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The jury is still out on whether or not the real estate market has bottomed out, but one thing is for sure, it’s still a buyer’s market, and those selling homes have to work hard to attract prospective customers.

Gone are the days when any home or condo in a metropolis could count on multiple offers from people eager to buy in the red-hot real estate market, regardless of the state of the place on sale. Those in the real estate market now do so to buy a place to call home, not to make a quick buck.

The home seller must be prepared not only to be patient with the offers that come in, but also to invest in the property before it goes on the market. Few houses for sale will be able to attract clients as they are. Instead, spend some money to fix up the house before it goes on the market, particularly the bathrooms and kitchen. Fix cracked tiles, make the chrome on fixtures shine, and be sure to get rid of any mold or other obvious turnoffs.

Another way to spruce up a house for sale is to add a fresh coat of paint, especially if it has strong colors. Purple walls may be tasteful for some, but for most people, it can be a huge turnoff. Beige and cream are safe bets for the walls, as well as for the ceiling.

Also, be sure to put away all knick-knacks and other items, like family photos, when you show the house for sale. A sentimental keepsake for the resident may simply reveal too much information about the current owner that could put off a potential buyer. Remember: the house should be a blank canvas that anyone interested can see themselves living in for years to come.

To sell the house as the house of your dreams, investing in a home stager can not be a bad idea either. At a time when so many people are avid viewers of Home and Garden Television, standards are high for what constitutes a desirable home, even in the most competitive neighborhoods. If the house is small, a professional set designer could make it appear larger, while an older house with outdated appliances could be modernized with key fixtures.

Remember, though, that it can take a little longer to sell a house than it did just a few years ago, and for a lower price than it used to, too.

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