Peggy Farber, CRS, CIPS, TRC - oldCape Sotheby’s International Real Estate


Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.

Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.

One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.

There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.

A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.

Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.

While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.


"Motivation" could be defined as a positive energy that is applied to the achievement of a desired goal.

You may be wondering whether you, as a home seller, need to be motivated. The short answer is: "Yes! Your attitude and energy level can potentially make a huge difference in the sale of your home!"

In rare instances, the right buyer may show up at just the right time, without much effort on your part. However, when it comes to getting the best price for your house and selling it within the shortest period of time, you don't want to leave things to chance! The stakes are too high and the window of opportunity is too brief to depend on luck. Although there are several variables that are beyond your control -- such as market conditions, location, and time of year -- there are plenty of things you can do to increase the probability of a fast sale.

Choose a proactive real estate agent: The encouraging news is that there are many full-time real estate agents who are personable, focused, and results oriented. They know their business and they recognize the value of positive client relationships. However, all real estate agents are not created equal. Unless you're hiring a real estate agent based on a rock-solid recommendation from a trusted friend or relative, it's always best to interview at least two agents before making your final decision.

The real estate agent you ultimately work with will have a direct impact on many aspects of your home-selling experience, so it pays to choose carefully. Although a good rapport does go a long way toward a successful working relationship with an agent, it's vital to find one who's experienced, knowledgeable, and successful. Success is important because if they don't have a proven record of selling houses in your area -- especially ones in your price range -- then how can you be sure they'll market your home effectively?

Always put your best foot forward: One crucial thing house sellers do have control over is making a good impression. You rarely get a second chance to make a great first impression, so it's well worth your while to prioritize things like curb appeal, cleanliness, and home staging.

If there's anything about the appearance or functionality of your home that concerns you, you can be sure prospective buyers are also going to notice it. An experienced real estate agent will have a good sense of effective home staging, what might put off buyers, and how you can cost-effectively remedy problems.

Half the battle usually involves thoroughly cleaning your house, applying a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint where needed, and getting rid of clutter in and around all surfaces, including floors, countertops, walls, and storage areas. Although every situation is different, when it comes to furniture arrangement and room décor, "less is (usually) more!"


Selling your home can be an exciting time because it usually represents a positive change in your life. Chances are, putting your house on the market means you're moving up in your career, expanding your family, or even retiring.

Regardless of the reason you're selling your home, one thing's for certain: You'll want the process to go as smoothly as possible!

The first step to making that happen involves choosing a real estate agent who's experienced, easy to work with, familiar with your neighborhood, and ready to help you navigate the many twists and turns of selling your home. If this is the first time you've sold a home -- or if you haven't done it in a decade or more -- you'll need lots of advice on everything from pricing your home correctly to enhancing its appearance and making the best possible impression on potential buyers.

Since you usually don't get a second opportunity to make a great first impression, there are two crucial concepts to remember that can make or break your chances of selling your house at the best price and in a relatively short period of time.

Curb Appeal: One of your top objectives in listing your house is to attract as many qualified buyers as you can. The first hurdle you'll need to clear is making your property look inviting from the outside.

Whether you're selling real estate or consumer products, attractive packaging is what catches people's attention and draws them in. The outside appearance of your home and yard is the first thing that triggers either interest or disinterest among prospective buyers. House hunters often make a snap decision in a matter of seconds about whether to pursue a real estate listing, and that decision is typically based on factors like the condition of your lawn, the neatness of your shrubbery, and the appearance of the exterior off your house.

Basic ways to enhance your home's curb appeal would include applying a fresh coat of paint, maintaining a manicured lawn, and -- if the season allows -- placing colorful potted or hanging flowers on your porch or near your front door. Good curb appeal advice would vary, depending on the style, size, layout, and condition of your property, so the best place to turn for customized curb appeal ideas would be your real estate agent.

Home Staging: Most people are familiar with the concept of home staging, but don't necessarily know how to go about it in the most effective way. Part of the problem stems from the fact that homeowners can't objectively look at their own home and see what needs to be improved or changed. Outside opinions, such as those from a professional home stager, Realtor, or home decorator, can be extremely helpful. If you happen to have a friend or relative with a flair for home organizing or decorating, they may be willing to provide you with some productive suggestions, too!




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