These things really work!

Getting ready to sell that house? Put these Tips to practice and put your property in its very best light and get not only the highest and best market value but sell it quicker!

Leave the house during each showing!
Don't stick around to answer questions. Buyers will not bring up their objections with you nearby, but they will discuss with the Real Estate Agent if you are not present. This gives the agent the opportunity to overcome the objections.

Turn on every light in the house!
Just before your home is being shown, turn on every light in the house including closets and bathrooms (especially those bright heat lamps in the bathroom). This makes your house seem bright and cheerful, and avoids a situation where buyers are led down a dark hallway during the showing.

Open all drapes, curtains and blinds!
It is very important that prospective buyers see your home in the very best "light". Be certain the windows have been cleaned, then let in all the light you can. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Turn off the television!
It is difficult for your Real Estate Agent to keep the attention of prospects focused on your house when an interesting Oprah Winfrey or Jeopardy is competing for their attention. Turn it off before you leave the house!

Turn on the stereo!
Turn on your best stereo to a soft, "easy listening" station, and turn the volume down low. Most buyers like to imagine themselves living in a peaceful, serene atmosphere.

Keep all pets outdoors!
Your pets are of no interest whatsoever to buyers who may be considering your home. The distraction and inconvenience which a pet could cause should be eliminated. Keep pets outdoors.

Lower the thermostat!
Or raise it! During hot summer months, lower the thermostat several degrees so buyers will notice the cool efficiency of your air conditioning system. In the winter, especially on bone-chilling days, raise the thermostat during the showing, making your home feel toasty warm.

Build a blazing fire!
If you have enough notice, build a crackling fire in the fireplace on winter days, before you leave the house. What family wouldn't enjoy cozy evenings roasting popcorn in front of the fire?

Bake bread!
To give your home the aroma of days gone by in grandmother's country kitchen, bake some fresh bread just before a showing. Some alternatives to baking bread might be warming cinnamon rolls in the oven, or perking a fresh pot of coffee.

This all can seem overwhelming for some people. Just take one step at a time! Look at your home  through the eyes of a buyer. If you have a hard time doing this ask a friend to help you, or more importantly ask your realtor what needs to be done. Buyers want to come into your home and picture themselves in it. Keep that one thought in mind as you go through each room. Itís human nature to remember negative things. Avoid giving the buyer any bad features to remember about your property. Here are some helpful guidelines and tips to assure that a home shows well and is attractive to a buyer.

- Clean The Property Inside and Out! If you have a yard, keep it tidy, weeded and trimmed. Try to avoid unusual yard ornaments, cluttered potted plants, and things hiding under brightly coloured tarps. Focus on the entry into your property. Make it the best it can be. You only get one chance to make a first impression.  For the exterior, power wash stained decks, siding, patios, eves, and windows. Repainting is costly. You may be able to retouch the existing paint as needed. Inside you should also focus on all the major surfaces. Retouch paint, clean baseboards, stair treads, clean carpets, windows, and polish all wood surfaces from floors to cabinets. Yes they will be looking at the corners! A well cared for home with the little things instills confidence that the big things have been looked after.

- Fix or Replace Things that are Broken! Unless you are selling your house AS IS, fix the things you know are broken. If you donít fix them now, chances are you will have to fix them later. Why risk having a small detail send a red flag to a potential buyer. For example: If your front door wonít open without forcing it, a buyer might think there are several other things wrong with the maintenance of your home. The same goes for leaking faucets, running toilets, locks that wonít lock, cracked plug platesÖ know what should fixed or replaced. Little things mean a lot!

- Store the Clutter!  When faced with a potential move, having to sort through accumulated possessions can become a time sink. Often the ďparalysis of analysisĒ sets in, resulting in little progress. Invest in some durable plastic containers and labels. Fill the containers and store them. If the home doesnít have room, place them in a storage facility. Buyers when faced with a property that is visually cluttered will have a hard time seeing past all your things.

- Organize Closets, Cabinets, Cupboards, and Shelves! After storing the clutter, tidy the rest. If your closets are overstuffed with clothes, or linens clean them up. A buyer will assume there isnít enough space in your home for their stuff if there isnít enough space in your own home for your stuff. Donít assume a buyer wonít look somewhere because they will. Buyers will open cupboards, look under the sink, go in your closets, open shower curtains, draw the blinds on the windows, and more. Show off the storage space your home has. Clean those windows and ledges!

