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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
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    8,186

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    Remember that selling is a business transaction, and you want your house to have the widest appeal to the largest audience. The reason the colors should be neutral is that even if the next buyer doesn't like off white or beige, those colors are easy to paint over. Some of the electric red or purples or pinks, or other intense colors are tough to cover up, and if I have a choice between a house I can repaint myself, or get done in a couple of days, and one that will require many layers of primer, and several more of the final paint color, then I'm going with the easier house. Remember less work means less expenditure for the new owners, and that is a plus. It's not your house once you put it on the market, and you need to pull away from it emotionally, and put the emphasis on personal touches and customizing on the next house.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2002
    Location
    new england,,usa
    Posts
    4,305

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    timely post for me!
    i've signed with a lisiting agent and have been gutting and purging like a crazy person. i've been here almost 24 years and i have a lot of stuff headed to goodwill these days.
    we've got a camper lined up for ourselves for may 1 until oct 1, so hopefully the house will sell and we'll have some breathing room before we decide the next step. though i do believe we are going to travel in a motor home for a few years.
    i have repainted the stairwell and it's a deep gold with cream trim--luckily the home and setting is pretty unique and hopefully super desirable.
    i did order new counters sp it's all matchy matchy, but the two grand for them is better than five grand back at closing for new ones to the buyers.



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009
    Posts
    1,170

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    As far as your indoor only kitties - I don't think it's such a big deal to leave them in the house vs. the dogs. Most cats will hide or otherwise be invisible and won't bother with people. Obviously if your cats attack strangers they should be removed too. Or if you think the cat will bolt out of an open door. This is something else to talk to a realtor about.

    Dogs on the other hand should def NOT be in the house.

    One other thing - if you have light-colored carpet, I'd ask people to remove shoes. Seriously. I had someone come through my house with a few kids that had been playing in the mud (in my neighbor's yard, not mine). I had muddy footprints on my freshly cleaned light-colored carpets. I did let my realtor know about it, and she read the other realtor the riot act, but I still had to deal with cleaning everything and was not able to do showings for a few days until the carpets dried again.



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2002
    Location
    new england,,usa
    Posts
    4,305

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    oh i forgot about the pets. we will bring the dog with us whe we leave for viewings, the cats will be locked in their cattery while people are roaming about.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    4,140

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    Another Realtor of recent years, and agree with Jetsmom.

    As far as the kitties are concerned, I've often seen notes left on the door/showing instructions VERY specific to watch out that the cats aren't let out when showing. But they can be distracting, or escape. Can you put a crate in the basement/'out of the way' location with a litter pan?

    And you don't "hire" an agent. They are paid commission at closing, so you can interview a few of those who appeal the most to you, or that you feel the most comfortable with (I'd say try at least 3) well ahead of putting your home on the market. And they should provide good advice for the preparation. Good luck!
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,229

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    When we sold our house we did paint it a neutral (from a warm yellow to a warm cream -- "Windham Cream" from BM which is an excellent staging color). We also rented one of those "pack it yourself" cubes and sent away most of our furniture and all the clutter. We paid a landscaper to spruce up the curb appeal. I actually bought a cheap sofa set that fit the space -- the rooms were very small and we'd been making do with HUGE sofas we'd had from a previous house. The new sofas made the room look normal instead of cramped. Very worth it. We took all our personal pictures out and put the baby toys in the basement, etc. -- we tried for the vibe that people could imagine it being their house.

    I would do it all again -- when we purchased the house it had been on the market for 120 days in a huge buyer's market. It was just completely unappealing. We sold during the worst of the housing crisis at the open house due to the cosmetic changes, and while we didn't make money we didn't lose it either.

    We have house kitties and crated them in a large dog crate in the basement for showings (I bought it for that purpose but it also came in handy later when we were moving). I was too worried someone would let them out. It worked great, no one minded and lots of people poked a finger in to pet them. They were happy.



