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S/O: Selling not so fancy (as is) house with kids--best strategies?


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Is "staging" really important? I don't think I can even do this. The house will be bought either by first time buyers who fell in love with it (like we did) despite all the issues, or by a flipper.

 

My grand idea is to 1. declutter 2. pack some things and put them in the basement and 3. remove most things from rooms before taking photos and have nicely staged photos. And then go back to more or less normal life?

 

The houses that we saw for sale in our price range were all lived in and not staged and I'm totally okay with this. I always think that stages houses are those fancy houses that are not in our price range anyway, and we are not *that* kind of house.

 

If I have all the surfaces cleared in photos and mostly cleared irl, is this okay?

 

Am I totally off base? Any other tips? Thank you! We are selling and hoping to move more rural and this selling thing is rather terrifying! (Though I've never decluttered so well and so quickly!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our house wasn't fancy, it was definitely in a half rental/ half starter home neighborhood. The market was not hot when we sold it. It was not professionally staged, but our realtor had professional photos taken, it made a big difference getting people in the door. We did listen to all the advice our realtor gave regarding decluttering and moving out less necessary furniture so the rooms would feel bigger. We did keep fresh flowers on the table until we got an offer. We also kept mums and hanging baskets on the front porch so our house looked cuter when people first pulled up.

 

In my area houses are selling very quickly right now so the extras are not as necessary, but this is probably variable. Definitely talk to your agent about your market.

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I've sold two houses quickly. I have called them houses for people "with more kids than money".  Both houses were badly in need of updates and had negatives to them but were nice size and nice neighborhood for the price.  I figured they would go to people like us who needed room but couldn't afford all the upgrades.  In that category I would declutter, keep things tidy, and price competitively.  

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Our house wasn't fancy, it was definitely in a half rental/ half starter home neighborhood. The market was not hot when we sold it. It was not professionally staged, but our realtor had professional photos taken, it made a big difference getting people in the door. We did listen to all the advice our realtor gave regarding decluttering and moving out less necessary furniture so the rooms would feel bigger. We did keep fresh flowers on the table until we got an offer. We also kept mums and hanging baskets on the front porch so our house looked cuter when people first pulled up.

 

In my area houses are selling very quickly right now so the extras are not as necessary, but this is probably variable. Definitely talk to your agent about your market.

 

Really, really bad market.

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I've sold two houses quickly. I have called them houses for people "with more kids than money".  Both houses were badly in need of updates and had negatives to them but were nice size and nice neighborhood for the price.  I figured they would go to people like us who needed room but couldn't afford all the upgrades.  In that category I would declutter, keep things tidy, and price competitively.  

 

That's a great point. We are a smaller house, but with 4 decent size bedrooms, which is rare for this size. Definitely, more kids than money category! And we have a huge for this area yard with many mature trees.

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I've been looking at lots of houses online. Lots. I think it is most important to have really good pictures to start. There are just so many to look at, and honestly, when I see houses with "stuff" in the pictures, I just move on. It's totally unfair, because if someone took pictures of my house right now it wouldn't sell! But I look at the stuff in the pictures and I think, "If they couldn't even make it look good for the pictures, what else couldn't they be bothered about?" Once you've got me to come look at the house, I'll be much more forgiving, because I've lived through showing a house with little kids, and I can see past that.

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I've been looking at lots of houses online. Lots. I think it is most important to have really good pictures to start. There are just so many to look at, and honestly, when I see houses with "stuff" in the pictures, I just move on. It's totally unfair, because if someone took pictures of my house right now it wouldn't sell! But I look at the stuff in the pictures and I think, "If they couldn't even make it look good for the pictures, what else couldn't they be bothered about?" Once you've got me to come look at the house, I'll be much more forgiving, because I've lived through showing a house with little kids, and I can see past that.

 

I can get good pictures. It will involve furniture moving, but we can do that.

