Need some advice on selling a home

kokeApril 14, 2009

I have a very,very nice Rancher with a full size walk-out basement,plus an enclosed sunroon off of the kitchen area.It is 8 yrs. old and in excellent condition,it is in the country.reason for selling is...Hubby and I are not quite able to do the upkeep of the acre of land.Both of us have arthritis in knees and he also has the same in one of his hips.Getting harder and harder to maintain for us. It was our Dream then but now,we are realizing the difficulty invovled with the property now that our Health is in decline.The home has been on the market for a little less than a month and so far, no one has looked at it.Anyone who wants can go to and look for houses in Pine Grove,PA and you should be able to bring up my home.Our asking price is $189,000.Is there some tips that I should be aware of,in case we do get someone to look at it? Any help at all will be greatly appreciated.Thanks in advance! Mary Ann

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Is this your house?

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine Grove listing

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:01PM
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Mary Ann it looks like you may be competing with new construction in the area for just a few thousand dollars more. My question is, where do you plan on going? IF this is your dream home and everything about the home works except the maintenance of the yard. Why not pay someone to do that? HOA fees where they take care of that for you are much more then it will cost for someone to cut your lawn a few times a month. Condos with master bedrooms on the main level are hard to find. I would really think about where you are going before you sell if the yard is the only reason for selling. As far as getting showings, it really depends on your local market. Talk to your realtor to see if she thinks the price is high or if the market is just saturated with homes in your price range.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Marzhere,Yes,that is my house.....

Linda,First of all, Everything does work in this home and always has.
To answer your question,We do have another home that we are interested in and We have been checking out other possibilites also.It is much smaller but then,We do not need all this room anymore.
The upkeep of the property is not the only reason for putting it on the market.We didn't just decide that We wanted to move. We discussed our Options...Both pros and cons.And, decided it would be in our best interest to sell.If you have any other advice,let me know....Thanks

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:01PM
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Have any comparable homes sold for that dollar amount recently? I know nothing of your area, but if you pull up your house on zillow, you will see much larger homes listed for less money.

The other problem is that you house looks WAY older than just 8 years - I would have guess 25 years+ based on the finishes. The silk flowers and plants are dated as are the window valances. Before you show the home, put those in storage. Also, I'm sure you love your family photos, figurines, jar candles, and little statues, but buyers aren't interested in that and it will just distract them. Box them up for the new house. Clean all the "stuff" off the fridge - including the photos and magnets. Your house looks very clean in the pictures, but having too much stuff sitting around makes buyers think there isn't enough storage space.

Also, for the main living room area, you have a lot of oversized furniture in there. I'd put anything you don't really need day-to-day in storage. All the stuff is making the room look small. If possible, arrange the remaining furniture so that you don't walk into the back of a chair and side of a couch as you come in the door. The first impression a buyer is going to get right now is that the space is cramped and their won't be room for their stuff. When people look at homes, they usually just walk a couple feet in and look around. You want that first view to be as spacious and roomy as possible in a smaller home.

The sunroom looks great and much closer to how you would want to show the rest of the house. No clutter, no overcrowded furniture, and a muted color on the wall. You might consider a more neutral paint color in the living room. Blue walls with blue carpet isn't everyone's cup of tea.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:17PM
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Bill,Thanks for ALL of your great advice.The only problem that had me a bit upset was that the house looked 25+years old!It really is only 8 years old!Otherwise,you had some really great suggestions,which,I will certainly use.Family photos,figurines,jar candles,Silk flowers will be put in storage.Been emptying out cabinets,making more space,magnets & Photos on Fridge...gone! Going to rent a storage unit to put boxes in and again,getting rid of more clutter.
Will be doing some re-arranging of furniture
The Sunroom is de-cluttered,wanted to start there,first.Next. is the Living Area....Any suggestions on the out-dated Valances,what would you suggest in their place? Bill, you have been an extremely great help and I look forward to any other suggestions,advice or ideas that you may have..Thanks,Mary Ann

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:53PM
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I think the pictures are not helping to get potential buyers to pick-up the phone & call for a showing. There is so much inventory today that it's necessary to pay attention to details. Here's a few things I believe would help...

