Selling your home?

Don't forget smell of baked bread!

By Nick Harder
as appeared on the San Francisco Examiner Web Page

Getting your home ready to sell can be a monumental chore even if it's in pretty good shape. Repairing all those problems you've postponed for years, cleaning your home thoroughly and keeping it immaculate, and making it look "model-home new" are a task that may seem to demand a full-time staff to help you. However, if you view it as a way to make more money, perhaps you'll be a little more motivated.

If you're already in contact with a real estate agent, chances are he or she will provide you with a checklist of things you'll need to do to get your home ready for sale. Here's a short list of some of the things they'll recommend in case you haven't talked with them yet but want to get started.

Curb appeal. Take a good look at your home as if you were arriving by car for the first time. Does your home need a paint job? Does your landscaping need attention? Is there any way you can spruce your home so it will make a better impression to a potential buyer?

That first-time impression is worth a lot of money, according to real estate professionals. For many potential buyers, they'll either like or dislike a home when they first see it. And they'll be willing to kick in a few dollars more toward your asking price if they're hooked right away.

Inside. The key word here is "clean." Make sure everything is spotless, from windows to tile. If it shines, so do you.

This will require a tremendous amount of work, especially if the house is on the market for some time. No leaving dirty dishes or dirty counters. No leaving the bathroom in a shambles as you try to get out the door to work every morning.

No towels askew on towel racks. No toys on the floor of kids' rooms. Everything in every closet should be neatly put away and on hangers.

Sound a bit like a nightmare? It doesn't have to be as long as you keep up with it daily.

Aromas. Your home should smell wonderful while it's on the market. You've probably heard such advice as "Make sure your home has a baking-bread aroma." Let me tell you that it works, even on potential buyers who know what you're doing.

Don't worry. You don't have to actually bake bread. Little baskets of potpourri, air fresheners or even such aromas as cider cooking can be a wonderful influence on buyers.

Lots of space. All those knickknacks, all those cookie jars on your kitchen counter? Take most of them away and put them in storage boxes for the move.

Small appliances such as a toaster, blender, bread maker, coffee maker and the like? Few, if any, should be in sight. The reason? There are two, actually. First, the impression you want to give is an abundance of space. Second, potential buyers like to project how their things will look in a house. If counters and the like are mostly clear, they'll be able to do that.