If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, every little detail can make a huge difference in its marketability. Not only is it vitally important to make a great first impression on prospective buyers, but you also want those good feelings to linger after they walk out the door.

Although homeowners generally don’t need to concern themselves with the marketing aspects of selling their property, there is one sales principle which is well worth keeping in mind:

More often than not, people make buying decisions based on their emotions and subconscious feelings, rather than on concrete facts and rational thought. It’s only after they’ve made their emotion-based buying decision that they attempt to justify it with facts and logic. So “gut feelings,” intuition, and emotions can play a central role in how and why people choose to buy one home over another.

Easy Home Staging Tips

That’s why it can be beneficial to have the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, cookies, cinnamon buns, or homemade bread wafting through the air when prospective home buyers visit. It can help put your visitors in a positive state of mind, and cause them to associate your home with those enticing aromas and good feelings.

Unfortunately, the opposite effect can also come into play during a house showing. For example, offensive odors in the air could raise questions about the cleanliness or desirability of your house. If pet smells, stale tobacco smoke, or dirty laundry odors are among the recollections that linger in the minds (and noses) of would-be buyers, you can be sure they’ll be less likely to make an offer. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to counteract unpleasant odors and keep your home smelling fresh and inviting for real estate showings.

Two other key things to consider when preparing your home for potential buyers are lighting and clutter.

When one or more rooms look cluttered, it creates two negative impressions in the minds of prospects:

  1. It makes the living space look small and confining, which detracts from the perceived value of your home.
  2. It also creates an impression of chaos and disorganization. Whether that’s a description of your family’s lifestyle or not, you definitely don’t want to convey that to prospective buyers.

Lighting Sets The Tone

Lighting can be a tricky thing to get just right, because there’s a thin line between soft lighting and gloomy lighting. Also, if the lights are too low, people might be wondering what flaws you’re trying to hide.

Harsh lighting can also have a negative effect on how people perceive your home, so if you notice visitors squinting or shading their eyes when they enter a room, it may be time to install a dimmer switch!

Get an Expert Opinion

In most cases, home sellers need input from a real estate agent, Realtor, or experienced home staging consultant to be able to show their home to its full potential. A professional can help you focus on specific areas in need of improvement, and can often provide cost-effective suggestions for making it more appealing to buyers.

If you’ve been living there for a number of years, it’s almost impossible to be objective about what needs to be changed, repainted, rearranged, or replaced. A seasoned real estate professional can look at things from the perspective of a potential buyer, and make recommendations that could help improve your curb appeal, present your home in its best light, and sell it faster and for the best possible price.

The realization that a family dog or cat has gone missing can be a scary, if not panic-inducing moment. While some cats seem able to fend for themselves in the outside world, if they’re gone for more than a day, it’s only natural to assume the worst. It goes without saying that cats kept indoors stand the best chance of staying safe and living a long life. However, many cats are determined to explore the outside world regardless of your good intentions, and trying to prevent them from doing so may ultimately be an exercise in futility. To further complicate matters, many cats and dogs are quite resourceful when it comes to spotting and taking advantage of open doors and unlocked backyard gates.

Once they’re outside, cats can easily jump over fences, and dogs — especially puppies — have a knack for finding and escaping through small openings in the fence (often at the bottom) that you may not have noticed. There are a lot of different possible causes for the disappearance of a pet, but the sense of loss families experience when a beloved pet doesn’t return is universal. Since prevention only goes so far with adventurous cats and dogs, it can also be helpful to have a quick response plan ready. Making sure your pet is either micro-chipped or wearing a collar with up-to-date ID tags can increase your chances of getting a lost pet returned to you quickly.

One vital resource to be aware of and connected with is neighborhood social media sites. By finding out if there are any active ones in your area, you can be in a better position to quickly alert your neighbors, in the event your pet suddenly disappears. Since many people are pet owners, they’ll be very sympathetic and responsive to an online post of a missing dog or cat. The bottom line is this: Your prospects of a speedy reunion will often improve in direct proportion to how many neighbors know about your missing animal friend and how to contact you.

There’s also the relatively old-fashioned, but often effective method of printing out and posting “lost pet” flyers. In addition to posting them in various locations, such as dog parks, neighborhood stores, and pet-oriented businesses, you can also hand them out to neighbors you see when conducting your initial search. For maximum effectiveness, the flyer should say “Lost Cat” or “Lost Dog” at the top of the flyer, and include a good photo of your pet, as well as your phone number and information about when and where they were last seen. Other features, such as breed, color, markings, age, weight, gender, your pet’s name, and any unique characteristics should also be included in the flyer to help neighbors identify your pet. Additional tactics and tools for recovering a lost pet are also available through the ASPCA.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.