58 Tips to Help You Sell Your House Faster

how to sell your house fastLooking to sell your house fast? Here are 58 ideas that can help you sell your house faster.

Marketing

1. Take control of marketing your own home.
2. Post an ad on Craigslist for free.
3. Repost the ad on Craigslist often.
4. Try different headlines for the ad. Keep track of which ones are pulling better, then adjust accordingly.
5. Make sure your ad includes attractive pictures of the house.
6. If you can’t take attractive pictures, hire someone who can.
7. Buy a domain name matching your house’s address (e.g., 40MockingbirdLaneSmithtownPA.com), and set up a website (you may want to check out these reviews of small business web hosting).
8. Use a free web publishing platform like WordPress to set up the website.
9. Take pictures of your house and post them on the website.
10. Take a video or videos of your house and post them on the website.
11. Post the videos on YouTube and link to your site.
12. Link to the website from your Craigslist postings.
13. Link to the website from your Facebook page.
14. Contact real estate agents in your area and tell them about your house.
15. Get their email addresses and email them info about your house.
16. Email them again in a week if your house hasn’t sold.
17. Email them any time there’s updated information, price change, new pictures, etc.

Outside the Home

18. Think Curb Appeal!
19. You don’t need a professional landscaper, but you should keep things tidy.
20. Mow the lawn and keep it mowed.
21. Trim the edges with a string trimmer.
22. Trim your bushes and hedges.
23. Trim bushes away from the house so that prospective buyers can get a good look at it.
24. Remember that if bushes are growing up against the house, it can look like a sign of neglect.
25. Don’t leave newspapers lying in the driveway.
26. If any trees need to be trimmed or removed, do so now.
27. At the very least, make sure tree branches aren’t contacting the house.
28. Put an attractive flowering plant outside the doorstep.
29. Make sure the area around the front door and all other entrances are particularly clean and tidy.
30. If there’s junk or piles of branches or other debris in your yard, rent a dumpster or contact your trash company and get rid of it.

Mechanics

31. Make sure lights and switches work.
32. Make sure all your windows and doors open smoothly, and unlock and lock, without much effort.
33. Make sure your water pressure is strong. If it’s not, consider hiring a plumber to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
34. If the house in unoccupied and you’ve turned off the water, leave instructions about how to turn it on, and how to turn it back off.
35. Make sure your automatic garage door opener is functioning properly.
36. Make sure any fence gates open and close smoothly and safely. Egress should be unobstructed.
37. Is anything seriously broken or malfunctioning? Do you have holes in the roof or water in the basement? Is the air conditioner broken? Get these things fixed, or consider listing the house as-is. Realize that any major problems you don’t address now will become a barrier to closing later, and will cost you valuable time in getting the deal done.

Inside the House

38. Clean up before a showing.
39. Do your best to remove the source of any undesirable odors.
40. Resist the urge to leave candles burning during the showing. This can raise a red flag with prospective buyers.
41. Do the dishes, and don’t leave any on the counter or in the sink.
42. Make sure kitchen counters are as clean and clutter free as possible.
43. Reduce clutter as much as possible throughout the home. A clutter free house appears larger to a prospective buyer.
44. If you have too much furniture in the house, rent a storage unit and move those items there temporarily.
45. Hold a yard sale or post unwanted items on Craigslist. (You may make a little cash in the process!)
46. Vacuum and dust before showings.
47. Flush all toilets before showings, and close the seat lids.
48. Lock pets in their crates or take them with you during showings.
49. Advise the real estate showing office if you’re planning to leave your pets in the house. Let me know how many pets you have, and where they will be located in the house.
50. Consider having the house professionally staged.
51. Sometimes a realtor will offer staging service as a perk. (And some are qualified to do it themselves.)

Getting the Deal Done

52. Consider offering a home warranty with the sale of the home. This can instill a level of confidence in the mind of a potential buyer.
53. Consider selling to a cash buyer in your area to whom you can sell your house fast as is. A Google search will help you find these buyers in your area. Search: sell my house fast or sell my house as is followed by your town or city name.
54. Register on a real estate investing forum, and post the info about your house with a link to the website you’ve created.
55. If you’re listing with a realtor, resist the temptation to reduce the commission below the standard commission. This can lessen your agent’s interest in selling the house, because they can make more on selling other houses.
56. Before you list with an agent, interview several agents. Look for an agent with a recent track record of selling similar homes in your area.
57. If you feel your agent is not putting in the effort or getting the result you expect, make sure you communicate this and give your agent a chance to respond. In the event that you’re still not satisfied, consider selecting a new realtor after your contract is up.
58. Recognize that many agreements don’t actually make it to the closing table. You are your own best advocate. Ask questions, and push for resolution to make sure the deal gets done.

