bridgeh20

Selling our “old” home - advice on strategy

bridgeh20
2 years ago

One year ago – we fell in love with a lot – and built a home – which we closed on in May. Since then – we have been slowly moving from one house to the other and preparing our home of 30 years for sale. Old house is paid off and new house has a very low interest rate loan that will be paid off when old house sells.

We paid for a home inspection and fixed 90% of the issues (and addressed the ones we can’t fix or don’t want to fix – such as replacing our 30 year old gas furnace that works like a champ!) Fixes included upgrading water heater, electric, plumbing, smoke detectors, GFCI, fireplace etc.

We painted several of the downstairs rooms, pressure washed patios and decks, refreshed our extensive gardens with mulch and took out some rickety fence and replaced it with new fencing.

So now we are getting opinions from various real estate agents and not one of them agrees on the comparables or the market value or a realistic listing price. So the more information we gather – the more confused we get.

Location: In our area – there are only a couple of houses for sale in the city limits that have a fenced yard, full DRY basement, four bedrooms above grade, large lot etc. Also our house backs up to a large undeveloped wooded area that can’t be developed due to the geology – so it is very private and very quiet. The location is walking distance to grocery stores and small restaurants. So we nailed the location piece of the listing.

Condition: We have never really updated anything inside the house – instead we put all our energy into our extensive ½ acre lot’s landscaping. The yard is a knock out – but every realtor has told us that no one cares about the inspection items we repaired and upgraded – all they care about is the appearance – so we feel foolish that we wasted time and money on items realtors don’t value. We have no idea what buyers value.

We have mostly carpeting (which our carpet cleaner says does not need to be replaced) and original oak flooring (which everyone says we need to sand down to bare wood and refinish.)

We have been told our house will NEVER sell with carpeting in the bathroom and have been advised to put down vinyl or tile.

We have been advised to paint ALL THE TRIM in the entire house white. And to paint every room in the house the same color – a neutral beige. Gray is on its way out out out.

We feel a little stunned by this advice – because we assumed the buyer would paint whatever colors they prefer – but it does seem to be consistent advice from the handful of realtors who have toured our home. And confused because all of our young friends who are buying homes paint the whole interior before they move in.

So do we suck it up and paint the entire interior – including the trim? We have lots of interior doors and crown moulding chair rail and baseboards and that task feels daunting.

Price: Homes in our area that have modern updated granite kitchens with stainless steel appliances are going under contract in a few days at prices that range from 5 – 40% above property tax assessments. We’ve been told if we do all these appearance upgrades we can expect to get offers 7-10% above tax assessment. After paying 5% commission, this leaves us just enough to pay off the new smaller house, but also requires we spend 5-10K more – which we have in savings and could spend on the old house – but we would rather offer that toward closing costs or a price reduction - which realtors are not recommending as a strategy.

So in a seller’s market – with a killer location, below average condition if we don’t do the appearance fixes of paint and refinished hardwood floors, and bathroom tile – what would your pricing strategy be? Or is the advice to suck it up and do those appearance fixes (which will mean putting our house on the market around 10/1).

Open to advice to help us sort through the conflicting advice! This forum has been immensely helpful while we were building our new home. Hope you can help us sell our old one.

Comments (43)

  • lyfia
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I'm a buyer who would really value putting my stamp on a house like yours assuming the price is right. I abhor those that pay and upgrade things and expect to get more money for it when all they've done is put granite on old cabinets that need help etc. or the layout just doesn't work for me because they insisted on sticking an island in there which makes the space too cramped etc.

    I would very much appreciate not having to update the mechanicals though and just do the cosmetics.

    How I would price it to sell is to take the top price you could expect with everything finished and then subtract out the work that would need to be done, using an average cost to do it using a licensed contractor with lower end of mid grade materials. Then figure the simple DIY labor items and such as labor for painting and add that back to the price. Then you'd be in the ballpark of what a buyer would be thinking probably on the price.

