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How to Sell Your Starter Home

First-time buyers typically have less money to spend on a home than more experienced property owners. If you're selling a smaller home, with one or two bedrooms and bathrooms, you may want to consider marketing your property as a starter home. To sell a starter home quickly, you'll have to balance affordability with attractiveness and utility. Starter homes tend to be less aesthetically pleasing, but a quick sale is possible if you can make up for it in other ways.

Choose Touches that Will Attract First-time Buyers

A first-time buyer will likely want a home that is low-maintenance, with a yard that doesn't require a lot of upkeep. Inside, consider heavy-duty carpeting and washable paint. Outside, plant frost- or drought-tolerant plants and add plenty of mulch in the flower beds. These types of touches appeal to potential buyers who don't want to spend their weekends working on maintenance projects.

Play Up the Curb Appeal

Make sure your house has strong curb appeal. First-time buyers are more likely to buy impulsively, and if you can make a potential buyer fall in love with the house before they even enter it, you're much more likely to close the deal. Rake the leaves, keep the lawn mowed, and add splashes of color with brightly-colored flowering plants in planters and pots.

Redecorating Tips

If you intend to do some redecorating before you sell, think about appealing to young couples. Repainting is one of the easiest ways to update a drab-looking room. Take care to choose neutral tones so that you don't run the risk of excluding potential buyers with strong color preferences. Consider painting a "feature wall" in a complementary color - for example, in the master bedroom, a feature wall behind the bed can add some interest to the area. Help your potential buyer imagine living in the house by redecorating with them in mind. You can make the second bedroom more attractive to your market by turning it into a nursery. Repaint in a soft neutral color (not pink or blue!), add colorful curtains with a nursery theme and perhaps place a crib or bassinette and other baby furniture in the room.

Reassure the First-time Buyer

If you market your house as a starter home, you're going to sell to a first-time buyer who is probably nervous about the whole process - someone who is making the first significant financial decision of their lives. To appeal to such a buyer you need to give them a feeling of reassurance by giving them ample opportunity to carry out pre-sale inspections. If they don't want a fixer-upper, they need to know that your house isn't one.

If your home is in need of repairs, doing this yourself is a better option than agreeing to lower the sale price. First-time buyers may feel more comfortable buying a home that doesn't need any significant repair work done, even if they're able to negotiate a lower price on that basis. If repairs are required, do them yourself before putting the property on the market to increase the likelihood of a quick sale.

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© 2008, HouseValues Inc.