LA real estate agent gives five affordable tips for selling a home

Successfully selling a house in a Los Angeles neighborhood or in places like Beverly Hills or Pasadena doesn’t only depend on the time of year or if a seller’s market is developing. There are timeless principles to know to sell a house anywhere in the greater LA market. The first step is to ask a key question, says real estate agent Fatima Malik.

“Who is the buyer?” she asks. Neighborhoods give clues to the type of people who move into an area whether it’s families with young children who like the schools and parks or mid-career couples wanting easy access to freeways. Knowing clearly who the buyer is helps the homeowner know the subtleties of preparing the home and marketing it with techniques like staging. A survey from the National Association of Realtors found that 81% of realtors say staging helps the buyer visualize the property as a future home.

Strengths for one buyer may turn off another. A large back yard with lots of grass may be the perfect solution for someone who likes an outdoor area while someone else doesn’t want to cut it or pay a gardener.

Now you’re ready to get over the emotional hurdles. Saying goodbye to your home may be tough for a family who has lived in it and collected years full of furniture, toys and those memories that create an emotional bond. Fatima, who has a luxury interior design background, understands it’s like breaking up a long relationship.

“Take those pictures off the wall just like you would if you’re getting over a relationship,” she advises. “Now’s the time to change your mindset and understand that the purpose of putting your house on the market is to attract offers from buyers.”

Another key is clear out the clutter. Stacks of old newspapers, books, and broken tools laying in the garage or storage shed all have to go. “Clutter gets in the way of buyers who want to visualize how the home will work for them,” says Fatima. Get picky about the little details like painting floorboards. Shoe marks around the edges can take the presentation down a notch. Also, make sure you leave during an open house and pick up your laundry. “I’ve seen homes where socks and other clothes are scattered on the bed. Take the time to pick up.”

Focus on the important rooms like the kitchen, the bathroom, and the master bedroom. “Selling a home doesn’t require spending a lot of money to renovate, especially if a seller has kept up the maintenance. Small details do matter. “Caulking can freshen up tile and replacing a toilet and vanity won’t break the budget, but they help persuade a serious buyer.” Change out shower curtains, shower doors and get a pretty soap box. Hang new towels or have them in the cupboard.

“Making these small changes gives a fresh look,” says Fatima. “It also shifts the energy from being subdued to more vibrant and the buyers get a feel for what the house could look like.”

Plan to enhance the curb appeal. Replace a front door for a welcoming appearance and a few pots of annuals may be all you need to brighten up the front yard. First impressions definitely matter and so does perspective.

“Since I’m also an interior design professional, I’ll sit on the sofa and look through the eyes of a buyer. Make sure the place is so clean that it would pass a white glove test,” notes Fatima.

Prepping a home to sell takes some elbow grease and planning, but the good news is that the wallet doesn’t need to get tired out. Even buying a white glove to see how clean the house is can be bought at a thrift store.

Originally published at on April 7, 2016.

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Don is co-author of the Tom Stone Detective novels on Amazon and writes content for businesses. Visit /

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