Real Estate

Marketing your home in 2015

Even in a hot market, your home might need some easy and common-sense help so it can attract the right buyer
Replacing bathroom faucets is an easy way to improve the appearance of your home.

When speaking with my real estate colleagues around the country, there seems to be a common thread: lack of inventory. However, that does not mean that all properties will sell.

What contributes to getting your home sold in 2015? Pricing it correctly, making it readily available for online shopping, and showing it off to its best advantage.

In 2015 what the consumers want, they go get. Online shopping is prevalent. People are used to banking online, shopping online, doing research online, etc. This most definitely includes real estate shopping. Your home should be online with lots of photographs and descriptions. I’m sure your real estate agent will see that your listing is posted on numerous websites for maximum visibility by the online shopping public.

But getting your home ready to market begins with you. Regardless of how long you have lived in your home, it is important to walk through each room and assess its show-ready condition. Declutter and de-personalize countertops, closets, storage areas, and rooms in general. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine their own furnishings and personal belongings in your home. I always suggest that the home should be ready for a party with your most important guests.

I am often asked if one should remodel the kitchen or baths before selling. That is always a tough call. A seller may spend all that time, disruption, and money and what is done may not appeal to a new buyer. Sometimes a bit of renovation or sprucing up can make a big difference. Consult with your real estate agent on whether new knobs, countertops, or new appliances would be worthwhile.

Painting is always good. It is one of the least expensive things that can be done to spruce up a home. The stagers I work with are also color consultants, and they can help pick out an “up-to-the-minute” paint color that will make your home appear more contemporary. Should you paint yourself or call a professional? I always recommend professionals. They can do the job quickly with a crew, and they know how to protect your furniture. Don’t forget the outside of your home. Does the trim need painting? Doors and windows? Siding? The exterior paint is very important, because it shows how well you have maintained your home as well as adding to the first impression.

Curb appeal! This is critical. Buyers do start their search online and will be looking at your home’s exterior photographs, including the garden or other outdoor areas. Trim trees, weed, plant fresh flowers, and remove any garden debris or unsightly materials. While looking over the garden, look also at the exterior doors. Do they need any repairs before painting? Are any steps loose? Any cracks in the siding? And don’t forget about the roof. If it needs replacing, it is relatively inexpensive, and it shows the buyer you are maintaining your home.

Other repairs: fix any leaky faucets, make sure that all light bulbs are working and light fixtures look good. Be sure your bathtub is caulked, your toilet properly seated with the wax seal, and, if needed, consider replacing the bath faucets or vanity if yours are old and outdated. If the grout is dirty, have it cleaned or regrouted.

Most important is to keep your home clean, clean, clean. Again, think of that party with VIP guests. Have the windows washed, and the carpets and wood floors professionally cleaned. While your home is on the market, be sure to keep it vacuumed and dusted with all surfaces wiped down regularly. Pare down closets to the essentials. Keep counters and tabletops clear, especially during an open house. Then take a final walk-through to admire your hard work and beautiful home. Potential buyers will appreciate everything you have done.

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Stephanie Saunders Ahlberg has been a real estate agent for more than 30 years and joined Hill & Co. in 1983, where she has consistently been among the top 10 salespeople. She can be reached at