The Secret of Success (when Selling Your Home)

By: Gary Ashton

Spring is here and all those homes are going to be up for sale on the market whatever the newspapers say about the realty gloom! So how can yours stand out from all the rest? What is the secret of success? Is there a secret of success? Yes there is: the Secret of Success lies in the letter 'S' - of course!

The ones you will focus on are: are: the Sale price (it must be right), the Steering of the sale (choose your realtor carefully), the Star power of your house (every home has one), and the Smile (positivity pays off).

The Sale price: Your real estate agent can tell you all about selling prices both for your type of home and in your area. He will also advise you (if you ask) of small improvements you may wish to make to maximize your chances.

There are also other ways to make your home more attractive that will cost labor rather than money. Your agent can also advise you on this - the art of 'home-staging'. This means that you will make your home look like a model show home. Don't laugh; there are certain techniques to this that are easy to follow.

For instance, here is an example: remove all family photos, clear your show shelves of almost everything, take away all those CDs spread all over the place, remove at least half your books from the shelves, take all your fridge magnets (and papers!) off the fridge, clear the sink and surrounds of everything - yes, you get the picture.

You will also need to get the exterior of the home to look like a model show home. This can be achieved by removing all the bikes and hockey sticks and ensuring that the garbage cans are out of sight!

Also small touches like buying a few blooms or small trees in pots by the front door will make a big difference. One easy thing to do is to make sure that all your pathways have a straight edge and that the lawn is cut short.

If you have the time for it, a recent survey on homes stated that any money spent in painting the house (around $1,000.) will be returned over 200% in the selling price. It is also a sure way to make the home look immediately clean and new.

The Steering of the sale will of course be done by your real estate agent. An agent is a valuable asset these days as most deals require mediation and balance; you need a realtor that is both perceptive and sensitive to the buyer's needs.

You are paying him to sell this house for you, and the buyers will be paying him nothing. The mere fact that he offers a free service to prospective buyers means that buyers flock to agents. Why wouldn't they? An agent will do all the legwork for the buyer and it is all for free.

Once he has found the prospective buyers the house of their dreams, he will encourage them to close the deal; and he will take all the pain out of it for them. It is obvious that an efficient agent is the most important part of your deal. Your job is to try and decide which realtor you think has the best negotiating skills and the best marketing skills and then hire him or her.

The Star power will be something that you and the real estate agent need to explore together: you know your house, he knows what sells. Decide what the Star power of your house is and exploit it. This will be something unique that your home has that others do not. Perhaps it was the reason that you fell for the house?

It could be a restful gazebo, or a luxurious bathroom, or a great tree house in the garden (even older buyers like tree houses for their grandchildren). Once you have decided what it is, do your best to maximize it.

If it is something like a fireplace in the master bedroom, make sure you have a log burning in it when the buyers visit. If you have a beautiful gazebo, make sure that the cushions are plumped and you can leave a book and a glass of wine or coffee cup there. Corny, I know - but also very suggestive of a much-needed peaceful haven just outside the kitchen door!

If you feel there is nothing unique in your home, why not buy a beautiful gazebo? It may be worth spending a few bucks to clinch the sale.

Of course, the last S is for that Smile that comes from knowing that you have done everything possible to show the house and it's unique qualities at its absolute best. Do not assume a worried look when the buyers come, give them a big smile as if you know that they will just love your home. Then they will view your home with the feeling that you have something that they want.

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