Remove Excess Personal Items and Toiletries!

A home should be a reflection of the homeowner, unless the home is for sale. This is a tricky and important area to address. Buyers are trying hard to picture their belongings in your home and themselves living there. If they canít see your home because everywhere they look they see you, your family, your childrenís art work, your friends, your awards, and your trophies, they will have a more difficult time envisioning their dream. Less is more. All of the above items are great to have and show but in moderation. Pick and choose then store the rest. The last thing to mention is toiletries. Store them. This is simple to do. Be ready for a showing each day. For each person in your household assign a small plastic storage box. When they leave for the day all their personal items go into the box and placed under the sink or somewhere out of the way. Nobody wants to look at your toothbrushes, razors, deodorants or other personal items!

Stage Your Property for Sale!

What does it mean to stage a home or condominium for sale? Staging is simply the process of preparing a property for sale so that it is visually pleasing to a buyer. In fact there several businesses that do nothing else but help owners stage their homes for sale. Cleaning, storing, organizing, and fixing broken items are the first phase of staging. The last phase of staging is simply the art of placing items and arranging furniture to make each room more inviting and appealing. Often overlooked, this last step is the easiest and most fun to accomplish. Think of a home as a product on the store shelf. Once it is priced right, the packaging must be appealing so that the buyer will choose it over other similar homes. Here are some tips for staging each room in your home.

Foyer or Entryway: Fresh flowers or a plant make a nice welcoming impression. If the home is vacant place a tasteful silk arrangement in the entry.

Kitchen: The kitchen is the heart of the home. To help buyers envision enjoying and using your kitchen, have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter or table. Try placing a cookbook open on a stand to a cookie recipe next to a wooden spoon and mixing bowl.

Bathrooms: Place large attractive towels rolled or stacked near the tub or shower. If you have room arrange lightly scented candles on a tray near the tub, on the counter or window sill. Remember the rule of three when decorating. Itís best to use three different sized similar candles. Try to avoid heavily scented candles or potpourri. A potential buyer may think that you are trying to hide something.

Living Room or Family Room: Music is wonderful if played softly in the background and the selection is pleasing. Arrange a cozy afghan on a comfortable chair or sofa along with an open book or a book arranged on top. It will create a warm comfortable feel to the room. Be sure that your furniture is arranged in an inviting manor. Try to avoid placing the backs of furniture to the main entrance into the room. Mirrors should be hung to reflect attractive views, not blank walls. Fireplaces, if wood burning, should be clean and look ready to light. Unused fireplaces look warm when filled with candles.

Dining Areas: Many buyers love to entertain. Help them visualize their friends and family gathered in the home by setting the dining table with attractive place settings, utilizing chargers and goblets. Place a large bowl of fruit or fresh flowers on the table. For more casual dining areas, such as breakfast bars, kitchen tables, and patio tables, set attractive place mats and centerpieces.

Bedrooms: Beds should not be visible from the entertaining rooms of a home. The buyer wants to feel that each bedroom in a home is not only cozy and inviting but private. The challenge comes when a home has bedroom doors that open into entertaining spaces. Try to arrange the bedroom so that dressers or end tables are viewed when the bedroom door is left open, and not the bed. If this canít be done consider a tall well placed plant, or screen. Several final touches can transform a bedroom from a place to sleep to a cozy retreat for lounging, reading, or napping. An attractive breakfast tray with a small bud vase and napkin can be placed on top of the bed. Afghans can be draped loosely over the foot of the bed or armrest of a comfortable chair with a book. A small writing desk with stationary and pen is always a nice touch in a guest room or master bedroom.

Garage or Storage Areas: Itís tempting to throw all the excess clutter in the garage. Sometimes it canít be avoided. If you canít store the stuff, organize it and make the garage look larger. A fresh clean coat of paint can do wonders in this often neglected area of the home. If space allows, create work areas such as garden supplies, household tools, outdoor toys, etc.

Be Flexible and Ready to Show your Property!

Many showings of a property can occur with little advanced notice. A good realtor will be ready to accommodate a last minute showing, and the owner must be equally prepared for their property to be seen. The best way to accomplish this when living in the home is to create an exit plan. Checklists can be helpful to verify that rooms are tidy, and toiletries are stored before leaving. Discuss with your realtor which lights should be on, music that can be played, and how to address any pets.