Marketing Your Home

Sell Your House Faster and for More Money!

Step 1: Declutter your home
Get rid of as much clutter as possible. Stuffed closets, extraneous furniture, exercise equipment in living quarters, crowded countertops, overflowing cabinets, and endless knickknacks make homes seem smaller than they are. Consider putting some things in storage.

Step 2: Hide your pets
Hide all evidence that you own animals. Just because your potential buyer loves his own pets doesn’t mean he wants a house that reeks of yours. Get rid of pet stains and odors (pay a professional if you have to) and send the four-legged family members to a neighbor’s house when you show your home.

Step 3: Be scarce yourself
And, while you’re at it, make yourself scarce during home showings. You know how you feel about those annoying salespeople who follow you around the store, making you uncomfortable? That’s how potential home buyers will feel about you.

Step 4: Don’t discount the first offer
Think carefully before you reject the first offer on your home; studies show it is usually the highest bid you get. And the longer you hold out for a better offer, the lower your chances are of getting it, because people start to think that something must be wrong with a house that’s been on the market for so long.

Step 5: Always negotiate
Don’t take lowball offers personally, or you’ll lose a lot of potential buyers. Instead of viewing them as insults, look at them as starting points for negotiation.

Tip: To attract the most buyers, list your home a few thousand dollars below a major round number. If you’re hoping to get about $200,000, for example, list it as $199,000, not $205,000. You don’t want to miss out on buyers who have set $200,000 as their cutoff point.

Step 6: Out with the old
Toss or change anything that makes your home look tired — worn carpeting, old throw rugs, dirty light switch covers. Give every room a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Don’t let cost deter you; this is truly a case where you’ve got to spend money to make money.

Step 7: Remember curb appeal
Don’t discount the importance of a good first impression from the street. Trim hedges, reseed the lawn, plant some flowers, wash the windows, scrape and repaint the front door and windowsills, and put some oversized potted plants at the entrance.

Step 8: Depersonalize your home
Rid your home of all your treasured personal touches — family photos, the kids’ artwork on the fridge, religious artifacts, bowling trophies, your ceramic pig collection, the shrine to Elvis. They will only make it more difficult for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home.

Step 9: Aim for light and bright
Because home buyers are nearly unanimously looking for a light, bright house as opposed to a dark, dreary one, do what you can to make that happen. Ditch the heavy drapes, take down dark wallpaper, put in high-wattage light bulbs, and get rid of wood paneling.

Step 10: Fix anything that’s broken
Fix whatever is broken before you list your home. It’s almost always cheaper to do it yourself than to let the buyer use it to bring down the price.

Tip: The kitchen is the room most likely to attract, or repel, a potential buyer.