    Although a buyer would likely expect the full discount including DIY labor - I added it back in because it would make it more reasonable starting point for you to negotiate from.

    bridgeh20 thanked lyfia
  • jn3344
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Gosh. You've already invested in fixing 90% of the potential inspection issues. You may as well go all the way. Otherwise I fear your investment may be for naught.

    Our realtor helped us identify our target buyer. For us it was a young family who would be stretching financially to get into an above average neighborhood in a good school district. This type of buyer would be tapped out on closing day, and carpet in the bathroom would absolutely be a deal breaker. They want to move in on Wednesday and have a bbq on the deck that weekend.

    I think the choices were "as is" or do it all. You can't do "as is" anymore because you've already done all the structural fixes.

    bridgeh20 thanked jn3344
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  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago

    Get that carpet up in ALL the rooms, put down some sort of inexpensive flooring in the bathroom, and refinish the oak floors.

    As for repainting - well, are all the rooms different colors? Is all the woodwork different colors, too? If so, you either need to do the painting, give an allowance at closing or make the selling price (low) very attractive.

    Young couples seem to think that finding a painter and deciding on a color are way above their pay grade, and will reject a house where painting is necessary.

    Move out of your house completely, get the carpet up (carpet in a bathroom is disgusting!), and refinish those floors. Then you must still expect the price to be realistic as the new owners will have to redo the kitchen and bathrooms.

  • Laurie Schrader
    2 years ago

    I guess I would ask- how much do you need from "old" property, and to chase anything further...How much are you willing to spend, to pay off new- and does it make sense? Remember- when you replace things, there is at least a small emotional quotient that goes into it.

    Is it worth it?

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri
    2 years ago

    The biggest red flag to me is carpet in the bathrooms. That’s a big ick factor to me.

  • azmom
    2 years ago

    Just the thought of 30 years old carpet in the bathrooms would turn off most buyers. Bathrooms are small, putting in new, good quality, neutral colored tiles won't cost you much at all.


  • Denita
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    In the past 30 years marketing real estate has changed tremendously.

    Good photos are key.

    jn3344 nailed it when she said that her Realtor provided her with her target buyer. This is crucial information to know prior to putting your home on the market. Most of us (Realtors) know if your buyer is going to be a first time buyer (and their attributes), a move up buyer, a seasonal type buyer etc. We can provide you a detailed analysis of who your buyer will be so your agent can market to that buyer.

    As mentioned by jn3344, first time buyers are generally (not always) quite broke by the time they close so painting is just not something that they can do right away. I have seen them skip over homes that need interior painting and not anything else. Many won't even consider a home that needs painting. I don't understand it either, but I have seen it many times. When you do get an offer, the offer will take into account the painting and they will deduct much more than it costs for the hassle factor.

    The primary way that buyers look for homes today is online and they will swipe away your house if it doesn't appeal to them immediately. I'm not suggesting you go in for big renovation, but freshening up the paint with a neutral color would go a long way toward getting your home sold for more.

    Having carpet in the bath is a no-no. Remove it. You would have to take a big hit in your price for the ick factor.

    PS: You are already paying a lower commission, that will affect your showings & sale price unless it is common in your area to pay the discounted amount.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    lyfia - you sound like our ideal buyer - I love what you shared.


    jn3344 - great point - and at our price point - investing 15K to replace a fully functional HVAC system which is allegedly end of life is not in the cards.


    Anglophilia - in our area - there are no inexpensive flooring options other than carpeting. And - I hear you that a kitchen that is fully functional - but not HGTV is a turn off!


    Laurie Schrader - you nailed it - the emotional quotient - I think we picked our listing agent today based on exactly what you identified - that weird feeling of spending money that might or might not be relevant. The person who sold us our current house (buyer’s agent) looked at the house today - and gave us a VERY short list of things to change - that felt reassuring for sure. She’s been an agent for a long time and has a practical approach to selling houses. We will likely follow her advice and see what happens. She is super competent and confident and believes she can sell our home in 90 days or less. We have a killer landscaped yard with mature boxwoods and oak trees that will be a “hell yes” for someone.


    littlebug zone 5 Missouri - Yup - we got the quote to replace it today - we have tile in our new bathrooms here - and it is easy to clean but very hard and cold - I have loved our carpeted baths.


    azmom - the quote to tile the bathrooms is not insignificant - but yes - I hear you!


