home_shot_1You are all set to sell your home (perhaps to move into Seven Oaks!), but a “quick sale” doesn’t seem possible in this market. However, you may be surprised to find that things are looking up. With the National Association of Realtors reporting in early February that sales of existing homes rose 13.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, you may be able to sell your home faster than you thought six months ago.

Also, with the first time home buyer tax credit of $8,000 extended through April 2010 and broadened to offer $6,500 to repeat homebuyers, you may find more viewings of your home for sale on the horizon.

So why not do everything you can to move your home sale along faster? You may not have the funds to make major repairs or remodel, but with a little time and elbow grease, you may be able to push your home into the must-have category in the eyes of potential buyers.

Start with these 5 simple steps to help move your home from “For Sale” to “Sold”:

1. Clean your windows. People are attracted to spaces that are open, airy and bright. Cleaning your windows inside and out and removing your screens will help open up any space. Also, be sure blinds and curtains are open for every showing, allowing the most light into the room.

2. Remove all family photos. When potential buyers walk through your home, they want to envision their own families in the space. Your family photos will distract from their vision. Pack those photos away to help make your home a blank canvas for home shoppers.

3. Mask any odors. Walking through a home is a 5 sense experience, so the smell of your home also will leave an impression on buyers. Have a neighbor or friend walk through the home to let you know where an odor might be, as you are likely immune to smells from living in the space. Create pleasant scents for shoppers by using Febreze, room plug-in fresheners, or reed diffusers. (Be sure any deodorizers are mild, though, as shoppers will believe you’re covering strong odors if the smell is too powerful.)

4. Organize closets. Potential buyers will open all closets to see what kind of storage is available. A cluttered, messy closet not only creates a sense of less space, but makes shoppers believe you do not care about the maintenance of your home, and perhaps have neglected your home in other, potentially more expensive areas. Remove as much as possible and stack and organize like items. A few simple tupperware containers and shelves can make a huge difference.

5. Clear kitchen counters. It’s tempting to leave everyday appliances out on your countertops, but between the coffee maker, grinder, toaster, electric can opener, towel and napkin dispensers, baking canisters, and any knick knacks, you have, you may be minimizing one of your kitchen’s most important assets: counter space. So pack away some items from your cupboards that you rarely use to make room to store your appliances. This way the appliances you need are still handy, but shoppers can visualize spreading out on your expansive, clean counters with their own cooking and baking projects.

What simple staging projects have you found useful?

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