Take a drive down the street; does your home blend in? If so, how can you make it stand out? It could be simple fixes like new porch lights, power washing the sidewalks and driveway, fertilizing your lawn, and planting seasonal flowers. A yard in bloom always sells best. Take care of those pesky weeds, bushes, or overgrown shrubs. Sometimes bigger projects are needed. When was the last time you painted the house? You might be overdue. For better curb appeal, ensure that the lawn and entryway look neat and crisp.
Overpricing or even market pricing your home in a tough market is a bad move, as it making gradual price reductions. Homes get the most exposure from active buyers during their first two weeks on the market, and those buyers will quickly lose interest if your price is too high from the get-go. Instead, grab buyers’ attention early by pricing your home 5 to 15 percent under comparable homes before putting your home on the market. It is tempting to go with the highest valuation you receive, but be realistic. In a flat market, price is more critical than ever. Check the prices on similar properties to get an idea of what price to expect. Know how much the properties you are in competition with are selling for, and undercut them. Psychologically, for buyers, yours will appear better value. If your price is too high the property will hang around. If you price low you will attract more interest and increase the chance of getting competitive bidding.
Keep rooms tidy, stay on top of the vacuuming and clear dishes from the draining board. The idea is to demonstrate that this is an attractive, functional home. Leaving your stuff lying around may create the impression that there is not enough storage. The best approach is to pack like you’re ready to move. You’re going to have to do it eventually.
Remember that honey-do list? Did you ever get any of those things done? It’s time to start. Buyers don’t need a home to be perfectly remodeled, but they do want to know a home has been well maintained. Before you list, make sure to take care of the projects you’ve been procrastinating on. From the roof to the basement, they’re hidden all over. Walk through your home with your real estate broker and decide which ones should be done. Things like cleaning the roof & gutters, furnace maintenance, paint touch-ups, checking the crawl space & attic, and fixing dripping faucets can help a lot.
Photographs of the home turn lookers into visitors. Tell your broker or the photographer about your favorite views or your home's best features.
Often the simple fear of the unknown can make buyers uneasy. Instead of leaving them guessing (or worse, exaggerating) costs, be prepared with information on things such as average utility/heating costs and rental history as well as costs for caretakers, gardeners, and plow services you use. A lender-required appraisal is lower than the buying price, and unexpected and potentially costly problems are discovered in a buyer's inspection. The inspection lets buyers know about potential problems and what could be negotiated. If these reports are positive, then showing them to prospective buyers can be a great marketing tool.
Don't gut and redecorate the entire property, but do fix what is obviously damaged. If there has been a leak and there is some staining, pay the money and repair that. If there are some hairline cracks, fill them in. A first-time buyer may think there is a serious problem, even though this is not the case. Fresh paint provides the best bang for your buck, so apply a fresh coat to walls and even ceilings. Bright white ceilings enhance perceived height and natural light. For wall colors, look online and see what colors and finishes are being used. Then copy those in your home. Paint the front door, tidy the garden and make the entrance area as welcoming as possible. While you want your home looking fresh you don’t want to over do it. Buyers often like to make their mark, so don't waste your money on trying to second guess what they like. If the kitchen is tired, don't spend money on replacing it – there is little chance you will make your money back. Don't replace carpets, but do get them cleaned.
Take the dog and kids out for a walk when people come round. Or if you need to be at home, be welcoming but discreet. Keep pets and children out of the way, anything to make viewers feel they are not imposing. The hardest property to sell is the one where the owners loiter in the background. People feel uncomfortable when the owner is around. They don't want to talk about the property out loud, and more often than not, they want to leave too quickly.