    Denita - true - we have only bought two homes - the old one and the new one - same builder - and yes - the swipe factor is in play for a certain demographic - and not so much for another demographic. In our area - 2.5/2.5 is standard. What is the split where you live? When we built this house in 1988 - it was 6%. Now there are a lot of FSBOs and discount brokers. The 5% is a full service listing. We are in the Mid-Atlantic region of the east coast of the US.




  • Denita
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    In our area the commission rates vary but 3%/3% is common. Builders actually offer bonus commissions: 4%, 5% and sometimes 6% to the selling agency. I've been in the business since 1978 so I have seen huge fluctuations depending upon the market. I'm in S. FL, so not all that far from you, but it is a different market.

    In my area, the swipe factor is huge. It makes the difference between a reasonably fast sale and one that lingers. Naturally, I'm assuming the price of your home is within market. We are in a sellers' market here. Many listings go into multiple offers and yet, I am seeing more and more price adjustments in the last couple of months and bonuses. Make sure you come out onto the market with a price that reflects the market in your area.

    bridgeh20 thanked Denita
  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Denita - yes - price is low market to accommodate condition - since it is paid for - and new house is financed at 3.125 and will be paid off with the sale of old house - we were lazy ISH over the summer - but panic has set in now as labor day looms! ha! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. I vacillate between zen calm and sheer panic!


  • Denita
    2 years ago

    ^Good point: zen calm and sheer panic. Sounds normal to me! :)

  • homechef59
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Good advice to ask each of these realtors to identify your target market. That will help make your decision as to how far you want to go in getting the house ready for market.

    As an appraiser, I get to see houses in lots of different conditions. The carpeted bath has to be changed before marketing. The only reason it would remain in the current condition is if the house is a tear down.

    Buyer's are incapable of using any imagination. That is why fresh paint is more important than new carpet or refinished floors. Unfortunately, buyers will see a highly landscaped yard as work and you will not be rewarded for your past efforts.

    Competent realtors can be difficult to find, also. Everyone of the comparable sales and listings should be accompanied by commentary from the realtor as to why it was included, or why it should be excluded. You should be well educated by the time they have completed their respective presentations.

    Pictures are everything. Make certain that they are taken with the proper camera and lighting. The house can be empty, but must be spotless. Times have changed. People shop for homes on line. They visit the subject property merely to confirm what they have already seen.

    Also, make certain the listing emphasizes the great, move-in condition of the home and that there is no deferred maintenance. It's ready for the buyer's finishing touches.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Homechef59 - yes - all of that - we are in a rural area with a very close knit community of realtors/mortgage bankers/appraisers etc. For instance - our new home appraised within 40$ of the sales price - which was an interesting coincidence - not.


    You are absolutely spot on about the yard - it will take a special person who wants to maintain the "secret garden" - but the fundamental infrastructure of the yard, paths, pergola, decks, and patios creates an incredible oasis of silence just on the city county line - which will appeal to .0000001% of the folks out there! Or if we are lucky - just one family will love it.


    In our area - there are THREE houses for sale in this price range and ours is the only one on a large lot and the only one with a fence. The only one with a large unfinished DRY basement. The only one with four bedrooms above grade.


    The only tear down in our area that I know of in the past few decades was a house that slid down the hill - not sure what happened there - but it was a $500,000 house listed for $125,000 - and after some sleuthing - I figured it out.


    Still swinging between panic and acceptance - but thank god for my DAY JOB where I get to feel calm and competent for several hours a day! ha!


    I burst into tears today talking to a friend - and he dropped everything he was doing to come check on me - at the old house! He is going to help with some of the work - and his kindness and human connection made me feel less insane.