The author is a real estate investor and marketer with a PA real estate investing group that helps homeowners sell their houses quickly.

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Ideas for Going Green When You Remodel

green remodeling
Whether you’re planning a full remodel or a light makeover, there are many ways to go green. Going green can have a variety of meanings – from using environmentally friendly products that last longer, use less energy, and require less maintenance, to selecting products that have been manufactured to minimize environmental impact. In many cases you can achieve all these goals with a little bit of research and some careful planning.

Your research can begin with online searches for energy efficient products and techniques relating to the kind of remodeling you’re considering. Many big-box home improvement chains now carry a significant number of energy efficient and environmentally friendly products in a wide range of product categories. Energy Star rated appliances are one familiar example. But many are more subtle and require additional research on your part.

Over time, a homeowner/remodeler will start to become familiar with ways to identify these products. Look for phrases like:

“Contains 90% post-consumer recycled content” (a higher percentage means more material has been recycled)

“Low-VOC” (stands for volatile organic compounds – often found in paint)

“Low-E” (stands for low emissivity – a characteristic of window glass that reflects radiant energy)

When it comes to going green with more extensive remodeling, additions, or new construction, consider contacting a green building expert or even taking a green building education course yourself.

But for weekend remodeling projects, the opportunities to go green are abundant. Here are three great examples.

1 – Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has many environmentally friendly qualities. A ceramic tile floor doesn’t have to be refinished like a wood floor does, meaning less maintenance over time. It’s also easier to keep clean than many types of floors, resulting in a healthier overall environment. Unlike many types of carpet, ceramic tile won’t release fumes or fibers into the air. New types of thin-depth tile can eliminate the need to tear out the old tile, meaning you’ll lessen the amount of material that needs to go to the landfill. And many ceramic tiles now consist of a portion of recycled material. Look for tiles that indicate they incorporate “pre-consumer and post-consumer waste products.”

2 – Low-E Windows and Window Film

Low-E (or low emissivity) windows and window film are a great way to reduce energy consumption in summer and winter. Low-E windows incorporate a thin film coating on the window surface which is designed to reduce the transmission of thermal energy through the glass – for example, keeping hot air out in the summertime. Low-E windows cost a little bit more than non Low-E windows, but you’ll see the difference in the energy bills. Not looking to install brand new windows? Many home improvement stores now carry Low-E film you can purchase and install on existing windows, thereby achieving a similar effect.

3 – Energy Efficient Ceiling Fans

Energy efficient ceiling fans keep you cool in the summertime. By pushing air down in the living space, a reversible ceiling fan can also help keep you warm in the wintertime. They cost less to run than air conditioners and use less energy. Look for a ceiling fan with an Energy Star label. Need to upgrade your existing ceiling fan? Many stores carry upgrade kits that let you improve your existing ceiling fan without replacing it.

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Celebrity diets

Looking like celebrities is an insatiable obsession in our society and getting their bodies is at the top of our wish list. We’re just dying to borrow their trainers or have them spill their slim body secrets. So when we get some information on how that hottie looks so hot we gobble it up. Below we take a look at a few of the popular diets that celebrities are participating in today. We can see some diet tips that we can take away from them, like carrying a water bottle to make sure we stay hydrated, and which tips we should skip.

The Dukan Diet

Kate and Pippa Middleton use the Dukan Diet to stay slim. This diet consists of calculating your “true weight” (the healthy and realistic weight goal for you) and then being set up on a plan to get to that weight in 4 phases. During phase 1, you eat nothing but protein. Phase 2 consists of protein and vegetables. Phase 3 reintroduces previously forbidden foods on a list of 100 approved foods. You will reach your “true weight” during phase 3. Phase 4 is dedicated to maintaining that weight. They compare this diet to the Atkins Diet, but really I think it sounds very similar to the South Beach diet (which was also compared to the Atkins Diet). All three of these diets involve upping your proteins and limiting carbohydrates.
What we can learn: protein helps keep you full so eating it can help you to eat less. Avoiding simple carbohydrates like pastries and white bread will help us avoid the calories from those empty foods but we shouldn’t avoid carbohydrates altogether. Whole grains are very important for energy and in general, any diet that excludes an entire food group isn’t a healthy balance for your nutrition.

The Master Cleanse

Beyonce is a known user of the Master Cleanse which involves a cleansing and detoxification of the body. Dieters drink a mix of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. You put nothing into your body but liquid for an extended period of time. Some versions of this diet have different lengths of time and some combine the liquid meals with some solid food. The diet leads to rapid weight loss. You must wean yourself back onto solid food carefully afterwards and dieters are known to gain back the weight that they lost.
What we can learn: cayenne pepper is supposed to suppress appetite and help increase metabolism. Sprinkle it onto your food to aid in your weight loss efforts. This diet, though, is dangerous and ineffective for long term weight loss. Your body needs solid food for energy and any diet in which you lose too much weight at once is not good.

