color brochures placed inside and outside each home, and videos of each property. Campbell says the way you present a property is “extremely important”, adding that like Harbison, he leaves brochures outside each property.

“They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and people look at pictures first before reading any descriptions,” Campbell said. Therefore, he advises taking professional pictures of each property and has personally invested in professional photography equipment.

“We spend a lot of money on internet marketing to generate potential buyers for the house,” said Campbell. He describes his marketing as “superior to the typical REO”.

“Price them right,” says Sharon Holt of Sydney Davis Realty, “That’s the only secret.” She says this is the single most important selling tactic for every type of property you try to sell.

After working with REOs and foreclosed properties for years, Holt says she’s learned that you’ll be under contract within 30 days every time you price the property correctly. Harbison agrees that pricing is key. “We do really accurate BPOs, so people know what they are getting,” she said.

While it is understandable to want the highest price possible, Holt feels it is more beneficial to price the property realistically and get it sold quickly, noting that it costs money to hold onto the property and maintain it until it sells.