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Staging, especially with what you describe, would NOT be something I would worry about.  Decluttering, clearing out, cleaning, and possibly a fresh coat of paint over really garish wall colors or dingy looking walls would be my focus.  Especially decluttering.  Nothing on counter tops, if possible.  Dressers clear.  Closets not stuffed to the gills.  Make it look as roomy as possible by reducing volume.  

 

Those initial pictures are important.  As people are clicking on websites and glancing at pics, they may dismiss a house just because of one or two photos they don't like.  You need people to come in that door.  Their real estate agent may or may not be able to get them to come if they don't like the pics.  The other thing to consider is what to do for curb appeal.  Sometimes it takes just a few quick things to spruce up the front, make it seem more inviting.

 

Be prepared, though, for the inconvenience of people coming to look at your home with little notice and at different hours of the day.  Since you say the market is bad, you are going to need to be very flexible on this.  You need them to come in your home.  If they can't come with they are available, they may go somewhere else and decide to make an offer there before they ever get back to your home.  

 

You need to be able to pick up at a moment's notice.  Have a plan in place that you can quickly implement if you get the call that someone wants to come look.  Have a box or laundry basket you can quickly dump stuff into and shove into your car or something.  Have certain things you do at the end of every night to prepare your house the next day, just in case you get a call in the morning.  Although people should really be concerned about the layout and structure of the home far more than if the current owner is a neat freak, many people struggle to look past what is and onto what could be.  

 

Are you looking at selling "as is"?  If not, I would get a house inspection ahead of time, fix whatever small things you can do quickly and cheaply, then list ahead of time any larger items and make it clear you will not be repairing those things.  They will come up in an inspection from the buyer's side anyway and you don't want that to derail the sale or for them to significantly drop their asking price based on the inspection. If they know going into the offer that there are issues you are aware of and your price already reflects those issues there is less likelihood of those issues derailing the sale further down the line.

 

And most importantly, make sure you are competitively pricing your home.  Don't start too high thinking you want room to negotiate.  Your house may linger on the market forever.  And once it has been on the market a while people start to wonder why.  They start to think something is really wrong with it.  Unless you can handle waiting a significantly long period of time it might be better to price slightly under market and hopefully get several offers early on then to wait for months trying to sell and end up having to drop the price anyway.  By that time your house may seem like a bad risk or people may think it has been on the market so long you must be desperate and they may offer a low ball offer.

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I can get good pictures. It will involve furniture moving, but we can do that.

Ya, if it's a bad market, you've got to get them in the door, right? And make sure it's a sunny day! Natural light, as much as possible! Some of these pictures, the flash has gone off, making the wall right next to them white and the rest of the room dark.

 

I don't know about others (I've watched my husband and he's a high speed picture flipper), but I mentally walk through. So I like seeing the rooms from different angles. I like knowing where the closets are, etc. My top three picks in my list right now, I could move in tomorrow and tell you exactly where to put the furniture. So, give me a nightstand next to the bed so I know it fits. Put two chairs on each side of the kitchen table so I know it's big enough, kwim? Well, that's what works for ME, at least! I have no idea what a stager says!

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Is "staging" really important? I don't think I can even do this. The house will be bought either by first time buyers who fell in love with it (like we did) despite all the issues, or by a flipper.

 

My grand idea is to 1. declutter 2. pack some things and put them in the basement and 3. remove most things from rooms before taking photos and have nicely staged photos. And then go back to more or less normal life?

 

The houses that we saw for sale in our price range were all lived in and not staged and I'm totally okay with this. I always think that stages houses are those fancy houses that are not in our price range anyway, and we are not *that* kind of house.

 

If I have all the surfaces cleared in photos and mostly cleared irl, is this okay?

 

Am I totally off base? Any other tips? Thank you! We are selling and hoping to move more rural and this selling thing is rather terrifying! (Though I've never decluttered so well and so quickly!)

 

most people have no imagination when it comes to picturing how a house will look with their own junk in it.  so - remove anything "personal" (photographs, knick-knacks, trophies, etc.)  - that can be a turn-off to them mentally moving in.

