I Need Your Opinion Please

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
I Need Your Opinion Please
10
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 10:44am

As you know, from reading previous posts from me-we are busy trying to prepare our house to sell it in the Spring. We will have lived here for 31 years by then-so a BIG step, a big change. And of course, I've been reading all the articles available about what to do to make your home appealing in today's market. I know what its assets are, I know what its drawbacks are.

But I would love to hear what appeals to you-what would attract you to a house & make you think it worthy of buying? Hopefully my flowers will be blooming, or some of them-the house will be clean-but what is it that would make or break a deal for you?

And while you are thinking of it-I'm off to wash one more wall-to remove more spiders' webs-& find more hopeless flaws!

Nora

 

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 12:31pm

The couple of times we've sold - no clutter, no knick knacks, no family pictures (awkward), less is more kind of thing - minimal furniture but enough to show how things would lay out in a room. Neutral paint/carpet throughout - nothing bold.  Fresh flowers, brewed coffee and fresh baked cookies were what we were told to have - and we sold both houses within the week of being put on the market.  If there's any way to move stored stuff to another location, do that so closets look bigger.  Even kitchen or bath cabinets, drawers, etc. that stay with the house - declutter and make them look BIG so people feel they can fit all their stuff (and then some).  A list of all recent changes/fixes/updates like newer kitchen, newer roof, newer windows, newer carpet, fresh paint, any newer appliances, etc. so people don't think they have to deal with that when they get in. If you have a garage, declutter that too. Clean windows and drapes, open drapes to show views that would help sell. No strange odors (like cat litter, etc.)  It seemed like a LOT of work but as mentioned we sold fast.  Best of luck!  And DO take pictures now so you remember it the way you had it vs. how you're going to have it to sell.

Sue

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 12:46pm

I think that uncluttered is important, not only in terms of knick knacks but also furniture when possible. The potential buyer needs to be able to envision their own things in the rooms, and of course you want the rooms to look as large as possible. I imagine that the articles mentioned that already, but it really can be important. Our house had been on the market for a while, apparently because people were having trouble seeing "the bones" of the house---everything was pink and it was crammed with fussy furniture.

For me, natural light and air circulation were very important....a house either has that or doesn't I suppose. The light can be improved sometimes by tree trimming, but the trees are a plus at your house---to me, anyway.

Have you investigated the cost of hiring someone to advise you on "staging" the house? Sometimes the real estate agent can do that but other times it may be worth it to have a decorator come in for an hour or two to make recomendations about specific things to do.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 3:56pm

Assuming that I would only be looking at houses that already met my criteria regarding house style, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc., the sure-fire dealbreaker for me would be how it smells.  If it smelled of smoke, pets, mold or rodents, I wouldn't buy it no matter how perfect it seemed.

I've never sold a house and the only house I've bought is the one I live in now, which we bought after renting it for 10 years (yes, 10 years), so my experience is quite limited. When we first saw it, it had some bare-bones furniture (the owners were divorcing so not much was left) so we could see how spacious the rooms are and how the house kind of "rambles," so Suzy's comment about not "overstuffing" the house sounds right to me.

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 7:56pm

Nora, prepare for days of hard work. We brought one home & sold 3 in the last 2 yrs & decluttered is the only way to go. I had 26 yrs in our one home, 12 in our home/cottage & only 5 in my Mom's condo. It was very hard work to clean out after 26 yrs & heartbreaking to dump stuff that had sentimental value but not really used or needed. I sent over 50 boxes of books to goodwill & DH made 7 trip in his truck with stuff. I had a garbage company come pick up what I didn't get given away using a site called freecycle. As mentioned, people don't want to see clutter, personal items, a lot of furniture, etc.. They struggle to use their imaginations to see the potential in a place. I think one of the most important things to me is curb appeal. It's the first impression. I also think a fresh coat of neutral paint is an excellent investment as is ensuring that anything broken is fixed.

I would suggest talking to a local real estate agent & if you don't have a personal favourite then interview them. Also ask for the best time to sell. You are on a lake & when we were selling our cottage/home, the best mths that year were March/April then the market dropped & slowed down until Aug/Sept. We had 3 different agents come out for our home in Markham. They all gave us the same line about the clutter & I was surprised when they told me not to worry about updating my kitchen as in our area people come in & redo. So they said just paint to make it fresh. All 3 gave a similar suggestion for a listing price and one would have lowered their commission % but the other 2 refused when asked. It is a good idea to ask. We ended up not using any of them but rather went with comfree.com & so it ourself therefore saving the real estate commission plus thanks to a bidding war, we sold for than the agents suggested listing our property for. We paid the extra to have the house listed on MLS & we sold 24 hrs after it hit MLS. It's more work but worth it if your home is very marketable which ours was just because of the location. The buyers gutted the main level immediately & had plans to do the same to the 2nd level & basement. The other 2 properties we sold through the same agent who is known for her attention to detail which we discovered when she helped us purchase our current home.

Good luck, it will be hard work & emotional but it is worth it in the end if this is the decision you are making. Dee

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 10-09-2013 - 9:03pm

You've already gotten excellent advice, so let me mention a few things that haven't come up yet.  You need to price your house correctly.  Don't fall in the trap of thinking I "deserve" X number of dollars, or "I spent X dollars remodeling/fixing the house, I should get that back.'  The house is only worth what people are willing to pay.  That amount includes EVERYTHING you do to make your house sellable.  And the most important thing to do to make your house sellable is to do ALL that deferred maintenance.  Don't think people will accept a BELOW MARKET price, and replace the leaky faucets, heaved concrete, broken windows, falling fascia, water stained ceilings, dead lawn, cracked planters, yada, yada, THEMSELVES.  People look at that stuff and say, "If they didn't take care of THIS, what ELSE is falling apart?  And in that same vein, unless your hot water heater, furnace, & air conditioner are less than ten years old, consider replacing them also, with energy efficient models.  People do not want to move into a house they've spent good money on, and then have to spend MORE money.   

