Our home - what do you think?

elle481April 19, 2009

Our home has been on the market for the past 3 weeks. Brokers Open - 35 agents, all very positive feedback on showing and price. Open house that weekend - 12 groups, I think a bunch were neighbors. All positive and those who really liked it still had a home to sell. 4 showings first week, 1 very interested but not ready to make a move on it just yet, 1 thought the whole house was "terribly dated", 1 loved it and wanted to bring his wife back (still hasn't happened). 1 just wasn't for them. We have had two other showing in the last last two weeks and no feedback.

This is just not making me happy at all! We've been told that it's April vacation and people are away, give it time. The homes that are selling in our area are smaller and most are in the $400K range. Several have taken deposits in the last week. We are listed at the bottom of the top end in our area. I am connected to Listing Book which shows me how many people view our listing. We had 45 hits the first week out and since then there as been one viewing at most every day - I am convinced that it problably is me just looking (I have now refrained myself from looking at the listing). If I had more people looking at our home on the site I would feel better. I thought the home showed well on the listing but I now would like better and more interior shots. I feel that the rooms don't appear as large as they are in the shots, plus there are several rooms that have been left out of the photographs such as the marble entry, large studio and the large full effect of the sun room. The last two are the main reason we bought this home as they are very impressive and great rooms to use, as we do! We do have one bathroom that hasn't been updated, but that isn't even photographed and a viewer wouldn't even be aware of that fact. But since they aren't even clicking on to see the home at all it seems to me at this point at least, it's not the way the interior looks.

I'm now thinking that I would like to get a different shot of the front of the home. The one up now does not show the front double doors. I'm not sure if that would make any difference though to get them to click on the site, but who know, can't hurt.

We are listed with the top agency in our area and they are big fans of the internet, as they do not believe ads and photos sell homes. For the most part I do agree with them. I know of many people who don't even get the paper any more and get everything the need to know on line!

I would like to have my phone ring though - it's getting a little depressing (I am feeling like the Maytag repair man!)

I have included a link to our site, but am not sure if it will get you there.

Here is a link that might be useful: our listing

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It's a beautiful home.

As far as the front shot, maybe something angled from the other side and a bit closer? That winter lawn is unavoidable but there's no need to feature it.
I saw little else I would change. Baseboard heat scares me but it may be common in that area, I don't know.

Good luck and try to not freak out.
If you are going to lower your price do it sooner rather than later.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:40PM
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Your house is really nice and you have some great rooms, shows nice and very clean. That being said I think a major reason the house isn't selling is your kitchen.

The kitchen is the hearth of the home where people gather etc., your kitchen feels very sterile and cold with all the white and gray, you want it to feel warm and inviting. Personally for the price and the great way the rest of your house looks I would expect granite or quartz countertops.

A nice warm colored stone countertops would really add some vitality to the room. I would also think about changing the floor to a nice laminate to also warm up the space instead of the cold white tile. A warm paint color on the wall would also really heat things up and make the room feel more cozy. The current track light helps make the kitchen look dated I would either replace it or get rid of it all together.

The stone fireplace room is nice but I would love to see a nice size picture or mantel over it to help bring your eye to it.

The bathroom has a leaf print above the granite, I'm not sure if that's removable or not but if it is I would recommend it to appeal to a more general public taste. People like to be able to change styles in rooms and specific design can limit that.

The room with the formal furniture is a little confusing only because it's such a different style from many of your other rooms-

Backyard shot would be nice if it wasn't included.

You mentioned you had a bathroom that wasn't updated as well so then as a buyer I'm thinking ok I'm already paying a lot for the house, I would also have to pay to update the kitchen and a bathroom. Both which are very expensive to do so.

I know that making some of these changes can be expensive and time consuming but that's what your buyer is thinking as well and so they look at other homes where they won't have to do the updating.

Sorry to be so honest, other than the kitchen, I think your house is really great and with the kitchen it's not the space but just the updating and lack of warmth that could be improved.

I hope you sell soon.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:52PM
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I think a major reason the house isn't selling is your kitchen.
Hmmmm....Yep,the kitchen does reflect my specific style (mid century modern) and I know most people in our area are traditionalist, hence the gazillion colonials with that country, New England charm on the market in our area. The California contemporary is a rare bird in this area. The kitchen was that style and color when I bought it and really loved it because it was so me. If we were staying did redo the kitchen it would end up being more contemporary and for the amount of money I would spend I also know that if I did sell it then, most people would HATE IT! ;) That being said, I did replace the kitchen nobs to update what was there and also some of the appliances. We did price out granite and for what we would have to cover it would be expensive to say the least and then I think the cabinets would show as being dated and the floor would show its age too. The floor is ceramic and I would replace it with other tile or wood if I were staying. Lamiate is out of the question for our area so any replacement would be $$$. The realtors agreed (had 6 in) that most buyers in our area would like a clean slate to begin with so they could do their own thing in their kitchen and not pay for high end kitchen redo only to rip it out and do it again. For the price the agents suggested (all were very close $$ wise) , a buyer would be able to do that. Same goes for the extra bath, but for us to have the bath redone it would be doable price wise. Of course I'm talking basic white with granite counter and not the high end that most people in our area do - so in that respect it may be a wash $$ wise.
I had also thought of replacing the kitchen Formica counter tops with a darker formica that gave the impression of granite to warm it up, but I thought it's still not granite, a buyer would hate it anyway, and I can't give them granite.

