There’s putting a house for sale on the market, and then there’s playing the real estate game and prepping your home for sale. Sure, you can stick a “for sale” sign in front of your home without lifting a finger and let buyers deal with your home as it is lived in (which is probably awesome, don’t get me wrong), or you can spackle and shine until your house gleams with untold potential. This post is for the second group of home sellers. Philadelphia is a hot market, and it’s likely that your condo is already a commodity in demand. But wouldn’t getting top dollar be nice? The following are the secrets to scoring the best selling price for your home in the City of Brotherly Love.


You know about curb appeal, but…

Things are different when you don’t have an actual curb for your buyers to see. Their first impression will be of your condo building, which unfortunately, you cannot control. So it’s up to you to make your own little corner of the world spic and span. Make sure there’s a fresh welcome mat outside the front door, that the door itself is clean of scuffs and scrapes (with no dirt or grubbiness on the surface), and if there’s a carpet in the hallway, that it’s freshly vacuumed. It might not be your job, but the benefits of your doorway appearing spotless will surely outweigh a little bit of extra work.


Put some work into the bathroom

No matter how clean a person you are, there’s almost certainly room for improvement in your bathroom. Constant humidity and general use make bathrooms the ickiest room in the house, and buyers are already going to feel squicky about checking out someone else’s. Bathrooms and kitchens sell houses, as an insider saying goes. Making yours shine may be less work than you think. For a few hundred dollars, you can get the tiles reglazed in a neutral, agreeable color that will put buyers at ease. Anything that you can afford to update in the bathroom will pay off in equity, so don’t be afraid to tackle some projects in the WC.


Make the listing sound heart-to-heart

The right listing can make all the difference when it comes to generating interest and grabbing buyers’ eyes. Here’s a thought: rather than just a dry, uninspired paragraph talking about the state of the roof/AC and how many bedrooms there are (all info that interested parties can find elsewhere), how about mentioning how close a walk it is to your favorite Mexican restaurant? Or extolling the many perks of living in NoLibs, one of the hottest ZIP codes in the Northeast? Reach out and touch your buyers with the words of the listing. If you aren’t an especially accomplished wordsmith, have a friend zhuzh it up for you, or ask your agent. List details about the neighborhood that only you, the homeowner, could know – that line about the pickup basketball games at the park within viewing distance of the building might just be an unconventional selling point for a family with a teen.


Give rooms a purpose

People use spare bedrooms for all sorts of things – storage, playrooms, displays for their Precious Moments collection from the late 80s – but that doesn’t mean this should be how buyers view the space. You want people to see rooms being used for their intended purpose, so that they can envision themselves living there with all their stuff. To that end, make sure you have a proper kitchen table to show that there’s room, whether in the kitchen or dining space; put a swiveling chair and a desk with a laptop in it in the spare bedroom you use as a home office; and make sure the main living space looks cozy and functional. As a bonus, great style elements will attract the eye of buyers and inspire them to deck out their own space.


Consider listing under market value

Here’s a real estate trick that they don’t want you to know (haha, such clickbait): listing your home for ten percent under market value will attract a full 75 percent of your buying pool. On the other hand, being overly optimistic or misguided and listing for ten percent over market will result in only thirty percent of your intended buyers’ eyes landing on your listing. The biggest barrier to most sellers doing this is that they fear that pricing low will leave no room for negotiations, and they will end up with a lot less money than they hoped for. The reality, however, is that a desirable condo with a low listing price is bound to attract multiple buyers, who will all have to bring their best offers to the table to compete. In some cases, you might even trigger a bidding war and sell for more than you asked.


List the little things with high impact

It may not even occur to you to mention some of the little perks of your home, like the Nest thermostat, for instance. But any smart tech is a huge hit with buyers right now, as millennials flood the housing market. Anything that can be connected to an app and controlled by your smartphone, for instance, is a mega-seller. If you’ve spent the money and taken the time to install these special features, make sure that your buyers know about them with a special shout-out in the listing.