Selling a house in a buyer's market

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I'm getting ready to put a house on the market (not this one where I live - it's a house I co-own).

    We have a realtor -- have a structural inspection from 1-2 years ago --- are getting ready to do termite stuff (it hasn't been done in 10-15 years, so we're doing an inspection, then the treatment) --- the roof was replaced a year ago (laminate, one layer, 30 year warranty) ...

    In other words, structurally, we're covered.

    We're unwilling to do any major remodeling in order to sell, on the theory that whoever buys will just completely redo what we've just redone. :D

    All that said --- how do you go about selling a house in a buyer's market? We're willing to do some basic painting (about half the place has just been repainted), some landscaping --- I have a small mountain of energy efficient bulbs to put in all the sockets --- but I get stuck on what to do other than painting, some landscaping and lots of intensive cleaning.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Jo

    Jo Well-Known Member

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    Do you watch HGtv......they have lots of ideas:
    On one show they have a realtor come at look at the house and then a decorated helps, they can only spend $2000.
    The front is the first impression people get of your home. Clean and neat front porch, front door clean, maybe new paint. Maybe a couple of flower pots. They clean and take out extra furniture to make the rooms look large, no clutter. Oh the other word, every one seems to want lots of light......so good light fixtures and no heavy window treatments. A new faucet makes the kitchen up dated. So you don't have to spend a lot, but just make things look clean and airy. Best Wishes on a quick sale.
     

  3. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    I always thought new sinks was a real come on to a prospective home buyer.
     
  4. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    !! Hmmmmmmm. That might be do-able. :)
     
  5. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    Jo said pretty much what I was going to say about "curb appeal" -- first impressions are lasting impressions. Yard that looks well cared for "loved". Most homeowners seldom use their front doors -- and perhaps do not realize that spiders and other creepy things have taken up residence there -- One of the best places to put a fresh coat of pain is the ceiling of your front porch. Make a homey first impression by a cheery wreath or seasonal display there also - if money allows.

    Another good place to paint and brighten is the interiors of closets -- clean out all the clutter and just leave as little as possible in the closets. Same things for gargages and storage building. It's even worth it to rent a storage place offsite for the listing time of your property if you have no place else to hide your clutter. Not that I'm saying you have any clutter -- most of us do right?

    Clean up and sweep the cobwebs out of the attic if you have one.

    It probably isn't necessary to put in new plumbing fixtures as long as the old ones are sparkly clean and in working order -- no drips or rust stains. Have scented candles burning in the bathroom.

    If there is anything you are not going to sell with the property -- like grandma's light fixture over the dining room table -- replace it prior to the house being shown. It's a BIG deal for buyers to fall in love with something like that only to discover it's not part of the deal.

    My favorite -- keep a roll of ready to bake cookies on hand -- have some baking or fresh from the oven when you have a showing. If nothing else -- sprinkle some vanilla in a warm oven.

    Think "homey - friendly - warm - cozy" --

    I had one friend who told me that by the time she did all my suggestions -- she had fallen back in love with her house and wasn't sure she still wanted to sell it.

    Marlene
     
  6. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    and when you paint make shure its white i have fixed some houses to resale semi gloss white is the best color
     
  7. deb

    deb Well-Known Member

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    Is there a basement? If there is, then take the time to get it clean and smelling "good". After looking at many houses, I was very impressed by the one that had a clean and dry basement. It also had lights in all the fixtures and you could see everything. A dark and dank basement lends itself to worries...(is there a leak? is the foundation cracked? why does it smell so bad? were those black widow spiders in the corner) so clean it up and put a dehumidifier in it if necessary to dry it out before you show the house.

    deb
     
  8. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Make sure the carpet is nice. Have it steam cleaned if that would help, if not, rip it out and replace it. Paint the subfloor if nothing else. Nasty carpets are one of my greatest turnoff when looking at houses.
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    No basement --- but the mid-section of the house is tornado proof, believe it or not --- no safe room, but if you saw if, you'd understand why I say it's tornado proof.

    Carpets have been steam cleaned --- walls (what we've painted) are a nice off white.

