It is rare for buyers to purchase the first property they see. As most buyers go from house to house over a period of weeks the characteristics of each begin to blend.

To resolve this marketing problem owners should prepare brochures describing their houses. A brochure has three purposes: first, it is a selling tool; second, it can distinguish your home from many others on the market, and third, it provides a quick reference so buyers can easily contact you.

A basic brochure should contain your name and address as well as telephone information such as where to call you at what hours. List your property taxes during the past year and provide a summary of winter and summer utility costs. State the asking price and special negotiating arrangements you would be willing to accept, such as a delayed settlement, VA financing, or assuming the loan.

The brochure should contain a description of your property similar to that used in classified advertising. Also, there should be a list of items that are not for sale or those which are "not included but available."

In preparing your brochure, stick to the basics. Even if the information is somewhat incomplete, interested shoppers will call back.

Other useful information may include a floor plan, specific data about the house such as the capacity of the electrical system or the type of flooring, a map to the property (valuable when mailing information), and a description of your garden or trees.

If you are selling a condominium or a home purchased from a developer it may be useful to re-print some of the original sales literature if it is available. Remove any information relating to your acquisition cost.

In developing a sales brochure sellers should be certain that their material is wholly factual. False or incorrect information may provide the buyer with a wedge to end or modify the deal. Sellers should retain actual utility and property tax bills to support any claims made in the brochure. These bills should be readily available to potential buyers. They enhance the position of the seller by showing that you can support the claims you make.

As potential buyers leave your home, offer your brochure and ask for their names, addresses, and phone numbers. This gives you an ability to follow-up on visitors and to invite them back for a second tour of the property.

Peter G. Miller teaches the course, "How to Sell Your Own Home - With or Without a Broker" through the Consumer Information Institute in Washington.