    We built an entire new house from slab to move in and I never shed a single tear... but this process of selling our old house has me quaking in my boots.


    I appreciate the collective wisdom here!



  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago

    It's true about gardens being a handicap instead of a selling point. It was true for my parents when they sold their house where my mother had put in (yes, by herself!) large perennial borders. It will someday be true for my house. I know full well that since it is an established garden, the maintenance is low, but since most home buyers think watering a pot of geraniums on the front porch is an onerous task, they will think otherwise. I think I will suggest to my children that if they are selling the house after my death, to just plow up the borders front and back and sod them. Far easier than explaining how easy they are to maintain (and yes, there IS an in-ground sprinkler system!).

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    hahahahaha! my husband recommended that - grass it all - and I thought he had lost his EFFING mind. AHAHAHAHAHAAHAH! thank you Anglophilia

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    2 years ago

    If it's hard to say goodbye to the house, why don't you keep it as a rental?

  • maifleur01
    2 years ago

    I can came to the conclusion that if you have lots of plants the next owners will oooh and awe over them then rip them out. If you only have grass and perhaps a few plants those plants will be gone along with the grass. I have seen it happen throughout my lifetime. It also seems to matter at what age the potential buyers are. Twenties spotlight plants. Thirties even split but more will plant trees. Forties and above are starting to go back to simpler things. Above that they seem to want what their parents had at the same age.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    summersrhythm_z6a - We can't afford to own two homes - selling this one will pay for our new smaller house - and we moved because we want simplicity. What's hard isn't saying goodbye - it is all the conflicting advice of where to spend our money to prepare it for market. We have ZERO consensus. I chose a confident realtor who will list it for 90 days - and if it is not sold - (she thinks it will sell and is pricing it aggressively) we will take it off the market for December - and return it to the market in January or February to catch the upswing.


    maifleur01 - ha! so true about the plants - we were 30 somethings when we built and spent the first ten years putting in the extensive infrastruture and trees, then fine tuned for another ten, and in the last ten - any plant that needed babying had to suck it up and become hardy - or die of neglect! Our yard is much simpler now than at the peak of its glory.



  • midcenturymodernlove
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    It's all about location. If you have the location, the rest doesn't matter that much. It sounds as if you have spent your money wisely to me. You've addressed issues buyers care about and that will cause you to sail through inspection. I don't know what your house looks like, but so long as it doesn't look like an acid trip in the sixties, it will sell. It will sell faster if you paint the house and trim neutral if it is not.

    I would not worry about bedroom carpet, unless it is dirty or you have various colors in different rooms. But carpet over any existing hardwoods should be removed, because buyers like that. And yes, get the carpet OUT of the bathroom. Otherwise, not necessary to listen to Realtors telling you this or that MUST be done, but choose wisely. If we had some photos, that would help. If your house is already neutral and in excellent condition, I would not paint. But if it's a patchwork, I would. Even a few main rooms would help.

    When I'm done with a house (I've renovated/restored a number of them), I usually get multiple offers quickly (often same day) so I feel confident I know what I'm doing. The Realtors get it wrong a lot. They exist to get buyers to your house via other Realtors. Let them do their job and you do yours.

    I do agree with them that a price reduction or a credit of some kind is NEVER the way to go. Get the price right before you list. Then stick with it. I never lower my price. There were only a few times that it took a few weeks but I continue to improve rather than lower my price.

  • azmom
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Years ago a coworker told us he skipped a house with a perfect, picturesque backyard. He said both he and his wife worked full time, with three elementary school age kids, he was afraid they would ruin the perfect master piece if they purchased the house.

    We had a different experience. We purchased our current home that had many beautiful, special plants in the backyard. After we closed the house we found out the seller removed all the nice plants. It was a lesson we learned that we need to add a clause regarding landscape in the purchase contract.

  • Denita
    2 years ago

    azmom, those plants should have been left by the seller. In our contracts its a requirement and states so in the pre-printed language. You are right to check the contract though just in case it isn't there on your forms.