    Entry way and curb is still problematic. I've been bleaching the cement out there, so it's looking better. But I just can't bring myself to give up some of my beloved potted plants for the entry. :waa: In particular, one or two gorgeous huge ferns which are thriving beneath an oak here. :waa:

    However, I know you all are right. :waa:

    I love the idea of cookie smells! :) And the clutter --- we're working on it, trying, in fact, to get everything out of the place. :rolleyes:
     
  10. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Countrygirrl,

    You might check with the hard ware store about the concrete. I heard that there is a color that you can mix with sealer and put on old concrete.

    I recently seen a new concrete walk finished with terracotta [sp?] color. After it dryed for some hrs [forget how many], they then sealed it with a sealer. Sure looked good. I think they have the colors in several now.

    That might take care of the concrete problem with not much expense, if you do it yourself.
     
  11. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    Lowe's (and most other hardware stores) has a color sealant kit for cement. I think it was under $50.00. You just power wash the slab, roll on the mix and let it dry. There were a few different colors to choose from.
     
  12. wheeezil

    wheeezil Well-Known Member

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    Muratic acid is cheap and will etch the surface of the concrete
     
  13. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Funny someone mentioned a warm cozy house.When i was a kid we where house shopping and the one we looked at last had a roaring fire going,the house was more on the hot side than warm(but felt nice on a chilly winter day).But anyway,we never figured out how they got it so darn hot in there as it was the coldest draftiest house we ever lived in.I think they may have been running the dryer,oven,toaster,coffee pot,hair dryer and anything else that would put off heat in preparation for our arrival. :D

    This does sell houses!Sence its hot out id set the thermostat on 65 and freeze them! :D

    I assume sence you no bleach will brighten concrete you also no it will clean the heck out of dirty/mildew siding or painted surfaces outside.Just spray on with a bug sprayer(50/50 mix with water) wait and hose off.Also check your windows for mildew inside and out around the pains of glass if there wood.

    If you have a dirty/dull stainless kitchen sink Cascade liquid dish washer soap will make it look new.Also cleans stained counter tops and bleaches clean white vinyl flooring (warning it will remove any wax) Which is also a little trick,wax the kitchen,bath floors with Spick and Span or something to give it a high gloss shine.We noticed ours was done this way after about 3months of living here. :( No shine left on old flooring)

    Shine up any wood cabinets,flooring.

    Dirty shower, bath tub? Have you tried the new KABOOM cleaner (purple bottle)?This stuff eats all soap scum like mad,just spray on let sit about 5min and wipe off :eek: . Replace the suds dispensing spray bottle top with a normal misting top and you will get a lot more uses coverage out of the bottle.But watch the fumes when you do this.(ughum and dont mix it with bleach) :eek:

    Things as simple as (new looking) entry door knobs and plumbing fixtures catch my eye.(maybe a brass kick plate on the front door?) Storm doors in good shape?

    Trees are cheap this time of year,a nice tree here or there might add to the looks?

    Does it have any out buildings?A rent to own storage shed might help sell.If not your only out the rent. Or a kids play house maybe? Assuming your town is covered with as many shed rental places as ours.

    The privacy fenced rear yard sold this place to me.I cant see my nieghbors. :worship:
     
  14. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    The curb appeal factor is definite. Also clean everything, of course. Rearrange furniture to put heavy pieces farthest from the door if possible. It makes the rooms seem bigger not to be confronted with the big pieces right when you walk in.

    15 years ago, I was in real estate, and one thing I learned. Do NOT have your house smelling like food! (Unless you are there to offer that food.) Homes that smelled of food always made my customers hungry...and they never really looked at those houses...they just wanted to go somewhere they could eat! So, no apple pie, vanilla, cinnamon...those 'homey' smells make people who are already tired and frustrated want to sit down somewhere and eat and relax.

    Clean smells, on the other hand, make people linger. Freshly scrubbed bathrooms and kitchens are the biggest things that make people linger in your house. And you want them to linger long enough to say, 'well, I don't like that, BUT, I could do this with it, and it would be fine!"

    Good luck,
    Meg :)
     
  15. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    Countrygrrrl -- once you have put the suggestions that most appeal to you into "done deals" -- that is the time to start working on your listening agent to make sure there is not only an add in the MLS but also in the largest area newspaper -- people looking for homes for sale by owner use the newspaper - but a well written ad for an agency listed house will draw in prospects.

