To rise above the competition and gain notice in the marketplace, a seller needs to position his home properly, now more than ever. Pricing is, of course, a top consideration. Today, buyers have both the time and the ability to browse a generous amount of inventory. Market pressure to buy something less than perfect no longer drives a buyer’s decision the way it did when listings were here one day and gone the next. Home buyers tend to consider longer and view more properties than in the past.

How does one optimize one’s property for today’s market? Besides conferring with your real estate professional, consider these top home improvements that are expected to bring the greatest return on your investment:

First Impressions:
Curb appeal goes a long way. A new front entry door will give your property a fresh look. A new steel door is considerably cheaper than a wood door. Shop around for a look that suits your home’s facade and greet your buyers with a sound investment for short money.

A New Deck:
Particularly in an area that is strong in vacation home and second home sales, a new deck corresponds to additional living space. While a deck is not considered habitable space, it is both inviting and useful. A deck can make a home feel larger and capture a buyer’s imagination… summer fun, barbecues, family gatherings or just plain relaxing. Wood decks are cheaper than high-end composites but require more care. Composites will cost more but appeal to second home buyers with their easy up-keep. A deck further appeals to those who prefer to entertain at home, a thrifty alternative in a difficult economy.

Landscaping:
Your home’s landscaping contributes greatly to a buyer’s first impression. A yard clean up, especially in the spring or fall, is essential. Rake leaves, mulch beds, trim bushes away from the home, keep the lawn moved. Whether you do-it-yourself or hire a professional landscaper, a neatly kept yard will speak to buyers as they do an initial “drive-by” and tempt them to see inside the well-kept home.

De-Clutter:
Once you’ve enticed a buyer to an actual showing, you’ll want to be sure your home shows its very best. Cleaning and decluttering is relatively cost-free. If you are unsure of how much or exactly what to pack away, request a walk-through with your real estate agent. She will gladly offer some advice. You might also consider hiring a professional home staging expert. Staging aims to maximizing space and light, improve traffic flow and provide balance, often utilizing the principles of feng shui, thus transforming the home into a welcoming environment. A well staged home will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers–and, hopefully, catch the eye of that one special buyer for whom your home is the perfect fit!