Will Rogers once said, "You never get a second chance at a first impression." While Mr. Rogers was talking about people, it is also applicable to houses, especially when they are on the market for sale. It is important to make certain that the first impression is a favorable one. That's the purpose behind this Market Preparation Guide: it's simply "Advice to help your home sell quickly".

If you have ever been in model homes, you know how good they look. The thought might have even crossed your mind that you'd like to have not only the home but all the furniture, the pictures, the flower arrangements, and even the knick-knacks on the shelves.

There are some individuals who really know how to make a home look its best without spending a lot of money. There are things that can be done to give it that "model home" look so prospective buyers will want it and everything else in the house that you're willing to sell.

When homes have this kind of apparel, they sell quickly and usually for the highest price possible. Another interesting characteristic of homes that look this good is that usually the transaction is remarkably free of problems.

What more could you want than to get your home sold for top dollar in short order without any hassles? If you'll read through this brochure and use some of the suggestions before you put the property on the market, you'll be on your way to one of these successful sales.

One word of warning though... don't wait to see if the house will sell first before implementing these ideas. Once you do decide to do something, don't do just the easy ones or just the bare minimum. The property needs to look good from the street, up the sidewalk, on the front porch, throughout the house, in the darkest closet, and even in the attic. You definitely want to give the impression of a well cared for home.

You want the prospective buyer to feel that this home is quality all the way through, not just on the surface.

You'll never have more activity on the home than you will in the first three to four weeks of the listing. The reason is simple: there are buyers out there who have seen everything available and for one reason or another, haven't bought. They are just waiting for something new to come on the market.

Agents are just as anxious. When that new property does hit the market, buyers and agents both will scramble to look at it. It is common knowledge that the property will usually sell for the highest price during this time. After the initial surge of interest, the only people to look at it will be those buyers new to the marketplace.

Besides all of the reasons listed above, competition is fierce. Don't be naïve with every other home that is currently for sale: new and pre-owned, your area and other areas, those listed with agents and those trying to sell themselves. You are even competing with the foreclosures in the market.

Homes have proven to be one of the best investments for individuals. They have outpaced inflation and in many cases, had exceptional rates of return. Experienced investors who have rented out a property for long periods of time, know that to get the highest price for the property, the property has to look good. You have to appeal to owner occupants who will pay the highest price for the property because they are going to live there.

Typical buyers put all of their savings into the down payment and closing costs and don't have anything left over to improve the home such as replacing the shag carpet. Those buyers will just have to live with that carpet until they can afford to replace it.

If buyers have a choice of two comparable properties similar in price, they'll choose the one in the best condition. Just as on the other hand, if two properties are similar in condition, the buyers will choose the one that is less money.

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