The bathroom has a leaf print above the granite, I'm not sure if that's removable or not but if it is I would recommend it to appeal to a more general public taste. People like to be able to change styles in rooms and specific design can limit that.

The leaf print above the granite is carved marble tile and also is repeated in the spa shower. To remove it we would have to retile the whole shower. I think my DH would have a stroke!

The room with the formal furniture is a little confusing only because it's such a different style from many of your other rooms

I'm not quite sure which room you are referring to. If it's the one with the white sofas, that's our formal living room (my ecclectic style, again!). If it's the one with the white wing chair and small table, that's a bedroom. I set it up as a reading area because I didn't have another bed to show it as a bedroom and didn't want to leave it unfurnished. Any suggestions?

Oh, my, this whole moving thing making me insane!!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 3:26PM
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Elle, I love the color in the wall color in the kitchen. Can you tell me the color name & brand?

I'll come back later.. but from the quick look I did, the house looks great. I admit some of the rooms appear small while some look big. Do you know what type of camera the agent used? A wide angle lens would help.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 3:41PM
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The link does not seem to work for me. ??

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 4:04PM
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Love your Realtor in your bathroom photo. Is that the best there is about your bathrooms? A double sink? Anything else with more "wow"?

There are several pictures that are doing you no favors... the picture of a chair, 3 pictures of your kitchen, a picture of a chair and old tv in a bedroom (?), and a photo of your taste in art.

How about some pictures of architectural details? Don't highlight a kitchen that many would consider a gut-job. Lose redundant and/or useless pictures and replace them with pictures that show off best features of your house.

You may want to consider having your photos retaken by a professional photographer that specializes in real estate photography. I am fairly certain there are a lot of nice features in your house. They just aren't coming through in these photos.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 5:26PM
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Hi roselvr. Thank you! I think the color Mills Springs Blue, Ben. Moore Historical colors. Funny, but it is not a color that I would have ever picked out on my own. My pallet is more of the warm tones. When we first moved in I was ready to repaint the kitchen and when I started to check out colors, nothing really looked good. All the colors I liked just made the kitchen looked too washed out. So the original color stayed and it worked very well with my decore!

As far as room size: Several of the bedrooms are small, 11x11. The master is 15x15 but also has 3 large closets and tons of storage cabinets in the bath and toilet area (. The home itself at 3200+ sq ft is not overly large in room area as compared to many of the homes in our area. I have always felt that the rooms were very livable and not lose yourself cavernous like many home I have been to. The big plusses are the large 4 season sun room, which doesn't look large in the photos, and my 13x20 main floor studio with valted ceiling, lots of light and windows and exterior access. It's got a lot of possibilities.
I really feel the problem is people are going onto the internet and looking at homes and just not looking at my house, because that's what the hit ratio numbers seem to be saying. That said, I probably will get a call from my agent tomorrow saying that my Sunday hits were amazing! - no kidding! Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems as if they are looking at the outside of the house and not clicking the link to bother to see what is inside and that puzzles me, 'cause I thought the house looked nice! I guess I'm wrong.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 5:34PM
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Hi xamsx. I in intrigued by your comments as with a lot of the critique of others on this board and really can't disagree (while on the other hand my dh doesn't understand any of it. I'm the artsy visionary and he is an absolutley wonderful man who eventually sees my side of things! LOL!)
I DO want to have other photos done but am not sure what the heck to highlight. I've taken some myself and they just look like rooms of furniture, nothing special. I would love to have buyers see that this home is special (don't we all) and want to come and explore further. I'm just not sure what to do and how to do it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 6:07PM
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It is a ranch. In Connecticut. It will simply take more time. We sold one a while back in colonial Darien. Just took a bit longer, but got nearly asking price.

Good luck. I love your home.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 7:56PM
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I guess I don't know your market which is a big issue, but for the money I'm totally turned off. It's an ok ranch home, but the main picture of the house from the front really is not flattering. Changing that out might help. But the big issue is the kitchen. I can see past your various furniture styles (if I were staging it though I'd go with a more consistent style throughout) but the kitchen is a gut job, and at that price I expect more. Even builder grade granite would help (which is similar in price to formica) I'd also immediately change those wall colors in the kitchen if I were selling. It's far too sterile for a traditional style home. And highlighting that in the listing does not help at all.

I don't know what else is available in the market..but if I were listing my home I'd compare listing to listings and check out your biggest flaw (the kitchen) against the other listings. That one room is a deal killer in this listing for me. A couple grand in updates would go a LONG ways to wards making the house more sale ready.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 9:52PM
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I'll be the dissenting party here. The kitchen really caught my eye and I disagree it needs to be done over. It appears light and airy and seems to have plenty of storage space, a big plus for me as I love cooking. I especially like the different views you get from the kitchen.