 

you will want it to be fairly clutter free (think minimalist) when they're actually walking through.

if you have a dining room you're using as a family room - stage it as a dining room or they're liable to wonder where they're going to eat.  I'm serious.  I've a friend who did that.  she had a big eating area in her kitchen so used the dining room as a family room.   nothing nothing nothing.  a mutual friend who is a designer came and all she did was very seriously declutter (more so than the homeowner did) and stage . . it sold very quickly.

 

keep in mind - decluttering and staging for optimum look, will get you more money and a faster sale.

 

eta: staging to make it look like it's been professionally designed isn't necessary.  staging so your living room looks like a room a buyer can entertain guests and not the kids playroom, is.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Price well and people will look past the lived in stuff. Picky, high end buyers may not do this, but they might.

 

Use a realtor and take their recommendation on pricing, assuming you've done research in your own town to verify.

This. The more reasonable the price, the more likely they will be to overlook stuff.

 

And definitely do your own research. I've had some great real estate agents and not so great but most of them tried to push us to market our house above current market value. That's risky. If you don't mind a slow sale, sometimes a reeeeeeaaaaallllly slow sale, that's OK but if you need a fairly quick sale it can be a death knell in a bad market.

 

I've had too many friends get tons of traffic right at first but because of similar houses for sale at a better price their own houses languished for months or years. When the houses finally sold it was way below market because they were desperate.

 

Go see comparable houses yourselves. See what you are up against. Then price it slightly below that. See if you can get more than one offer coming in when the house fist hits the market. That is usually when the biggest interest is generated. People are frequently looking for a bargain and if they think your house is a pretty good bargain they will be more likely to overlook certain kinds of flaws and make a quick offer before someone else does. You might get a better price and a quick sale that way.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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You should be able to "stage" it yourself -- but to do it well, you need to think well past "decluttering".

 

You need a new word mantra like, "Bare, flat, and shiny" or, "Empty is pretty."

 

Contrary to popular opinion, it's not just buyers with a high price range who lack the imagination to picture a lived-in-looking house as if it was bare bones. Lack of imagination spans *all* price ranges. If you want all of your potential buyers you need to account for that.

 

You basically need to turn your home into a very pretty skeleton of itself.

 

Whatever is in your cupboards should go to storage, and whatever is on your surfaces should go into the cupboards. Even the salt shaker, and everything like it. A third of your furniture needs to find somewhere else to live until you move it -- even if you use it daily, you can live without it for cash. (People are 'paying' you thousands of dollars in the future to live without it for a little while now.)

 

Self-staging is ruthless. And completely impractical for living. And very worth the cash it will add!

 

As you live, when you need to show the house keep a bin by your exit door, and, "If it's messy, take it with you." (Dirty dishes, paper and markers, whatever. No need to clean it or tidy up, just grab all recent personal messes, and go.)

Edited by bolt.
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You should be able to "stage" it yourself -- but to do it well, you need to think well past "decluttering".

 

You need a new word mantra like, "Bare, flat, and shiny" or, "Empty is pretty."

 

Contrary to popular opinion, it's not just buyers with a high price range who lack the imagination to picture a lived-in-looking house as if it was bare bones. Lack of imagination spans *all* price ranges. If you want all of your potential buyers you need to account for that.

 

You basically need to turn your home into a very pretty skeleton of itself.

 

Whatever is in your cupboards should go to storage, and whatever is on your surfaces should go into the cupboards. Even the salt shaker, and everything like it. A third of your furniture needs to find somewhere else to live until you move it -- even if you use it daily, you can live without it for cash. (People are 'paying' you thousands of dollars in the future to live without it for a little while now.)

 

Self-staging is ruthless. And completely impractical for living. And very worth the cash it will add!

 

As you live, when you need to show the house keep a bin by your exit door, and, "If it's messy, take it with you." (Dirty dishes, paper and markers, whatever. No need to clean it or tidy up, just grab all recent personal messes, and go.)

 

I'm terrified and exhausted to just think about this. I was very high energy and motivated just 5 days ago.

