When selling a home, it’s important to make a good impression on potential buyers early on in the game. The general rule of thumb is, the more time a house has spent on the market the harder it is to sell.

A common problem among sellers is that it’s hard for them to see what changes need to be made to their home to sell it quickly. Clutter can go unnoticed, they might not recognize outdated decor and fixtures, or may be unwilling to put away some of the more personalized items in their home.

These are the times where it comes in handy to have a real estate agent that’s experienced in selling homes fast. Someone to take a good, hard look at the home, and communicate honestly enough to help the seller make some changes.

Even small changes can make a big difference. Changes or updates not only to the home and décor itself but changes in the way the home is presented and marketed. We talked to some of our HomeCity Real Estate listing experts to see what they do to ensure a quick and painless home sale for their clients.

- Systematically identify potential seller pitfalls. “I have a check list that I provide every seller with before listing their home,” says agent Mike Williamson. “It contains essential things like cleaning the home, pre-prepping your home to sell, staging, and cleaning tips. This is an easy way to get sellers to look at their homes with a fresh set of eyes. It also takes out any awkwardness associated with telling them to clean up their home.”

- Beat out the competition with stellar curb appeal. “I familiarize myself with the competition in the area to help my sellers gain an edge,” adds Realtor® Susan Ledesma. “I make sure the home has great curb appeal, meaning, it looks great from the street before you even enter the house. Verify that the yard is de-cluttered, the front door is modern; in good shape and colored well, and the porch looks clean and inviting. Getting folks already interested in a certain neighborhood to attend an open house is the hardest part. Once their inside, I make sure the home is de-cluttered and smells nice.”

- Create a sense of urgency. “To help drive more offers, I list the home on a Thursday while advertising an open house for the upcoming weekend,” says agent Michelle McManus. “This creates an urgency and a deadline for potential buyers to put in their offer. In a market as hot as ours, many homes will sell that first weekend!”

- Identify your most likely purchaser, and market to them. “Prior to listing, I try to classify the home to determine what type of buyer will purchase the home,” advises Realtor® Greg Vassaur. "Does this home fit with a first time homebuyer? Is this a great investment property? Is the home located in an area that caters to a certain lifestyle? From there, I may have a general contractor come in and give ideas on remodeling. I'll reach out to lenders that may specialize in first-time homebuyer programs or investor type loans. The goal is to put the sellers and I in the best position possible to overcome any objections from the right buyer. Taking these upfront steps can provide a value-add with print or digital marketing and create an open house environment that attracts the right buyer. Instead of just "browsing," a buyer should decide 'this is THE' house because it makes sense for their situation.”

- Appeal to all of a potential buyer’s senses. “Once I meet with the client I walk through the home and ask them if they are ok with me having my stager do a walk through and make some changes before an open house,” advises agent Melissa Peel. “I also give them my own personal list of what I suggest for them to do while the home is on the market. Some of the best things you can do are some of the easiest. For example, a fresh coat of white paint in the bathroom can make the area feel cleaner and brighter. Replacing outdated fixtures or renting staging furniture can update the homes looks. After that, make sure home smells fresh and clean, play some music, and have all the shutters open and lights on. I like to let sellers know it's no longer their home, but a product that we are selling. I like to appeal to all five senses of the potential buyers who are visiting my open house.”

With a combination of savvy marketing, expert advice, and stylish upgrades, there is no reason a home in good condition wouldn’t sell quickly. However, avoiding common pitfalls is key to ensuring your home doesn’t sit on the market too long. Following your agent's advice will hopefully make the home selling process smooth and stress-free!