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2000
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    2,354

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    I have only staged my parents' house. In a way it was easier since we didnt do showings until nobody was living there. I agree with getting rid of a lot of furniture and all personal touches. They had used a bedroom as a den so we changed it back into a bedroom. Cluttered rooms are bad, but so are empty rooms.
    Unless you have wild colors, painting may or may not be worth it. For this house we only touched up any scuffed areas. The colors werent too strong and it was a house that a new buyer was going to want to do some updates on anyway. We were willing to price it a little lower to reflect that rather than try to do it - especially since we wanted to get it on the market in the prime buying season. We sold in 60 days in a bad market.

    As far as kitties, I would hide them! Too many buyers object to cats and imagine smelling cat once they see them. I know I would be hesitant about buying a house with inside cats after living in an apartment in which the floors reeked in humid weather. If cats and litter box could be with you or at a neighbors during showings, or at least open house, that would be best. Second would be a discreet crate in the basement.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May. 14, 2008
    Posts
    285

    Default

    This thread it so helpful!

    We are listing within the next month (hopefully)! We bought 3 years ago knowing that it was our first "starter'' home so we didn’t really do any upgrading. Actually, we haven’t really done anything. The house is 15 years old and it’s still your basic contractor upgrades. The counters, kitchen appliances, cabinets and bathrooms are all generic. Would you upgrade any of these items?

    The only thing we have going for us are previous owner upgrades, tile floor in the bathroom(s) and kitchen, the basement has been finished and another bathroom was added down there and extra storage space in the basement.

    It’s in a townhouse community. So there is no charm about it. We are fortunate that we have the only end unit that backs up to state game lands, so the view is nice (compared to the homes adjacent, which overlook an apartment complex that is ill kept and include low income housing).

    Im really worried that we either won’t get what we need for it, or it will sit and sit and sit.

    I know everyone is saying clear out the clutter, but what do you do when you know your home is going to sit for months with little interest?

    My biggest and most ominous issue is the fact that I hoard clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, hair products. Its so embarrassing but I really do use it all.

    Not to mention doing self-care, there is always mud or hay at the entrance. The 1/2 bathroom down there has become the mud room.... on a much smaller scale. I am incredibly limited on time ( see poor time management thread) and this is just another thing to add to the list. How do you keep your house spotless all the time?

    Then there is the dog oh my.

    See I get so excited just thinking about it, like someone is actually going to want to come look at it anyway hahaha.



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    16,806

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    We sold our house in one day (had a verbal offer within 4 hours). You want it clean, clean, clean! And I mean spotless. Remove the personal stuff, remove the extra stuff, make it look as large as possible. If it's scruffy, paint it or store it.

    Make the entrance as enticing as possible with landscaping. Paint the front door. Slipcovers for very shabby furniture if you can't afford new (there are at least a couple of online stores that sell slipcovers).

    Make sure all the junk is off the counters in the kitchen (pack up that mixer and blender) and the bathroom. People will open drawers and closets. Remove at least 1/2 of everything in them. We removed the TVs from all but one room, took the dogs with us when we left for a showing and left no dog stuff out (we either boxed it up or took it with us).

    Make the beds look luxurious with a fluffy comforter (put the next size up comforter in a duvet to make it look extra fluffy). Fluffy white towels in the bathroom

    We rented a storage unit and put all the boxed and extra stuff in the storage unit. The movers came to our house, then to the storage unit to finish.

    As for the agent, you want the top listing agent with a great sales conversion record. And listen to them when you price your house.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    5,053

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    A few of you have mentioned getting top agents. How do I find out which ones those are?



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,636

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    As a designer, I disagree heavily with "paint everything beige". Main rooms should be a neutral, but grey is pretty hot right now and beige is typical cookie cutter go to and has zero character.

    Instead of picking beige, pick a nice colour that is bright, yet has warmth. The idea is that people need to walk into a room and imagine their stuff in it, but attention to detail and a design style should still matter in a home that is for sale. Think a bit outside the "beige" box. Some greens act as a neutral and look fantastic.

    Bedrooms can be colours as long as they are not bold, dark or eclectic.