 

Maybe I need a breather.

 

 

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I'm terrified and exhausted to just think about this. I was very high energy and motivated just 5 days ago.

 

Maybe I need a breather.

 

:grouphug:

 

Moving can be daunting.  Moving to a farm from the city can be very daunting.  Lots to think about.  I appreciate that you are asking questions now instead of having some pie in the sky romantic version of a farm in your head and going with that as you make life changing decisions.    :)

 

Getting organized, clearing out, decluttering, etc.  takes a lot of time and effort but it isn't insurmountable.  You can do this.  If you are getting overwhelmed, though, yeah, take a breather.  

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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And definitely do your own research. I've had some great real estate agents and not so great but most of them tried to push us to market our house above current market value. That's risky. If you don't mind a slow sale, sometimes a reeeeeeaaaaallllly slow sale, that's OK but if you need a fairly quick sale it can be a death knell in a bad market.

 

I've had too many friends get tons of traffic right at first but because of similar houses for sale at a better price their own houses languished for months or years. When the houses finally sold it was way below market because they were desperate.

 

Go see comparable houses yourselves. See what you are up against. Then price it slightly below that. See if you can get more than one offer coming in when the house fist hits the market. That is usually when the biggest interest is generated. People are frequently looking for a bargain and if they think your house is a pretty good bargain they will be more likely to overlook certain kinds of flaws and make a quick offer before someone else does. You might get a better price and a quick sale that way.

 

I agree about absolutely do not put it above list price.  most interest is generated  in the beginning, if it's overpriced, it's more likely to sit.

 

do see comparable houses - not just for how much they're selling - but what sort of condition they're in.    walk through with the critical eye of a buyer.  have a friend walk-thru your house with that same ruthless eye. it's so easy to miss things.

 

 

one thing dd's seller did - had a contractor do a walk-thru and list everything that needed to be repaired and how much it would cost to do so - it was combined with the inspection report.  it was pure coincidence that we were acquainted with the contractor's son (who worked for him.)  but we knew exactly what had to be fixed asap - and what could wait.

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I agree about absolutely do not put it above list price.  most interest is generated  in the beginning, if it's overpriced, it's more likely to sit.

 

do see comparable houses - not just for how much they're selling - but what sort of condition they're in.    walk through with the critical eye of a buyer.  have a friend walk-thru your house with that same ruthless eye. it's so easy to miss things.

 

 

one thing dd's seller did - had a contractor do a walk-thru and list everything that needed to be repaired and how much it would cost to do so - it was combined with the inspection report.  it was pure coincidence that we were acquainted with the contractor's son (who worked for him.)  but we knew exactly what had to be fixed asap - and what could wait.

Oh, yes, if you have a friend who is a reasonable person, not a "yes" person or a hurtful person who loves to put you down, have them walk through your house as if they were a buyer and ask them to be 100% honest in their assessment.  Don't get defensive at what they say.  Encourage them to share their true feelings and think about what they said.  You need to disassociate your own personal feelings regarding this house from the process of getting it ready to sell.

 

For instance, years ago we were looking at houses and one house we looked at was really very dark.  Other viewers had mentioned the same thing.  The man was walking through his house with us and our real estate agent and was very defensive about it.  He stated that he kept it dark because he hated wasting electricity.  What he failed to see was that he was making it seem like his electricity bill was very high and he HAD to keep things dark.  It also made it harder to actually SEE his house and judge whether it was worth buying.  It also gave it a creepy feeling that was probably very undeserved.  And yet he was not open to the feedback he was getting so even though he got lots of initial viewings, it wasn't selling.  

 

Seek feedback and be open to what they say.  Doesn't mean you have to take everything as gospel.  Just be willing to listen with an open mind.

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Oh, yes, if you have a friend who is a reasonable person, not a "yes" person or a hurtful person who loves to put you down, have them walk through your house as if they were a buyer and ask them to be 100% honest in their assessment.  Don't get defensive at what they say.  Encourage them to share their true feelings and think about what they said.  You need to disassociate your own personal feelings regarding this house from the process of getting it ready to sell.

