OVERLAND PARK, KS, May 13 / PRNewswire / Some small steps like having the closets half empty and changing to higher wattage bulbs can have a big impact when selling a home.

Homes That Cook cover - hi res“I have taken two very happy areas of my life and combined them in a book of real estate buying and selling tips along with delicious family recipes, with the hope that they will enrich people’s lives and their quest for a home that cooks,” says Lettiann Southerland, author of the new book “Homes that Cook: Best Kept Secrets for Buying, Selling and Creating a Home” (Indie Books International, 2015).

Southerland runs a real estate team called Lettiann & Associates and is a full-time real estate agent at Weichert Realtors Graham-Welch with an emphasis on service, sales and marketing, and negotiating.

As a self-proclaimed foodie, she also included more than 100 pages of recipes and cooking tips in her book along with advice on buying and selling a home.

Here are just ten of her tips from her book on selling a home:

  1. Don’t attend your open house. Think back to when you were shopping for a house—would you have felt comfortable to speak your mind with the owner hovering? Give serious buyers room to have an honest conversation with each other and their agent without feeling the need to edit themselves.
  1. Don’t pretend to be a buyer at your open house. This will likely backfire and you will drive away real potential buyers with this crazy behavior. If you feel like you need feedback, ask your agent to tell you the useful comments from the open house.
  1. Provide attractions not distractions. You want to showcase your home and appeal to buyers, but go too far and you could detract. There is nothing wrong with providing cool drinks on a hot day to make buyers more comfortable—it could motivate them to stay longer and see more of the house.
  1. Consider seasonal preferences. While preparing your property and taking steps to market it to potential buyers, consider what seasonal aspects will be appealing while you are selling it. A roaring fire in winter or beautiful spring blooms may help you get a better offer.
  1. Provide full access to the property. You want to be sure buyers can view your whole property when they visit. Unless there is a safety issue, you should not make any rooms, closets, or areas off limits. It is called an open house, after all.
  1. Hold your open house during common times. If at all possible, schedule your open house at the same time as others in the area. Potential buyers often spend a few hours on Sundays and want to maximize their time and see multiple properties while they are out. Though it may be more convenient for you to do it another time, you may limit the number of people that can attend.
  1. Don’t neglect the neighbors. Your neighbors are good assets—they may know people who want to live in the neighborhood and can tell their friends about your property. Invite them to your open houses and offer flyers they can pass along.
  1. Price it right. How do you know what to set for the price? Have it evaluated by an appraiser for its value, then lower that number by 15 to 20 percent. This may sound counterintuitive, but this will likely cause a bidding war between potential buyers that may drive the price up even higher than it’s worth.
  1. Make sure your closets are half-empty. You know that buyers like to look in every door, so you must always keep closets and cabinets clean and organized. But a great tip is to take half of your things out of the closets and make what is left extremely neat.
  1. Maximize the light in your home. A bright and cheery house is more sellable. Do whatever you can to increase the light, including removing drapes, cleaning windows, and changing to higher wattage light bulbs.

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Southerland is a member of the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, the Missouri Real Estate Commission, and the Kansas Real Estate Commission.