5 Ways to Help Sell a House

Market Watch / June 11th, 2011
Rooms with fresh flowers and open views help sell homes
Rooms with fresh flowers and open views help sell homes by firing on all the senses.

Any good estate agent knows that getting your home in order and staging it well before selling is not only an option, it’s a must. If you’re planning to sell your home, here are five tips from Trulia’s spokesperson and real estate expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson on elements that can get it sold:

1. Good neighbors. Well-kept neighboring homes can make or break the sale of your own home. “Many a buyer has pulled up to an amazing house, viewed it, and left shaking their head with woe because they just can’t cotton to buying the place on account of the shoulder-high weeds, car in the yard or crumbling ruins of the house next door,” says Nelson. On the other hand, your neighbors themselves can actually help sell your home. “Many homeowners know people who want to live in their neck of the woods; this is one reason many seasoned real estate professionals hold their listings open to neighbors and send out postcards to neighbors announcing the listing – the neighbors might know people who are interested in your home! Also, neighbors who are out and about chatting with each other, laughing and playing with their kids, mowing their lawns or painting their fences, or even who just offer a smile and helpful area knowledge to the buyer-to-be they pass on the street can make a very favorable impression on prospective buyers,” she says.

2.  Pleasing sights, smells and sounds. “It’s no news flash that the view of a used car lot; stinky foods or animal smells; and the siren song of a fire station next door could be deal-killers,” says Nelson. “What might surprise is some of the right sights, smells and sounds that can help seal the sale of your home.” According to Nelson, natural beautiful sights, smells and sounds, like trees, mountains, water, birdsong or the scent of lavender or jasmine, are received most positively by the largest population of prospective buyers. “Home buying is a multi-sensory experience – visual staging of the property itself is no longer a plus, it’s a must. But homes which create pleasant impressions that fire on all of a buyer’s sensory cylinders definitely have the edge on their competition.”

3.  Your dog. Contrary to conventional wisdom, well-behaved dogs (and cats!) have helped sell their owners’ Manhattan apartments according to a recent story New York Times by making the places feel warmer and happier. “Definitely consult with your agent before you decide to implement leaving your dog at home for showings as part of your plan,” says Nelson. “Would-be buyers or their agents may have allergies your pet could set off. Lately, it seems like I’ve seen many brokers attempting to capture the best of both worlds by making sure that the family pet or even the broker’s own pet is captured in a charming tableau in 1 or 2 of the listing pictures, even if they’re not present at the home during showings.”

4.  Evidence of happiness. “I’ve seen sellers help buyers see their homes through their own loving eyes by posting videos on YouTube and including the link on the listing flyer or even by putting a binder containing a letter plus menus and flyers from their favorite neighborhood restaurants, dry cleaners and other local merchants out on the counter during showings.” Nelson explains. She suggests opening the curtains wide to light stream in, and using light and bright paint colors and other home features that make residents more happy, as well as rooms in immaculate order and pristine condition. Showing a well-cared for kitchen garden or lovingly furnished (but not overly customized) your kids’ rooms, you’ll create the impression that your home is happily lived in. ”it’s like staging your home with a life well-lived, not just paint and tile.”

5.  Roads or subways nearby. You certainly don’t want traffic right next to your home. “If your place rattles or roars, for example, every time the train passes, chances any buyer will view that as a selling point are pretty slim,” says Nelson. But homebuyers’ attitudes toward proximity to freeways and subways or bus lines are changing as more people jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon. “Every upward click of gas prices renders buyers a tiny bit more interested in a location that is more commutable,” Nelson explains. “Where yesteryear’s buyers were all about the posh exclusivity of far-out suburbia, today’s buyers are more interested in financial and ecological efficiency and convenience. I’ve never heard so many homebuyers looking to own homes that will allow them to ditch their cars entirely as I have in recent years!”

For more real estate tips, visit Trulia. Or if you’re in New York and you’d like to find out more about real estate market trends in Manhattan, please leave a comment.


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