    Anything that is evidence of animals living there, get rid of it. So put the kitties in a crate and take them for a drive and remove the litter too, or hide it where you think they'll never look. But make sure the smell is completely gone.

    De-clutter (but leave pics of taco here and there) because it is still your home. Just make sure things don't look cramped or overloaded. The idea is to present areas that look spacious.

    Find the best features of your victorian home, and play them up. Show them off.

    If you can do minor fixes like paint/hardware, etc, go ahead and do them, but keep in mind if ONE area needs to be reno'd, the asking price will go down considerably, so don't blow your budget on a bathroom when the kitchen needs an overhaul. Price accordingly.

    As for when to list, ask around. Markets differ and a home that's been on the market for 3 months here is still fresh, where other areas a month is really stale, so find out how things are selling.

    Good luck!



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2007
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,586

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    Everyone has given really great advice.

    I'd just like to add one more - a big part of prepping your house is to help let yourself to detach from it. Believe it or not, you get attached to homes just as you'd get attached to a pet (or in my case, a pet, a car, a really nice pen...)

    Clearing out ALL your personal effects (pictures, knick-knacks, etc.) allows you see the house as just a house, not as your home and helps make it easier to let go.

    This is speaking from my own personal experience as a person who gets far too attached to inanimate objects.
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,186

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    ybiaw-that is so true.

    Super-rent a small storage locker, and buy a bunch of plastic storage containers, and put the purses, out of season clothes, and other things you don't need right now. A friend and her husband had a big townhouse, in a very desirable area near DC. They also sold in one day, but they were the only regular sale in the huge subdivision (a subdivision big enough to have it's own elementary school), and the others for sale were short sales, foreclosures, or just abandoned. They had already put hardwoods everywhere, recarpeted the two flight of stairs, and painted everything nice neutral colors (not just boring beige, but nothing neon either). They did get a nice, on sale granite counter top in the kitchen, and touched up the worn places on the cabinets with Minwax stain and finish combination. They did get the granite because the competition all had it too, so it was expected where they lived. All they did besides that was do a major declutter, and store everything they didn't need. Everything was clean and neat, and they opened the blinds and turned on the lights before showings. You especially want to open blinds looking out over the good views.

    Put away safely anything portable, that you would miss if it disappeared. I've had a couple of friends that lost items to thieves during showings or open houses. Have showings by appointment only, and take the dog with you, even if you only sit in the car down the street until the potential buyers arrive. And as ybiaw said, it's no longer your house when it's on the market, so try to detach, and don't react when people say things about your taste or your furniture, or try to chop your price down. Some people watch too many real estate shows, and low ball every offer, so don't get insulted, because it's business not personal.

    Have a plan on what happens if it sells quickly, and price realistically so you aren't cutting your price and chasing the market. Don't advertise "quick possession possible" unless it is.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Packing my bags
    Posts
    30,900

    Default

    and don't leave medication out when showing...
    Take it with you
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    16,806

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    Quote Originally Posted by CookiePony View Post
    A few of you have mentioned getting top agents. How do I find out which ones those are?
    I scoured the sales ads for my area and made a list of the 3 with the most listings. Then I called and asked for their sales conversion record. I chose the top agent. She had buyers lined up before it was ever listed.

    As far as colors, we painted the main areas a beigey yellow (that was in style several years ago) the bedrooms were a color, but an ice blue for one, a soft green for another and a mossy green for the master, with freshly painted woodwork. We removed almost all the drapes and went with just the blinds and some sheers in the bedrooms.

    I would just avoid anything dark or out of style.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  16. #36
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    13,986

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    First impressions cound - and that means curb appeal - but also when the front door is opened thehouse should be bright, clean and fresh and smell good, without a hint of animal, dog, cat litter, or horse.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
    Posts
    12,262

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperAlter View Post
    This thread it so helpful!

    We are listing within the next month (hopefully)! We bought 3 years ago knowing that it was our first "starter'' home so we didn’t really do any upgrading. Actually, we haven’t really done anything. The house is 15 years old and it’s still your basic contractor upgrades. The counters, kitchen appliances, cabinets and bathrooms are all generic. Would you upgrade any of these items?

