Selling your house? Avoid these mistakes

Due to the economic climate, you may feel uneasy about putting your house on the market these days. But you can attract buyers to your property if you put the right selling skills to use. And instead of dreading having your house on the market for possibly a protracted period of time, you could find yourself scrambling to find a new place to live when your house sells quickly.

Here are some tips to make sure you aren’t turning away potential buyers once your house is on the market:

* Look at your home from the street or driveway. Are the trees, flowers and grass in full bloom? Does the house look fresh, or is it in need of new siding or new paint? Do you have an abundance of property – kid toys, cars, bikes lawn mowers, etc – in the yard? If you discover some home improvement projects that need to be done, get them taken care of before you put your house on the market. And clean up the yard so the house looks welcoming from the road.

* Go inside and take a good look around as you walk through the house. If there are any household repairs that have been on your to-do list for awhile, now is the time to get them taken care of. If you’ve been in your home for many years, chances are you have plenty of belongings stored and crammed in wherever you could find space. To show off your house to its best advantage, do a serious house cleaning, pack up everything you don’t need for daily living and store it someplace else. Have a yard sale or donate everything to a charity so it won’t be in the way when buyers come to browse.

* Make your home less personal to allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in the space. Remove family photos from the walls, and make sure you’re out of the house when walk-throughs are scheduled. If you have a family pet, contain Fido or Fluffy in a crate or take your pet with you.

* Consider having your home inspected prior to listing it. This way you are aware of any potential home improvement problems that you can take care of first, or be able to disclose early so that it doesn’t create a hurdle when negotiating a selling price. Once potential buyers make an offer, they’ll likely have their own inspection done, but you shouldn’t be surprised by anything it reveals since you’ve already taken that step.

* If you get a quality offer, you may want to make sure the buyer’s requested loan is preapproved before you accept it. It would be disappointing to lose time waiting for the buyer to be approved for – and potentially not receive – the loan, and then have to start the process over again.

If you are able to plan ahead when selling your house, it can help make the process a lot easier because you can tackle all the home improvements needed to make your house desirable to buyers. But if you keep in mind everything is negotiable, you may be able to post the “sold” sign in your front yard.