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Get Ready, Get Set, Sell Your Home - 5 Tips for Sellers

Jul 22, 2008
Your house is so beautiful. You've painted and decorated and created exactly the space you envisioned, filled with decor that delights your senses. The art work and memorabilia on your tables and shelves awakens memories and makes you feel, well, at home.

But, you're planning to sell your home you'll be well advised to take a look at the lovely environment you've created with a different set of eyes - that of a buyer. Here are five simple strategies and steps you can take to make your home more attractive to buyers and, in this competitive buyer's market, give your property a competitive edge.

1. Disconnect. Think of the property as a house. You will be moving onto a new home so let this one go. That means removing all your knickknacks, family photos, memorabilia, collections and other paraphernalia that's occupying your table tops, shelves, mantle and other surfaces. Potential buyers need to be able to quickly picture how their personal items will fit into the environment and not be distracted by yours.

2. Clean. Once you have packed up your personal items and cleared off surfaces it may pay to hire a professional cleaning service to come in and do a thorough cleaning. Buyers have a way of looking at the tiniest details. They may make judgments about how you've cared for the entire house - maintenance, repairs and such - by the overall cleanliness of sills, floors, walls, windows, doors and cupboards. If you have the time and energy, it's a task you can certainly accomplish yourself but professionals make the overall process less stressful for you as a seller.

3. Get organized. Face it, once your house is on the market you're living in a public space. Buyers love the freedom to look into everything. That includes your closets, cupboards and, even drawers in your bedroom dresser! Real estate agents certainly try to preserve some privacy for sellers, but snoopers will snoop. That means you should organize your closets and make them appear neat; get into your kitchen cupboards and arrange contents so they look attractive, and go so far as to make sure you've folded at least the top layers of dresser drawers and stashed away anything you don't want seen.

4. Repair, renew. Look at what minor fixes your house might need to make it more attractive, perhaps small things you've been willing to live with but really need fixing. Is there a door that with squeaky hinges? A toilet seat that's cracked or discolored? A faucet that's loose or has a little drip? These and other similar things are inexpensive and easy to fix. Attention to these details enhances the overall impression of your home on the market.

5. Curb yourself. Look at the outside of your house objectively, just as a stranger would, driving by slowly and stopping. Analyze what you see and what you can do to make the first impression a better one. Are the gutters cleaned of debris, the sidewalk swept, cobwebs swept from the eves of your porch? Is your lawn trimmed and plants watered? Maybe think of adding fresh flowering plants to an outdoor pot. Or, how about that beat up old mailbox? Again, most of these fixes are affordable and require little time to accomplish.

Buyers should be able to look beyond your furniture and decor to easily picture themselves occupying the space. In a very competitive real estate market, agents appreciate sellers who take the extra steps that make their listing more desirable and attractive. Selling a home successfully and with as little stress as possible is really a relationship between agent and seller - one that requires education, communication and cooperation.
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