As the real estate market continues to improve, potential buyers are coming out in droves.
Low mortgage rates, a stronger economy and the spring season, when more homes are put up for sale, are helping to drive demand.
In some parts of the nation, demand now exceeds supply. And many homes are being purchased within days, if not hours, of going on the market.
If buyers aren't competing for your newly listed home, could it be that it's not dressed to impress?
"Boomers and older folks always have a much harder time selling their homes. It takes them longer because they're often not aware how much work a home needs to get ready for showing," says Barbara Corcoran, a host of ABC's Shark Tank, who parlayed a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate empire.
Beyond getting a great Realtor with expertise in your area, competitive pricing and the much ballyhooed "staging" and removing clutter, what else can you do to make your home stand out from others for a quicker sale? Here are some lesser-known tips from the experts:
1. Price with round numbers
In reviewing a year of sales in the Houston area, Realtor Jim Mulholland finds that homes listed at or just above "00" sold in about 2-1/2 weeks compared with 4 weeks for properties with "99." His reasoning: "If I'm a consumer looking in the $300K to $400K price range, there's a good chance I will completely miss some very nice homes listed at $299K."
2. Don't skimp on photos
As the most valued feature of real estate websites, photographs of the home turn lookers into visitors. So make them count. "You can't have too many photos as long as they're great, but have at least six," says Corcoran. She suggests hiring professionals who specialize in photographing homes. "It's best not to have a Realtor shoot them," she adds.
The shoot should be done on a sunny day, after curtains are removed. You should also tell the photographer about your favorite views or your home's best features, suggests Patricia Pipkin of the National Association of Realtors. You'll want to review photos before they're posted, but they should include an exterior front, main living area, kitchen, bedrooms and master bath.
3. Storage space sells
Roomy closets and other storage space ranks among today's most desired features, especially with younger people who typically buy boomers' homes. "Problem is," notes Debra Carney-Schoepe, a Realtor in the Philadelphia suburbs, "many boomers live in older homes with limited storage space. So remove excess seasonal clothing from closets and 'color-code' what's left on the sides to make small spaces look larger and more organized — with empty hangers in the middle."
Shelving units or organizers in walk-in closets are a fast-growing must-have — and worth their $200 price tag. Also, pare down kitchen cabinets and remove drain cleaners and other products that may indicate potential problems.