Preparing to Sell Your Home: Improvements Sell Houses

Are you having trouble selling your home? A lack of offers to purchase may be caused by a number of seemingly innocent factors. Some of the most frequent comments overheard by residential real estate sales professionals reveal problems that are relatively quick and inexpensive to fix.

“It’s dark in this room.”

The best way to improve the look and feel of a room is with a fresh coat of paint. Spend an afternoon brightening up a dull or drab room by applying a bright, new color on the walls.

When preparing to show the home to potential buyers, be sure to open up the curtains or blinds, allowing the maximum amount of natural light to enter the space. Heavy, light-blocking draperies should be removed and replaced with something more airy and neutral.

“The house has a strange smell.”

As a resident of your home on a daily basis, you may not notice an uninviting smell when you enter the house. This can especially be true if smokers are living in the home. Relying on the honest opinion of friends, family and other visitors to your home is a good way to determine whether an unappealing smell is turning off buyers. There are inexpensive and time-effective ways to bring a fresh scent to an otherwise musty or unpleasant-smelling space. These include steam-cleaning the carpets and window treatments, thoroughly dusting all of the furniture (especially those often neglected and hard-to-reach places), and airing out the house by allowing windows to stand open.

“This room is small.”

De-cluttering is the very best way to enhance the amount of space in the house. Eliminate all clutter from the rooms by packing away seldom-used or bulky items. Allow the most possible floor space to be exposed by picking up baskets, bins and boxes from the floor. Store them neatly in a garage, basement, or rented storage unit.

It may also be necessary to remove extra pieces of furniture. A master bedroom, for example, should never contain more than a bed, dresser and bedside table(s). Additional pieces of furniture clutter the room and make the space look small.

“The house needs a lot of work.”

Today’s buyer is more educated and pays more attention to detail than ever before. Adequate attention should be paid to minor fix-up jobs around the house before showing it to potential buyers. Fill any holes in the walls and touch up the paint. Be certain that the trim is in good condition, and is freshly painted, if possible.

Out front, ensure the maximum amount of curb appeal by trimming overgrown shrubs and trees, mowing the lawn, and pulling any unsightly weeds. Add a punch of color by planting pretty annual flowers.

“I can’t imagine us living here.”

While most vendors need to remain living in the house while trying to sell it, removing personal items such as family portraits, toys, school awards and personal artwork allows potential buyers to imagine living in the space. The seller needs to create a neutral atmosphere that sells the lifestyle that will be enjoyed by purchasing and moving into the house.

If you are experiencing difficulty selling your home, take some time to evaluate whether a buyer will find these flaws in your house. Attending to them as quickly as possible will ensure you receive the most return in the purchase price for a quick sale.

Selling Homes Online: Creating Listings That Stand Out

The majority of home buyers start their search on the Internet, usually on real estate portals such as the Multiple Listing System (MLS). So how do you make sure your property gets noticed among the hundreds of other listings you’re competing against?

Let’s take a look at the three most effective methods for attracting maximum online interest…

Selling Your Home Online: Price

Obviously there are many factors that go into pricing your home to sell. But once you’ve established your price, pay attention to the searchers narrowing their criteria by specific price ranges.

People looking on the low end of the price scale tend to search in increments of $10,000 ($25,000 to $100,000 in the luxury markets).

So if you’ve priced your home at $350,000, for example, you’ll effectively edge out everyone searching up in the range below you. By reducing your price by just $100 to $349,900 you can open your viewing up to a whole fresh batch of viewers… and hopefully a faster sale!

Selling Your Home Online: Eye-catching Photographs

Listings with photos generally get more viewings. However, bad photographs can be just as much as a turnoff as no photos!

Here are some tips for taking photographs that sparkle:

  1. a) Exterior shot:
  • Use an angle shot of your home’s exterior to show depth.
  • Avoid shooting the street, sidewalk, vehicles, or power lines. If it can’t be helped, crop them out with a photo editor such as Photoshop.
  • Include a shot of the exterior with your listing.
  1. b) Interior shots:
  • Turn on lights when photographing to showcase it as light and bright.
  • Take photos only of key rooms such as the kitchen, large bathrooms or bedrooms. Don’t bother with hallways, ceilings, or tiny nooks.
  • Use a wide-angle room to capture an entire room.
  • Find the focal point of each room, then photograph it from different angles until you find the most eye-catching vantage point.

Selling Your Home Online: Listing Description

Your real estate agent will write your description for you. But it’s always helpful to know what makes a powerful description. Your goal as the seller is to drum up enough interest for a home viewing, but not give so much information that your buyer may eliminate your home before seeing it in person.

A good listing also covers these four key characteristics:

  1. Location (school district, township, or area)
  2. Asking price
  3. Type of home (e.g., townhouse, craftsman, condo)
  4. Number of bedrooms and bathrooms

Besides these broad characteristics, think of what drew you to your home in the first place. Was it a great view? Privacy? A bright and airy space? These are the selling points your listing should highlight. Help out your realtor by providing a short list of the key features that drew you to your current home.

Remember, the vast majority of home buyers start looking online for their perfect home. So when you’re selling your home, make sure you put these tips into play–and get top billing in the real estate portals.