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We've Staged Our House: Now What?

Dear Ali: Once we decided to sell our house, we packed away all our personal photographs and collectibles, fixed the minor problems (like the drippy bathroom sink) and made sure our decor was very neutral. What else should we do to make sure the place sells quickly?
A: The first rule when selling your house (or any property) is to think like a buyer.

You've done a certain amount of that already by making sure that the widest swath of people can see themselves in your home.

Now, take a look at your competitors on the market. First you want to make sure that your pricing is realistic; given the down market, you might end up taking a loss on your home -- even Jon and Kate did.

But you're also, as the marketers would say, "positioning" your home for sale. Spend a day or two going to open houses to see what else is available to potential buyers and how your home is better than the pack. Do you have the largest kitchen? The sunniest? The most renovated? Does your house have the best view, the nicest historical detailing, the most open floorplan?

You can then market those competitive strengths.

Remember, they might not necessarily be why you bought the house. Maybe you purchased because it was the newest thing in the neighborhood, and now it's not. But your home will still have strengths in any competitive set, and those are what you want to emphasize.

Good for you for doing the work to make your property neutral. Now it's time to stand out.

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