Real Estate

Sound real estate advice for homeowners

In the age of the Internet, more and more homeowners are turning to DIY real estate as a means of saving agent and realtor fees when they decide to sell their homes. The upside of DIY real estate is that you save the 3 to 5 percent commission that you would otherwise have to pay the selling agent, which can translate into tens of thousands of dollars. However, the downside is that you won't benefit from the experience and wisdom that a seasoned agent can bring to the table -- that is, unless you learn the real estate tips the pros use to make homes more marketable and appealing to buyers.

Real Estate Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself

Professional agents rely on the principles of home staging to make properties appeal to would-be buyers. The key here is to make your home as "neutral" as possible; this makes it easier for buyers to envision the ways in which they would use the space, rather than being encumbered and influenced by the decisions you've already made. Your tastes may differ significantly from those of would-be buyers, and you'll put yourself behind the proverbial 8-ball if you don't keep the space simple, open and uncluttered.

The primary way in which you can make your home appear more "neutral" is to remove busy, patterned wallpaper and get rid of bright, intense and bold paint colors. Redo the walls in all major rooms by painting them in light, neutral colors such as white, off-white, cream or beige. This gives buyers a kind of blank slate, allowing them to use their imaginations more easily.

Real Estate

If you have a place to store unnecessary furnishings, remove them from your home and leave only minimal, essential furnishings behind. In addition to boosting the neutrality of the space, you'll also make your home seem bigger -- which is a big bonus in the eyes of a buyer.

Finally, mask or repair cosmetic blemishes in your walls, ceilings and flooring. You don't have to do a complete overhaul of these spaces; just focus on getting rid of any obvious flaws. While any such flaws may end up being apparent to a prospective buyer, they'll seem like "easy fixes" and won't detract a great deal from the perceived value of the home.

When you're ready to market your home, take full advantage of all available resources. List your home as being "for sale by owner" in local print and online real estate publications. Place classified ads online and in your local newspaper, and include extensive interior and exterior photos of every room and show your home from every angle. The image you project is key; mow your lawn and manicure your landscaping before taking pictures. Wait until your interior renovations are complete before snapping photos, and above all, do your research. It's essential that you have an accurate understanding of your home's value to ensure you secure the best possible sale price.