KAREN & DAN HOEMKE, Coldwell Banker Premier Group

  • Make the home as bright and inviting as possible—every light should be turned on during showings. Remove high-efficiency light bulbs and replace them with standard bulbs…then take the high-efficiency bulbs to your new home.
  • Paint the front door if needed and replace handles if they’re old and worn. If the lock is difficult to open, it sends an immediate impression to the buyer that the home has not been taken care of.
  • Ask your agent for recommendations when they tour the home. A fresh set of eyes from the agent will see the home as buyers will.

KATIE CURRAN, Janet McAfee Real Estate

  • Image is everything. Make them slam on the brakes as they see your house from the outside. Gutters should be cleaned and straight, add fresh mulch and border the walkway with something spectacular. Place two planters or topiaries at the front door, freshly paint the door, make sure the door bell is in working order, and front lights are cleaned and bulbs are working.
  • Nostrils flare the minute everyone enters a house. All animals should be out during this time. What smell do you like? Certainly not smoke, animals, must or Glade plug-ins! A sure winner is pink stargazer lilies in three rooms; they smell amazing.
  • Create an indoor feeling on your porch or veranda. Outdoor living is the newest and greatest space to increase the value of your home. It becomes a ‘bonus’ room when they are looking at your house.

ELAINE MEDVE, Upper End Properties

  • Find the right agent: Selling can be a long, arduous process, so be sure to find an agent who you will work well with and who will promote your home.
  • Check out properties in your area that are on the market so you know your competition. Being an educated seller is key!
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection: Find out what repairs are needed or are likely to be requested early, so you can have more confidence as you negotiate with a buyer.

JIGGS DUNN, Prudential Alliance Realtors

  • I’m all about condition and appearance. You might have to spend $5,000 to $8,000 to get the home where it should be. It will get the house sold.
  • Houses get labeled like bad children. The first impression sticks. You want to get that good talk going right out of the gate.
  • Each house is different. Some people need to de-clutter, other people don’t have enough, and sometimes you bring a stager in to do what I call ‘foofing and poofing.’ Put some color in, move things around, and it’s amazing the difference it makes.

MARC LEVINSON, Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty

  • The preparations necessary for placing a million-dollar listing into the marketplace should not be dramatically different than placing a home for sale at a fraction of the price. One primary key for all listings should be to de-clutter throughout the home.
  • Buyers often head to the kitchen first, so be sure to remove almost everything from your counters to augment the impression of maximum cooking-prep space.
  • The higher the home is priced, the buyer’s expectations rise accordingly. This means everything should be near to perfect at all times. Million-dollar listings should be showcases.

MAYA KEFALOV, Coldwell Banker Gundaker, Ladue/Clayton

  • Gather your paperwork from your closing package when you bought the house—including your survey and inspections, repairs or remodeling receipts, and before-and-after pictures—to help you look at your house from a buyer’s perspective.
  • Choose an agent with a solid sales performance record, extensive marketing expertise and a tenacious spirit who will deliver exceptional sales results without sacrificing personal service.
  • When the house goes under contract, accommodate inspectors and appraisers without fuss; they can make or break your deal! Show flexibility on requests for inspection items to be fixed; you don’t want to take the house back on the market.

J. WARNER, Laura McCarthy Real Estate

  • Coming on the market, be prepared to be flexible with timing.
  • Price the home at the sales prime point— don’t inflate the asking price. Visit the competition so you know what you’re up against.
  • Have the home show-ready before coming on the market, and work to get the exterior curb appeal to its absolute best.

DEEDEE TATE AND ANN FARWELL, Gladys Manion Real Estate

  • We work to educate the seller. They might need to re-paint, change the hardware in the kitchen or bathroom, or add granite countertops. A lot of buyers don’t want to update; they want something move-in ready.
  • Consider staging, depending on your situation. If furnishings are sparse or non-existent, we encourage people to stage, and we can help them arrange that.
  • In this competitive market, we’re encouraging clients to start preparing several weeks or months ahead of time. A lot of work is sometimes required up-front for a successful, quick sale.