Guest Blog #194, Entry #678, September 27, 2011
Today’s real estate market is very tight. Even if you consult a real estate agent and price your home at market value, it may take a very long time to sell and may not sell at all. However, there are some things you can do to increase the chances that your home will sell quickly and at the price you are asking.
Image courtesy of New Homes Section
Compare Home Buying to Car Buying
Imagine yourself on a car lot. You are looking for a specific make, model and year, and the salesperson tells you that there are sixty of them on the lot. As you begin to look at cars, you notice that all the prices are about the same, but all the cars don’t seem to be equal. Some are very clean and well-maintained, with neat stacks of maintenance receipts nestled alongside original owner’s manuals. Others are scratched and filthy, with ratty carpet and sagging headliners. Most are average, with a little brake dust on the rims and a few worn places in the carpet.
Which car are you going to choose? If there isn’t much difference in price, you are going to choose a shiny, clean car with an immaculate interior. In fact, you probably won’t even take one of the less attractive cars for a test drive, let alone take the trouble to finance it and drive it home.
People who are looking for new homes are no different. In today’s market, buyers have a choice, and they will almost always choose the prettiest, shiniest home in the area. To make a buyer eager to take on the financial responsibility of a new home, the home must have something that sets it apart. If you cannot afford to give your home an attractive price, or if you would rather get more for it, you will have to find another way to make people want it. It’s a good idea to polish your home to a high gloss before you list it, since you will have most of your showings during the first couple of weeks after your home is listed.
Image courtesy of Andy Exclusive Design
Assess your home and fix it up
The first step to making your home into an example of what real estate agents call “shiny pennies” is to take a walk through it and note every ding and defect you can find. Patch, paint, repair or replace every problem area you notice. In fact, if you haven’t painted in a while, it’s usually a good idea to repaint your entire house. Have your carpets professionally cleaned, and repair or replace worn or damaged flooring. Just because you hardly notice the missing globe on the light in the living room any more doesn’t mean that a buyer won’t.
Image courtesy of Arthictetural
Once your home is in the best possible shape, do a thorough cleaning. This is not to imply that your home is not clean. However, potential buyers open closets, poke around in attics and even examine crawl spaces. They will find dirt you don’t even know exists. Furthermore, to a potential buyer your home is not a place where someone lives. It’s a showroom. As difficult as it is to live in a showroom, keeping your home looking like one during the selling process will pay off in the end. Making everything in your home as picture-perfect as possible will make it easier for buyers to picture themselves living happily in your home.
This post was contributed by John Palmer from Hotpoint Washing Machines. John lives in Surrey, United Kingdom. He is a passionate finance blogger, having featured for many national newspapers.
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