 

For instance, years ago we were looking at houses and one house we looked at was really very dark.  Other viewers had mentioned the same thing.  The man was walking through his house with us and our real estate agent and was very defensive about it.  He stated that he kept it dark because he hated wasting electricity.  What he failed to see was that he was making it seem like his electricity bill was very high and he HAD to keep things dark.  It also made it harder to actually SEE his house and judge whether it was worth buying.  It also gave it a creepy feeling that was probably very undeserved.  And yet he was not open to the feedback he was getting so even though he got lots of initial viewings, it wasn't selling.  

 

Seek feedback and be open to what they say.  Doesn't mean you have to take everything as gospel.  Just be willing to listen with an open mind.

 

there was one house we looked at that was dark.  we looked at it twice, because somethings were great - though we knew it would need some serious work. the first time, light bulbs were burnt out, and all the blinds were CLOSED.  open them.  open curtains - light is your friend.  even if you have a high electricity bill - welcome light.  add lamps if you have to.

 

they also had one bedroom locked with a keyed lock.  there is no way we would have put an offer on that house without seeing that room.  (it was  priced way too high for the amount of work required.  it still shows up on the market every year - it's never sold.)  and the garage was stacked to the rafters with junk . . . . you could barely open the door, let alone go inside.

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there was one house we looked at that was dark.  we looked at it twice, because somethings were great - though we knew it would need some serious work. the first time, light bulbs were burnt out, and all the blinds were CLOSED.  open them.  open curtains - light is your friend.  even if you have a high electricity bill - welcome light.  add lamps if you have to.

 

they also had one bedroom locked with a keyed lock.  there is no way we would have put an offer on that house without seeing that room.  (it was  priced way too high for the amount of work required.  it still shows up on the market every year - it's never sold.)  and the garage was stacked to the rafters with junk . . . . you could barely open the door, let alone go inside.

 

We bought a house very similar to this. (The one we live in now) - -except for the locked room. But the garage was stacked to the rafters with junk.  EVery room was wall to wall stuff.  There were two families renting the house, living in a one-family house. So it was very understandable how much stuff was there. But the bones of the house were good and the price was VERY good for the amount of space.  So we took the risk and bought it anyway.   Yes, there was a hole in the carpet and some wall damage hidden by the amount of furniture there. (And some ceiling fans we expected to go with the house that were removed before they left -- even though one had the only light in the room on it! OTOH he left the refrigerator and we had definitely NOT expected that!) But nothing worth scuttling the sale over!

 

And we still love the house after living here for 5 years so far.

Edited by vonfirmath
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We bought a house very similar to this. (The one we live in now) - -except for the locked room. But the garage was stacked to the rafters with junk.  EVery room was wall to wall stuff.  There were two families renting the house, living in a one-family house. So it was very understandable how much stuff was there. But the bones of the house were good and the price was VERY good for the amount of space.  So we took the risk and bought it anyway.   Yes, there was a hole in the carpet and some wall damage hidden by the amount of furniture there. (And some ceiling fans we expected to go with the house that were removed before they left -- even though one had the only light in the room on it! OTOH he left the refrigerator and we had definitely NOT expected that!) But nothing worth scuttling the sale over!

 

And we still love the house after living here for 5 years so far.

 

we did closer looking on the 2nd trip through.  there were NO downspouts.  at. all.  (there were built-in gutters that were popular in the 50s/60s).  there was evidence of a tank under the driveway.  a wall had been removed between a 1/2 bath and a full/ 3/4 bath and the floor was rotten.   there was a deck next to the front door (less than a foot off the ground) that was rotten. there was a broken window which they tried to disguise by covering it with drapes. the list goes on.  (but the cedar siding was super thick.)  

 

they were asking what it would be worth if it was in good condition - not needing that many repairs before a bank would even give a loan.  It's had at least two failed sales in the last three years.  they list it high - and slowly drop the price.  (which is still too high.)  if they'd dropped the price by at least $75k, it might have been worth it.

