Home seller topsAs you start to gather up your belongings and pack them away for your move, many sellers question which items they should leave out for buyer appeal.

Often the wrong items are left on display; things like family photos, personal keepsakes, and treasured belongings. All of these items should be safely packed away which very often creates open space (a plus for buyers) on shelves, refrigerator doors, and desktops.

Buyers often make a decision within just seconds of seeing your home about whether or not they want to buy it. So picture your home through the eyes of your potential buyers. What do you see in about 10 seconds?

When you walk up do you see children's toys scattered across the front lawn? Do you see overgrown shrubs and weeds? Do you see chipped paint on the front door, a screen that's torn? Do you spot oil spills on the driveway?

Even answering yes to just one or two of those questions can be damaging, and that's before your potential buyer has entered your home. Sometimes, those seconds are all the buyers need to decide to simply do a "drive by" and not even stop to go inside.

Of course, the goal is to get the buyers inside. To get them to spend time, feel like your home could be their home. But even though that goal is so widespread and common among sellers, somehow the decisions some sellers make are almost completely polar to the goals.

Let's look at five tips that can make your home appealing to buyers.

  • Check all the screens and molding around your windows and doors. This isn't at the top of a seller's list but it ought to be. Even slightly torn screens send a careless message to buyers. It gives an unconscious uneasiness that there's been, at the very least, lack of care for this home. Something simple like fixing a screen is often overlooked by a seller because it is so simple, yet, just seconds of seeing the ripped screen can cause a negative impact for buyers.
  • Add artwork to long hall ways. You don't have to buy artwork that costs thousands of dollars but, if your home has long hall ways, it's nice to break up the monotony with some tasteful artwork. Use contrasting shades and hues to coordinate with the flooring. When you're shopping for the artwork or borrowing it from a friend or your real estate agent or homestager, bring swatches of the carpet or flooring and wall paint to match the artwork colors.
  • Make the kitchen a focal point. Whether they cook or not, the kitchen is of primary interest to many buyers. Winning over buyers with an appealing kitchen can often convince them that they must have the home. Make sure your appliances are clean, sparkling, and working. Return on investment in the kitchen is usually high and worth every penny, and more, you put into it.
  • Put the "ah" in the bedroom. The bedroom needs to look like a bedroom. Sounds funny, but many people use their bedroom for other things such as an office or storage. Boxes or newspapers are scattered or stacked in a corner. There's no "ah" or sense of relaxation with that kind of room. So even if that's how you've been living, understand that's not how you should show a home.
  • If there isn't much space, clear the clutter out. Remove excess furniture. It doesn't matter if you use it. You can walk to another room to get what you need if it means you sell the home faster because it now looks more inviting and spacious.

Making your home more appealing is about seeing your home through the eyes of your potential buyers. When it comes time to go over the offers, you'll be glad you did.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua|
for my Realty Times Newsletter, Mar 2012