Have any of you sold a house?

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AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033
Have any of you sold a house?

We've bought one house, but never sold one. If you have sold a home what tips do you have for getting it ready to show? I'm pretty overwhelmed looking around at all the things I need to do to get it ready to 'show'.

Where do you stash all your personal stuff? We have limited storage space and lots of crap.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

That's a good question! I honestly don't think I was ever around for any house selling. We rented when I was little, and my family sold the house I lived in from 10-18 after I had left home. I *do* however know from experience that moving is an excellent time to purge excess crap. Be ruthless. It feels good! If you haven't used it in more than a couple of years and/or could easily replace it for cheap, why bother moving it?

If that's not an option or you still have way too much to be able to keep the place show-ready for an extended period, can you pack up some stuff now that you know you won't need (like out of season things, christmas decorations, memory stuff, whatever) and keep it temporarily at someone else's house, or even rent a little cheap storage unit? Or get one of those U-Box units and pack a bunch into it, and then when the house sells you're already halfway there--just put in the rest and call them to come take the unit to your new house. Looks like a small one is about $65/m. Depending on how long you think this may take, that might be doable?

I know my SIL was going nuts trying to keep their tiny house clean with 3 kids under 5 while they were trying to sell while still living in it...good luck!!!!!!

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

Being the seller sucks in this market.

To get ready: you are supposed to take down any personal items (family pictures, etc) because you want people looking at your house to picture it as their house, not your house. And remove clutter as much as possible, as storage items can make your space look smaller. Luckily my brother lived within a half hour away so put all our crap in his basement. I would recommend having a yard sale and consider renting a storage unit. If that isn't possible, then organize as best you can. Finish any little projects that you may have been putting off, and go ahead and make the little repairs, because the buyer is going to ask you to fix them any way.

Also, I don't know what the market is like where you're at, but you're most likely going to pay the closing costs for both yourself and the buyer. And remember when you bought a house and you didn't pay any realtor fees? That's because they come out of the seller's fees when the house sells, so you'll be paying the realtor fees for both your realtor and the buyer's realtor. This stuff didn't used to matter so much when you could buy a house and sell it for more than you paid for it. But we ended up losing money on our old house just to get out of it. We had to, though, it was not a good place to be raising a kid.

Also, be prepared for the fact that people will make an appointment to see the house, so you'll spend time getting it ready and get out, only to come back and realize they had never even stepped through the front door. Used to piss.me.off. But it's all part of the game.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

One more thought--I know you guys don't have a ton of extra money lying around or anything, but if there's any way to just move into a tiny, crappy rental in the new city while your house is on the market, I think THAT is what we did when we moved from NC to NY when I was 10. We lived in a horrible little basement with almost no stuff and didn't bother to set up tv or anything but it was kind of fun in the end. Of course, houses didn't take two years to sell back then. Sad

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

We haven't sold yet. I'm not looking forward to it. Though we'll probably rent for awhile before buying our next home and therefore sell our current home when its empty. I think the U-Box is a great idea. You're going to have to pack it all up or get rid of it anyway.

Don't feel that you HAVE to get a realtor. You don't. We bought without a realtor and the seller was more willing to take our offer because he didn't have to pay a realtor's costs for us. Do a little research into selling yourself and see if its worth the hassle. It is a bit of a hassle.

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

If you have the time, it might be worth trying to sell it "For sale by owner" without a realtor and see if you can get it sold without one.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I used to work for a title company as an escrow assistant, so I learned a LOT about the whole buying and selling process. So I know what to expect as far the actual selling part goes. However, having never sold a house before I don't know where people generally put their stuff before they've moved out, while showing the house. When we bought this house, the owners at the time did NOTHING to stage it, and one of them was a realtor. In fact it was a mess. There was laundry piled everywhere, one room was so full of boxes we couldn't even get in there and it was FILTHY.

DH would never go for storing our crap in a storage unit. That's an unnecessary expense and he's just as soon not do any staging. But I feel like we're more likely to get more bang for the buck if the house looks fancy. I just don't know if I can do it. I guess I'll just do the best I can.