One big criticism for me is that many of the photos have a yellowish color to them. Perhaps that fault of whoever took the photos?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Please don't put granite on those cabinets. When we were looking at homes, it totally bugged me when people slapped granite on old cabinets that were not my taste. I would then feel "stuck" because replacing the cabinets is not an option.

Looks like a nice ranch. My only comments are I open the blinds! When you do bedroom shots, I like to see the view out the windows. Many of the shots, the blinds were down.

Would love to see what the view of the backyard is but there are no shots (again blinds are down in most rooms so I can't tell).

I will agree the kitchen is too modern for me and the kitchen table set is a little "spacy" looking. Is there anything you can do to soften up the kitchen a bit?

When it comes down to it, pictures are so deceiving anyway. I have seen plenty of homes that looked great in the pictures only to to be disappointed at what the pictures didn't show.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:38AM
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I think it's a lovely home. Don't know your area at all so can't comment on pricing except to say make sure you're priced right for the market. As for the kitchen I'd leave it. If I were buying right now I would much rather make it my own kitchen with my own cabinet and countertop materials. Putting cheap granite over those cabinets is not an improvement I'd pay for. Leave the kitchen and price the home to reflect that kitchen remodel may be in the picture for a prospective buyer.

As someone else pointed out above, a ranch in your area may be the hard sell, everyone may be looking for that center hall colonial.....give it some time, your home will sell. Lovely home.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:52AM
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OK, "Hi". I'm your neighbor. Waving from Mystic-Stonington. I've looked at your pictures several times yesterday & again this morning. Here's some random thoughts...

1.) I agree with an above poster who noted that there's an orange tint to most all of the pictures. That, combined with what appears to be actual orange in your decor, is off-putting, IMO. As an art major I learned that many people have a physical reaction to yellow/orange. Some, find it cheerful & sunny. Unfortunately, for a good many others it reflects off their skin giving them a jaundice look. The colors yellow & orange are used extensively in fast food restaurants with the marketing goal in mind of getting people to eat quickly & get the heck out of the environment. School buses are often painted yellow or orange...it's designed to subconsciously get people to keep their distance (obvious safety thing). Anyway, the yellow/orange in your pictures is, IMO, a problem right out of the gate.

2.) How to put this??? The front exterior of your home seems to give a "wink & a nod" to French country architecture...I believe it's the roof lines. Right away I'm beginning to form an 'opinion' of what I expect to see from the remaining pictures. So then, I start looking at other pictures & a clear case of identity crisis soon developes. The rear exterior is unabashedly contemporary. So much so, I thought I was looking at a different home. The fireplace is clearly, IMO, feeling quite uncomfortable in its surroundings & wishing it could be in a mountain lodge with a moose head over the mantle. The kitchen stops my mind dead in its tracts! I am first drawn to the table/chairs...the cafeteria at a local hospital has the SAME EXACT tables/chairs. Sorta a turn-off, for me. The light fixture resembles a plastic model space ship my son made at around age ten minus the decals? Looking again at the picture...I just chuckle.

So, I'm trying to force myself to look at the home's features & not the furnishings. But again, I'm drawn to the incongruity of the dining room furniture. BTW, I love the corner cupboard! But, it sure doesn't belong next to the dining table & hutch. I have no idea whether I like the room or not because all my mind registered is that sharp contrast in styles...drew my eyes right to it.

I think part of the reason people are not so drawn to the sunroom is again furniture choice. You're using what is commonly, in New England, used as outdoor furniture. Now, besides having a decidely Victorian look/feel...I'm unsure if this is an integral part of the house or just a porch that has been screened in? Either way, I'm unimpressed. It's blah & tired looking.

Tile flooring in kitchen & sunroom...well, it's certainly neutral. It's also uninspiring. In fact, in 2008, I spent about $6K to get rid of virtually the exact same ho-hum tile in my own kitchen & sunroom replacing them with cork. So, nothing on the floors is sending positive vibes my way.

The living room looks like a doctor's office...specifically a CT doctor's office...probably, a plastic surgeon. Maybe, a opthomologist? I'm assuming the magazine rack is on the other side of the room & I just can't see it??

Pictures of the extra bedrooms are not helping sell this house. All I gleen is that the millwork in the home is skimpy & cheap. That's, probably, not what you're trying to convey?? Since I don't care about your furniture the millwork is all that's visible for me to focus on...so, that's what I do & it's skimpy & cheap.

Oh no! It's hard to see but I 'think' there's more of that tile in the bathroom? And, I'm wondering about the cabinets? By now, I know the house has this identity crisis thing happening & I'm curious if the cabinets have some affinity to the fireplace? Are they redwood??

