Home-sellers need to think of their property as a product instead of a home when putting it on the market. All too often, they miss doing a few simple things that will give them a fighting chance as selling. As with curb appeal, better a home looks inside and out, the faster it will sell.
Pricing is also an important factor. I find the best pricing strategy is to price a property slightly low. I don't know how many times I've done this and started a bidding war that brought the sellers MORE than they set out to sell for.
1. Stage the YARD!
Nearly every seller touches up the place a bit, paint here, new furniture there, maybe a face-lift on those kitchen cabinets. But think about it from a "product" standpoint. What does a retailer do to get a customer in the door and sell him a product? He puts it in the store window! The first thing a prospective buyer is going see is the yard! Weed it, rake up leaves, trim hedges etc. You shouldn't have to spend a lot of money on something like replacing the driveway (unless it really needs it), just make it tidy.
2. Clean, clean and clean.
Start with the exterior and power-wash walls and decking. Clean windows help a lot too. Inside the home, homeowners need to get into every corner and crevice to remove dust, grime or dirt. Especially impressive is a clean kitchen and bathrooms. Why all the hard work? Buyers like "move-in" condition and will pay more for it.
3. Remodeling and upgrading.
Sometimes the best returns on investments come from relatively minor changes. New trim around doors and windows, new paint and flooring all create a fresh new look. After that, upgrading appliances or fixtures alike faucets and lights also help. Major upgrades such as a new kitchen or bath should only be considered in necessary. Remodeling can take time, and can be more expensive and intrusive than expected.
4. De-clutter and stage inside.
For buyers, less is more. Packing away all those little things you've grown to love (and probably don't even see anymore) get in the way of buyers trying to picture themselves in the home they're seeing for the first time. Staging, or bringing in rented furniture and decorating items, is often ignored by sellers as not important mainly because of cost. Staging needn't always involve renting furniture, however. Sometimes just re-setting furniture or a plant or two can make a difference. I had one house in upstate New York which had stunning views from their living room, but all the seating was backed up against the walls. Nobody could enjoy the views because they always had their backs to them. Staging also helps how a home shows in photographs.
5. Use professional photography and marketing materials.
Ninety percent of today's home buyers do their shopping online. Good photos are a must when it comes to catching their attention. Good marketing makes a huge difference when it comes to how a buyer perceives the property.
6. Pricing effectively.
As I mentioned at the outset, pricing a property a wee bit below its market value can be key in getting it on Realtor's radar to begin with, and to get buyers interested enough to take that first look. Chances are, it will generate multiple offers, competitive bidding and a fast sale at a higher price.