We are lucky to live in a town that has been virtually unaffected by the crappy turn in the housing market. Unfortunately, the town we are moving to is booming and growing like crazy and houses are very hard to find and sell super fast and are therefore super expensive. I don't know if I'm up for trying to sell by owner on this. DH wouldn't be comfortable with me showing the house while he's out of town, and it would be awkward with 2 babies and 2 dogs. It might be worth the money to have someone else do all the grunt work. It occurred to me earlier though that every time someone wants to see the house I'll not only have to do last minute stuff in the house, but also pick up any dog crap in the yard and load up the dogs and my 2 kids and find a place to go for a couple of hours that is dog friendly.

This whole thing is already very daunting. I wish I had people who could come over an help me get my house ready, or at least a friends house to go to when people come to see this one. I hate moving.

BuckeyeK's picture
Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 3087

I'm glad you have some experience in the field, that will help!
Do you have a basement, or a storage area? I think if you just boxed everything up nice and orderly then you'll be fine. The u-box that Erin mentioned is actually what we used. It is nice because they bring it to your place, they load it up and you can either keep it there for a while and then they'll move it to your new place.

It is all very daunting. Could your mom or in-laws come help you get ready? When you need to be out, we always went to a park, or if there is a mall nearby with an airconditioned play area, that is a good option, too. Or even a McDonalds with a play area.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

"BuckeyeK" wrote:

It is all very daunting. Could your mom or in-laws come help you get ready? When you need to be out, we always went to a park, or if there is a mall nearby with an airconditioned play area, that is a good option, too. Or even a McDonalds with a play area.

My mom still lives 6 hours away and is working on getting her own house sold, so she can't. I might have to take advantage of my IL's being in town on Saturday and clean stuff then. I'm hoping that DH is really motivated to help me out this weekend. Our mall does have a small indoor play area, but they don't allow dogs in our mall so I don't know where we could go since it'll be too hot to go to the park. We have corgis and they don't even go outside until the late evening. I'd worry they'd have a heatstroke. I guess I could just drive around town. . . I'll figure it out. I have to.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Totally hear you on having someone else handle the grunt work--you have plenty going on already! The "extra expense" issue is why I mentioned moving pods. That's not an extra move or much expense, just taking your time to pack up the moving truck with the added benefit of being able to get a bunch of crap out of your house so it shows well and sells faster. Seriously, we're talking what, just a couple of hundred dollars if you sell your house in 4 months or so. When it comes to the cost of moving and selling houses, that's a drop in the bucket.

If you still don't like that idea, though, I'd at least purge as much as possible and then pack up everything but the essentials and neatly stack the boxes somewhere.

At least you're working with a decent housing market! There is NO WAY I could sell my house right now. Well, I could, but for less than half of what I paid for it. So, no way. I have no desire to be a landlord, but if we HAD to move, I'd find a renter and hire a management company to deal with them.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

No advice that wasn't already posted - but Good Luck! Smile I hope you get enough for the house so that you can buy in the more expensive area. Also, maybe you could consider renting there for just a bit until you get your bearings?

rubber_da_glove's picture
Joined: 12/31/07
Posts: 1527

Without reading what everyone else has put...

We are trying to sell ours right now. It sucks. All the estate agents in the UK (except in the Olympic areas) are having zero sales. No one seems to understand what's going on. We have found one we have fallen in love with but we are just trying not to get our hopes up because no one is interested in ours (or anyone's for that matter. The house we like has been up since January and we are the only viewers!!)

Anyway, in answer to your question...the photos they take are pretty important. Our agent let us move stuff from room to room to it looked like we don't really have piles of toys everywhere lol The house actually looks amazing on the photos, I just wish it looked like that in real life lol. When our one and only viewer came round we tidied and cleaned until it looked like a show home...just with piles of toys Smile They were completely understanding and said they could see all the space on the photos.

I can post a link to it if you'd like? Then you can look at pics on my facebook at what a tip it usually is Smile

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I agree the photos are important, when we were looking for a rental once and flickimg through pictures of places on real estate sites one agency obviously didn't notice the households nudie calendar in the picture, made us think the place was a bit dodgy that a real estate let that go through.

good luck

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"ange84" wrote:

I agree the photos are important, when we were looking for a rental once and flickimg through pictures of places on real estate sites one agency obviously didn't notice the households nudie calendar in the picture, made us think the place was a bit dodgy that a real estate let that go through.

good luck

ROFL

Yes, I agree good pics will at least get people in the door!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Good photos are SO important. We were looking for houses to view in Tucson from Albuquerque. We must have looked at 400 houses online and picked maybe 12 to look at. Its amazing the things people think are important enough to take pictures of in lieu of, say, the kitchen. The more pics the better. Take pics that are representative of the space. Pics of some random window or a closeup of the kitchen sink are just ridiculous. Unless your kitchen sink is AMAZING. Like if it were one of those gorgeous farmer's sink and it was the center piece of the room.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

