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Insider Tips on Selling Your Home

You want to sell your place, but the market is tight. Don’t just put the sign out on the front lawn, vacuum the carpet, and hope for the best. There are several subtle ways to make your place more attractive to prospective buyers — and the best thing is they don’t take all that much work.

Help Is on the Way

Keep in mind that these tips on selling your home aren’t a replacement for hiring a real estate agent. Instead, these suggestions augment the work of the real estate professional who will help you find a buyer. Our Finding the Right Real Estate Agent article can help you make sure you’re working with the right person.

Make a Good First Impression

Studies suggest people decide whether to buy a place within the first eight seconds of seeing it. So make sure the lawn looks good, plant some flowers, paint the front door, and reseal the driveway. You want a visitor’s first impression to be a good one.

Clean It Up

Hire a cleaning service to really scour your place, top to bottom. You want buyers to see your home at its best, and a thorough cleaning is a great start. Experts say buyers are more likely to purchase a home that’s immaculately clean than one that feels “lived-in.”

Stow It!

Take a weekend and throw away or store everything — and we mean everything — you don’t need. Consider renting a storage unit for what you can’t live without. Getting rid of clutter will make your place look cleaner and more spacious. The same advice goes for the kitchen: Clear counters of small appliances and put potholders in a drawer so they’re not hanging from the oven handle. Experts in the field of “staging” homes — presenting them with maximum sales appeal — say your place should have a clean, minimalist appearance.

Pack up the Pictures

Put away your family pictures and other things that mark the house as “yours.” You want buyers to see the place as theirs, not someone else’s. If they’re seeing pictures of your family everywhere, they’ll be thinking of your family history and not their future home.

Fix It Up

Hire a handyman to fix all of the little (and maybe even the big) problems in the house. From that slow drain in the bathroom sink to the battered baseboards, a handyman can fix the little issues you take for granted and bring your house back to its optimal condition. If you do hire a contractor for some pre-sale repair work, make sure the worker is reputable and will do a good job.

Add Some Color

Some experts say that a few colorful throw pillows and fluffy towels can add to a property’s attractiveness by making a place appear newer and more lively.

The Brighter, the Better

You want your place to appear bright and airy. Getting your windows professionally cleaned could cost a few hundred dollars, but may earn you more in the end. To continue the lighter feel, replace heavy bedspreads and tablecloths with lighter fabrics and patterns.

Fortune Cookies

Bake chocolate chip cookies right before the open house. Not only will you give prospective buyers something to munch on while they walk around, but some experts say the cozy smell of cookies makes people feel like they’re home.

The Art of Distraction

If a particular room has a negative, such as an unappealing view of a brick wall, place fresh flowers or a mirror on the other side to draw attention away from it.

A Thousand Words

Many home shoppers start their searches online. To ensure you’re showing your home in its best light, take pictures at the right time. Wait for a sunny day, and snap your pictures at “magic hour”—the first and last hours of sunlight.

Bring in the Agents

Some experts believe the agent open house—that’s when agents look at the property rather than the general public—is more beneficial than the standard public open house. Some recommend giving prizes like bottles of wine and department store gift cards, to attract more agents.

Following these tips can help in your quest to find a buyer for your home. Good luck!

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