Detach yourself emotionally

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX AT BARNEGAT BAY-

Buying real estate is an emotional decision, but the opposite needs to be true for selling real estate. Emotions can get in the way of selling your property.  The more attached you are, the harder it will be to convince a potential buyer to see themselves as the new homeowner.  Try to get used to the idea that the home will no longer be yours. Think of it as a product to be sold. Visit every room and say “good-bye.” Visualize yourself handing over the keys.  

First impression


Curb appeal can create a good first impression. Cut the lawn weekly while showing your home. Keep the lawn edged, fertilized and watered. Trim the bushes, prune trees and shrubs, remove weeds from the garden. Consider planting seasonally appropriate plants to add color. Plant shrubs to fill space where needed. Keep the yard tidy. Rake the leaves in the fall. Keep the walkways clear of snow in the winter. Store lawn equipment, toys, or any other large objects that may obstruct walkways.

Pressure-wash the siding or add a fresh coat of paint. Use neutral colors such as white or off-white. Repaint or replace the shutters or gutters as needed. A contrasting color is a nice touch. Add a new doormat. Repaint or replace the front door. Make sure the front door opens and closes securely and locks easily. Make sure the house number can easily be read (replace faded numbers and remove obstructions).



Paint walls in a neutral color to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Replace burned out light bulbs. Replace carpeting or flooring that is worn out or dated.

Create an impression of order around the house (shirts in the closet facing the same way, coffee mugs in the kitchen with handles pointed in the same direction). Dishes should be put away or stacked in an orderly fashion.  Towels should be freshly clean.

Keep the home bright. Open all blinds, drapes and curtains to let in maximum light. Turn on as many lights as possible, including appliance lights and closet lights.

Removing clutter

After years of living in your house, clutter collects everywhere. Removing it is a challenge since you are attached to some of these objects. You may not even be aware how much you’ve accumulated.  Bring in another set of eyes such as a friend or neighbor to help point out areas that appear cluttered. Your agent can also help with this.

Remove as many personal items as possible – you want the buyer to visualize themselves as the homeowner and your personal effects could inhibit this process. For example, remove any family photos, books from the bookcases, and accoutrements from tables and shelves.  Sell, donate or throw away items you no longer want or need. Rent a storage space to keep kick-knacks, photos, extra furniture, and other personal items. Essential items can be placed in a box and stored in a closet.

Create an open environment , free from clutter. Remove any extra furniture or objects blocking access to closets or cabinets.  Keep walkways clear. Create as much space as possible. Allow the buyer’s imagination to flow freely.

*Useful tip: Remove built-in appliances and fixtures you want to keep. It could be a deal breaker if the buyer learns they are not included with the home.

Limit expenses

Fixing up your home for selling need not be an expensive proposition. Focus on the major issues, such as fixing broken windows or a leaky roof. Fixing a leaking roof is less expensive than having a buyer negotiate a new roof.

When inspecting a home, prospective buyers will often “kick the tires.” They’ll play with anything that has a handle or switch, turning on and off the faucets, flicking the lights, opening and closing doors, cabinets and drawers. Replace or polish handles, door knobs, light switches and faucet  fixtures.  Apply grease to squeaky doors. These are some inexpensive ways to create a good first impression.  

Eliminate odors

Smoking and pets are a source of unwanted odors. If you’re a smoker, you may want to move your smoking outside while showing your home.  An air neutralizer such as an ozone spray can help eliminate smoking odors while not leaving behind the scent of a masking odor. If you are a pet owner, you may have become desensitized to the odors your pets leave behind, but others are not so immune.  Cat owners should change the kitty litter daily and hide the litter box when showing the house. Shampoo the carpets. Use a carpet freshener periodically. Invite a third-party such as a friend or neighbor to assess your efforts.

Air out the house just before a visit from a potential buyer. Fill the home with inviting smells, such as scented potpourri and fresh flowers. Baking cookies, cinnamon rolls or home-made bread adds a warm and inviting atmosphere to your home. Starting a fire in the fireplace is also a nice touch.

If you are considering selling... Give me a call
Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
REALTOR® Associate

RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
Manahawkin,NJ 08050
Direct cell-609-312-9043
eve: 609-978-5985 -


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Marcia Kramarz
Re/Max Executive Realty - Medway, MA

Great Post - Truly - As a realtor, I s/be able to handle this - I've been getting my house ready for 2 years - Next March is the list date - and I have butterflies now leaving a home we've been in for 25 years and raised our kids here - So I will take your advice - WOn't be easy though !

Sep 21, 2011 12:06 AM #1
Michael L. Brownstead
Keller Williams Realty - Allen, TX
ABR, GRI, MRP, SRS, 1SG US Army (Ret.)

Pattie, great info, we can never learn too much about properly preparing a home for the market! Thanks again!

Sep 21, 2011 12:08 AM #2
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

All to often the property is not the problem, needs nothing. It's the marketing that is lacking because ten minutes tops was spent on the listing presentation line. If you have 25 image sockets use them... otherwise having four or five and with a skimpy line or two of on line copy is like running an airline with many empty seats in the planes you put in to the air.

Sep 21, 2011 12:33 AM #3
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

We all live with little deferred maintenance items in our own homes, but you cant have that when you are selling... it is best to bring in a handyman to fix the little things for a few hundred dollars it will help the home sell quickly and for top dollar!  Great Post Pattie!

Sep 21, 2011 04:49 AM #4
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Patricia "Pattie " Romano

Your HomeTown Realtor 609 312-9043
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