Those long-timers here on the Forum know that I'm rarely this harsh with my critism. But, somehow, I think you're OK with hearing it? Anyway, you're in a tough market. No, you're not in a tough market...you're in a mortally wounded market & the patient is still bleeding. Hedge Funds, in CT, have been descimated. A lot of people in your area worked for hedge funds...no, not the ones receiving $70M bonus...the admin assistants & such. In fact, the entire financial industry is still in triage. (I'm trying to keep my metaphors straight in this post!) What is unemployment in your corner of CT? Our market is dead in the water...your's is worse. You've GOT to have something to market that stands out from the crowd. If you do, the pictures are NOT reflecting that "Oh Wow!" quality, at all.

Now, what to do? First of all, please humor me by allowing me to note that I have considerable experience in trying to unload difficult properties. I've sold close to 2,000 of the places. I never got the easy sells in my portfolio...they were all properties where something went horribly wrong. So, I've got a bit of experience here.

Back to what to do...

1.) Retake the front exterior...take the picture close in focusing on the entryway. Get some pots of pansies in that pictures! Every self-respecting New England home is now bursting forth with PANSIES & daffodils! And, where are the PJM rhoddies? They should be blooming now? Mine are. You've got to get that place looking like it belongs to its environment.

2.) Put a bright-colored rug (please, not yellow or orange!) on the kitchen floor. Get rid of that table. Rent something else or leave it empty but get rid of that table. Move the tulips to the kitchen counters. The kitchen is what it is...I agree that putting any money at it is not helpful. A buyer will remodel to their taste.

3.) Put new cushions on the wicker & get some greenery in that sunroom. Since you've got wicker & there's already an identity crisis...heck, why not put in some ferns & play up the Victorian bent of the furniture. Palms...doesn't really matter...just fill the room with 'sunroom' stuff.

4.) Remove the corner cupboard in the dining room. It's too distracting for the eyes. Because of it's sharply distinct appearance from the rest of the furniture...sorta like a red ball in a white room...your eyes go to the red ball.

5.) Remove the pictures of the extra bedroom entirely. They are not helping so don't allow them to distract.

6.) Do something with the family room (fireplace) to soften the look...something feminine would be useful, IMO. Give the eyes something to rest on besides the massive wall of hard-looking rock.

7.) Try to reduce the yellow/orange coloration being emitted from the living room. Maybe, it's the camera? Whatever, losing those undertones will help people to stay on that room long enough to see the architecture.

8.) Even if it means a trip to the nursery...get some color in the landscaping. Springtime in New England MEANS masses of color! It's easy right now...you can plant six shrubs that will keep something in bloom all the way through Memorial Day. Then, get annuals planted to take over the void after the shrubs are finished.

9.) Add something in the bathroom...again, to soften the look & detract from the reddish/orange of the cabinetry.

You've got, frankly (and why would I be anything else at this point in my post? lol), between the home's inconsistent architecture & the mish-mash of furnishings that are not conveying a consistent style a difficult task to market the house as strongly contemporary. You could rent some furniture? But, I believe your best bet is to instead market this home as a "ranch"...hence, one floor living. Have your realtor re-write the description. New England has a statistically aging population, especially CT. Let's face facts here. Unless you're already financially stable & reasonably successful you can't afford to live in CT. So, most of our young people are forced to leave. That aging population is shifting towards single-floor living. USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!

Best of luck & I'll steer a couple people I know who are looking in your area towards your listing. It's a nice home, despite my harsh words that are intended only to help you get it sold.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:18AM
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I'd ditch the first shot in the slide show. It's down right awful.
The fireplace needs a hardy mantel.
I'm not wild about the lighting fixtures in a couple of rooms, in dining room over the table the light looks out of place wrong metal, should be wrought iron and it's hung too low, the one in the kitchen over the table is very dated looking that along with the table and chairs you have in there makes me wonder where the Jetson's are. It's not helping the buyer see what is there.
A couple of other shots make me wonder what exactly those rooms are. I see chairs and windows, if it's a bedroom show it as a bedroom.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:40PM
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Could you get your realtor to slow the slide show down a little? I counted three seconds between each slide. That's not enough time to really look at the picture and some people might not want to click to look at the "More Photos." Actually they look like the same photos that are on the slideshow so the title More Photos is not quite right.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:57PM
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Wow!!! Quite a variety of opinions and all very interesting to say the least and belive it or not, it was appreciated!
First - I am calling my realtor today to get more shots taken. After looking at the first shot (the front of the house) several times, I realized that something was missing. The front door wasn't there!!! and I wasn't too keen with the angle at which it was taken. Flowers are coming so that should help a bit.

Second - I loved the home from outside, at first sight, many years ago when I saw it and was thrilled when it did come on the market. The neighborhood is really nice and I really loved the California ranch feel from both the outside and in. What is also wonderful about the home is that it has different living wings that give you great privacy as opposed to the traditional ranches many of us grew up around - you had to make sure your bedrooms were in perfect condition all the time or horrors, a visitor would come and be able to see them when they went to the bathroom or any of the other common rooms. In this home the bedrooms are all to the left down one step and very private.

Third - I plan on having the bedroom shot (the one with the chair) removed from the slide show as well as having the slide show slowed down.