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I think that the HGTV shows that feature people rejecting a house for ridiculous reasons have messed with our expectations for buying/selling houses. We spent the fall viewing potential houses, and each time I walked through a house, I thought about all of the ridiculous things the HGTV people would say about the "shortcomings" we saw--dated wallpaper, worn carpet, a do-it-yourself dog door, etc. We ended up buying a house that had been on the market for a few months, had dated wallpaper, tile, light fixtures, etc. We love it. It is perfect for our family, and while wallpaper is kind of a pain to scrape off, it is really a cheap and easy fix, in the grand scheme of things. We looked at lots and lots of listings online and most of the houses that were not empty were very lived-in. It's a house. People live in it. The only picture that gave me pause was a bedroom with a person-shaped lump in the bed. I suspect it was a teen's room, the teen was either napping or didn't want to move, so the parent pulled the blanket over his head and told the photog to take the picture.  :laugh:

 

Probably horrible real estate advice, but my not-so-humble opinion.  :coolgleamA:

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First of all, deep breath, you can do this. :) Just work in little sections at a time and soon it will all be done. Here is what has helped us in selling:

 

- Do a deep clean of everything- I mean everything- baseboards, walls, light fixtures, etc. Wash or scrub everything- does your house smell? Figure out how to get rid of that smell. Your house will look its best when it is clean

 

- Everyone already mentioned this but declutter- go through every room and give away, throw away, and pack away whatever is not needed. Pretend you are camping or at a rented house. Pack away all the stuff you would not have there- including most of the kids toys. It will only be a while and then it will be like Christmas after you move. :)

 

- As you are going through your house set aside things you can use to stage your house yourself

 

- Clean...and clean....and clean

 

- Take pictures of each room in your house for yourself. Pretend you are a buyer. Would you buy your house based on the pictures? Why or why not?

 

- Look on Zillow at pictures of houses in your area- look at how they are pictured/staged and also the price

 

- Do you need to repaint? Pinterest has lots of color ideas for selling a house and paint does wonders. Do you have any outdated features in your house? Could paint help make that less noticeable? For example, we have pink showers in our current house and new showers are not in the budget right now. We chose a grey paint color with pink undertones and the showers now look great. You don't even notice that they are pink now- they look like a tan color. Before there was a peach color paint and it was awful. My other plan for the upstairs shower is just to hang cream curtains (found on clearance at TJMaxx) on a suspension rod over the door.

 

- Pinterest is really helpful for thinking about how you can stage your house yourself. Think of your home as no longer yours. I never went overboard but here are some things I did to stage our last home:

1. Fresh white towels in the bathrooms with a handsoap or a candle for a spa feel

2. Use pretty throws or pillows on your couch

3. Are your bed covers in good repair and look nice? I needed to purchase a new one for my kids bedroom and it made everything look better.

4. Use things that you have and organize them into vignettes so they will look nice- use your nicest books stacked together, stack your shoes neatly in a row in closet, put a fresh kitchen towel out and a pretty bowl full of lemons, put one cute/nice kids toy on top of their dresser, etc. Think about making your house like a bed and breakfast or a vacation rental. This blog below has really good advice and she most of the time uses the people own stuff and just reorganizes it to look better- look at the pictures and see how much nicer the afters are (I just linked to this one post but she has lot of great ideas in her other posts):

 

http://www.goodbyehousehellohome.com/2016/03/a-veteran-home-stager-how-to-avoid-top.html

 

http://www.goodbyehousehellohome.com/search?updated-max=2015-11-16T13:36:00-05:00&max-results=2&start=4&by-date=false

 

5. Make a list of stuff you might need to purchase (new towels, new kitchen towels, baskets, organizers, new throw pillows, etc.) I did spend a little money (TJMaxx is great for this) and it paid off so well. We use the stuff now in our new home too so it wasn't a waste. I didn't want to spend much but it made our house more appealing. Shop your house first and then buy anything else that might be necessary.