  • apple_pie_order
    2 years ago

    It's going to be shown empty. Every nick and ding on the old paint will show. Paint it top to bottom.

    Refinishing the floors is probably a good idea. Once the house is empty, the floors will be highly visible.

    Get professional photos. Your buyer looks at your photos on a 2 inch screen.

    As for the beautiful garden- some buyers will love the garden and want to talk to you about the fertilizer schedule and best source of compost, but not most of them. Some gardener-buyers find a fabulous garden triggers "buy this one" just like some cook-buyers find a fabulous kitchen does.

  • azmom
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Denita,

    Thank you for the inputs.

    Due to the rate lock, and the sellers could not complete their out of state moving by the scheduled closing date, we let them stay for one week for free after closing instead of pushing out the closing date.

    You could see how surprise we were when we found out they removed plants.

    In retrospect, we don't regret helping people, but we learned that we should have made the contract water tight.

  • 2katz4me
    2 years ago

    Every buyer is obviously different but we bought and sold two different homes in the last three years after looking at hundreds online and many in person. I skipped those that look like they need a lot of work even if it's mostly cosmetic - flooring, paint, counters, etc. I just don't have time to deal with all that. I also skip those that have all white woodwork because I don't like it. However my neighbor painted his before putting it on the market recently and it sold in days vs. months/years for others on our street that were essentially the same villa type home - exactly the same exterior and footprint - but with stained oak woodwork.

    I would also likely pass by the extensive gardens thing because it's too much work though I'd figure out how to deal with it if I loved everything else about the place. I was attracted to homes in the right location that were well built with quality materials and well maintained. I loved photos of the home work shop with every tool carefully stored in its place by some anal retentive perfectionist. I don't particularly care if things are a bit dated if they're in good taste and high quality. I actually prefer not to get the HGTV look that appeals to the masses. Of course if you're selling you do want to appeal to the masses.

    Kitchen or bathroom carpet is definitely a turn off.

    Good luck - it can be overwhelming.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    new house is financed at 3.125 and will be paid off with the sale of old house -

    Why in the world would you pay off a 3.125 mortgage? Conservative investments right now are paying 4%, meaning if you pay off the mortgage you're actually losing money. Put the money into a T bond and get the 4% since you say you don't need the money.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    Do you have pictures of the house we could see?

    The person who sold us our current house (buyer’s agent) looked at the house today - and gave us a VERY short list of things to change - that felt reassuring for sure. She’s been an agent for a long time and has a practical approach to selling houses. We will likely follow her advice and see what happens. She is super competent and confident and believes she can sell our home in 90 days or less. We have a killer landscaped yard with mature boxwoods and oak trees that will be a “hell yes” for someone.

    Most home buyers unfortunately don't give a hoot about the gardens because that just means more work for them. Yes you might get one or two with a green thumb, but don't count on it. My first house had gorgeous gardens. The next homeowner ripped most of it out for easy care stuff.

    Make sure you're not choosing the agent because she said what you wanted to hear and not what you needed to hear.

    You MUST remove the carpet in the bathrooms. You don't need to put down real tile. Luxury vinyl tile will work just as well and be a heck of a lot less expensive. No one though wants to walk on someone's 30 year old bathroom carpet. YUCK!

    In our area - there are THREE houses for sale in this price range and ours is the only one on a large lot and the only one with a fence. The only one with a large unfinished DRY basement. The only one with four bedrooms above grade.

    Yes but are the others UPDATED? Meaning fresh paint. Granite counters. Wood or wood look floors. Etc.

    If so, you still might lose out because nothing visual is updated in your 30 year old home. Meaning that if they are all in the same price range and the others look updated, they will sell faster and possibly for more money. Dry basement or not. Of course after the buyer learns of the leaky basement, they may come back to the seller for a discount. ;)

    We built an entire new house from slab to move in and I never shed a single tear... but this process of selling our old house has me quaking in my boots.

