Selling? Make the Right First Impression!

by : Carolyn Capalbo

If you are getting ready to sell, be prepared to make your home stand out in this market. If you look at real estate listings, it seems that almost everything's for sale. That's an exaggeration, but there are certainly a lot of homes and condos on the market. Also, because a lot of them are foreclosures, they're priced quite low. So what's an honest seller to do to make their home stand out, and be worth its asking price, in a glutted market? The answer lies in curb appeal, and beyond.

Curb appeal refers to making your home look good at first sight. Usually this involves getting your pruning and landscaping up to date. It could mean power washing driveways or front walks. It may even mean you need to wash or paint your home. But while this seems like a bit of effort, trust me, it makes a difference. Research shows that a buyer makes a decision about whether or not they could live in a home within the first few seconds of seeing the outside. Of course, if they like it that's no guarantee that a sale will go through. There are still an awful lot of factors, and places on the inside that might make them change their minds. But if the outside doesn't appeal to them, they won't have open eyes for the rest of the home.

Speaking of the rest of the home, there are a few key areas that will make or break how your home appears to buyers. Kitchens and bathrooms are of big importance to buyers, as is closet space and bedroom size. Let's tackle each of these one at a time.

Kitchens: these need to be cleaned to a level most people don't normally do every week. Search everywhere for dust. Make appliances shine. Clear out cupboards and clean them thoroughly. Get rid of any old food containers to help create a feeling of spaciousness in your cupboards. If you have extra appliances you barely use sitting on your counters, put them away or get rid of them. You want to enhance how much space their is, not cramp it with all your stuff.

In the bathrooms, be sure there's no mildew anywhere. Clear and clean medicine cabinets and closets. Make sure the toilet works perfectly, and cabinets close properly. Get them fixed if they need it. Nobody wants to buy a house that needs immediate repairs. During showings, hang out your best towels, clean and neatly folded. Have personal items put away out of sight.

In bedrooms, get everything off the floor that doesn't have to be there. This is a great opportunity to get rid of all the clothes you have but will never wear again. If you have kids, there are probably a lot of toys that can be donated to charity. This alone should create more space in the rooms. Remember to have beds made and everything dusted and tidy for showings.

Whatever you do, don't stuff everything you are clearing out of the other rooms into the closets. As I stated, these are also important to buyers. Donate your extras to charity, or, if you must keep them, find somewhere else to store them until your home sells. Organize all your closets so that, even if they are full, they look orderly.

These tips could be the difference between your home idling on the market for months, or selling promptly. Don't underestimate the power of the first impression!