House for Sale

The housing market has slowed, but you don't have to wait to sell. Here's what you can do to ensure your property is snapped up!

house in this market, and they see the value that staging brings to the process of selling a home. However, the tendency is to choose staging as a last resort rather than [as] the first task in the process.”

To prepare a home for sale, Brown typically begins with a one — to two — hour consultation with the homeowner. “My job is to visually analyze the house by inspecting it,” she says. Depending upon the size of the house and what she is asked to do, the consultation fee varies between $150 and $350.

Stagers like Brown work with real estate agents somewhat akin to the way that appraisers and home inspectors work together during the home evaluation process. Brown’s objective is to draw attention to a home’s selling points, its architecture, fireplace, or hardwood floors. Stagers emphasize those features through collaborating with agents. “I want to appeal to a far — reaching audience to attract the targeted buyer,” Brown says. “I want potential buyers to come in and visualize themselves in the house. That’s the goal.”

LESS REALLY IS MORE
Whatever you do, resist the urge to over — improve or make costly changes to your home that will return little if any value. For information on which improvements return the most value, read “Home Improvement 101″ (Shopsmart, August 2006). Many real estate agents and staging experts also say it’s not prudent or even necessary to spend thousands of dollars on new furniture, extensive lighting schemes, accessories, or other decorations to glamorize your home. Instead, stagers say, it’s best to work with items you already own, with an eye toward either placing desirable items in the right place (i.e., highly visible spots), or removing potential detractors from areas where they are likely to turn off potential home buyers.

Brown and Massenberg also recommend that you depersonalize your home. Remove personal items such as photographs, your set of po
rcelain dolls from around the world, or those antique race cars you’ve been collecting.

If you have a ton of stuff in your home, put items you want to keep in storage; sell or give away the rest. A good book to get you started is Mission: Organization by HGTV and edited by Amy Tincher — Durik (HGTV; $19.95). The purpose of all this uncluttering is twofold: First, it gives your house a more spacious look and feel; second, uncluttering helps potential buyers envision themselves living in your home. After all, that is what you want: the transition from it being your home to theirs.

5 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast!
There’s no doubt that pricing your home right is the best way to sell your home quickly. But, in a slow market, that may take longer than expected. In the meantime, here are five ways to sell your home fast!

1. Add some sizzle. It’s important to depersonalize and unclutter, but you also don’t want your home to become so bland that it is completely nondescript and thus, not memorable. Strike the right balance; it’s important that your home stand out from

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