    I know how scary it is. I've sold 5 houses in my lifetime. One was sold in 2010 at the height of the recession! The sale will happen as long as it's priced right. That house hadn't been updated either including the 50 year old furnace that was still working. However we painted all the rooms neutral colors, laid new tile in the main bath since the old tile was cracked in places, and made the place look move in ready.

    We were the only house in our area to sell in a 6 month period during that time. Partly it was location. Partly it was the house. Partly it was because it was priced very well and partly it was because we freshened it up.

    Also, make certain the listing emphasizes the great, move-in condition of the home and that there is no deferred maintenance. It's ready for the buyer's finishing touches.

    This is excellent and should be said on the listing just as homechef said it.

    Our yard is much simpler now than at the peak of its glory.

    I'm LOL since that sounds just like myself too. My first house as I mentioned had these glorious gardens on a small plot. My second had wonderful flower beds where I tore up the previous owner's bushes and landscaped. Now I'm more like anglo. Make it look lush but make sure there's a good sprinkler system and it's low maintenance.

    You've gotten some excellent advice here. Other than that, the one thing I'd say is to make sure everything in the house is SPOTLESS. No dirty light switches. No dirty door knobs. No dirty cabinet handles. Not even spots on the faucets. Clean the grout in the bathrooms.

    I agree that if the carpet is in good shape it doesn't have to come up. (Except the bathroom!). Wood floors probably just need a good cleaning. And as mentioned as long as each room isn't a different color, and doesn't look dirty, there is no reason to paint.



  • apple_pie_order
    2 years ago

    If you post photos, you may get more comments based on what we actually see. Pretend you are a pro photographer taking the photos for the listing. Open curtains and turn on the lights.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    midcenturymodernlove - your response really resonated with me - we do have the location - the acres of undeveloped land behind us, the entire back of the house faces that land, our house is situated so we don’t look into anyone else’s windows except in the front where we face the street - but we chose this lot because it actually faces the yard between two houses across the street. Most houses listed - priced above or below ours improved or not - have windows in their living spaces that face close neighbors. Ours look out onto that yard that is an oasis (and that we don’t want to take care of anymore!) Our house is an introverts delight.


    I also felt slightly less crazy when you said the realtors get it wrong a lot - that helps me make sense of all the conflicting advice we are getting - the market will let us know - for sure!


    And I love your idea of getting the price right, and continuing to improve - not dropping the price. That is our current strategy because even with the estimates we have for tile and refinishing the hardwood - the good contractors are booked 6-8 weeks out - so I am on their list - but waiting…


    So - my worry of waiting until it is perfect/better or listing now before the winter doldrums set in feels less troubling if we list and continue to improve based on feedback. But I still worry that the house will go stale and then become a pariah!


    As you can tell from this thread - I am feeling pretty unsettled right now!


    apple_pie_order - I hear you on photos


    cpartist - I hear you on the gardens - most of the feedback I am getting from friends walking through is wow - we had no idea you had such a private yard - (and is this all yours?) ha! yes - hence that is why we are selling!


    RE: paying off new house - (we have an ARM) we will make a balloon payment to be sure it is paid off before the 3.125 adjusts up to 5.125 - but if we had to we could roll with a house payment that adjusted up to 7.125. When we purchased our home I think the rates were around 10%! So yes - I hear you on taking advantage of the 3.125 - which has given us the luxury of taking our time and owning both homes for now.


    Not choosing the agent because of “what I want to hear” choosing her because she seems super pragmatic - and is the only one who hasn’t given us absolutes. Choosing her because she believes the market will tell us what our house is worth - and then we will adjust.


    RE: carpeting in the bathroom - AGAIN

    I had two different estimators here - carpeting is on plain plywood subfloor. To install anything other than carpeting means removing the toilet, installing a more robust subfloor/durock etc, then putting down tile/LVT/LVP etc. The cost of the tile or vinyl is negligible - the cost of the labor per bathroom is the expense.


    RE: other houses - updates - some yes some no!


