With the number of homes on the market outnumbering buyers, your home will need to be in tip-top condition to compete. The challenge is to guarantee you make the list for a buyer’s consideration, and stay on that list for as long a possible.

Lots of Competition in Today’s Housing Market

Because there are so many properties available, serious buyers have to quickly evaluate homes that meet their search criteria. They are looking for ways to eliminate homes from their list, culling it down to a manageable number for serious consideration. Even minor negatives, such as pet odor, a damp spot in the basement, or overgrown shrubs in the front yard can be reason enough to eliminate a house from a buyer’s consideration.


In the real estate business, we call these minor offenses “objections.” And, it doesn’t take a significant offense to create an objection to today’s sellers. Sellers have to figure out a way to make the “short list” of homes buyers are seriously considering for purchase.

Your Home Needs To Be A Survivor

One of our daughters enjoys watching the reality TV show “Survivor.” As you may know, the premise of the show is to send a group of 16 participants to a deserted island, then throw a series of obstacles, challenges, and competitions at the group to see who can “survive.” Participants are systematically eliminated from the competition over a period of about 39 days. The last person to be eliminated, the “Survivor,” wins a check for one million dollars.

During the competition participants have to figure out how to manipulate their position in the community so that they don’t get voted off the island in that week’s episode. The motto of survivor is “Out Wit, Out Last, Out Play”. That’s not a bad motto for home sellers to adapt.

Outwit Your Competition

Let’s start with the “Out Wit” portion of the motto. Home sellers can outwit the competition by thinking like a buyer. Take a walk around your property, looking for anything around your home that would deter a buyer as they consider your home for purchase. Is the landscaping overgrown and out of control? Does the front door and entrance offer an appealing introduction to your home? Are there odors in your home from pets, bathroom mildew, garbage disposals, etc.? Do you have roof leaks or dampness in the basement?

Any one of these seemingly minor issues would provide a buyer with an excuse to mark your home off the list. Should a buyer find any of these problems in your home, you will be eliminated from the running. Meanwhile, the competition will stay in the game.

Repair Defects Before Putting Your Home On The Market

If you find a defect during your walk around the property, get it repaired before you put the home on the market. By thinking like a buyer and looking at your home with a fresh and objective eye for defects, you can out wit the competition and place your home on the “survivor” list. Now, you need to figure out how to “Out Last” the competition.

Outlast the Competition

How can you place yourself in position to be the sole survivor on a buyer’s short list of homes to consider for purchase? At this stage of the competition, you need to move from overcoming defects in your home to creating positive attributes that will place your home a notch above the competition.

  1. Create some curb appeal by planting some colorful annuals in your flower beds and pots.
  2. Put out a birdfeeder to make your back yard look like a nature habitat.
  3. Place an attractive mat at the front door.
  4. And, while you are at it, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
  5. Wash all your windows, inside and out.
  6. Remove window screens and store them in the garage or basement.
  7. Place bright bulbs in every light socket.
  8. Take this opportunity to eliminate clutter from your home. Your home will actually look larger if you reduce the amount of furniture and other “stuff” lying around.
  9. Rent a storage unit if space is short.
  10. Replace the shower curtain, hang fresh towels in the bathroom, and replace the lid on the toilet for a “renovated” look.
  11. Remove everything from the kitchen counter, clean the oven and clean out the cabinets.
  12. Treat the laundry room in a similar fashion. Remove all laundry from the laundry room on a regular basis.
  13. Fresh flowers on the countertop and fresh smells in the house will go a long way towards creating a positive impression of your home.

Your home-selling competition may not go to the trouble of creating this positive experience, so they are likely to get voted off the list of houses to be considered while you remain in the race. Finally, you need to “Out Play” the competition.

Outplay the Competition

Outplaying the competition may require spending a little money. My dad always said “it takes money to make money.” By spending a little cash to spruce up your home before you put it on the market, you can almost certainly put cash back in your pocket through the sale of your home.

While outplaying the competition may require a minor cash outlay, the results can be worth it. My favorite projects are

  1. painting (inside or out depending on your needs),
  2. removing outdated wallpaper,
  3. installing inexpensive fans in bedrooms,
  4. installing new electrical switch and outlet covers
  5. replacing worn kitchen countertops.
  6. refinishing hardwood floors in older homes.
  7. new carpet in select rooms
  8. a couple of new light fixtures 

Your home probably doesn’t need all these projects. But, tackling just one or two of these projects may help you outlast the competition.

Your Home Could Be The Lone Survivor

Remember, being the “survivor” on a list of 16 or more homes a buyer is considering for purchase may entail more than just sticking a For Sale sign in the yard and an ad in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution classifieds.

Serious sellers need to consider how to make their home stand out from the crowd in today’s real estate market. We hope these tips help you to survive against the competition.’

SALLY ENGLISH and The English Team

Sally English and the English Team have excellent advice to help you sell your Atlanta home quickly.  We are expert home sellers and have a track record of success selling metro Atlanta homes.  We specialize in homes convenient to Emory University and The Centers for Disease Control.  Give us a call at 404-229-2995 or email us if you would like personal advice to help your home sell quickly.