What do I have to do to sell this house?
That’s a fair question. You want to sell your own home, but worry that potential buyers won’t see the charm you’ve worked so hard to create. The problem you face is not that your style or tastes are wrong but rather that not everyone likes the same colors, styles or finishes. In order to sell your own home, you will need to invest some time, effort and even some money. The following home selling tips, implemented in a few relatively inexpensive and effective ways, can mean more positive interest from home buyers, resulting in a faster, higher-priced sale.

Reset the Canvas
In order to “sell this house,” the first step is to neutralize your home’s interior. The idea is to remove anything that you love, but others may find “strong” or objectionable. Don’t think of it as “white-washing” all of the character out of your house but rather as resetting the canvas for the next artist. Buyers will visualize themselves in a new place more easily if they see a workable canvas. Unless a professional interior designer/decorator did your home, it’s probably better to paint your walls a neutral color and clear off countertops and tables. Neutralizing both the vertical (walls) and horizontal (countertops) planes will also make the space feel more open, which is one of the top considerations of buyers. If your home’s interior is already neutral, find your left over wall paint and touch up any scuff marks. You’ll be surprised at how much better it looks with fresh paint.

While we’re inside, walk through each room with a critical eye. When you’re selling a house, you have to see things differently. Notice if there are any distinct aspects of your home that a potential buyer may find offensive. If you list your home with an experienced Realtor, they will easily be able to (and should) point such things out. While you may not be bothered by the smell of smoke or the prize buck head over the fireplace, some buyers will walk away the second they notice such things. If you want to “sell this house”, pull the drapes back, open the windows and smoke outside for a few days and maybe tuck the buck into a closet when you prepare to show your home.

Enhance the Features
The next step is to take the best features of your house from exciting to stunning. I remember seeing an aging Victorian several years ago. The homeowners had done a fine job renovating and the best feature of the house was the library, which they had converted into a theater complete with velvet curtains, custom cabinetry and prime lighting. The rest of the house could have been in fair condition and the theater would have carried the deal.

The key is to choose two, maybe three, features where you can focus your efforts. Once you’ve decided which features or rooms to enhance, set a budget of time and money that you are willing to spend. Look for halogen wire lighting system at your local home-improvement store. They are surprisingly simple to install and once in place, offer special effects, which can enhance any room in your home. Another, slightly more involved, option would be to replace the linoleum in your kitchen with tile.

One of the best things you can do for your home is to enhance its curb appeal. Selling a house is all about first impressions, so don’t neglect the exterior of your home, whether it’s paint, roof repairs or gutters. But pay special attention to the landscaping. Remove any tired-looking plants and flowers and replace them. Spending a few hundred dollars on some new shrubs, flowers and mulch will make a statement about your home that will go far beyond what you spend. All this will be returned to you in the form of a higher price, a faster sale or both.

Define the Potential
While the first two tips deal with walls, countertops, and permanent fixtures, this final step addresses items you will probably take with you when you move, but their presence in photographs and showings will tie the rooms together and ultimately show the buyer that your house is alive.

Put a vase of fresh flowers in the kitchen or a hang a cluster of pictures on an otherwise empty and bare wall. Place a few lighted candles around the house and tune a radio in each room to the same soft-music station. Baking bread or cookies just prior to a potential buyer’s arrival is a brilliant move.

“My house doesn’t look like those show homes I see in other subdivisions,” you say. That doesn’t matter. These general ideas can be implemented to various degrees. It all depends on how much time you are willing to invest. And as with any project, set realistic and attainable goals for yourself so that you don’t get blindsided by a major project that’s beyond your ability or means.

To sell your own home, you must make an investment in the sale. This applies whether or not you employ the services of a Realtor. Selling a house is much easier when the home is ready to be sold