10 Ways to Make Your House More Salable

  1. Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.
  2. Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.
  3. Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.
  4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.
  5. Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
  6. Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
  7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.
  8. Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
  9. Clean your gutters.
  10. Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Irresistible

  1. Put fresh or silk flowers in principal rooms for a touch of color.
  2. Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and new guest soaps to every bath.
  3. Set out potpourri or fresh baked goods for a homey smell.
  4. Set the table with pretty dishes and candles.
  5. Buy a fresh doormat with a clever saying.
  6. Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.
  7. Put away kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.
  8. Lay a fire in the fireplace. Or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
  9. Depersonalize the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos, and distinctive artwork.
  10. Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes to make the lawn sparkle

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale

  1.  Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
  2. Get your house market-ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
  3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.
  4. Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
  5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.

7 Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract

  1.  The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.
  2. Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.
  3. The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest-money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.
  4. Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it’s acceptable.
  5. Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you’re willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.
  6. Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final—inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won’t drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.
  7. The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.

20 Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

Make your home more appealing for potential buyers with these quick and easy tips.

  1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
  2. Buy a new doormat.
  3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
  4. Put new doorknobs on your doors.
  5. Put a fresh coating on your driveway.
  6. Edge the grass around walks and trees.
  7. Keep your garden tools out of site.
  8. Be sure kids put away their toys.
  9. Buy a new mailbox.
  10. Upgrade the outside lighting.
  11. Use warm, incandescent light bulbs for a homey feel.
  12. Polish or replace your house numbers.
  13. Clean your gutters.
  14. Put out potpourri or burn scented candles.
  15. Buy new pillows for the sofa.
  16. Buy a flowering plant and put it in a window you pass by frequently.
  17. Make a centerpiece for your table with fruit or artificial flowers.
  18. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
  19. Buy new towels.
  20. Put a seasonal wreath on your door.

Tips on How to Price Your Home

  • Consider comparables. What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities?
  • Consider competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes?
  • Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?
  • Get an appraisal. For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Be sure to ask for a market-value appraisal. To locate appraisers in your area, contact The Appraisal Institute (www.AppraisalInstitute.org) or ask a REALTOR® for some recommendations.
  • Ask a lender. Since most buyers will need a mortgage, it’s important that a home’s sale price be in line with a lender’s estimate of its value.
  • Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.
  • Know what you’ll accept. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.