Ready to Sell | Home, April 2012

Written by on March 30, 2012 in From this Issue | April 2012, Home - No comments

Market Ready

10 tips to sell your home quicker for top dollar

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Take time to improve your home before putting it on the market. Whether making repairs or staging a room, these tips can give you a boost and maximize your equity return.

1. Realize you’re selling a product. Linda Barnett, owner of Home Matters Professional Home Staging, helps sellers disengage emotionally. When entering the marketplace, your home becomes a house.

It’s a product with competition, Barnett says, and it needs to be packaged and marketed.


BEFORE: When getting your house ready to sell, start by decluttering, cleaning and focusing attention to the positives of a room. Photos courtesy Home Matters.

2. Depersonalize and declutter. Take down personal photos and collections, organize closets and cabinets, and begin what Barnett calls the “pre-sale pack.”

You want buyers to see the potential for living there without feeling like they’re intruding on someone else’s home, she explains. If a buyer is busy looking at a wall of family photos, they’re missing the room’s selling features.

3. Revise and modernize. From leaky faucets to wobbly stair rails, Kristie Smith, founder of Indy Homes Real Estate, emphasizes making repairs and improvements before putting your house on the market.

“Buyers don’t have the cash to pay for those updates and enhance them after the fact,” Smith says. “It is the ‘cream puff’ perfect houses that are selling, and they do sell quickly.”

She suggests making cosmetic changes like replacing brassy light fixtures with oil-rubbed bronze or brushed-nickel finishes.


AFTER: After cleaning and organizing, use light and furniture to open the space. Style the house to fit the target market.

4. Polish and scrub. Wash windows, wipe down walls, and clean appliances inside and out. Your house needs to be “detailed clean,” Barnett says.

Pet, smoking or cooking odors can also disinterest potential buyers. Deodorize and hide visible reminders like the cat’s litter.

5. Transform negatives into positives. It’s not necessary to take out all furniture or decorations. Instead, place them strategically to accentuate positive aspects, Barnett says.

Turn awkward, unused spaces into functional areas that add value.

6. Improve curb –– and screen –– appeal. The first impression buyers have driving past a house, or the first photos seen online, determine further pursuit. A well-manicured yard and up-to-date exterior features attract positive attention.

Maintain the grass and landscaping beds, and monitor the house’s structure, repairing loose bricks or torn screens.

7. You’ve got seven seconds to impress. Direct buyers’ attention to the best amenities as they step inside the entryway, making a solid initial impression.

“Their eyes automatically scan what rooms they can see and make a determination on whether or not they’re on the tour of excitement or tour of obligation,” Barnett says.

8. Compose spacious rooms. Use natural light, color and furniture to open the space.

Paint walls neutral colors like beige, soft buttercreams with yellow undertones, or neutral greens like sage, Barnett says. Dark walls make rooms look smaller.

Remove excess furniture to keep the space proportional and create breathing room, she says.

9. Stylize to hit target markets. Create an emotional experience for the buyer.

Differentiate your home from others with design elements like colors, textures, patterns and prints, Barnett says.

Arrange furniture to steer the tour and create movement throughout the property.

10. Take location, condition and price into account. If your house isn’t perfect in one of those areas, you want to overcompensate in the other two, Smith says.

“You want to be conditioned and priced in line with what’s on the market at the same time as you,” she says.

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