For the Ponisciak family, home sweet home isn’t so sweet.
Joe and Heather Ponisciak are eager to sell their four-bedroom home in Mount Holly, New Jersey, so they can move to be closer to Heather’s job in Philadelphia.
Their home was initially listed for $325,000. They’ve already dropped the price twice, but it hasn't sold so far.
“Good Morning America” brought in home design expert Christiane Lemieux to see what could be done to turn things around. With a budget of $2,000, she got to work.
The first step was to create a grand entrance. The house had been hidden behind an unsightly fence, so, with $200 worth of paint and primer, the first impression was transformed.
The next step was to get rid of any dark or vibrant colors in the house – such as the burgundy in the master bedroom.
“White paint goes such a long way … where you're allowing people to picture themselves in your space,” Lemieux said.
Then, it was time to declutter and depersonalize. It’s an important step, because too many family photos and house plants make it harder for buyers to imagine themselves at home, Lemieux said.
The final step was to address the furniture. According to Lemieux, the family’s old red couch was too big and bold for the living room. For just $500, she replaced the couch with two new sofas and an accent chair.
When the Ponisciaks came home a week later, they screamed and hugged each other, delighted with the changes that greeted them.
Real estate agent Sylvia Boyer of RE/MAX did an independent evaluation. Boyer, who is not the couple's agent, believes the Ponisciaks’ home could fetch about $10,000 to $15,000 above the current asking price of $298,900.
Extra Tips to Help Make Your Home More Saleable
1. Smell counts! Homes that smell good are more likely to sell. Those looking to make a sale should invest in scented candles, fresh flowers or consider baking cookies immediately before an open house. All prove effective.
2. Pictures are key. Make certain online photos of the home are taken in good light and from good angles. All clutter should be removed from rooms (and don't forget to remove photos and magnets from refrigerators). Don't hesitate to get up on a ladder or add extra lights to the room when you take your photos -- and make sure you are using a good camera. If you don't have one, borrow one. Many would-be buyers of homes carefully study online photos in advance and won't even bother checking out a home in person if they deem the pictures unattractive.
3. Consider including some furniture in the sale of your home in a bid to close the deal or boost the asking price. It can be a win-win for the buyers and sellers.
4. Move your furniture around to give the illusion of more space.