1.) Pictures #8 & #9 are beautiful. Highlight those shots. The winter pictures, frankly, look a bit ugly. That's obviously a seasonal thing so until the landscape greens up just use those two shots for the exterior.

2.) Remove EVERYTHING loose from the kitchen & eating area except the table/chairs & the rug under the table. Get rid of the other rugs, all of the pictures on the cabinetry & refrigerator plus all of the miscellaneous 'stuff' on the countertops.

3.) Privacy isn't an issue with your site. Remove all of the frilly curtain valences & swags. Just clean the windows well & leave them bare.

4.) Remove all of the artifical floral & eucylaptus swags, etc.

5.) I'm assuming that you do not want to repaint to more neutral colors so I'd highly recommend downplaying as much as possible the peachy bathroom color & the various shades of blue living room.

6.) For instance, remove the rug in the bathroom & the curtains. Replace with crisp white towels & since the window is over the tub...all white curtain (no ruffles). Also, I think it's a bad idea to have a picture of the living room that looks directly into the bathroom so I'd either make sure that bathroom door was closed for the picture or not use that angle for a shot.

7.) Remove the artificial fireplace. It makes it appear as if you wish there was a fireplace in the home. Don't draw attention to the home's deficits.

8.) A fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room would be very useful but if that's not possible...I'd recommend at least paring down the furniture. I agree with the above poster that it's out of scale & making the room appear very small. Remember, somebody looking at doesn't have the benefit of being in the home...they're just looking at pictures. If the room appears too small they will just keep clicking.

9.) The homes finishes are dated. To give a quick & easy hit of "up to date", I'd strong recommend replacing the kitchen faucet with a snazzy new one & get a picture with your sink spotlessly clean showing that cool new faucet. It won't cost much & will have high-impact in the pictures.

10.) There's something on the garage door. I don't know what they are & wonder if a potential buyer might see those & wonder if they'd have to replace the garage door because removing the 'stuff' would leave holes in the door? Probably better to remove them now if you're going to use these exterior shots (I recommend only using #8 & #9).

Ultimately, it's going to come down to how competitively you are priced. You not only have to have the best looking house it also has to be the best priced. There are buyers out there now & they are extraordinarily descrimminating.

Please understand that you MUST detach from the property personally. The property is now for sale. It's a business transaction. Think about it like you were trying to sell your car. You'd clean the heck out if it, wax, & shampoo the carpets. And, you'd get all of the personal stuff out.

After you've made some changes...get new pictures taken.

Best wishes,


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 4:15PM
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koke~~ This could be such a cute house.....but don't know IF you want to put any money into up-dating it much...but to me, that sunroom looks like it is just "hanging in mid-air".....could you have someone put up something around the "stilts" that are holding it up? Also, if you are able to put in some cash, take up that blue carpet....put down some laminate wood flooring and paint the walls a more neutral color, or at least a more calming lighter blue.

The electric fireplace needs to be out of well as some of the LR furniture. As mentioned above....remove all the pics and things on the frig and cabinets....take up the throw rugs, put up white towels etc. in the bathrooms (put the toilet lid down before taking pics), take down those "frilly" curtains (oh I know, it comes with our "age"), remove all personal family pics off of the wall....take down any "fake" flowers, greenery, etc.

Surely your realtor can give you some ideas to bring it more up to date....even if it is only 8 years old, honestly, it does look older....but I think it is not the house, but the way it is decorated....but if you are an older couple, that is what we did in the past...and even though you may still like that style, we need to get "modern" and move on with the time. This is not to offend you, but I am also facing putting my home on the is about 8 years old...and we are no longer able to take care of has about 4,000 SF.....and I have terrible a move is coming soon. I don't know the market in your area, but the price doesn't sound too high to me. GOOD LUCK to you....and post more pics when things are pared down a bit.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:14PM
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Your one car garage is going to hurt you. Most folks these days have at least two cars, especially in that price range.

The house looks very dated and the outside is nothing special at all.It looks much older than it's 8 yrs. It needs major landscaping.
I agree with what the others have said about the inside and I think you need to take a serious look at the outside too.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Wow - everyone is a critic! Hopefully you realize that people are just trying to help you sell your house as quickly as possible.