So true about the pictures! Even with just renting houses we've been amazed by the awful pictures people post. I want to see the kitchen!!! My favorites are of bathrooms where all you see is the toilet. :roll: I'm sure you're way better with taking photos than most of these people are at least. lol

I'm not much help b/c we obviously don't buy and sell houses.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

YES! Pictures are SO important. I remember hating so many of the pictures when we were looking for a house the first time. And now I'm back there again looking at pictures of a blurry close up ceiling fan. I want to get an idea of what a room looks like. Don't the realtors take the pictures though? I was going to take my own and give them to a realtor because I want my house to be well presented.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

If you can live without it and your kids can live without it, pack it up. Pack up family pictures, trinkets that you think are cute and have meaning to you don't mean squat to them and they want to be able to see themselves there not you. Make sure it smells good, Scentsy plug ins or some potpourri. When you pack stuff up do you have some place like your IL's that you can store tubs, an attic, a storage area, a big closet, anywhere? I packed up so much random stuff because I wanted to make the closets look just too big to be filled. My clothing closet was PACKED but I took half of my clothes and shoes out so it didn't seem like it was small, it actually looked deceivingly big. And as someone that has looked at tons of houses, do not leave the dogs there. I could not stand walking in to someone's home and having their dogs barking and yapping at me. Every time we showed our house I spent a TON of time cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, I wanted it to shine every time because I did judge other houses by the crap laying around and the cleanliness of them (

Take your own pictures!!!! That is what I did because I wanted a time and lighting where the house looked really good and where I could stage it really well without feeling like I needed to rush for her schedule. I am no photographer but I did a rather amazing job if I do say so myself Smile

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Ooh, yeah. Smell is another good tip! I looked at an otherwise cute rental for a friend that reeked of cat litter, and even college students were passing it up.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I figured out what I can do with the stuff I pack up!!! DH's BFF lives in the town we are moving to and has been pestering DH to move there forever. DH is staying with him during the work week. I'm going to pack up everything non-essential to our daily lives and send it with DH to store at his friends house!! It's perfect!

DH said no before I even finished my sentence when asking him about getting a storage pod.

Christa, Thank you. I don't think I ever would have thought about taking clothes out of the closet to keep it from looking so full.

AHH, I have SOOOO MUCH work to do!

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Yay, that's perfect!

stacymh's picture
Joined: 03/16/10
Posts: 1807

Anna, that's great!! I'm glad you have a solution for storage. And it will already be in the town you are looking to move to. I know I'm late to this party, but I agree with the others about the smell. We looked at some houses before we bought ours and walked into some that you could just smell they had a dog, even if it wasn't there. We also have an inside dog, but these houses you could really smell it. Try to make the area at the front door perfect. I guess I'm a judgemental person about that stuff, and sometimes I would make my mind up just from walking in the door.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

Upkeep in the lawn is important too - pull weeds, mow etc. First impressions make a difference.

Cookies is the best scent I believe from a random study I read one day. Not flowery and almost everyone likes cookies! Get a cookie candle and burn it before the showings.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

When we had our open house I actually baked Jackie's applesauce muffins early that morning, it smelled AMAZING in my house that day! I'm so happy you figured out a way to store everything, what a load off your mind!!!!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

That's a GREAT solution, Anna!!

Smells! I totally agree with the cookie smell. Some people are really sensitive to different scents but no one doesn't like the smell of cookies. Just make a batch of cookies beforehand. As a bonus you get to eat COOKIES. If you don't have time to actually make cookies, just grab one of those cookie dough tubes.

Clear the kitchen counters off completely. If there's one thing I was looking for when I we were looking at houses it was counter space, which is funny if you've ever seen my tiny kitchen.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

ooo, yeah Erin that's a good one to clear off counters. Take most appliances off the counter and store them in a cabinet instead. Oh, and trim down magnets, kids artwork etc on your fridge if you have that up.

And touch up paint if there are marks on the walls can help too, just looks fresher.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

oh yeah, I took everything off my counter top, forgot about that. I also took all the magnets off the fridge. My countertop looked like an airplane landing strip by the time I got everything off of it. It was huge, I had no idea, I'd always had so much stuff on it Smile