Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
The Philadelphia Main Line Real Estate and Homes
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
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Subject: Selling Your House? Take Tip From the Pros - Market Your House Like Model Home

Making a few decorative improvements in a home can increase interest and the selling price.

When considering decorative improvements, take a look at what professional decorators are doing in model homes. Models generally are decorated by firms experienced specifically in merchandising, that is, decorating homes not only to be attractive but to be salable and memorable as well.

The main rule is to create a lifestyle the buyer can't resist. In other words, do everything you can to make the home so beautiful, charming, cozy, inviting, comfortable and exciting that a buyer will want to buy that lifestyle for himself. Here are some guidelines:

First, check with an experienced real estate agent. He or she will be able to offer an objective view of what buyers are looking for in your competitive market. Depending upon location, neighborhood, demographics and price range, the special touches that turn on buyers may range, say, from splashy master bathrooms and gourmet kitchens to play areas just for the kids or home offices.

Begin with the idea that, whether low, middle or high end, you want to make your property distinctive and memorable. Here's a simple five-step plan:

1. Eliminate clutter. Notice how model homes are perfect? No mess, no clutter, no mass of personal belongings heaped about? Only a few exquisite and well-placed accessories on tables, desks, chests, etc. It may sound impossible, but it's not. Clear counters and furniture of everything except decorative accessories. Put the personal things - cosmetics, toiletries, clothes, bills, papers, homework - out of sight. Tuck wastebaskets under counters or inside cabinets. Clutter and personal belongings detract from the important features of the home.

2. Create a Color Theme: If you embark on any "investment" decorating, like painting, wallpaper, draperies, or new furniture purchases, create a color theme that's consistent. Wall-to-wall carpeting should be the same throughout the house. Neutral colors are best to please all tastes.

3. Create Custom Spaces: Luxury master bathrooms, "decorator" kitchens, built-in cabinets, computer work stations, exercise rooms, and children's play areas are the kinds of features that generate sales appeal. Even if you don't have these specific custom spaces, you can fashion them or suggest the potential for creating them. New counter tops or floors and shiny new appliances add high sales appeal and customize a kitchen. A few well-placed built-ins and a computer station can create a convenient office nook in a kitchen, family room or bedroom. Accessories, mirrors, plants, and fluffy new towels can generate a feeling of luxury even in a plain-Jane bathroom. Turn an extra bedroom into an exercise room if you've got the equipment, or a loft space into a child's play area or hobby center.

5. Keep it clean and pristine. Dust, vacuum, mop and polish on a regular basis. You're not selling the furniture, but a high shine on wood furniture and floors can make a room sing. Touch up nicks on walls and make sure the porcelain sinks and tubs and metallic fixtures shine. Windows should sparkle. Keep yards and landscaping neat and attractive. Add color spots of flowers to perk up entryways and yards.

Try to imagine the kind of lifestyle your target buyer would enjoy, and create it with decorative touch-ups. You don't have to spend a great deal of money to give your property the competitive edge.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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