In this market, I don't think you really want to do anything major - like rip up carpets etc. You just want to neutralize as much as possible and stage the furniture etc to play up the best features of the home. A simple white tablecloth for the kitchen might clean things up a bit, but I wouldn't buy a bunch of expensive new stuff. Bare windows are fine and just let in more light. If it is in the budget, a plain slipcover for the couch would go a long way as would a plain white bedspread. Of course, a fresh coat of neutral paint always helps.

Most importantly, have the agent take new pictures once you've cleaned up. All the work you are doing won't amount to anything if nobody sees it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Don't mean to offend but the blue carpet and one car garage are probably turn offs that may be stopping buyers from making an appointment. I could look past the blue carpet as long as the price reflected the fact that carpet would need to be replaced. One car garage is going to be a harder sale, nothing you can do about that but price correctly.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:24PM
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Hi Koke! I want to first say that I love your house and wish it was for sale when we were looking; ranchers on an acre of land is hard to find. We especially love the style of how it's lower in the back yard.

Now for the hopefully helpful things I see...
I would add columns under the sunroom. The picture I see looks like 2 pieces of wood are sitting on top of concrete blocks holding it up. It would make me very nervous and I might not look at the house due to that alone.

I agree about what ever you have on the garage door, it was the 1st thing I noticed. While I understand the yard is too much for you guys, could you possibly get someone to help you "doll it up"? If you throw some quick grow grass seed down now you should have nice green grass in 2 weeks. I'd also purchase a few plants (grasses would look nice along with cone flower) for the front railing since those bushes are so tiny and look out of place in that large yard.

I would rather see you install a neutral carpet where the blue carpet is, as was mentioned, take a few pieces of furniture out (to the left of TV, a recliner - not by the door the other one).

Some people do not like beds on an angle like that and will not walk your house due to that. To them it means the room is small. I would put the bed in a better place, even remove some furniture if you have to before taking the photos. I know how hard it is to live with bare minimum but these days not only price sells. You have to get them into the house with decent photos. Buyers know (or think they do) how to judge a house by photos.

The market is totally different now then when you bought. Those HGTV shows have made it harder for sellers to sell using their own every day furniture that was purchased years ago. That's what is dating your house. I actually own the same bedroom set you have. If you changed out the curtains to something more modern I think you're fine. Just doing that can change a room. I would not go with anything too heavy looking though.

I would also get rid of all the rugs in the kitchen even if it is just for the photos.

Also ask your agent to please get rid of the multiple room pictures. One picture showing the same shot is enough, like the sunroom.

From what I see at I'm not sure that you are over priced and if you are by much. I thought I saw an acre of land for sale but can;t find it now. The lots in that area appear very small, when I did a search for 1 acre, you were the only one that came up. Ask your agent to make sure about your price. If you really want to move, don't wait until you lower. We came on in late May 2007, market was dead as everyone that wanted to move by the summer had already shopped. Took us exactly 1 year from listing to closing.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:38PM
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Everyone who has responded so far to my plea for help....Thank You So Much!!!!

I have so many great ideas to work on and things that I didn't even think of have become much clearer to me and hopefully will be able to change or improve on.

If anyone has any suggestions as to what I can do with the posts holding up the Sunroom so that they look more sturdy and pleasing to the eye,please help me with that problem area.Perhaps,some of you might know what to do with them.

Again, I appreciate all the responses,both negative and positive.It gives me something to think about and work on right away! Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 7:34PM
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Since you are asking for advice I will chime in. First of all it's a lovely home and a beautiful yard. BUT as I was looking at the photos I caught all the little things that turned me away. In the kitchen get rid of the refrigerator magnets, kitchen towel, candle on table, basically EVERYTHING except the countertops. Put a nice neutral table cloth on your table with fresh flowers perhaps in the middle. In the bathroom put DOWN the toilet seat it's a big turn-off and completely clear your counters empty. In the living room I see remotes laying on the chair, endless picture frames, and a tissue box GET RID OF ALL OF IT. The master bedroom needs some pillow shams and remove the nightstand from the photo to make it look bigger. Get rid of the swag above the closets and those photos on the wall.

