Preparation for a Better Homes for Sale Selling Experience

by : John Harris

With the current housing market, homes have gotten harder to sell. As a seller of a homes for sale, you will need to do more preparation for the sale before you list to ensure your home stands out amongst the competition.

Sellers of homes for sale must adjust their expectations. No longer does a home sell within a month of listing it on the market. Prices have dropped drastically, since the housing bubble has deflated, making it even more important than ever to present your homes for sale to its best advantage.

Professional Staging. Consider having your homes for sale professionally staged. I watched a show a few months ago, where a professional decorator not only restaged the interior of the home but also the second floor deck. Where the deck was once an uninviting, Spartan area with a couple of folding chairs, it became a warm, cozy and inviting retreat. It had wooden benches with soft cushions lining the deck rails, a copper fire pit (kept lit during showings for ambience), wooden end tables, large floor plants in every corner, plants hanging from the new lattice deck overhang. At the open house after being relisted, everyone liked the interior but fell in love with the deck. It sold within a month, after having sit for months at its original listing.

Hiring a designer to spruce up and restage your home can cost a little as $150 for the initial consultation. For a few hundred more, a professional stager will bring in plants, art and furniture, while you place your belongings in storage. Showing your homes for sale to its best advantage lets potential buyers see all the possibilities your home has, increasing buyer interest.

Environmentally Friendly. With energy costs on the rise and people taking a new interest in the environment, many buyers are looking for environmentally friendly features without having to incur the upfront costs. Be sure to ask the professional stager for some ideas on adding such features. Some inexpensive things you can do are to add energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs, replacing the wasteful incandescent bulbs. Put a compost bin in the backyard and filters on faucets. Ensure your realtor points out the energy efficient, yellow stickers on the hot water heater and furnace.

Fix It Up. If you wish to sell your homes for sale quickly, you cannot expect potential buyers to 'fix up' the house, selling it 'as is'. In today's market, it is cheaper to fix a few things than take a great loss on the selling price. While fixing things, give the home a more contemporary look by replacing old kitchen and bathroom fixtures, cabinet knobs, ceiling light fixtures, and so on. Remove wallpaper, mirrored walls, and paneling from bygone eras, replacing them with painted walls. Paint all walls taupe (white is now passe).

Use the Internet. According to Errol Samuelson, president of, more than 80 percent of potential homes for sale buyers check online listings. That means you have more exposure for your homes for sale, if your realtor has it posted on a popular real estate web site. Samuelson says that listings with at least six great photos of the homes for sale and a video tour get 300 percent more online viewers. The more viewers who see your homes for sale, the more buyer interest is generated. The more buyer interest, the faster your home will sell. Ensure you are taking advantages of this technology for your homes for sale.

Price Appropriately. I have seen many articles on how innovative sellers of homes for sale have become in order to ensure a quicker sale and better price. Incentives have been paid vacations to free gym memberships - you name it, a seller somewhere has probably offered it. Developer Robert Sheridan, owner of the Lakeshore Condomiums in the Andersen Springs community in Phoenix, found selling incentives an unsuccessful strategy. He offered free kitchen upgrades and financing incentives to no avail. In the end, he slashed prices by ten percent and sold his condos.

Many homes for sale owners are pricing their homes at last year's prices, while potential buyers are looking for better deals. Unfortunately, the current housing market is supporting the buyers, not the sellers. You must be realistic when pricing your homes for sale. Listen to the advice from your realtor, who has the pulse of the current market. If necessary, check out current listings in your area for comparison. In the end, if your homes for sale is priced too high, it will not sell.