Fourth - I do see the yellow tint many of you mention. I believe a lot of it has to do with those "wonderfully efficient" compact florescent bulbs that I hate and my husband loves. He never saw a problem and I told him, "we all look ill." They will be changed with soft white or the ones that have a slight blue tint. I'll see what makes both us and the rooms look better. I must say though that my color pallet is beiges, rusts, peaches and pale yellow. It is very soothing, warm and comfortable to me as opposed to some other colors. I guess you just have to be here! All the agents loved the colors, felt the exact same way and told me not to change them, including the kitchen (which is not as strong and deep as appears in the photos).
The living room is formal (I guess it's just something that many people don't have anymore). The wall with the floor to ceiling bow window also has floor to ceiling shelves on both sides and that is not shown in the photo. I would like to have a shot with that in it.

Fifth - The millwork (I am assuming that is the molding as we used to refer to it back in the day!!) was that way when we moved in. At one point I was going to add crown molding in the LR and DR until I finally found the style I wanted in those rooms and crown molding would look weighted and bring the ceilings down. I just am not a fan of traditional, country and the nice, but not me, Pottery Barn look in my living quarters. (Our traditional bedroom will be changed when we move to our next digs, to what? I'm still not sure yet). I like my style (did take me quite a few years to find it and am still working on some rooms) , many pieces I have collected over the years, and that's that.

Sixth - The family room with the fireplace was very difficult to shoot. It also is contemporary in style (which I know so many people don't like), has several more pieces of furniture that is shown, and has a tongue and groove white ceiling. Will have to rethink how to have it show well in photos. I would never add a mantel to the fireplace for fear of the next buyer hating it and having to deal with fixing the cement, rocks, etc.

Seventh - The sun room photo also needs to be redone as I wasn't happy with it. The room is very large, has a valted ceiling and floor to ceiling windows all round. The furniture was bought by me when we moved in and was a major style change from my usual tastes. The blue and yellow reminded me of Provence, France. There is also a round glass dinning table and four chairs that compliment the set, in one corner next to another bank of windows. With the windows open, the sea grass blowing outside in the wind, I am taken back to sitting, overlooking a beach. I never put plants in there because I can't keep them alive. I love the idea of green and plants and am thinking I will have to break down and get the fake stuff (that I despise, but hey, if it makes the room look warmer, I will take the plunge).

Finally - We all know that we all can't like the same thing, (read furniture style), so what can I say. I am a fan of certain styles, still have my rooms as a work in progress and as I get what I like and want, I replace things. I never have been a fan of a whole house being decorated in the same style - to me that is boring! I guess I also never realized that there was a rule for that.

That said, there are some things I will consider and change, and there are some things that are going to remain the way they are. To gut a kitchen and replace with high end appliances, great cabinets, granite and the rest would run a fortune. If we had that and many of the other upgrades, the home would be listed for quite a bit more, hence our price reflects that. As I said before why do I want to spend that kind of money only to have a buyer still hate it because it's not what they wanted in their kitchen. You can't imagine how many people from surrounding towns get rid of perfectly wonderful and in so many instances, almost new, cabinets, appliances, etc., because they bought homes that just were not their style. It is really sad!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:39PM
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I guess I'm just a whack-job, but I really like the house. I don't love everything about it, but I really do like it.

The kitchen is definitely not my style, but it would not be a deal breaker for me (it is way better than the kitchen that was in my house). It is fairly spacious and will not need a lot of structural changes to remodel. However, I would suggest getting rid of the dining set and replacing it with something less unusual. At the very least, I'd anchor it with a rug (which would also cover part of the dated tile).

I'd definitely try to get a better picture of the front and remove the picture of the back of the house (it is disconnected from the front of the house). From what I can see in the pictures I think it looks like it has good bones and nice features.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 9:24PM
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I like your house. I do think that the kitchen needs a shot of warmth and color. No need to spend a lot of money. I would make a few, inexpensive cosmetic fixes such as painting the walls a toasty brown, finding a colorful, contemporary glass bowl for the counter and filling it with fruit, adding a touch of color to the table through placemats, raising the blinds to take advantge of the outdoor view. The point is to appeal to the broadest range of people possible and get them in the door.

Kitchen aside, please have your realtor slow down the slides. It's maddening to have them flip by so quickly. And where the heck is the front entry?

You mentioned in your last post how your ranch differs from traditional ranches. I think your marketing is not nearly strong enough on the value of your home's most appealing features like the privacy you mention and the single story. I would strongly adivse you to post one or two shots of a floor plan.

Your house is different from the others in your area and different from a traditional "East Coast" ranch. Why not help your buyers envision how they might live in your space?

I loved it when sellers would put up floor plans. I would spend more time on their listings than others. The floor plans don't have to be elaborate just professional.

Just my two cents. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Your house looks beautiful from the back, that photo was a real "wow" moment for me. The front facade looks sad and lonely by comparison. As other posters said, flowery landscaping and maybe a beautiful bench could help freshen up the front.

