Selling a home can be stressful and challenging, since you’ll have many different options for selling the home and many different goals to juggle simultaneously. If you’re like most homeowners, you’re looking to buy a new house and move into it, which means you need to sell your current home as quickly as possible for a smooth transition. You may be in an even more challenging situation—such as getting rid of a house you inherited that’s in poor condition. 

In any case, you’ll have your work cut out for you to make this process as fast and as straightforward as possible. One of the best steps you can take is sitting down and analyzing your top-level goals. Most homeowners want to achieve some combination of selling the home quickly and getting the best possible price, but which of these priorities is more important than the others?

Options for Selling a Home

First, let’s go over your options for selling a home. If you’re interested in the fastest and most convenient method, you could sell your home for cash to a company or individual willing to buy it. In these deals, you’ll usually sell the home as is; you won’t have to worry about getting rid of all the clutter, doing deep cleaning, or even investing in repairs and renovations. Instead, you’ll close the deal quickly and set yourself up to move on to your next home. 

However, you may also choose to list the property on an open market, usually with the help of a real estate agent. If this is the case, you’ll have many variables to consider: 

Listing price. What are you going to list the property for? A higher sale price might attract more serious buyers and ultimately net you a more profitable sale. However, if you list the price too high, you may turn off some buyers. This might also force you into the position of lowering the price in the future—and price drops can make a property look bad. 

Timing. You’ll also need to consider your timing. Many people list a property without regard to timing, because they have little to no control over the factors pressuring them to move. However, if you have any semblance of control, you’ll want to bear real estate market timing in mind. In an unfavorable market, you might hold out for more money and better conditions, or you might wait to sell until a more active season.  

Marketing and advertising efforts. If you’re working with an agent, they’ll likely take care of most of the marketing and advertising efforts for your property on your behalf. Otherwise, you’ll need to think carefully about how you’re presenting the property to others, including how much you’re willing to spend on these outlets. 

Representation. Who are you going to work with? Real estate agents can often help you fetch a higher price and close a better deal, but they may also be incentivized to close deals faster—even if it means settling for a lower price. Finding a good real estate agent can be tough. 

Repairs and improvements. How much are you willing to invest in repairs and improvements to the current home? Fixing up your home and adding new features can make it more attractive to sellers, but it’s also time consuming and can be expensive

This is obviously the more complex and time-consuming option, but it could help you push for a higher sale price. 

Goals to Set Before Selling a Home

You can simplify your decision by establishing your highest priorities when selling a home. These are the four most important goals to consider. 

1. Price and profitability. How important is it that you earn a profit on this sale? Are you interested in getting the highest possible price? If so, you’ll need to be willing to spend more time, effort, and energy on the property. 

2. Time to sell. Are you more interested in selling the home as quickly as possible? This is often a high priority for people who need to move to a new city in a matter of weeks, or those who don’t want to be bothered with a long negotiation. 

3. Repair costs. Are you willing to invest time and/or money into the house to make it look better to prospective buyers? 

4. Deal complexity. Are you interested in closing the deal quickly, with no arguments, pushback, or caveats? 

Which of these is most important to you? Which of these are more important than the others? No one can tell you which priorities you should have; this is a personal decision, based on your preferences and your current situation. All you have to do is figure out which factors matter most to you.