Most real estate experts will tell you that there are some proven methods of preparing your home that will have a positive impact on how a home is viewed by prospective buyers. Following these guidelines could be the difference between selling a home in just a few days versus waiting weeks — and even months, before receiving an offer on your property.

With so much money at stake, every day can make a tremendous difference. By increasing the attractiveness of your home, you can also increase the competitiveness of your property against others in the market and ultimately get better offers in the process.  Realistically you know it usually takes awhile before a home will sell, but everyone hopes for an offer or two within a reasonable period of time. If that doesn’t happen, you may have to take a step back and try and determine what is preventing your home from attracting more interest.

Here’s are a couple quick tips that may help you sell your home faster:

New Paint Should Be In Neutral Colors-  If your home was painted before 1978, the paint is likely to contain lead, which in a home inspection can spell trouble.  Regardless of when it was painted, you want prospective homebuyers to come into the home and not be distracted by abnormal or bright colors. Neutral tones are highly recommended by experts. AOL reported that according to “HomeGain’ national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 which can be a 250 percent return on investment.

Home Selling Paint Colors

The Best Home Selling Paint ColorsRemove Clutter– Easier said than done, I know.  It’s normal for a home to collect projects, furniture and collectables over time, but when you’re trying to sell a house based on visual appeal, appearance really matters. Consider removing excess stuff into a rented storage container, or borrow space from your families basement.  Start boxing stuff up, or going through it, and donating extra collections that are no longer needed to charities.  Host a garage sale and have a special section for “free” items.  Less clutter makes the home appear more spacious, and it also makes it easier for viewers to imagine what their belongings would look like in that area.  In addition, you will appear to be clean owners, and people will be more likely to buy a home from someone who appears to be taking good care of it.

Put Some Work Into Landscaping  – Displaying a well-manicured lawn and garden can really make a big impact on buyers.  Curb appeal is more important than you think. Your house’s yard and landscaping will be the first thing people see as they pull up to view your home.  If the lawn is overgrown or the bushes are messy and unkempt, buyers will be starting out with a bad taste in their mouth even before they enter the front door.  Landscaping and garden care can also be a reflection of how well the home has been cared for.

Ask yourself one question:  Would you pay the price you’re asking for that home the way it looks now? If your answer is no, then you may have to stick a little money into the home to improve its appearance. For better or worse, people do judge price based on how it looks. If your home is in need of a paint job, it will be noticed. Fix the shutters and repair the roof.

According to an article in SFGate, “landscaping can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your property…from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.”  Throwing in some flowers is one thing, but having a sophisticated design in your landscaping is really where the value is added.

Draw Attention To Custom Features- Does your home stand out in a unique way?  Are there some  costly and complicated designs or features that would be hard to install in another home?  Be sure that prospective home buyers are aware of what may make your house different.  Make a list of all the benefits to living in your location, in addition to design benefits they would otherwise miss.  Customization can really stand out in communities where many of the homes are built using identical blueprints.

Throw In Incentives – Homeowners desperate to sell want to make certain that their home is a sweet deal to buy over the dozens of others on the market.  As a home seller, you could include bonuses, such as paying for some of the closing costs, throwing in appliances, offering to leave furniture, television sets, pool tables, patio furniture, shelving, lawn equipment.  Many couples can be swayed by even the smallest of gestures.  Let your real estate agent know that if they spot something they like, it may be negotiable.

Consider Appliance Upgrades – Many homebuyers are now playing attention to the modern appliances.  Older appliances can be another expense for them to invest in down the road from their perspective.  Appliances that are environmentally friendly, and translates to cost savings on energy and water bills can be a bonus for a homeowner. Consider upgrading appliances in both the kitchen and the laundry room, looking for appliances with the Energy Star label.

Staging Furniture With Purpose  – Eliminate excessive furniture and knick-knacks to make your home seem cleaner and more spacious.  Consider moving highly personalized furniture into storage.  Move excess pictures from the walls into boxes.  You want your home to feel welcome, but not as though the new home owners can identify with you more than they can with how their furniture will fit into a home.  A desk can go a long way in a home.  Position a desk in an extra bedroom showing that a room can double as an office and additional space for guests.  Look for toy storage if you have small children.  White bedding can go a long way to updating a room.  HowStuffWorks reports that “According to some pros, a staged home can bring in 6 to 20 percent more than the same home without staging.”