I do agree that the style of the kitchen is a problem. A previous poster even said it needed to be gutted, yikes. I don't agree, but you need to change that perception.

The cabinets are neutral enough and the hardware looks nice, but the Saarinen dining set gives it a space-age look that clashes with your French Country style house. As the previous poster said, put a warm rug on that floor, borrow a wooden table and chairs from someone, hang charming art on the wall and put a bowl of apples on the countertop.

I don't think changing the photos on your listing will make much of a difference. The changes need to be made to the house itself.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 4:33PM
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Hi, first I think your home is lovely, lots of space and light. I am posting because I saw an HGTV show last night about homes that were not selling ( this one was full of clutter toys etc) anyway they had a white kitchen like yours ( the counter tops were a bit more light gray in color)They put new hardware on the doors, which I think you have done and then they did a very simple back splash which was so effective and not very expensive but it was a wow factor that distracted from the rest of the kitchen and gave it a more contemporary feel. The back splash was white subway tiles with a band of about 3 or 4 inches of small oblong glass tiles in a bluish / grayish/ greenish color running through the subway tiles about 1/3 rd of the way up the back splash. It was so effective I just thought something like that would really be an inexpensive way to update your kitchen. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:02AM
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Hi tinamccullagh! I will have to check out the HGTV episode that you watched. Sounds like a very good idea! I have had my realtor take more photos of the house. The new outside shot looks so much better than in the original ones. I just have to have her upload them to all the featured sites since the home is on so many of them. We have also taken better shots of the sunroom showing the architecture, taken out the "dated" tv in the guest room, will be removing the photo of the "chair room" and putting up better shots of the "Doctors waiting room" aka formal living room showing more architectual detail there too. This whole selling thing is a very slow process. Thanks again! ~Elle

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:00AM
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You might be interested to see this posting on Curbed.com which shows "before and after" real estate photos. You can really see the difference that great photography makes. If the next round of photos still aren't showing your house in the best possible way, it's probably worth hiring a photographer who specializes in real estate photography, instead of your agent with her camera. We used a pro photographer for a home we sold a year ago; he wasn't that expensive and the results were great. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before & After Photos

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 11:47AM
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I think your house is fantastic. My only criticism is that the kitchen reads "cold." (I love the table and chairs, though.) Before going to a lot of expense such as adding a backsplash, you might try bringing in color (keeping the clean and uncluttered look) with a table arrangement of modern vases in a contrasting color (yellow or orange?) such as these Crate and Barrel examples.

Here is a link that might be useful: Modern vases at C&B

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 4:13PM
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I happen to think your home is lovely and inviting. When it warms up more, your lawn will take off and look lovely, but you might want to add some bright colored flowers in some pots by the front door for color.

I like your kitchen....so clean and crisp...and I love the blue color with all the white. Before you do anything costly, get a different table/chairs....maybe even paint them white and add yellow cushions, put some yellow flowers in a vase, and add some lemons/limes in a pretty white bowl.....just try to add some color first.

Someone didn't like your sunroom....and that room caught my eye....it says, "come in, sit down and have a glass of lemonade".

Just do some de-cluttering....and add a few colorful things...and your home will be great. And in our area, granite is not needed for a home to sell in your price range....so don't go to the expense of putting down something that the new owners will only take up because they might not like it anyway....you probably would not recover that expense.

GOOD LUCK and keep us posted with more pics as you go along.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:32PM
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You have gotten lots of specific feedback and hopefully you will see some consistant suggestions and make some low cost changes. But speaking as someone who has a house under agreement- price it right- Bottom line. Price it right and it will sell. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:18PM
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I don't mean to offend, but my perception of your home via the photos is that the space is rather soulless and static. The living room especially does not seem very livable. I understand that you don't want to spend a lot of money but I wonder if you could at least introduce some greenery to lend some softness and life to the rooms. Some of the rooms have very cool wall colors and would probably benefit from some warm colors from flowers and greenery. The dining room rug looks rather forbidding. Would you consider investing in an inexpensive rug with pretty colors for this area? Bottom line is really a warmer and more lively look, and that doesn't have to cost a great deal.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:42PM
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The photos on your listing site seem fine to me, but the animation...not so much. I'd suggest toning down the slide show, it's very distracting.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 3:31PM
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I have a new link for our listing. Hope it works. We have changed some photos as per suggestions and hope they show a little better. The "dated" tv is gone as is the "chair" photo, and the listing agent is out of the bathroom shot. An architectual shot of our sun room has replaced the short shot. Will add greenery (not silk trees) and hope they survive - they are much cheaper and look better, plus I HATE FAKE ANYTHING, but that is just me, and am not offended by any home that has fake silk flowers, etc! The outside shot has been changed and a close-up of the front has been added. The Japanese cherry trees are just starting to bloom but are not in the shot. Pots with flowers are on the steps, but also not in the shot and you wouldn't be able to see them anyway. There is an additional shot of the living room, or as some have said, "the doctors office", or "unlivable" FORMAL LIVING ROOM!!!! Hey, there are some of us that like formal space in a home, hence the "formal living rooms" and "formal dinning rooms" that some people feel they only use twice a year so why bother! To each his own!!!!
The kitchen shots are the same and right now will stay the same. For the open house I will add some color with flowers, etc. On some of the listings a shot of the backyard has been added, but not on this link.

