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Six steps to selling your home fast

Here are six steps that are essential for swiftly selling your home.

Price well. One of the most common reasons a home sits on the market is due to overpricing. This is particularly common when the homeowner bought their home at the peak of the market and now needs to sell. Of course, it’s very tough to swallow how much prices have now dipped, but it’s important to know what current market value is so you have the best shot of selling.

To get a good sense of this, check out what comparable homes have sold for in the past six months. Size your home up against homes that are in the same or similar neighborhoods, are the same style, and have approximately the same age, size, and amenities. Also, take into account differences in the home. For example, if the comparable home has a finished basement or a garage and yours doesn’t, you’ll want to take that into account. You can also ask your potential listing agent to provide you with this information as well as an analysis of what price they feel would be appropriate.

Make minor repairs. We’ve all had those little issues in our homes that we keep meaning to fix. Even seemingly small things like a loose railing or a stain on the ceiling often will give potential buyers the impression that the home isn’t well cared for. It’s amazing how little details like that make a big difference. Often buyers don’t know what to look for when determining if a home is in good condition. If they notice deferred maintenance, it often sets off warning bells.

To avoid this problem, ask a trusted friend or your real estate agent to walk through your home with you with fresh eyes and point out any issues they notice that are in need of repair. This way, buyers can focus on the positives of your home.

Radically declutter. In our daily lives it’s easy enough for our homes to get cluttered with mail, work items, the kid’s stuff, etc. These little things distract home buyers and often give them the impression the home lacks enough storage space. Your home may be immaculate but if there’s lots of stuff everywhere, that’s what the buyer focuses on.

When I’m decluttering, I think of it like preparing the home for a catalog shoot. In catalogs we don’t see people’s laundry baskets, soccer schedules, cleaning supplies, and the like. We focus on the beautiful furnishings (or whatever the catalog is selling). And that’s what we want buyers to focus on: the home, not the stuff in it. Here are the big things to focus on when decluttering:
    •    Clear away everything off the kitchen counters except the bare essentials.
    •    Remove items from tabletops except for a few very select decorative items.
    •    Pack up photos and other personal items.
    •    Start packing up items in your closets that you aren’t using so that closet space looks large and tidy.

Get an extra cleaning. Let’s face it, keeping a home in show condition can be exhausting. I often find my clients like to hire extra cleaning help when they’re selling their home. This includes having the windows washed inside and out to bring in maximum light, and doing more than the regular weekly cleaning to make sure everything looks immaculate.

Stage away. Many real estate agents work with professional stagers who are adept at showcasing homes at their best. Staging is different from decorating. It’s about maximizing the space—and capturing the imagination. To make the most of the space, stagers often pare down and rearrange furniture to make sure the space flows well from room to room. But more importantly, a stager’s goal is to create an appealing ambiance.

After all, when we’re selling real estate, we’re selling more than four walls. We’re selling a lifestyle. Buying a home is such an emotional experience, it’s important to create a positive feeling the moment the buyers walk in the door. To me, a home that’s well staged is one that gives me a calm feeling when I walk through it. If you or your realtor are hiring a stager, ask them for before and after photos of homes they’ve staged, or better yet, see if you can tour a home they’ve staged to get a sense of their work.

Professionally showcase. One of the most important things to do when selling a home is have professional photos that highlight the best features of the home. Home buyers often quickly scan through home listings online quickly, so we may have only a few seconds to capture their attention. If the home pictures are dark or unappealing, they’ll quickly move on.

Taking pictures of interior rooms isn’t easy. It requires the right type of camera lens, proper lighting, and a professional eye. If you’re interviewing listing agents, check out their existing listings to see how they look. Also, find out how they plan to market your home. It’s a tough real estate market, and selling a home involves more than putting it in the MLS. Your agent should be able to provide you with a comprehensive marketing plan—and the reasoning behind it. For example, they should be able to tell you where is the home will be marketed and why those are the best avenues for success.

Have a real estate question? Contact Leslie Mann and she'd be glad to answer your confidential questions. Mann is a real estate agent with Gibson Sotheby's International Realty in Weston.