    RE: paint - ours will be freshly painted before listing


    RE: spotless - I hear you - when I think it is “clean enough” we will hire a professional move out cleaning crew before photos and listing


    3katz4me - thanks for getting that at the end of the day it can feel overwhelming - my hope is that there are so few homes for sale - someone will pick mine - and again - as my realtor says - until it is listed we have no accurate data on what is a deal breaker.


    azmom - that stinks about the plants! Last summer - I made starts from a few of my heirloom plants and put them in a temporary bed - they are going with me to the new house when the weather turns. I have made it clear they are going - and the originals are staying - I just propagated from the existing plants in plenty of time for the original plants to fill in the space.




  • chisue
    2 years ago

    We are begging you to start thinking like a buyer -- not *you* as a buyer, with your values, but Today's Buyer of a House Like Yours.

    I guarantee you that is not someone who will pay top dollar for a house with plywood flooring in the bathrooms. Even if that is standard in your area, the house with the nice upgrades will sell faster. Have you looked at your 'competition'?

    BAD idea to 'test the market' then 'adjust'. You are only *fresh* once. Take advantage of it. Otherwise the 'adjusting' you will do will be to lower your price.

    This forum can help if you just snap photos of your house as it is now. It will also help you to look at the rooms through a buyer's eyes.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago



    Our process is room by room - this is our formal dining room - still on our to do list - clean windows, dust trim, check for fingerprints on light switches.


    We are systematically going room to room and doing this to each room. This room is about 11x14 and looks out to the west into the backyard.


    This is a traditional home with a formal dining room, formal living room, great room (faces the private woods) which is a 12x20 family room that transitions to a breakfast area and is continuous with the kitchen. 4 bedrooms upstairs with a master bath and a hall bath.


    Linen closet adjacent to laundry which is upstairs also.


    Full unfinished basement.


    Attic is floored and is accessible via pull down stairs.


    Lot is about 20,000 square feet - and house is about 2000 square feet with an attached 2 car garage.


    Water heater replaced in the last year, roof replaced replaced 2012, exterior painted three years ago.


    Every worker and contractor has been wowed by the house - every realtor has said the market will determine if your house is a wow house or not.


    midcenturymodernlove - I will expand my search for a "handyman" or handy person for the two upstairs bath floors. At first - I was wanting to work only with the highly recommended people who are not in the price range you mentioned and are booked up weeks in advance - but I will broaden my scope.


    For those of you who are frustrated with my process - I hear you - but I truly am doing my best to do this in an honest and ethical way - so yes - we have spent money upgrading the things that are not sexy - like bringing the electrical up to current code - not 1988 code. Definitely not "shiny" but something we did. A friend of mine just bought a house with knob and tube wiring and didn't bat and eye. It was the location she wanted - and had an idyllic view with a private yard.


    Please send good vibes for a buyer who wants what we are selling. I am sure there are tons of people who will pass on our house for all the reasons everyone has stated.

  • homechef59
    2 years ago

    I've installed durarock and tiled a bath floor myself. It's not hard to do. I'm not saying to do it yourself, I'm saying it's not a hard job and a competent handyman/contractor should be able to complete it in two days. It's got to be done.

    bridgeh20 thanked homechef59
  • chisue
    2 years ago

    Your DR is lovely. Have you raised the chandelier to work in the room? (You have more electric and chain to lower it?)

    Am I reading right? A 2000 sq ft home with 4BRs and 1.1 bathrooms, both upstairs? Did you leave out a first floor facility?

    Modern 220 electrical is expected today.

    When we sold our 1950's development 'starter home' (of 30 years), I noted that the listing didn't mention that the house had all top line Anderson windows. Our realtor -- a neighbor -- said first time buyers just see 'windows'. She's the same neighbor who told me years earlier not to tile our kitchen floor because it was too much of an upgrade for our neighborhood. (Probably different today.)

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago

    It really does depend on ones neighborhood. In my neighborhood, new Marvin windows (wood inside, aluminum clad outside) is highly desirable. But few will pay for a SubZero refrig - just want a counter-depth. If they want a SZ, they are talking about a total gut and doing the kitchen the way THEY want it!

