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How to Sell Your Home in Any Market: 6 Reasons Why Your Home Isn't Selling... And What You Can Do to Fix Them Paperback – Oct 1 2008

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About the Author

Loren Keim (Pennsylvania) has consistently been one of the top real estate professionals in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, for over 19 years. He specializes in target marketing homes to sell them and has an exceptional knowledge of pricing and market trends.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Chapter One: Staging Your Home for Top Dollar

A few years ago, a client came into my office with a problem. His home had been on the market for almost two years without selling. He had tried four different real estate companies and a variety of marketing programs and nothing was working. The Realtors he worked with kept trying to get him to lower his price, believing that was the only solution to selling the home, but he owed too much to bring the home down to the level his most recent Realtor had suggested. His job transfer was only weeks away, and he was desperate for help.

Before I went to the property, I looked over the listing information and it appeared to be a very nice home that was priced correctly based on the current real estate market-it had over four thousand square feet of living space on two acres of land with an in-ground pool. It was actually quite a package for the price compared to other similar properties in the area. When I arrived at the home, I determined the problem was not the asking price, but rather the staging of the home.

The home was intentionally hidden by huge trees in the front to obscure the home from the road. While this accomplished the owner's goal of having privacy and seclusion from curious eyes, it did not fit with most buyers' desire to have sharp curb appeal.

Walking into the home felt like walking back in time. Although this was an extremely well-constructed home, it was built in 1969, and the decorating was original. While buyers will overlook some things and are usually willing to do some redecorating to their tastes-in terms of the paint color on the walls or the color of the carpets-almost no buyer will purchase a home he or she feels needs to be completely remodeled unless he or she gets a true premium on the price.

Upon first entering the home, a potential buyer would walk into an enormous living room with narrow yellow pine floors and white walls-a very 1970s look. To further exacerbate the problem, the front door was at the far corner of the living room, and the ceilings in the room were lower than normal-under eight feet. The room appeared awkward and rather than giving the appearance of a spacious living room, it appeared to be a long, generic room.

As buyers turned toward the kitchen they found green oak cabinets that were probably very expensive in the 1970s. However, thirty years later, this was probably where the seller was losing most of the buyers. Every buyer who came through the house for the first two years it was on the market would say there is too much work to be done because the first two rooms they looked at both needed updates.

The bright side of the home was that it had spacious bedrooms with hardwood floors, a walk-out lower level, a beautiful private backyard, and plenty of closet space. Unfortunately, the initial impression the potential buyers had entering the home negatively impacted their view of the rest of the property.

We solved the problem for less than $300, and sold the home in six weeks for full price without reducing it like the prior Realtor wanted to. First, in order to change the initial impression buyers had when walking into the home, we asked the owner to place a mauve-colored area rug-a simple inexpensive carpet remnant-in the middle of the living room, leaving hardwood exposed around the edge, yet updating the colors. Then, we had the owner wrap the room in a black and mauve wallpaper border, which took only twenty minutes for the owner to install and yet made a big difference in the appearance of the room. The border helped to pull the mauve out of the carpeting. The final touches in the living room were mere furniture rearrangements. When I had first viewed the home, I did not realize that there was a pair of windows directly across from the front door. These windows looked out over the backyard, a highlight of the property. The owner, however, had chosen to place large furniture in front of the windows, obscuring them from the view of potential buyers. By removing the furniture, a buyer entering the home immediately looked across the room at the expanse of yard behind the home.

Other changes we made included asking the owner to remove and cut back some of the trees in front of the house and to place flowers and add some color in the kitchen. A new country tablecloth with red in it helped to complement the green cabinets. Matching hand towels were hung from two cabinets. Bright flowers and table settings helped the buyers' eyes to focus in a different direction than directly at the cabinets, and they brightened the room. The last addition was some decorative towels in the bathrooms. A few hours of work and a few hundred dollars probably saved that home seller ten thousand dollars or more.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Best Book for Home Sellers and Their Realtors May 11 2009
By Barry Arthur - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read everything I can about Real Estate voraciously. I've read the Dummies book and the Sell Your Home in 5 Days book, and this book is the best. All the simple steps are included, with no BS, and some unique marketing ideas are included as well. It's a soup to nuts guide with some great insights.

What I liked best about the book is that the author included short stories to illustrate how his suggestions work and why. He also has checklists.

I just bought a couple copies for some of my clients. It's a great read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lots of good info Aug. 9 2012
By hollidaisy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book. There was a lot of good common sense information, but there were several things that I wouldn't have thought of. Unfortunately, we still were unable to sell our house. But I don't blame the book. :)

I really liked the checklists in the staging and cleaning section of the book. I found it really helpful to have it all in one place. The author writes in a very approachable way, not condescending or too textbook-like. I think it would have been a great book to read before buying the house!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Easy to Read, Easy to Follow, Easy to Implement July 24 2009
By Alan Jennings - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of the great things about watching HGTV has been that we can see the beginning of the project, how the project is accomplished and the ultimate result of that project.

This book sets out to explain how to sell your home, against the odds of the market, by using examples of homes that didn't sell initially, with the odds stacked against them, and how those situations were turned around to get the home sold.

There are some great examples of uses of staging, marketing, and pricing strategies as well as some cure-alls for situational problems.

Overall, this is a great book. I highly recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Easiest to Read & Best Book on Home Selling Available March 18 2010
By Patrick Rosa - Published on
Format: Paperback
With wit, humor and great stories, Keim lays out the foundation for selling a home better than any book I've ever seen. He tackles the issues of whether or not to sell on your own (the pro's and con's), how to effectively market your home, how to use mortgage products to make your home more attractive to buyers, and how to find buyers by enticing them to look. In his section on staging, he takes the home apart, room by room, and gives us checklists of what needs to be done in each area and why it's important. And again, he sprinkles funny stories throughout the book to show examples of what works, what doesn't work and exactly why.

If you're looking for the best book for selling a home in a slow market, look no further - this is it. I also recommend a book of funny real estate stories he wrote called Life Lessons...from the back seat of my car, which is a wonderful read.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A strongly recommended instructional guide for anyone selling their home Dec 13 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having a tough time selling a home in this volatile market? What can you do to improve you chances of selling your home and getting an offer that you are hoping for? From experienced real estate broker Loren Keim, comes a compendium of expert advice in "How to Sell Your Home In Any Market". Keim discusses six universal challenges and common mistakes that include Poor Staging, Incorrect Pricing, Improper Marketing, Location-Challenged Properties, Functional Obsolescence and 'No One is Buying in Your Area', explaining each one and then providing a detailed explanation of how to correct or counter the problem. "How To Sell Your Home In Any Market" is an easy to read book provides quick tips, checklists, and photos, to provide a clear step approach to achieving a goal of selling your home, even in though markets. Included are a list of resources and websites to help the home seller be more proactive in selling their home, for example a website which allows home sellers to create an online brochure featuring photos and information about their home which increases your marketing exposure. Thoroughly 'user friendly' and ideal for the non-specialist general reader, "How To Sell Your Home In Any Market" is a strongly recommended instructional guide for anyone selling their home and a critically important addition to community library reference collections.