Your house needs to show well.  Besides decluttering, neutralizing decor colors, and cleaning EVERYTHING, the house needs to look reasonably modern, or at least apropos to the style of the house.  The 30 year old washer, dryer, kitchen appliances, cabinet hardware, wallpaper, and drapery hardware need to go.  Ditto ancient light fixtures inside AND out.  Get rid of things like vertical blinds, and mini blinds, that really date a house.  You can find reasonably priced rods at Walmart, and make every window the same.  Get 1/2 inch diameter, metal rods that will fit ANY size rod pocket or clip ring.  And remember, neutral color doesn't mean beige.  A nice cafe au lait, grey-green,or sand work well.  Check out these tips from HGTV ( a CANADIAN  network!)...

http://www.hgtv.com/real-estate/designed-to-sell-top-35-selling-secrets-35-to-24/pictures/index.html

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 10-10-2013 - 9:37am

Friends, this is helpful to me as well.  My father is thinking of moving into a retirement community, which will leave me and my sister the task of selling his 3BR townhouse within the next year.  Not looking forward to that, but being able to take care of my father was one of the reasons I became self-employed three years ago.

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Fri, 10-11-2013 - 9:50am

WOW-good ideas-thank you.Our hope was that our neighbours would buy it-he liked the garage/workshop, she liked the storage space. But they decided that the extra mortgage was not to be...so it will go on the market in early Spring. I told Mike will rent a dumpster & a storage locker-until then, the living room wallpaper must be scraped off (started by the cats <sigh>)& the front hall floor replaced-ruined by the Oxygen resevoirs for all those years. Before it is time to list-I will call a couple realtors to get opinions of its value-I know a few who grew up in this area. I suspect the best time will be early Spring-when the snow is gone & the trees are beginning to bud & the daffodils (etc)are showing their beauty. But we'll just wait & see (we bought in January).

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Fri, 10-11-2013 - 8:11pm

I AM a licensed realtor now so here's the FIRST 3 things to do:  1.  Hire a home inspector & get in writing all the major problems with the house (plumbing, electric, roof, foundation, cracks, etc.)  Reason:  No lender will give a mortgage to a buyer if the home inspection report shows major problems and ALL lenders require a home inspection because they're in the business of guaranteeing the property is in good condition.

 2.  Hire an appraiser and get the appraisal in writing.  Before you hire a realtor, you will know what your home is worth by the appraisal.  This way, the realtor can't give you an unrealistic figure.  Also, every lender requires an appraisal for the buyer to issue the mortgage.  If you have the appraisal done, you will have more leverage for negotiation if a prospective buyer wants to lower the purchase price below the appraisal.

3. Save the money for a professional stager.  As mentioned above, take plenty of pictures of the house as it is now.  After taking pictures, start getting rid of 1/2 your furniture (storage units are great), take down all personal pictures, paint the walls in neutral colors (beige), make sure all counters are bare (a few items OK - but no more), bathroom - get rid of 1/2 the toiletries & in its place put a small flower vase.  Wash all window sills, all windows, steam clean any carpets, make sure your front lawn is the best one on the block, make sure you have no brown spots in the lawn, and if you have pets - no pets odor.  For smokers - no cigarette odor either.  

Now hire the realtor. 

Kathy

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Fri, 10-11-2013 - 8:58pm

Hi Kathy-I wondered about the home inspection -we will do that before the realtor. I don't think there is a problem. But I will write these things down.

However-remember-we aren't listing until the Spring-wise men say "Wait until a year has passed"-so in April 2014, the year will be up. We're in the process of the painting & flooring & all the little things that have been neglected while Adam was so sick. I've been cleaning windows & door frames & all that-will continue to do those things over the Winter. When the pictures come down for the painting-they just won't go back up again <sigh>.

And I thought the hardest part was the decision to move? Oh My...however, it will be good when it is done.

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Sat, 10-12-2013 - 5:00pm

We're on our 5th house, so have been through this quite often. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get rid of clutter. Rent one of those on-site storage units if necessary. Make all of your closets look neat and uncrowded, even putting some of your out-of- season clothes into the storage unit or stashing them with a willing friend until your house sells.

If any of your rooms are painted a bold color, paint them white or off-white. Yeah, sorry, I love color, but it was a mistake not to do this with one of our houses because it took forever to sell. We should have listened to the real estate agent.

Paint rooms that have obviously chipped paint. Definitely paint your front door and put a seasonal wreath on it. Fix anything that is broken (dripping faucets, etc) and replace stuff that's obviously old. For example, a new roof is worth the cost because that is one thing a buyer is not going to want to deal with.

Before you go to bed each night, put a small bowl of distilled vinegar out to deodorize the house and make it smell fresh in the morning. Dump the vinegar out or cover it before your first prospective buyers arrive. If your house has been smoked in, invest in an ionizing treatment and do all your smoking outside. I won't even look at a house that smells smoky.

Arrange your furniture at angles when possible--it makes the rooms look bigger and more modern than couches lined up parallel to walls, etc. If you have an old clunky TV, replace it with a flat screen. Yes, I'm serious. A buyer 30 years younger will be more likely to think your house and neighborhood are "hip" and this age group is probably your target market. Plus, a flat screen will fit in your new house a lot better!