6. Make sure your house smells good for showings- buy a candle and light it, make cookies, whatever works for you...

7. Orchids look so pretty and are fairly inexpensive. They last longer than bouquets of flowers and look just as nice.

 

I mean your goal in all of this is not to make a show home. That is just not going to happen with a lived in home and kids. But you can make your home more appealing which likely means it will sell faster or at a better price which saves your time and money. It helped us so much! Your goal is to make a very clean and organized and beautiful home that people will want to buy right away. That is why I linked to the lady's blog above. I think she does a nice job of rearranging people's items in a more appealing way. Anyway, I hope this helps.

Edited by 4Kiddos
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I agree with bolt's description of staging your own home. The way I thought of it was to decorate my home like a nice hotel. Remove personal items. Have all flat surfaces either bare or staged with something impersonal like a vase or plant. Clean out a cupboard in your kitchen where you can store items from your counter, like your toaster, knife block, utensil crock, paper towels, etc., so that it is easy to stash them away. Our realtor did have us set our breakfast bar with a simple white plate topped with matching bowl (I bought these inexpensively at Target and only used them for display).

 

Consider buying some new throw pillows. If your bedding is well used or out of date, consider upgrading now instead of after you move. Buy new towels for the bathroom and use them only for display.

 

If you look at pictures online, you can see what shows well and what does not.

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I think that the HGTV shows that feature people rejecting a house for ridiculous reasons have messed with our expectations for buying/selling houses. We spent the fall viewing potential houses, and each time I walked through a house, I thought about all of the ridiculous things the HGTV people would say about the "shortcomings" we saw--dated wallpaper, worn carpet, a do-it-yourself dog door, etc. We ended up buying a house that had been on the market for a few months, had dated wallpaper, tile, light fixtures, etc. We love it. It is perfect for our family, and while wallpaper is kind of a pain to scrape off, it is really a cheap and easy fix, in the grand scheme of things. We looked at lots and lots of listings online and most of the houses that were not empty were very lived-in. It's a house. People live in it. The only picture that gave me pause was a bedroom with a person-shaped lump in the bed. I suspect it was a teen's room, the teen was either napping or didn't want to move, so the parent pulled the blanket over his head and told the photog to take the picture.  :laugh:

 

Probably horrible real estate advice, but my not-so-humble opinion.  :coolgleamA:

 

 

those "ridiculous reasons" predate hgtv. 

 

dated is one thing - paint is cheap.  rotting floors and broken windows is completely different - and the owner needs to fix them, or offer a steep discount because the buyer WILL have to fix them just to make things safe/useable.

 

eta: the taj mahal, and manressa castle were both homes adoring husbands built for their wives.  both wives . . rejected them because they didn't like them.

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4kiddos and I were posting at the same time, with many of the same ideas :001_cool: .

 

One other thing that helped me was to have an empty drawer in each bedroom that we could just stuff things in at the last minute before showings. Of course, you will have to empty that drawer again after the showing, or it won't be available to use in the same way the next time.

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First of all, deep breath, you can do this. :) Just work in little sections at a time and soon it will all be done. Here is what has helped us in selling:

 

- Do a deep clean of everything- I mean everything- baseboards, walls, light fixtures, etc. Wash or scrub everything- does your house smell? Figure out how to get rid of that smell. Your house will look its best when it is clean

 

 

 

oh my goodness - this . . . . :iagree: :svengo:

we looked at one house.  clean as a whistle,  totally decluttered, and simplified.  but the cat pee smell . . . . I got sick and had to leave before even completing the tour.

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You should be able to "stage" it yourself -- but to do it well, you need to think well past "decluttering".

 

You need a new word mantra like, "Bare, flat, and shiny" or, "Empty is pretty."

 

Contrary to popular opinion, it's not just buyers with a high price range who lack the imagination to picture a lived-in-looking house as if it was bare bones. Lack of imagination spans *all* price ranges. If you want all of your potential buyers you need to account for that.

