Five Tips to Increase Your Home's Appeal

Selling your home can be like a single person trying to get the attention of a prospective date--got to clean up, pour on the charm, and emphasize all those great assets.

However, if you can't get the prospective candidate to even notice you (or, in this case, your home), there sure won't be a date and that goes for the selling of your home, too (no closing date).

I've written a lot about staging homes, adding curb appeal, clearing clutter, even adding subtle fragrances to help put prospective buyers in the mood. When it comes to getting a home noticed, especially in these market conditions, you'll want to pay close attention to get the deal done before the end of the year.

  1. Change with the seasons. When you go to stores, one thing you notice is the decor changes to match the time of year. That's by no mistake. The goal is to create a mood, make consumers want to buy more. Psychological and emotional advertising influence buyers all the time. If you put your home on the market in the fall and still have spring decorations around the house, it'll affect buyers. They won't feel quite comfortable. It might not be obvious to them but somehow they're likely to feel that things are "out of place" in this home even if the decor isn't overwhelming. Having out-of-season decor just leaves buyers feeling like the house isn't being well cared for.

  2. Make it cozy. One of the easiest ways to make your home cozy is by drawing attention to the fireplace. As the weather turns colder, flaunting your fireplace as a focal point is often a great selling point. You can turn your fireplace into a prominent focal point by placing mirrors, artwork, and vases on the mantel. A popular trend is to place candles near the fireplace. However, rather than using real candles, you might try flameless candles that put out a soft, realistic glow.

  3. Crank up the thermostat. A lot of times during open houses, the home is quite cozy because the homeowners turned up the thermostat in preparation for the prospective buyers. But when it comes to routine individual showings, especially when the house has been sitting vacant, buyers can receive a chilly non-welcome which does little to make them feel at home. Setting the thermostat to keep the home at a comfortable temperature may cost a bit more but in the end your home will be more appealing. If the home's temperature is either too cold or hot, buyers won't stick around to explore it.

  4. Shine the natural light. Hold your open house during the high daylight hours. Lighting is a big attraction and often helps sell your home better. Have your agent schedule individual showings during the time of day when you know the natural lighting will light up your home. Serious buyers will often come by at different times of the day to see the home in different lighting but put your best foot forward and show your home when you know the natural lighting will favor your home.

  5. Play soft ambient music. Soft, non-distracting background music can help ease tension. Often the homebuying experience is stressful. Buyers are pressed for time and cash. They are in a hurry. Selling a home is a psychological experience that goes beyond just finding a place to live. The emotional feeling buyers get when visiting your home will result in the action they take--coming back to see it again, making an offer, or crossing it off their list. Playing peaceful music that doesn't overwhelm them can enhance their mood and make them feel like relaxing for a bit in a comfortable chair in your living room ... allowing them to soak up the positive experience.

Remember the key rule when selling a home, make your home seem like theirs.