Weight Watcher’s

Weight Watcher’s has had several celebrity endorsements including Jennifer Hudson. While using Weight Watcher’s, dieters are given a certain allowance of “points” a day. A point value is assigned to each food and you keep track of your points to not go over your daily allowance. You are given extra points each week that can either be added into your daily points or saved up for weekend fun. This diet is basically a controlled and helpful way of the basic dieting 101 rules of counting your calories.
What we can learn: cutting calories is a simple method to losing weight. Eating less equals less pounds always. This diet is healthy because no foods are excluded. Just make sure that you are eating low calorie, filling foods. Your daily allowance can be used up very quickly on cookies and ice cream but that won’t keep you full all day long.

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Social Celebs

Celebrities were once thought of as movie stars, TV personalities, or other well-known faces that could only be seen on the big screen. The public had no real connection or contact with these starts besides seeing or hearing them in interviews, and their private lives were kept…well, private. Today’s stars, however, live their lives in the public eye and have regular communication with fans, basically boosting their popularity not only through their movies and shows, but also through their online marketing strategies and use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

The movie stars of today’s generation need not rely on their big or small screen career to get noticed, they can just learn some savvy tricks of online marketing and create their fame all by themselves. With the rise in popularity of reality TV, viewers today feel like they already know the celebrity and consider them like one of their friends. What was once an out-of-reach, high-profile star is now a “neighborhood friend” and can be accessed via Twitter or can share their personal photos on Facebook. Celebrities today can even be born directly from their social media use, without ever having stepped foot in Hollywood or onto a movie set. Regular, everyday people can instantly become stars when their YouTube video goes viral, their tweets are retweeted to millions of followers, or they accrue thousands of fans on networking sites. The stars of tomorrow don’t need an agent. They don’t need a manager. They’ve got the tools they need and the know-how to lay out a full-fledged online marketing campaign. So what has happened to our elusive and private red carpet celebrities?

Maybe it’s just that the technology has finally caught up to the culture that today’s fans thrive on. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Twitter were around in the 1950’s. Would Marilyn Monroe send out Twitpics to her followers of her on Playboy photoshoots? Would a Facebook Locations reveal that Frank Sinatra was at his favorite Las Vegas casino with @TheRatPack? Maybe James Dean or Marlon Brando would post a weekly video blog on the Internet, where fans could log on and watch a live broadcast. It’s hard to say what would happen if today’s technologies had been around half a century ago, but it’s easy to see how drastically things have changed, all thanks to the Internet and some stealthy marketing tactics.

Some see the wave of social media and the Internet as a good thing, as a platform where we can all stay connected and maintain long-distance relationships. Sure, it does all of that, and it also exposes us on a level that opens our lives up to millions of people. While a lot of people, including today’s celebrities, can use this as a free promotional tool that puts them in touch with their fans, others believe that it exposes them a little too much, and can actually hurt their career. I don’t think things can ever get back to the way they were, where the stars of Old Hollywood were rarely seen off the set of a movie or incessantly tweeting their whereabouts; it is clear that times have changed and that today’s celebs are quite “social”, to say the least.

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Kristi Yamaguchi Dream Big Little Pig

Kristi Yamaguchi, gold medal figure skater, mom, and author, has released a new children’s book called Dream Big, Little Pig!.

The book follows the adventures of Poppy, a “waddling, toddling pig with big dreams.” She discovers the being a star isn’t as easy as it seems.

One reviewer said:

This book was a gem and one that I would recommend highly to anyone with kids. It is a story of determination as well as one that shows kids to achieve their dreams even when they are discouraged. I loved the fact that the main character keeps trying new things until she finds something where she simply excels. I read this to my girls tonight for the first time and they were transfixed! I know that this book will definitely be one that I will keep around in the future!

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, the book targets children ages 4-8.

In addition to her Olympic gold medal in 1992, Yamaguchi also won Dancing With the Stars during the 2008 season, paired with Mark Ballas.

Also filed under: Kristy Yamaguchi, Christy Yamaguchi

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Ted Danson Oceana

Ted Danson, star of TV’s hit series Cheers has since become an ocean activist.

“We are at a tipping point with our oceans,” he said in an appearance on NBC’s Today Show.

In his new book Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them, Danson describes his journey from his days as a star on Cheers, to his role as one of the world’s leading ocean activists.