 

You basically need to turn your home into a very pretty skeleton of itself.

 

Whatever is in your cupboards should go to storage, and whatever is on your surfaces should go into the cupboards. Even the salt shaker, and everything like it. A third of your furniture needs to find somewhere else to live until you move it -- even if you use it daily, you can live without it for cash. (People are 'paying' you thousands of dollars in the future to live without it for a little while now.)

 

Self-staging is ruthless. And completely impractical for living. And very worth the cash it will add!

 

As you live, when you need to show the house keep a bin by your exit door, and, "If it's messy, take it with you." (Dirty dishes, paper and markers, whatever. No need to clean it or tidy up, just grab all recent personal messes, and go.)

 

I don't know.  This might work, but it's completely impossible for a lot of people trying to sell that kind of property, who may be scrambling just to pay the moving expenses.  Paying for temporary storage isn't cheap.

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I think everything you are suggesting to do is fine. Also, make sure you remove anything and pack up anything you do not want stolen. And the more you can remove from the house the better. And it needs to be clean. I cannot get past dirty of bad smells when someone looks around. Oh yeah, I always heard bake a batch of cookies when a showing is about to happen. Just use the rolls so you don't mess up the kitchen.

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The things that worked for us were: ruthlessly declutter. Buyers look inside all cabinets, closets, etc. As clean as you can, meaning baseboards, windows, paint touch up, ceiling fans, light fixtures. We had two showings on the same day where one buyer said the house was dirty and not well kept and the other said it was so clean and move in ready. You really can't please everyone. Do your best and be ruthless in the assessment of your house. Also, the initial pricing is the most important. You want it slightly under market, because you need people in the door quickly. People start to think that something is very wrong with a house if it languishes for months on the market. That was how we got our current house. It was priced too high and sat for months. People started avoiding the house, according to our realtor despite the complete overhaul of the house and the great location. The sellers became desperate and took our offer.

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oh my goodness - this . . . . :iagree: :svengo:

we looked at one house.  clean as a whistle,  totally decluttered, and simplified.  but the cat pee smell . . . . I got sick and had to leave before even completing the tour.

 

When I smell cat pee...I wonder if it was cat pee or a meth lab. Maybe it's because my area has a ton of meth labs, but ammonia smell is a deal-breaker for me. 

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I don't know.  This might work, but it's completely impossible for a lot of people trying to sell that kind of property, who may be scrambling just to pay the moving expenses.  Paying for temporary storage isn't cheap.

 

If it is impossible, then it is impossible. Declutter and get rid of everything you can. If you have a garage, use it for storage. Do you have friends/family willing to store stuff? Otherwise realize you might take a hit on the house price to get it sold if you have a lot of stuff you cannot get rid of.  Just depends on the market.

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When I smell cat pee...I wonder if it was cat pee or a meth lab. Maybe it's because my area has a ton of meth labs, but ammonia smell is a deal-breaker for me. 

SaveSave

 

there were cat doors and litter boxes.  the worse was the cat food ON the kitchen counter.  otherwise, the house was spotless.

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Oh, yes to what was mentioned up thread about people looking in drawers and cabinets.  If you have really cluttered/junky/stuffed to the gills drawers and cabinets clean them out if you can.  It helps the house to seem like it has a lot more storage, it is less likely that they can quietly slip something into their pockets without you noticing immediately that something is missing, it makes moving easier later on, and the buyer is more likely to focus on the storage availability instead of any issues they may have with cleanliness.

 

And lock up jewelry and cash.

 

Most buyers are honest in my experience, but once in a while...

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those "ridiculous reasons" predate hgtv.

 

dated is one thing - paint is cheap. rotting floors and broken windows is completely different - and the owner needs to fix them, or offer a steep discount because the buyer WILL have to fix them just to make things safe/useable.

 

eta: the taj mahal, and manressa castle were both homes adoring husbands built for their wives. both wives . . rejected them because they didn't like them.

The Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum not a home.

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