Concrete Stain SolidTend To The Concrete- Prospective home buyers can be convinced of a home from the minute they pull into your driveway.   A new coat of concrete stain on the sidewalks can go a long way.  Home Depot sells a concrete stain that soaks into the concrete.  It isn’t paint that sits on the surface, rather a liquid that is applied the same way as paint, but lasts longer.  Behr sells a concrete stain in semi transparent, or solid.  Work with a shade that is almost the same color as dirt.  Lighter colors, or reds, while they may look nice, they can show the dirt quite easily.  Shades like this will allow you to have a dirty driveway through the year, and you won’t notice it.  It is amazing how much this simple treatment can transform a space.  The stain on our concrete has lasted us several years through snow and rain.

Add A Bathroom Can Really Sell Your House- RealEstate.com cites that adding “a half bath may add up to 10.5 percent to a home’s value, while a full bath can tack on an additional 20 percent.” Everyone likes their privacy when it comes to bathroom usage, so in most cases you cannot go wrong by putting in additional bathrooms.  If you  have an extra bathroom, your home automatically becomes more attractive to potential buyers.

Finish That Basement- A finished basement adds to the value of a home.  A finished basement could also be considered by homebuyers as a way to bring in additional income. According to OurMidland.com, many finished basements rent for as much as 75% of the value of a home’s monthly mortgage, making them extremely appealing to homebuyers. Those who have in-laws who may need extra care can also appreciate the finished space.

Choose Hardwood Over Carpeting.  No one wants to buy a home with old carpeting.   If you have hardwood floors under carpeting, get rid of the carpets.  Hardwood floors can be expensive, so consider replacing older carpets with wood vinyl sheets which allows new homeowners to decorate with area rugs.   For existing wood floors, try to get those floors refinished prior to putting your home on the market. Having floors that look new and polished can really add to a home’s  value in the homebuyer’s eyes.

Work With The Right Realestate Agent- With all of the various real estate property search platforms that are used today, you might be asking yourself “why hire a real estate agent and pay all that commission?”. While this is a reasonable question to ask, there are several different reasons why buyers should hire agents.

  • Get Experience and Not Just Information-The Internet can give you access to information about homes for sale on the market, but it doesn’t give you experience in the industry. Real estate agents are licensed professionals who must prove that they’re knowledgeable before they can even show or sell a home.  They have connections to other professionals in the market, and can battle the obstacles that might come up for a home owner, with banking challenges, home inspection advice and general market knowledge that you may not know of.
  • Let the Professionals Deal with the Paperwork – You’ll need to sign and understand mounds of paperwork that comes with selling a property. When you hire a real estate agent, the agent will handle all of the paperwork for you and explain what each document means. Real estate agents  deal with these tasks daily, whereas you will only deal with it a few times in your life.
  • Knowing Inside Information on Neighborhoods– Location is extremely important when you’re buying a home, and you want to know you chose a good one. Agents have inside information on neighborhoods and can tell you what you need to know about crime, schools, and the reputation of an area before you buy.  They also have a wider reach to connections that allow you to get connected to to the right construction companies, repair and restoration connections.  They can trouble shoot better than you in times of need.
  • Negotiating Prices – Reputable real estate agents represent you as a buyer, and when it comes to negotiating prices, they can present themselves to be more aggressive than you with the other agent, while maintaining a professional approach as business as usual.   They’re also expert negotiators and will work hard to make the best deal possible for you. If you’re not experienced with negotiations, it’s easy to lose a property over haggling.  Leave the professionals to do it for you.

Work For Yourself- Sell Your Own HomeMany people are deciding to sell there homes without an agent, and you can as well.  People are often fearful of selling their homes by themselves, because they are scared of making a mistake.  If you take the time to research the process you will do just fine.