From the Amazon.com product description:

Most people know Ted Danson as the affable bartender Sam Malone in the long-running television series Cheers. But fewer realize that over the course of the past two and a half decades, Danson has tirelessly devoted himself to the cause of heading off a looming global catastrophe—the massive destruction of our planet’s oceanic biosystems and the complete collapse of the world’s major commercial fisheries.

In Oceana, Danson details his journey from joining a modest local protest in the mid-1980s to oppose offshore oil drilling near his Southern California neighborhood to his current status as one of the world’s most influential oceanic environmental activists, testifying before congressional committees in Washington, D.C., addressing the World Trade Organization in Zurich, Switzerland, and helping found Oceana, the largest organization in the world focused solely on ocean conservation.

On March 15, Danson appeared on numerous TV shows including the Today Show among others, talking about his new book and his years as bar owner Sam Malone on Cheers.

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DWTS 2011 Premiere

Popular ABC ballroom dancing contest show Dancing With the Stars kicks off its 12th season on Monday, March 21, 2011.

This season’s cast includes Chris Jericho, Chelsea Kane, Ralph Macchio, Romeo Miller, Hines Ward, Kendra Wilkinson, Wendy Williams, Kirstie Alley, and Mike Catherwood.

Among the professionals who will partner with the stars are two-time winner Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, Karina Smirnoff, and Tony Dovolani.

The first elimination show will air the following Monday, March 28.

Season 11 finalists were Jennifer Grey, Kyle Massey, and Bristol Palin. Jennifer Grey took home the trophy along with partner Derek Hough.

What: Dancing With the Stars (DWTS), season 12
When: 8-10 pm, Monday, March 21, 2011
TV schedule: Monday nights at 8 pm ET
Judges: Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman

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Kiefer Sutherland Touch Premiere

Kiefer Sutherland, star of popular Fox TV action drama “24,” has been tapped for another Fox series, “Touch.” The pilot is expected to air in fall, 2011.

Sutherland earned an Emmy in 2008 for his work on “24,” where he played CTU agent Jack Bauer.

“Touch” is the story of a father, played by Sutherland, who learns his autistic son can predict the future.

Sutherland is currently appearing in the Broadway revival of Jason Miller’s “That Championship Season.” It is not know whether his work there will interfere with production of “Touch.”

Sutherland has appeared in such popular films as The Lost Boys, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; A Few good Men, Flatliners, Dark City, Young Guns, and A Time to Kill.

In addition to winning an Emmy for his work on “24,” he also earned a Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Drama in 2002, also for his work on “24.”

The air time and TV schedule for the “Touch” premiere were not readily available at time of publishing.

Also filed under: Keifer Sutherland

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John Ferber Secret Millionaire

In season 2, episode 4 of ABC’s hit series, Internet entrepreneur John Ferber goes undercover in Los Angeles to help deserving but unsuspecting individuals and organizations.

The popular show features well-to-do individuals posing as ordinary people interested in helping charitable causes. They live on Welfare-level wages for a week.

Many of the millionaires featured on the show are already involved in charitable causes. John Ferber is a founder of Advertising.com and Microgiving.com, a site that enables crowd funding, philanthropy, and micro loans.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Ferber now resides in South Florida.

In the prior episode of Secret Millionaire, author and motivational speaker James Malinchak, a self-made millionaire originally from a small steel town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, spent a week in Gary, Indiana.

What: Secret Millionaire, Season 2, Episode 4
When: 8 pm, March 27, 2011
TV: ABC TV
Plot: Internet entrepreneur John Ferber visits Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, seeking out individuals and organizations and giving away more than $100,000 in donations.
Replay: Secret Millionaire replay air date was unavailable at time of publishing.

Also filed under: John Farber

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Charlie’s Angels Remake Premiere

The remake of Charlie’s Angels is scheduled to make its premiere this fall, ABC has confirmed.

The three angels are now known as well. They are Minka Kelly, Annie Ilonzeh, and Rachael Taylor.

The show was first broadcast on ABC in 1976 and ran until 1981.

The original show starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith. It featured three women who worked for a detective agency. Their boss Charlie’s face is never seen. Additional angels who appeared in later years included Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, and Tonya Roberts. The show was produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.

In the 2011 remake of Charlie’s Angels, Robert Wagner will play the voice of Charlie.

Annie Ilonzeh has appeared in numerous TV shows including General Hospital, Melrose Place, and Entourage, as well as the films Miss March and He’s Just Not That Into You.

Mika Kelly, who hails from Los Angeles, has appeared in Entourage, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, American Dreams, and Just Go With It.

Australian actress and model Rachael Taylor has been seen on Grey’s Anatomy, Hercules, Melt, and Summer Coda, amond others.

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