    Also - start pushing for an open house -- the sooner the better. Prospective buyers are pretty smart about the market...they know new on the market open houses are for the "better" deals then houses that have been on the market a long time then have an open house -- which tells 'em -- desperate sellers/agents.

    If your agent hasn't already told you -- it's best if no one is home when the house is shown. Puts buyers off when they have to be careful what the say about things they don't like about a house because the "owners" are present. This includes the day of the open house -- find somewhere else to be for the day.

    Best of luck to you,
    Marlene
     
  16. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Many, many moons ago I sold real estate. From the buyer's perspective:

    Most of the time, they had enough for a down payment and closing costs and not anything more, so a house that needed lots of updating and decorating appealed to them if it had a substantial decorating allowance. I do mean substantial. A house that needed new carpet and new appliances could not get away with offering $2000. The allowance needed to be enough to cover what needed to be done.

    Houses that were structurally sound and clean appealed. Pet smells are the biggest turn-offs and moldy showers and nasty stoves.

    Next to that was school districts and the look of the neighborhood. You could have a great house, but if the school was not great or the neighborhood was a mess, forget it.

    Price. Everyone is looking for a bargain. Offering a reduction in price or help with closing costs was a plus.

    Most people dislike semi-gloss paint on a wall. Reminds them of their last apartment. Off white in an egg-shell or flat works best.

    Things that don't work. Open houses. Bonuses to the agents.
     
  17. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    Try having the table set for a meal...not the food, just the dinnerware...mostly to show just how many people can sit in that space. Vases of flowers might work, or potpouri, all though you run the risk of loosing a buyer b/c of allergies. Having the yard mowed, the fencing in good shape( a coat of fence paint and a roller is a quick fix)... think of it if YOU were looking for a house to buy. You want things you can work with, not all someone else's decorationg style you'll have to take a lot of time and money to redo. Are there 'dips" in the ceilings or walls from previous repairs? how do the window treatments look? The pulls on the cabinets all match? The fuse box labeled? Clean trash cans? How about a map of the area, or a list of community activities? Ive always associated a "clean" smell with lemon. For my dh it's Murphey's oil soap. Good luck with what you do.
     
  18. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    These are great suggestions and VERY, VERY helpful --- thanks! :D
     
  19. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    One aspect of an improvement allowance is the buyer may be able to include it in the amount they finance, thus rolling it into the loan for long-term payment. Might make a different with a buyer scraping to get just the down-payment and closing fees.

    Another way of doing it is an offer with contingencies which must be met before closing.

    Pay particular attention to kids rooms. Some have them god-awful painted and decorated which may turn off potential buyers.

    If you are smokers, just be aware it may immediately turn off non-smoking buyers. In fact, if you don't smoke (or allow it in the house), you can included 'Non-smokers house' in the listing features. I've seen eBay descriptions which say all merchandies from them comes from a non-smoker house.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  20. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    countrygrrrl you probably read some of my post and know my wife and I have been looking at many, many houses. One thing that sets off warning bells with her is if the Front door is dindgy, or the windows are dirty. In several houses it looked like black mold inside of some of the doublepane glass. (it probably was just dirt, but who knows).

    Curb Appeal is #1 then leave very little in closets, move out big pieces of furniture (as a buyer) I want to imagine how my junk will look in here not yours. Everybody I know is concerned with storage space So make it look like you have plenty.

    I agree Label the breaker box. The energy saver lights are good but remember that a lot of them get brighter as they warm up. A prospective buyer may just flip the switch and if it's not bright just walk on to the next room.

    Clean the Ceiling fan. Heatpump if you have one, have it serviced.

    OK here's a biggie Clean the Stove, refridgerator, inside outside under it. YES WE LOOK :cool:

    Being frugal I understand not wanting to put out much cash. So here's what I'd do. Set aside X amount of dollars for Exterior and X amount dollars interior hide about $275 for that I just better fix. Now stay on budget or under budget. Use all creativity you have plus what you can get off this forum.

    It's only a Buyers Market if your willing to accept that. I told one prospective buyer that said "I'll make a offer But it is a Buyers Market" I said go ahead but without something to buy It ain't much of a market!!!!!!!!! :haha:

    Make it a adventure / fun activity that makes Realtors Squirm :haha: :D Trust me it's worth it. :)