That said......HERE I GO!!!!!!!!!
"NO OFFENCE!!!!! ; ; )))))) ! HA, HA!!!

As far as "warm" and "cool" colors go, most of my home is warm (not fun, leave the room McDonalds YELLOW) - BEIGE colors are not BRIGHT YELLOW and don't scream at you, and for the life of me I can't figure out where any bright RED is in my rooms. RUST is not BRIGHT RED. Two others are Cool colors - very pale sky blue and a nice in style greyish purple violet.

I am OFFENDED by STATIC and SOULESS and don't honestly dont understand where that is coming from, and what is ment by that! The only thing I can imagine is it's perhaps it's coming from people who decorate in Country, very colonial or Shabby Chic, tastes I absolutly dislike, would never live with, but can appreciate in the homes of others. It is just not me and my style! And GUESS WHAT? IT'S GONE WHEN YOU MOVE IN!!!! All he rooms have been cleared of clutter, photos and the like. Kitchen counters are also Cleaned of clutter! - Look at all the counter and workspace!!!!

I had a discussion with a group of co-workers today (all different ages) and our feelings are that HGTV and similar shows are becoming a driving force in todays' market. Yes, the market is terrible in many area, people are losing their homes right and left and many more are upside down with their mortgages, and it IS a BUYERS market. Many buyers are sitting back and waiting and when they do come upon a home they like, they expect, NO, they DEMAND a home in absolute PRISTINE CONDITION with NO FLAWS and UPDATES, etc. They don't feel like doing the work that makes a home theirs. They want INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!!!!! I WANT, I WANT, I WANT, and I WILL HAVE, or YOU the homeowner WILL DO FOR ME!!!!!!

I realize that when I posted this question, I opened myself to a can of worms and was prepared to take what people dished out. As my husband said, I must be a Glutton for Punishment. I "gotta" tell a few of you though, "you are WAY OFF BASE in your criticism'. YES, there are lots of homes on the market, YES you can have your choice of granite - (oh, wait, isn't granite passe? or have RADON?, must change that now), hard wood floors, marble, new bathrooms with steam shower, new kitchens that include Viking 6 burner ranges, both a large fridge and large freezer, etc., OH MY! YES you can absolutely STEAL homes in this market if you want, BUT, if you don't like the paint job, for goodness sakes, buy a gallon or two of the color you LOVE and do it yourself and bathe yourself in the "warm" or "cool' colors that SOOTH just YOU! I can understand if there were major issues with a home and you either couldn't live that way and it needed to be changed, then buy it at a killer price that is in YOUR BUDGET and make your changes!!!!

What I find interesting is that when many home owners do make changes for the PUBLIC, they are buying HOME DEPOT type changes. They are cheap, make a nice impression (because that is what is IN) and they look up-to-date and "au courant" but, they are home owner DIY! WOW! IMPRESSIVE!!! You are not buying the funishings in a home, you are buying the bones of a home! If you don't like the home or the style, that is one thing, MOVE ON!!!!
Again, that said, I REALLY DO APPRECIATE the constructive criticism SO MANY OF YOU HAVE GIVEN ME and have made or begun to make those changes, including a price drop to keep up with the declining market, and I thank you all for that!

I went around my area (Fairfield County, CT) this weekend and attended many open houses and spoke to the listing agents. In this area, unless the homes are entry level, dirt cheap and/or need TONS of MAJOR work, or the owners are in distress and giving them away, the market is just sitting there right now. No amount of quick, inexpesive fixes or advertising is going to help at this time on most homes. We have very few buyers in the mid to upper price range and it will just take time!!
For those of you who do want to purchase large houses (for our area at least) with very high taxes and megga monthly expenses required to maintain a home, you can get some wonderful buys, but you will need to do some of your own changes. And in Manhattan.....WOW, it's a fire sale!!!!! but, oh no, the kitchen is too......or the shower is where?....in the kitchen?......NO!!!....the livingroom is WHAT?....a bedroom?.......800sq ft for what?......500K? and common charges plus taxes are WHAT?????? But, Sorry, I digress......I guess it all depends where you are coming from!

Honestly though, again,I really do thank so, so many of you who offered very CONSTRUCTIVE, kind and REALISTIC TO CHANGE, criticism. I Really Do HEAR YOU!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: new listing photos

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:34PM
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What a difference the sun shine makes on the front of your home....and the yard greening up. I just knew it would make a huge difference and when your get your plants and fresh flowers, it will be lovely.

I, for one, just love your home....and the colors you have chosen. Can you move your sunroom to Kansas?....I just love that room......I don't know what some are complaining about your home....not everyone likes granite, etc. that some say we just "have to have".