You must stand out from the rest. Your throw pillows on your couch are messed up. I would have the realtor come back and RE-DO the photos asap. Pretend you are showing a model house - NO CLUTTER - clean crisp and WELL organized. You must clean out all of your closets as well. REMOVE your shampoo bottles in the shower area BEFORE a showing.

Now once you clean-up a bit and get new photos on MLS try posting a professional looking FREE ad on craigslist using AND have an OPEN HOUSE EVERY SUNDAY rain or shine. Get up early and clean like crazy. Buy a bunch of bright open house signs at your hardware store and post them all over the main roads that lead up to your house. We are doing this now and have over 19 families come through in only 4 weeks. It's a HUGE pain but it works.

Good luck to you - you have a wonderful home and once you de-clutter and get some new photos things should change a little bit.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 7:39PM
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koke~~ Have you tried to so a "search" on these forums for staging homes to sell? There is a wealth of information about this. Also, have you checked the Decorating forum to see how some others have decorated their homes....hopefully, you will find some who have done so on a tight budget. GOOD LUCK.....wish I had some building knowledge of how to fill in under that sunroom...that is the one thing that really sticks in my mind. Please don't think that we are running down your is lovely and I hope you have a quick sale.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 8:42PM
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Your home is adorable and I don't think overpriced. It is dated and I think you can do a lot of things without breaking the bank. How about some trellis around the sunroom - similar to what is around the air conditioner. Maybe with a door which opens to underneath. Then some inexpensive bushes along the lawn area. I would splurge on the bushes to get height and width.

I agree with all the other posters to remove as much furniture as you can manage to live without. The plaid sofa should be covered with a neutral slip-cover. The electric fireplace should go. I would paint all the walls neutral or a soft color to go with the blue rug.

I'm in the same boat and finally coming to the end of working almost a year getting the house ready to show. There are many things you can do if you look at pictures of rooms and shop wisely.

Your views are beautiful as is your property.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 1:29AM
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I would rather see columns by the sun room then lattice.
I was watching one show on HGTV they used a hollow column to go around wood to dress it up. Wish I could remember what show it was.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 2:38PM
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I saw that show also, roselvr. It was recent. I think it was "Curb Appeal"?

The columns were painted white to match the trim. I 'think' it was a southern house?? Good solution.