  • ForSaleByOwner.com is one of the best sites out there that equips homeowners with all the tools necessarily for a successful deal.  This website provides online marketing, property pricing reports, real estate resources,and legal forms that will make you feel confident to negotiate a sale with all the tools a real estate agent has at their disposal. Putting a home on ForSaleByOwner.com helps home sellers market their home to nearly 2 million people monthly.
  • Legal Paper Work Is Handled By Attorneys – Many people do not attempt to sell without a real estate agent because they are afraid of the paperwork. The fact is real estate agents do not do the legal paper work either.  Whether a seller uses an agent or goes “for sale by owner,” outside help is needed to navigate through the legal process of transferring the title. A real estate attorney or title company will prepare and handle all of the legal paperwork for sellers.
  • Research Your Neighborhood’s Sold Housing Prices to determine what you should sell your home at.  Compare the listing prices of similar houses that have SOLD, and use that information as a guideline. If you want to sell your house fast, don’t get greedy with the price. ForSaleByOwner.com provides its customers with a customized property pricing report that contains recent home sales data and home valuation data.
  • Place Your Home On The MLS– Seriously consider placing your home on the MLS, which is a complete inventory of homes on the market.  You do not need a real estate agent  to list your home on MLS, as it can be placed on the MLS through ForSaleByOwner.com
  • Save The Commission -Two separate studies by professors from Northwestern and Stanford University found that that an unrepresented homeowner is as effective at maximizing the sales price of their home as professional agents.  You can represent yourself and save money by not paying out the commission.
  • FOCUS On Marketing– Marketing is the majority of the battle of selling your home.  They say that when you open a business, 80% of your time needs to go into advertising and marketing, while 20 percent should be spent on the actual product.  The same goes for home selling.  You need not be concerned with the finer details, so long as you have the traffic coming in.  The traffic is the biggest battle, which takes just time and effort submitting to classifieds and websites.  More than 84% of buyers use the Internet to search for a home, this means you have to get listed, and stay listed every day.  You need to seriously consider posting up ads on various sites, at least one time per day or two days on each site.
  • ADD Extra Pictures On Another Site That You Can Link To – Craigslist is one of the most popular websites out there.  Consider opening a free photo bucket account that will hold limitless shots of your home.  When you list with craigslist, you can link to blogs, or other websites, but most people don’t.  There is nothing more frustrating for a buyer to have only 5 pictures to look from, and no opportunity to look at the property when it is a couple states away.  In this article, I show you what to copy into a craigslist post using photobuckets HTML coding options. Online property listings should have high quality, digital photographs of their home’s interior and exterior. BE sure to take beautiful photos.  Don’t take a picture of a home with clothes and boxes all over the room.  You make only one first impression.  If your homes are filled with clutter, the buyer may get the impression no home improvements were made or maintained. The online listing should be combined with a yard sign to attract people driving by the home.

Your Home May Be Overpriced- The most obvious reason that your home is not selling, is that you’re asking too much for you home. In a down economy, people will have more options to look at.  Does your home need repair?  Does it come with new appliances?  Is it modern, or need lots of updates?  How new is the kitchen?  Buyers have lots of homes to compare to, and they want to feel they are getting their money’s worth. People who really want their home to move in a down market may have to consider dropping the price far below what they’d like to. In most cases,  homeowners often place far more value on their home than other people do. If you hope to sell your home quickly, you may have to settle for less money. Pricing your home in the higher price ranges may cause it to sit in the listings.  Once it sits for too long, it becomes less special to buyers are used to seeing your home as they look through the pages of homes over and over again.  Having it priced right will get buyers excited the first time they see it, and will entice them to buy it before others notice it.

Marketing Is VERY Important-  If you’re home is not selling, you need to be aggressive. Place your home listing in online websites that are dedicated to listing homes.  Often times these on-line listing websites only allow you to include a handful of pictures, so start a photobucket, or a free blog where you can list more pictures of your home, and the surrounding areas.  There is nothing more frustrating than being a buyer living a couple states away with no pictures.  Take pictures of the surrounding areas, businesses, and shops.  REALLY sell your property.  Give buyers additional pictures of what it may be like to experience a summer, spring and winter around your property.Don’t discount flyers on local bulletin boards. A professional sign, or layout that is attractive might attract someone who may not be interested, but willing to upgrade.  Hold an open house, and make sure the property is well maintained, and the home itself is immaculate. Provide refreshments, cookies, and baked goods and be prepared to give tours and answer questions.

Give Information Of Your Community – If potential buyers don’t like the location of your home, there really isn’t much you can do about it, other than educate them what incentives are in your area.   Point out the fenced in back yard to keep children and pets safe, and let them know that the school is only a couple of blocks away, or the fact that public transportation is close by.  Have a sheet marked up for young families, as well as older couples without children.  Think about seniors as well.  Include a map, and really investigate what is around you.  Buyers might be swayed over information that they didn’t know about.

Work Hard Even If You Hired An Agent- Although most real estate agents will work hard for you–they only make money if they sell your home.  It is your job to hire an agent with a proven track record. Deal only with reputable agents that have been in business for awhile, and consult with them often on marketing strategies.  Be sure to get very specific information of how often they will list your home on websites, what websites, how often, and any other strategies they intend on putting into their marketing plan.  Just because they are being paid a commission, you also benefit when you are able to move, so put your best foot forward, and have your home prepared well.  Landscaping, furniture staging, painting, extra pictures of your home on a photobucket, or blog.  Work really hard, and make sure that they are keeping on top of the marketing aspect of deal.

In short, there really are many small and relatively inexpensive things you can do to your home in order to increase its value. In these tough economic times, these small improvements can be the difference between selling your home and moving forward, or being stuck and missing out on that job opportunity, and new life.  Your focus as a seller should be to minimize these areas of concern and provide greater security in the thought of buying your home. If you can create this increased sense of trust, the offers are bound to come in time.

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