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Showcasing your home to prospective buyers

by Jeffrey Hammerberg
The U.S. residential real estate market now has a backlog of excess inventory that represents about seven or eight month’s worth of homes. In other words, experts calculate that if no new listings came on the market, it would still take seven to eight months to sell off the current inventory. Each day though, more yard signs show up, more property enters foreclosure, and builders and developers offer more incentives and perks to compete for buyers.

On the road to a successful sale: clear the clutter and make the beds.
Homeowners trying to sell in this kind of challenging market need to do everything they can to lure potential buyers and then make a powerful impression upon them while they have the chance. The average tour of a home takes somewhere between 10 minutes and an hour, and during that short window of opportunity, your home should look its best.

Here are seven tips for home sellers, to help them maximize the impact of showings:

Offer a sales sheet
Your buyer will have an MLS printout. But if you print simple sales sheets listing features of the home and other pertinent information and leave them on the kitchen table for prospective buyers it will help them remember your property. Buyers might view a dozen homes in a day, and whatever you can do to distinguish yourself from the competition is worth the effort.

Open the entire home
If you know there is a showing scheduled, open all the curtains in your home to let in as much light as possible. Then open all the doors to the rooms, so that while standing in one room the buyer is visually invited into the next. Leave closet doors slightly ajar, to encourage visitors to look inside — otherwise they might feel shy about nosing around in a stranger’s home. If you’ve emptied closets of clutter, the storage space might be a strong selling feature that you don’t want them to overlook.

Illuminate the features
You should leave lights on throughout the house, because flattering lighting can accent rooms and make them look larger and more attractive. Rather than leaving the task to the realtor, do it before hand and the home will make a stronger initial impression. Most agents will appreciate the help, and they will also turn off lights before they leave, to save on your energy consumption.
Clear the clutter and make the beds

Not only do unmade beds, towels on the floor and general clutter look messy, but they also remind buyers that the property belongs to somebody else. Psychologically, you want to enable buyers to forget that it is your house, so that they can imagine it as their own. Then the power of imagination becomes a sales tool working to your advantage.

Attention to minute details
If your house number is not visible from the curb or has a digit missing, buyers might not find your address, and that kind of detail can seem small, but it is entirely significant when selling a home. Make sure that the doormat looks fresh, the doorbell is in good working order, and that loose doorknobs and cracked windowpanes are fixed. Attention to detail is not expensive — unless you neglect it — because then it can cost you a sale.

Focus on the kitchen and bathroom
It can be difficult to keep the entire house shipshape, but you should at least ensure that the kitchen and bathrooms look sparkling clean. Not only do these rooms add the most value to your property, they also convey the most about how well you maintain your home. Buyers understand if your child’s room or the den is unkempt, but if your kitchen and bathroom are a disaster, they will assume that you lack pride of ownership and that the home may have hidden problems or needed repairs. Paint them or have them professionally cleaned before listing your home for sale, and it will give you a distinct advantage in the competitive marketplace.

Use Another Set of Eyes
We become familiar with our environment and may be blinded to eyesores that others will immediately detect. To help prepare your house for a quick sale, have your realtor tour your home and before you put it on the market, suggest ways to make it show better. Start with the yard and work your way through the entire house, including the basement, garage, and attic.
Don’t leave the success of your home sale entirely up to sales agents. The more you can do to prepare the property before buyers arrive, the easier it will sell. When realtors know that your listing shows well, they will be more inclined to bring their qualified clients, because everyone prefers to show houses that look great.

If you employ these strategies as much as possible, price your property reasonably and hire a hardworking brokerage, your home will sell, despite the challenges of the current buyer’s market.

— To find experienced listing agents dedicated to the LGBT community, visit www.GayRealEstate.com or call toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

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