Broaden the Appeal of Your Home

Preparing To Sell Your Home

1. Walk through the house and pick out things that would enhance the value of the home if they were different. You'll be better able to prioritize this way. For example, repainting a child's bubble-gum pink bedroom may attract more buyers than something not as apparent, such as replacing an old dishwasher.

2. You can direct a potential buyer's eye away from something negative or toward something positive. Use artwork or a room's own features such as a fireplace to capture a buyer's attention. There is a fine line, however. You want buyers to be able to appreciate the room and not just focus on the items in the room.

3. Remove any furniture that tightens spaces. If a couch or chair forces you to turn your body as you walk by or just makes a passage appear smaller, get rid of it. Everybody wants more space.

4. Rid the house of personal effects, and don't forget simple things like magnets on the refrigerator. Small distractions to the buyer's eyes will disturb their thinking, preventing them from picturing the house as theirs. You want the rooms to look well-decorated and spacious, but avoid turning the house into a perfect home. Try to balance the brand-new look with some of its lived-in warmth.

5. Potential buyers often feel uncomfortable in bedrooms and bathrooms because they are, by definition, personal and private places. To counter this reaction, make bedrooms and bathrooms look like a model home (toss the lived-in feel out the bathroom window). Clear off all surfaces of the bathroom - removing simple things like toothpaste and soap. Put out nice, fresh towels instead. The goal is to make these rooms comfortable for buyers. If the buyers feel comfortable, they'll linger and picture them- selves in the house.

Less is Definitely More

1. Clean out closets, pick up clutter, and pare down what's inside. That goes for those treasured family photos and mementos too. The reason? Besides adding a spacious feel to the home, pared-down surroundings can help potential buyers better envision themselves and their family photos in the house.

2. Pack away items and special collections usually displayed in cabinets and hutches, and move a few pieces of furniture out of the house. This will help buyers to better see where their furniture might go in the house.

3. Don't forget to keep the house clean every minute it's on the market. This takes great effort, but the buyer may need to see it in the next five minutes, and you'll need to be prepared.

Tone Down Your Creativity

So you like your house to "say something" about your personality. Well, it's time to tone it down. Go buy some plain-vanilla paint to cover those red-and-purple walls in your bedroom-it'll make a difference when you're trying to sell your home. Many buyers can't see your Picasso genius (and can't get past the splatter-paint in the living room) to visualize colors they're more comfortable with.

If you've got an Italian fresco on a living room wall that stops people in their tracks, they may lose sight of the rest of the home's wonderful features. If you're resistant to do anything about it, ask someone you trust to give you an independent view of your home. Your listing agent will tell you if the house looks cluttered or if any colors are too bright. Some may see bright colors as gaudy. Listen to their answers and take their advice.

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