    The only thing we have going for us are previous owner upgrades, tile floor in the bathroom(s) and kitchen, the basement has been finished and another bathroom was added down there and extra storage space in the basement.

    It’s in a townhouse community. So there is no charm about it. We are fortunate that we have the only end unit that backs up to state game lands, so the view is nice (compared to the homes adjacent, which overlook an apartment complex that is ill kept and include low income housing).

    Im really worried that we either won’t get what we need for it, or it will sit and sit and sit.

    I know everyone is saying clear out the clutter, but what do you do when you know your home is going to sit for months with little interest?

    My biggest and most ominous issue is the fact that I hoard clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, hair products. Its so embarrassing but I really do use it all.

    Not to mention doing self-care, there is always mud or hay at the entrance. The 1/2 bathroom down there has become the mud room.... on a much smaller scale. I am incredibly limited on time ( see poor time management thread) and this is just another thing to add to the list. How do you keep your house spotless all the time?

    Then there is the dog oh my.

    See I get so excited just thinking about it, like someone is actually going to want to come look at it anyway hahaha.
    Rent a storage unit for stuff that need to be stored. The house you are trying to sell is not the house you "live" in. It needs to be neutral, and immaculate.
    The reason that it needs to be neutral, without personal items like photos,the nic-nac collections, etc, is that you want people to imagine themselves living there with THEIR stuff. Personalizing the house to you, is basically like slapping potential buyers in the face with "THIS ISN"T YOUR HOME. SOMEONE ELSE LIVES HERE." It makes it hard for buyers to take mental ownership. You also are selling a lifestyle, and a future. No one really lives in a home THAT neat, or uncluttered. But people like to think that "if they lived there, they would" And how great it is waking up in a spotless home, with extra closet space, counter space, fresh white fluffy towels, fresh flowers on the dining table, etc. So they picture themselves living there.

    For the mudroom, get a wooden box/trunk/etc that you can drop dirty shoes in. Keep a swiffer sweeper or something in there to clean up. Ask agent to list on MLS with a request for an hr notice before showings. You should be able to just touch up in an hr.



  18. #38
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2007
    Location
    Down on the Farm
    Posts
    3,054

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    We also sold a house in a bad market with tons of competition. Here's what worked for us.

    Spottless yard (so fix that driveway)
    Declutter everything!
    Keeping Clorox Wipes in all bathrooms for quick spot cleaning (and smells good too)
    This house was not beige, but various neutral colors that all worked well together.

    One tip my realtor gave me was to turn on all the lights before a showing, and even light some scented candles if you know you are returning soon after.
    Walk thru some model homes and pay attention to the details, this is what your house should look like!



  19. #39
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2007
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,586

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acertainsmile View Post
    One tip my realtor gave me was to turn on all the lights before a showing, and even light some scented candles if you know you are returning soon after.
    Walk thru some model homes and pay attention to the details, this is what your house should look like!
    Great tip there about the lights. I remember when I was younger and my family was moving from Denver to Chicago - my mom would turn on every light in the house and even set the kitchen table.

    Another great tip I have heard - in closets, remove all articles of clothing that aren't WHITE or another very light color.

    Make sure each room has a clear purpose, too. For example, my guest bedroom doubled as my home office...but when I put the house on the market, I got rid of the desk and made sure that it was clearly a 2nd BEDROOM.

    I'm not a big fan of scented candles, I think they can be tacky and I've walked into many a house for sale and wondered if they're burning a candle to mask a foul odor. I'd much rather smell nothing or smell something fresh and clean than smell a candle. In fact, I don't even like SEEING candles in a house that's for sale - it's just clutter! If you feel you must have something scented in the house, take some dryer sheets and place them in inconspicuous locations, like in a shoe in the closet, or behind a vent or something.
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,636

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    When we went to look at our house, it always smelt good. There was always something fresh in the oven. She had some nice smelling candles and it smelt like fresh laundry in the bedrooms.

    Then we moved in and all we could smell was weed. It's amazing what kind of smells you can mask.



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