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ask phyllis a real estate question


Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions. Email us here

Dear Phyllis,

We recently met with a Realtor® to discuss getting our home on the market in February. She gave us a long list of what we should take care of, including removing clutter which I understand but she even recommended paring down furniture and family photos. I am looking for the easiest way to sell?


Dear Pat,

The short answer to your question is “no”. You don’t need to make any repairs or improvement to sell your home. In fact, any point of sale requirements (such as water heater bracing, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors) can typically be assumed by the buyer. However, many home sellers decide that in order to put more sales dollars in their pocket, they prefer to invest some time and energy in preparing their home for sale. After reviewing your Realtor’s recommendations, only you can determine whether you want to expend the time and energy in order to sell for more money. Unfortunately, the easiest way to sell will not net you the most money.

Your Realtor is being compensated to do much more than put a sign in your front yard. The agent you met with understands that your home will sell faster and for more money when it is appealing to prospective buyers. Try not to take your Realtors suggestions personally. I have shown so many homes with walls of family photos and inevitably either the buyer or I are distracted by them wanting/needing to know if we recognize anyone in the photos.

easiest way to sell

You are moving anyway and now is the perfect time to get a head start! Start packing knick knacks, photos, small collections, etc. These items are always distractions when buyers are looking at your home. Imagine, a builder’s model home, tables, kitchen and bathroom countertops, and other surfaces should have very little on them. Also, now is the time to sort through closets and drawers. Expect potential buyers to open your closets because they want to know that there is enough storage for them. Closets should never be overflowing (pack it up, toss or donate). Less is always more.

Don’t overlook a thorough cleaning and getting your landscape in shape (maximize curb appeal). After prepping your home for sale, your agent should hire a professional photographer.
It may be difficult for you to complete all or even most of the items on your agent’s to do list, but that’s fine. Do as much as you are comfortable with. Most homes sell on emotion; buyers want to feel that their life improves by living in your home. A welcoming home sets that stage.

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