If you were to ask me what your home is worth the honest answer would have to be, "That depends".

Let's say you live in a neighborhood with a median home price of $250,000. What improvements have you made that makes your home better (more appealing) than your neighbor's home on the same street who owns the exact same model as yours? 

A lot of your home's value is determined by the neighborhood you're in. You don't want to be "that guy" who built a $400,000 home in a $250,000 neighborhood. People do that frequently because they believe they are getting a good value on the lot. In turn they can afford a larger or more luxurious home. But it's still a $250,000 neighborhood. Most people searching for a $400,000 home want to be in a $400,000 neighborhood. 

Obviously you and I don't control the economy, stock market or the collective real estate market but there are some things we can control.

So many of the home improvement shows are scripted and edited they lose most of their educational value. They're meant to be entertainment.  I watch a lot of them myself, but Realtors know where the flaws are. As a Realtor with more than 35 years in business I recognize there is a science to selling. Let's focus on real life Real Estate. I'm here to help you get your home sold faster and for top dollar so we should start with pricing.

1) Pricing: Get this one right and just about everything else takes care of itself. Rule #1 is you can't get emotional about your price. Rule #2 is don't leave anything on the table. You have to price your home according to fair market value. Buyers don't care how much in debt you are or what you paid originally for the home eight years ago or that you're upside down on your value. Find a capable Realtor in your area who's familiar with your area to get an accurate price range. You can get specific about pricing from there. When the home is priced right in an area of high demand you will get multiple offers with the highest and best terms. 

2) Curb Appeal: This is mission number #1 after pricing. This is so important because my local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) requires the primary photo to be the front of the subject property.

In my career I have spent hours researching properties for finicky clients to find that perfect fit. Gourmet kitchens featuring granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, pot fillers and bathrooms with gorgeous tile and luxurious whirlpool baths are pointless when you pull up to a home and your buyer won't get out of the car because the outside is a mess. Think about this the next time you're in a grocery store where they have reduced the prices of "dented" cans. The dent doesn't really affect the quality of the food inside. It only affects the price. It's the same with a home. Dirty neglected exteriors, weeds, bare patches of grass and dead plants have a tremendous negative impact on your home's perceived value.

3) Make your home "Move In Ready": After spending weeks or months looking for a new home most people don't want to move in to a place where they have to spent more time and more money making the home liveable.

You are competing with other sellers some of whom are new home builders with shiny new model homes.  To compete with them clean up where you can. Make shiny things shine and sparkly things sparkle. Clean your windows and window frames, baseboards, light fixtures and faucets. When things are clean and sparkling people don't notice a lot of other issues.

Repair leaky faucets, broken or missing screens, broken baseboards and nasty, stained, worn out carpeting. If you can't afford flooring improvements, acknowledge the problem up front by offering a reasonable flooring allowance in the advertising. Meanwhile get an area rug to minimize the impact of really worn or soiled spots.

4) Professional Photography: Think about that $400,000 home again ask yourself "should I really use my cell phone camera to promote a $400,000 property or should I spend a little money on hiring a professional photographer"? Your answer will be found here. Professional photography on a dreary day. And here. Conklin Marketing 360

Although I live and work in Myrtle Beach, SC many of our potential buyers are located out of state. One of my recent sales involved sellers expressing their frustration at a lack of showings from their agent. They asked what I would do differently. I simply pointed them to my marketing plan which includes professional photos. The sellers immediately saw the value. We had multiple offers from out of state clients within days after they hired me because I provided high quality virtual tours with aerial photography that allowed people to visualize what the property actually looked like without being there.

5) Make your house available to show!!!! This is one of the most frustrating elements of being a Sellers agent. After you have done all that staging and your agent has put together the perfect marketing package please don't limit availability to once or twice a week in the late evening hours.  Try to find a solution to your scheduling. Buyers also have limited times to see property and if they can't see yours they will look at your competition. Realtors have limited options in that regard.

If you have to limit showings because pets are home all day while you're at work consider a pet sitter. Worried about strangers being in your home when you're not there? There are lots of inexpensive monitors available now. Want the chance to clean up before the house is shown? You may need to schedule your house cleaning. 

The good news is as an active Real Estate professional, former builder and a homeowner myself I have lots of solutions. If you need some help contact me or your local agent. My contact info is on my website www.MySeasideHome.com