Preparing to sell your home this year? The most common mistake many sellers make when staging their homes that you can avoid is preparing your home based on your personal tastes. When selling, you are creating a ‘residential advertisement’ for your home, so it must appeal to the audience you want to reach. Because the market is very broad, the look or décor of your house must appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. After all, like any ad, you have limited time to engage a potential buyer. If they can’t instantly see themselves in your property, they’ll move on to the next one.

Here’s what I recommend to create an effective residential advertisement:

Have a great opening
First impressions are crucial. Make sure your property is well maintained, including your garden. Create curb appeal or buyers’ will drive right by to view the next property without giving your home a second chance. Remove any leaves, equipment or trash from your lawn, driveway and gutters. Exterior upgrades -- a freshly painted door, new welcome mat, clean windows, new house numbers -- will help to enhance the appeal of your home. And consider first impressions once the buyer enters your home. Keep your entry hall spacious and bright, and ensure your home is free from any food, pet, cigarette or unpleasant odours.

When selling your home, less means more. Buyers want to picture themselves, their belongings in your home, which they can’t do if it is cluttered or filled with personal items. Remove extra furniture and any collections, family photos, religious or seasonal artifacts. Neutral paint and décor will help increase the appeal of your home, creating a blank slate for buyers to imagine how they will use it. You should also clear clutter and personal items from closets, storage spaces and medicine cabinets. In short, keep only those items you need on a daily basis, and donate or pack the rest.

Sell the positive features and benefits
Highlight and draw attention to the positive aspects of the home, such as a great view, architectural details, even repairs, renovations and equipment upgrades. Your kitchen and bathrooms are prime selling opportunities, so pay special attention to these areas. For example, keep your kitchen counters clear of any knickknacks and small appliances, and remove any magnets or personal items from your fridge.

Create Visual Appeal
Dirt, mold, fingerprints and cobwebs all detract from the appeal of your house. Be sure to clean thoroughly in every nook and cranny, and empty all wastebaskets, for enhanced appeal. You should also consider updating the look of your house by removing dated items. Replace these with a few well-chosen accessories like fresh flowers or lighter drapes that brighten up your house.

Make it easy
Buyers should know what each room or space is used for, so leave something in each room to make its purpose clear. Ensure traffic flow throughout your home is easy and arrange furniture to convince them to linger in each room, creating a lasting, positive impression. Finally, make any necessary home repairs. Buyers will appreciate knowing they can move in without any extra effort or costs.

Remember, the key to selling your house is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. This will help you to create a residential advertisement that maximizes the appeal of your house, leading to a quick and easy sale.

Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution. (c) 2008 Colette Robicheau

Author's Bio: 

Colette Robicheau, President of Organize Anything, is a consultant, coach, and public speaker offering corporate, residential, and personal organizing services. For more information contact Colette Robicheau, Organizing Consultant and Coach visit her website or email