I still think that using just Pictures #8 & #9 eliminate the problem. The 'floating' sunroom problem is only a "problem" in those up close & personal shots...not the distance pictures, IMO. In person, if it bothers somebody they'll think of their own solutions. It's just not a feature of the house I believe should be highlighted on It's a poor choice of picture on the realtor's part.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:07PM
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Thanks again! I am so into clearing out the clutter and personal thigs in the rooms.I am making the living room seem much larger by getting rid of the sofa and the TV Cabinet.Plus a few other smaller items that are not really needed.Knick-Knacks are gone as are the silk flowers.Tomorrow,the pictures come down off the walls.Then,I am working in the Bathroom Closet.Gotta get that under control! If someone opens that door,they will be shocked! How this stuff grows is mind boggling! In the extra bedroom,the bed is gone,sold that.We have a futon in there now from the 3rd bedroom which was just being used as a bedroom and odds and ends were in there also.Oldest daughter is taking all 4 containers of photos and sorting them out with my other 2 kids.So,that will be gone.Also, tomorrow,I am going to try and spruce up outside now that plants are starting to grow.The weeping cherry should be in bloom by next weekend for sure.Truly lovely!The red and white redbuds should also bloom next weekend,I hope.Again,many,many Thanks to all of you for all the excellent ideas and great advice....I really need it!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:37PM
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I am proud of you taking on this "de-cluttering" and sorting. It will make you feel so peaceful when it is gone and amazing how much "stuff" we have that really has no purpose but to take up space. You are so right to clean those closets....people will open all of them...and they need to be organized so it doesn't feel to them that there is not enough storage. WAY TO GO, GIRL!!!!
Show us pics when you are done and have that realtor take them and post them again on their site. I am sure your yard is beautiful when the trees and plants are blooming.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:45PM
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Spent most of my day in closets! Putting things that we need into boxes and plastic boxes,then down the basement to store them, of course, in a very orderly placemnt there.Hubby came from work and he had the job of taking things down,my knees were killing me but I kept at it.
Talked to the Realtor last night and she thought taking pictures when we have some color outside would be great! The grass is green now,waiting for my beautiful weeping cherry tree to bloom,which should be soon.The redbuds are next.The Barberries are showing signs of some great looking red leaves.The Boxwoods are starting to look good too.The Climatis vines are starting to show their leaves,The Black-eyed susans are peeking thru,as well as the Obedient plant.Some of the Butterfly bushes are stating to push also.Great time of the year to believe in hope,especially in life itself.I always feel alive,happy and energetic and full of hope with all the new signs of life emerging.
Photos will be posted on as soon as I get some "live" pictures.Keep watching for them.Also,inside photos will be a little different.Clutter is gone.Closets are tidy,nothing on the floor and just a few clothes hanging that we will need but not stuffed!
Hubby promised to de-clutter his "stuff" in the living room closet,mostly computer stuff,which I know nothing about so I need him to go thru that.
I am venturing outside tomorrow to tidy up some of the flower beds and also the front of the house needs some tidy work done.Nothing major just sprucing up.
Hopefully, I will have a break after tomorrow.Planning on another "work" day,even though I may suffer later on with my knees,ice packs work nicely for that since I can't take much meds.I am super sensitive to those pain pills so I try other ways of relieving the pain.Wish me Luck!!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 10:27PM
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koke~~ I have been following your posts daily and you are doing great...isn't it good to get rid of "stuff"? I am in the "same boat" as you....we are going to put this house on the market soon (I hope)...eventhough the market here is terrible. I have two knees that need replacing (already had a new hip) and also back needs surgery, and I can not take pain meds to help either...(do you mind my asking your age?...I am 67)...but I admire you for taking some of the advice these people have given you and getting your house orgainzed so hopefully it will sell quickly.
I had a huge garage sale last fall and got rid of a lot of things.....have you considered doing that? When the "time comes", I am going to hire a cleaning lady to help me do the baseboards, etc. that I can not bend to do. God bless.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 11:01AM
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Just came in from doing a bit of yard clean-up.I must have really overdone it yesterday,I am just exhausted today! Can't seem to get going like I did yesterday.Yes, We did have a yrad sale the first Saturday in April and we did get rid of quite a bit of "stuff".Then, we put 2 items on Craigs List and sold both...couldn't sell them at the yard sale...and we got the same price that we were asking then.So, you never know whats going to sell.We also put our Queen bed on Craigs List and sold that too.So far, We really have been doing alot of downsizing.Hubby came home from work yesterday and there I was with the ice packs on my knees! It did help,though.I do think if I wasn't going up and down those basement steps so much,up and down step stools,bending down and picking things up from those closets,I would be in better shape.Before,We started this de-cluttering,my knees were ok but since then,all that added pressure on them is down right annoying and painful.I haven't had any replacements yet and really hope I don't have to.I can walk a mile everyday and my knees are fine but get me going up and down those steps and they hurt.I am going to be 63 at the end of this month.I am hoping with the weather getting warmer that people will be looking for a home.Yes,the market is horrible but I have hope.I am trying all sort of ideas from this forum and some really,really make a lot of sense.Thanks....

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Koke, I don't know what type of ice pack you are using but someone at another message board said to put Dawn dish detergent in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer. It's just like the hot/cold ones you get at the hospital.

Phoggie, do a lot of research before having your back done. I've been opened up twice and am going back for a 3rd. Try to talk to patients to get feedback.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 3:08PM
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You are doing so good....I am proud of you....but do take it careful with those knees...going up and especially down steps are bad....also step stools, bending,etc....maybe you should take the week-end off and just rest and ice don't want to completely wear them out if they are bone-on-bone~~ I am not any way a medical person....but it seems that both of us have a problem with pain meds agreeing with us.....but my pain management dr. gave me Tramadol...and it does agree with me...thank heavens~~~
It is generic and might ask about it.
Keep up the good work....and I am sure you will be posting a SOLD sign before long.....
Mary (Phoggie)

roselvr~~~I am putting off back surgery just as looooong as I possibly can....and as long as I can get epidurals that last, that is what I am sounds risky and painful!!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 5:13PM
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