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What many sellers do not realize is that often soft negative factors that have a big impact are easily and cheaply remedied which can add thousands of dollars to the price a buyer is willing to pay for their home.

I have been called in on many occasions by a real estate agent to appraise a home as a reality check for sellers who believe their home to be worth far more than it really is or to give guidance on what to do to improve the value of their home. Sometimes I leave a property saying, "What were they thinking?" after seeing a property that has some major selling handicaps.

Immediately after the boom of the mid 2000s, there was a bust and thousands of single family homes hit the market as banks foreclosed and resold. Angry borrowers left properties dirty and damaged and banks put them on the market with no repairs or even cleaning. Investors snapped up these properties and quickly made the repairs, cleaned them up, repainted and sometimes upgraded finishes, then resold them at substantial profit as "flips," often within a month of purchase. Finally the banks realized that by investing to clean up and fix up the properties returned to them in foreclosure, they would get thousands and sometimes tens of thousands more on resale. Homeowners can do the same by maximizing the appeal of their properties.

Buyers buy on hope. They hope to be happy in their new home. They hope their life will be better, their children happier. If your home doesn't give off good vibes, it will sit longer on the market and sell for less than it could because it does not answer the buyers need to believe that their hopes and dreams will be answered by buying your house.

New homes are staged by developers. They have learned that homes that are dressed up encourage buyers to buy and to upgrade. Model homes leave little to the imagination regarding what a home could look like. Most potential buyers are unable to visualize anything other than what they can see. Developers stage their model homes to help buyers visualize themselves living in these homes. Resale sellers can do the same.

Something to consider: Most buyers finance their homes. That means improvements to your home that you do that increase its value can be financed by the buyer. If buyers have to consider additional monies that they would have to spend after purchase, such as for fresh paint, new flooring or repairs, they simply may not have the lump sum of cash needed to do it and therefore will not consider your home for purchase.

Maximize your home's value by following the simple steps outlined in this book to sell your home faster and for more money than you would get putting it on the market "as is."

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