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Even in a hot seller’s market, some sellers are seeing their homes listing expire sans a buyer. There are a number of factors that can come into play that we realtor’s tackle on the backend. That said, we love a go-getter seller ready to implement these 7 master cues to get that home sold quickly.

1. Declutter & Depersonalize

As much as we adore your family photos and your beautiful wall of collectibles, these things can make it hard for prospective buyers to fully appreciate the space and the possibilities it holds for them.

Look to keep décor minimalistic. Eliminate visual chaos as much as possible and while you’re at it, be sure prospective buyers can easily migrate through the home without having to clear obstacles.

2. Neutralize

That beautiful Orange Julius color in the kitchen and the fresh mint in the bathroom may totally suit your fancy but to a prospective buyer not into that color scheme, it can be more of a drawback as they feel like the first thing they’ll need to do upon moving in is to repaint everything. (This is especially so where their furniture may be very different from your furniture, creating a clash very different from the effect you’ve created for you.)

Stick to a neutral color parent that is cohesive throughout the home. Soft colors more readily serve as a clean back drop for a number of styles and are easier to change than some bolder colors may be.

3. Deep Clean

You might be amazed at how much a bunch of built up crud can detract from the perceived value of a home and what a world of difference a solid deep clean can do to really showcase its beauty and potential. Be sure to create a list of rooms and tasks to be knocked out in each to make sure you hit everything (ceiling fans, the blades to to curtains, grout and so on). If this seems too daunting, you may consider invoking the help a reliable local housecleaning service to get this done for you, especially if you plan to be out of your home before putting it on the market.

4. Make the Repairs

Deferred maintenance can be a HUGE red flag to prospective buyers. Let’s face it – no one likes to come in to see a house in ill repair (okay, except for maybe the flipper happy to take the problem off your hands for their own solid ROI).

It is worth noting that some repairs may cost you more (sometimes much more) to do later than they would if you just got them done now. This is on top of what you could lose if needed repairs are left to become points of negotiation after you have your home under contract.

Make a list of needed repairs, noting which are cosmetic from those which are most critical and organize them by level of importance. If you’re not sure on this, now would be a good time to call me (or your preferred real estate professional) to determine a best approach for assessing and completing needed repairs.

5. Key Up the Curb Appeal

It doesn’t have to be extravagant but it should be neat and clean. Selecting easy-care plants suitable for your climate and growing conditions and planting them en masse can create a huge impact with less maintenance than more ornate gardens. This is actually better where the home is going on the market as overly complicated landscaping can be overwhelming and off-putting to prospective buyers. Plants like boxwoods and hostas are tried and true staples. Mix in an accent plant such as a Japanese Maple or Globe Blue Spruce to create a higher end look while keeping cost and maintenance low.

P.S. – While you’re at it, be sure to put out a fresh layer of mulch!

6. Light It Up

A bright, well-lit space can make all the difference in the impression prospective buyers get when they walk into a home. I can tell you from experience, buyers are not exactly enthused to find poor lighting in the home or, even worse, lighting that clearly should work but doesn’t.

Go around the home and make sure to replace any spent bulbs. Consider adding lighting to brighten up dark nitches and pockets in the home.

7. Make Sure It Doesn’t Stink

Okay, so I LOVE animals. Your prospective buyers surely do too but let’s get real.

NO ONE likes that to be the first thing they smell when they walk into your home. Pet odors have a way of permeating everything. Some sellers have gotten so accustomed to the smell that they don’t notice it anymore. Buyers notice and they notice BIG. If this is a problem in your home, know that it’s going to take more than a candle and some Febreeze to handle that.

To address this, the home will often need a good deep cleaning, including steam cleaning and treating carpets and upholstery. Solutions containing vinegar and/or enzymes are often a huge help on this war against unpleasant odors. This all applies to homes of smokers as much as for pets.

Another HUGE red flag is that musty smell in the basement that sends agents and buyers on a hunt for mold, mildew and water damage. If moisture is a problem, be sure mitigation measures are taken. (If flooding or water-related has been an issue, the source of the problem should not only be addressed but so should signs of the damage.)

Another funk you may want to address can come from bacteria in plumbing which can be removed with natural enzyme treatments or that “old house” smell that can be addressed with a good deep cleaning that includes wiping down the walls.


Whatever you do, DON’T let this list overwhelm you. I know it may seem like a lot but coming in with a solid strategy can ensure all gets done in time to get your home listed and sold QUICKLY.

If you’re ready to develop a game plan to ensure your home not only sells fast but at its highest possible value, make sure you give me a call. I’m here for you and happy to help!

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