I would much rather have your home any day.....it is spotless and that means more to me when buying a home. I don't like clutter and a dirty house....and yours is not either....but maybe we are about in the same age group and appreciate about the same decorating.
I notice you have a (or looks like) Jen-Aire cook-top...we have purchased one just like that for our home when/if we get to build again... It was on sale and couldn't pass it up. Do you like it?

Keep me posted and I hope that none of my comments were among the negative criticism your received.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:05PM
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Hang in there! I agree with many things you said. Buyers DO want it all and at a great price, to boot. Our house is under agreement but we are in the "affordable" category in our town- otherwise Im sure we wouldn't have sold. I think your house shows really well and to my eye I found your art and other design choices refreshing after seeing so many "play it safe" interiors. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:32PM
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Some of the updated pictures look great. Since you are a bit skittish about further criticism, I will just say Best Wishes.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Elle, I think you have a beautiful home (I love ranches) and if you and I were in the same area I'd offer to take you out for happy hour so you could de-compress a little bit!

I totally agree that someone may come in and want to re-do your kitchen (don't take it personally) and for that reason I wouldn't want to put expensive updates in counters or cabinets. But you have gotten some good advice about warming the space up with rugs, art or a bowl of lemons, etc.

I think the exterior shots are great! The nice level lawn and your backyard patio look quite inviting. I never did see your earlier shots with the realtor in the bathroom, lol, but you can see that people are just writing in giving you some tips on little changes that you can make. I personally like the leaf tile backsplash in the master bath and don't think your house looks cluttered in the least. The addition of a few live plants I also thought was a good suggestion.

I hope you sell soon, don't let the market get to you, your house has good bones and what appears to be a very nice location Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 5:23PM
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I think that the new pictures are much better, but I think that there is too much driveway showing in the first picture:

I would crop it to highlight the home more, like this:

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:26PM
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The updated pics look very nice and are an improvement in showing off the good points about your beautiful home. Greenery and Sunshine really help and the little bit of changes that you have done. I love the sun room and your backyard. I feel your home shows well and these pics will entice a potential buyer to want to see more. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:36PM
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I agree with Terriks on the shot of the house. It appears that there are a lot of cracks in your long driveway and I might decline to view the house because I wouldn't want to deal with that even though on seeing the house I might overlook it because I liked everything else so much. Pictures certainly are critical.

It would bother me too that you don't have natural gas - or maybe that isn't standard where you live.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 1:51PM
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I rarely post here, but read often. I too noticed so many very harsh comments without a lot of cost-effective solutions.

First, your home is completely decluttered, super clean, sits beautifully on the land, lots and lots of positives!

I really like what Terriks did to crop the image to get rid of the driveway being the focal point. I know a certain size fits the mls space, so your realtor can get around it by cropping it, then adding white space above and below to make sure the MLS software doesn't stretch the image disproportionately (a simple photoshop fix. If she/he can't do it, I would be happy to do it for you... email me if you like)

As for the kitchen, in trying to think of inexpensive fixes that will help get people in the door, I have one idea. The high chairs in the maple wood really seem to add some warmth while staying within the modern look and without adding any real color. How about adding a runner and a rug under the table that are of woven sisal or jute in that same blonde tone? And perhaps do another very large one under your wicker furniture in the sun room. Cost Plus, Pier One, Ikea... they all have them. Just something to tone down all that strong bright white which is very different than the rest of your home with the warm woods, lovely contemporary rugs and warm-tone carpet.

Good luck with the sale. As the warm weather approaches, I'll bet your property just looks beautiful.


PS I really dislike when people just add granite countertops without really thinking through the kitchen space. I don't think it helps.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:53PM
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I really like your house, but do agree with everyone that the kitchen looks sterile. Can you inject some colour with a few bright vases or framed prints? A little goes a long way.

I absolutely LOVE your sunroom and the furniture in it. I would enjoy having a coffee or reading a book in there.

In this market, it is positive you are getting showings and visitors to the open houses even if they are not serious buyers. Many listings don't get any lookers for eons. If people are looking at your house, that means it may be in the right price range. Although a slight drop of maybe $15K might bring even more lookers AND the offer.

Hang tight. Your house is spotless and that goes a long way.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 6:35PM
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Wow, what a difference the change of angle made on the exterior shot! For me, since I like the outside so much better (I think it is because the door shows now), the kitchen doesn't really stand out to me like it did before. I would definitely come look at this house.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:00PM
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elle, I humbly apologize for using the words soulless and static. I did not mean to offend and meant to comment not on your style but rather on the perception that the pictures conveyed, since that is what you were asking about. I can see from your reply that you were deeply affected and I would never knowingly cause anyone such pain. I do want to say I'm not someone who expects perfection in a home. When we bought our house we put in new carpets, area rugs, windows, French doors and curtains, and installed a new and expensive heating/AC system, and the house was by no means inexpensive to begin with. We also turned five areas of dying grass into rose and flower gardens.

Again, I apologize for the distress I have caused you. There was no malice intended, only the desire to help. Obviously, I went about it badly and for that I'm very sorry.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 12:43AM
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