With all the news about the market being saturated with homes and the recent decline in house prices, many people are wondering what they can do to sell their home faster and make it stand apart from all the others on the market.   Worry no more!  There are many things that you can do that cost little or nothing.  Many times it’s just a matter of a bit of elbow grease and hard work.

Location and Price

When buyers are ready to look for a home they many times will start their search from their computer.  Buyers will go to their favorite real estate website and type in their parameters.  How much they can afford to spend on a home, how many bedrooms, baths and location.  From here they receive hundreds of potential properties.   This is why it is very important to talk with a reputable Realtor® so they can help you price your home competitively.  They will look at many variables like what comparable properties have sold recently in your area, how long were they on the market and what they think your list price should be.  This is where having an experienced Realtor® is important.

Pictures and description of your home

Once a potential buyer has pulled up potential homes that meet their criteria they will start clicking on pictures of houses that appeal to them.   Having your home professionally Staged by an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) Stager will help.  Hire a reputable ASP Stager that has a proven track record of Staging and selling homes.  An ASP Stager will advise you on suggestions for curb appeal, paint color recommendations, and suggestions on what you can do to make your home more visually appealing.  If you have a vacant house to sell many Staging companies have furniture and accessories they can bring in and Stage the home showing the homes assets and giving the home the emotional connection buyers need.  Once the home is professionally staged, the Realtor® can take photos and upload them onto MLS.  It’s very important to have great photos of your home.  Pictures should not be blurry or taken from weird angles.  The better the picture, the better your home will look.  You want a potential buyer to see the home at its very best.  This is why you should Stage your home prior to taking pictures and listing it.  You want the pictures in MLS to show your house in its best condition.

Curb Appeal

Once a buyer has seen the home(s) that interest them, they will often drive by the home.  Many times a buyer will drive by multiple times, both during the day and at night time.  At night time leave your outside and inside lights on.  Let buyers see your home.   It is imperative to make sure your home has curb appeal.  Curb appeal will make buyers want to come inside and see more!  Make sure your grass is cut.   Put fresh pine needles or mulch in the flower beds and around the trees.  Remove all trash cans, toys, hoses and clutter from the yard.  Make sure that your roof, trim and shutters are in excellent condition and there is no peeling paint, rotten wood or broken gutters or windows.   If buyers see any of this often times they will drive by and not go inside because they think the home has not been well maintained.

The interior should be model home clean

Now that the buyers have driven by the home, love what they see and want to come inside and see more you need to be sure the interior of the home captures them emotionally and sells them on the life style they are looking for.   When a buyer walks into the home he or she will make up their mind in less than 30 seconds if this home appeals to them and if they want to continue seeing the home.  One saying I’ve heard is “If a buyer can smell it – you won’t sell it”.   Remove all pets, pet toys, litter boxes and pet beds from the home.   Contrary to what most people believe, the majority of people are NOT dog or cat lovers and many people are highly allergic.  Do you want to lose a potential buyer because of your pet?  No!  The home should not smell like food, pets or smoke.  A professional Home Stager will help you with this, either by giving you ideas and suggestions on things you can do to remove, reduce or eliminate the smells.   Don’t try to use air fresheners or candles to cover the smell.  Many buyers are turned off by these strong cover-ups and will leave.   Oftentimes, homeowners are not even aware of these smells because they live in the home and it’s what’s normal or natural for them.

Remove extra furniture and storage items in rooms.   Your bedrooms should look like a bedroom, not like a storage room.  You’re selling valuable real estate, not your extra stuff.  If the home is vacant, bring in key pieces of furniture and accessories to show the home.  Buyers cannot envision the size and scale of a room from pictures if the rooms are empty.    You don’t have to have furniture in every room, but it’s important to stage the main living areas of a home.  Buyers buy on emotion.  If the rooms are empty, there is nothing for the buyer to connect with emotionally and many people lack the ability to envision their furniture in the room and see themselves living there.  So if you house is vacant, stage the main living areas and give buyers an idea of how they can live in the home.

Once your home has been professionally cleaned and staged it’s very important to keep it in model home condition.  If you cannot keep it clean because of your busy schedule, hire a house cleaner to clean it while it is being listed.  Buyers will be calling at any given time, sometimes with only a few hours notice.  Your home should reflect the hard work and care you have invested in it and sell the potential buyer.  If a home has dirty dishes in the sink or toys scattered about it’s hard for buyers not to be distracted by your clutter.

Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression!  Make sure it counts!