    In my neighborhood, the "unseen upgrades" are a big selling point. Buyers want to buy a house with those thing already done - they want to spend THEIR money on cosmetic things, not a new electrical panel/hot water heater/HVAC etc. This is when a realtor that knows ones neighborhood VERY well, is worth her weight in gold.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Anglophilia - AGREED a realtor who knows ones neighborhood is worth his/her weight in gold. Haven't found him her yet.


  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    chisue - Chandelier is up while we paint walls so we don't crash into it!


    2000 square feet -

    upstairs - 4 br - 2 baths - 1 laundry - a long hall and a linen closet.

    main floor - formal living room, formal dining room, kitchen, breakfast, family with fire place, powder room, a hallway and entry way and coat closet.

    NOT included in the 2000 square feet - ~1500 square feet of unfinished basement.


    The electrical upgrades were GFCI at the panel and other upgrades - and every realtor has told us it is not necessary to bring a house up to code to list it. We just chose to.



  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    homechef59 - Got our estimate for the cheap vinyl in the master - $797 done by a handyman.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    ALL - we live in a really tiny town - and the workers and neighbors have spread the word - there is just nothing for sale - so when something is being prepared to be listed - there is a buzz.....


    We've had some walk throughs from folks - some represented and some not and a VERY interested empty nester couple who don't care about the kitchen being original or the bathrooms having carpet.


    It still isn't listed - but we are plugging away!


    SEND sweet mojo that this couple who is enchanted makes an offer on our house!

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    I had two different estimators here - carpeting is on plain plywood subfloor. To install anything other than carpeting means removing the toilet, installing a more robust subfloor/durock etc, then putting down tile/LVT/LVP etc. The cost of the tile or vinyl is negligible - the cost of the labor per bathroom is the expense.

    I'm sorry but this one shouldn't be up for discussion as anyone coming into the house will take one look at carpet in the bathroom, make a face and leave. Sheet vinyl would be a better choice even.

    BAD idea to 'test the market' then 'adjust'. You are only *fresh* once. Take advantage of it. Otherwise the 'adjusting' you will do will be to lower your price.

    Exactly. If your agent is telling you that, then she's not as good as you believe her to be. You don't test the market because in the long run if you have it priced too high, it will sit longer on the market, people will wonder what's wrong with it when the price drops and then you'll wind up most likely with LESS than if you had priced it right the first time.

    SEND sweet mojo that this couple who is enchanted makes an offer on our house!

    Boy that would be great if that happens. Sending good vibes!

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Update - Well - we received a very strong offer - and we made some concessions and they did too. But they couldn't quite make it work without selling their home. We offered a kick out clause and they met with a realtor and found out what they would need to do to list their home. (We've been working on ours steadily for months - for them - this was a word of mouth "jump at the opportunity" impulse offer.) So the deal fell through because they can't swing the cash to fix up their home and make the downpayment on our home, but the experience was very heartening. They were lovely folks and great to negotiate with.


    We will keep you posted :)

  • summersrhythm_z6a
    2 years ago

    I don't understand why people made an offer that they couldn't afford? They were totally wasting other people's time and energy. Same thing happened to my apartment rental too.

  • bridgeh20
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I think they thought they could swing it without selling their house - and according to the lender they could - but I respect that in the end it felt too risky.


    Since the house still isn't listed - we are letting friends of friends walk through - which has given us valuable information :)


  • lake lover
    2 years ago

    Buyers today want Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware look: light, bright, neutral. You are providing a canvas that they will put personal touches to. It sounds like your agent is not very familiar with your area. Can you find out who has sold most of the homes in your area? I would not be letting anyone walk through the home until it is listed. You are letting them see a work in progress and that is never good. If people are curious let the curiosity build. They will see it in this half finished state and rule it out. Also a sliding price structure where you start out high and adjust over time is a sure sign of an agent who does not know how to price the home.

    bridgeh20 thanked lake lover