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Selling a house without delay

An expert says overseeing a rental from a distance rarely works well

by Ellen James Martin Published: November 17, 2012

•Do the work needed to make your place clean and clear.

“People are used to thinking that ‘sweat equity’ is for homebuyers. But it’s also for home sellers. The only costs necessary for cleaning and clearing are for basic supplies and your elbow grease,” said Ashley Richardson, a longtime real estate agent affiliated with the Council of Residential Specialists (

During the purging process, she strongly encourages sellers to remove family photos and other personal mementos.

•Concentrate on your exterior image.

“Nowadays, buyers’ first impressions are often virtual. That’s because they’re using Google Earth to preview homes. In addition, they also drive by a place to check it out before committing to a showing,” Phipps said.

He said that just as people judge books by their covers, so do they judge houses by their exterior appearance. Among the outside elements that could dissuade buyers from looking inside are peeling paint, unruly shrubs and clunker cars.

•Schedule an event that gives you a concrete deadline.

Phipps encourages you to give yourself a hard deadline by scheduling a “broker’s open house” on the day your home goes on the Multiple Listing Service.

A “broker’s open,” as it’s known, is an event to which real estate agents throughout your area are invited. It’s an effective tool for marketing an attractive property to those most likely to be working with serious buyers.

“Having a deadline is always a good motivator. You don’t want procrastination to cost you valuable time that your house could be on the market,” Phipps said.

To contact Ellen James Martin, email her at


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