Sellers, what are you doing to prep?

theroselvrMay 12, 2007

What are you doing to get ready for sale and is it going as planned? I thought it might be nice to swap stories with other sellers to see what everyone is doing to get ready.

I went out looking at houses for the 1st time the other day and was amazed at the shape of some of the homes. We're looking in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range in towns a step above ours.

I saw a 10 year old house that had black scum in the shower, the house looked neglected on the inside while the out was pretty decent. Another was so packed in boxes we couldn't walk and decided to leave when we came across a pet smell. So far none of the houses we "it" but I did see one that could be..

We've been doing a lot, more then I thought we would due to me being down for the last few years. I was going to spot paint but ended up repainting 5 rooms so far, a 6th will follow.

Our master bedroom remodel is taking much longer then we thought. All new sheetrock, & the bath was made bigger by taking from the huge closet, it now has a linen closet, which was needed. I took drapes down from the mud-room, what a difference with the light. Haven't decided if I'll put a sheer scarf up yet. Also working in the garden, right now I'm taking a break from digging a weeping redbud, I will plant a Japanese Maple in it's place.

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I've been wondering the same thing. We are planning to put our house on the market July 1, and I feel like I have to make everything perfect in order to do that. Planning to replace the 7 1/2 year old carpet (has aged much more than that due to living with a dog), and trying to spot paint the rooms that I haven't repainted completely already. How important is the outside, i.e., landscaping, healthiness of the lawn, etc.? Neither hubby nor I have the health to really tackle landscaping, but the equity in this home is the bulk of our next (retirement) home -- so I want to make sure it sells for as much as possible.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 5:48PM
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Mercy. We're doing everything. Already had the exterior painted, we're replacing all the doors, painting all the baseboards/casings, re-landscaping front and back, painting walls, spray painting old heater returns that have aged, replacing a countertop and sink in the hall bath, regrouting all the showers/tubs, finishing all 742 projects that we've started over the years but that remain 99% done, etc.

This is all BEFORE we'll go on a cleaning sweep and clean top to bottom. Windows, baseboards, ceiling fans, etc.

We thought we'd have it ready by Wednesday. HA!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 6:04PM
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roselvr - Kudos to you! painting the entire house. I am patching holes and spot painting. Just cleaned the shed this afternoon. Will plant a bunch of impatients around the porch before nightfall --- that will look really good. My grass is a total wreck --- very weedy and patchy --- but I may top seed and begin watering the heck out of it. I am also having a vanity and sink put in to replace a boring pedestal sink (this was purchased for me, before I decided to move). And I will have my Plumbing/Furnace company put more efficient vents in the kitchen and living room ceiling which my kitchen guy messed up. I also rented a storage unit for excess boxes, but have yet to declutter. That will begin soon, but I feel pretty overwhelmed. I am also creating a website to sell the house with. PLUS watching tons of tv and surfing in a totally obsessive way instead of cleaning, sorting, and decluttering!!! Yikes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 6:28PM
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Trust me, I didn't want to repaint! lol Son's room while paint was 3 yrs old, had some rough spots on the wall so I spackled. Of course I could have not spackled but if it doesn't look good to me, I try to do it right. My daughter (another 3 yr paint job) needed it because she's hard on paint with tape / posters. It's been 1 week and there is already writing on the walls. I'm undecided about the computer room, it's a smoke color with light tan faux painting. My new neighbor said lighten the ceiling, if I have time, paint, if not it wouldn't stop her from buying the house.

I was glad to get input. She's never been in the house so she saw it for the 1st time. She liked that the rooms were neutral colors. She was impressed with all of the room sizes and since she just finished looking in the area, she said it was in better shape then what was out there :)

I'm not going to stress about grass because we do have mostly grass while the neighbors don't. Very hard to grow grass in sugar sand if you don't know what you are doing.

We also moved almost everything from the attic plus some furniture, it filled a storage shed. I have a few more pieces to put in, then what's left of decluttering will go in the attic. I collect dolls and have tons of bins with Barbies I hope to ebay one day.

Reno, I think I'd die. My back hurts a lot as it is, just reading what you're doing made it hurt more lol

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 7:03PM
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To me it all hinges on how badly you want to sell- if you are not in a hurry then you might approach things differently than if you need to sell quickly in a tight market.

Me- I did everything conceivable. I knew that selling in a South Florida market would be an uphill battle and I did not want our house to languish on the market because of any failure on my part. So I painted, I planted, I refurbished, I improved, I stored, and I staged. And I sold in 30 days.

I was an extremely motivated seller and did every single thing in my power to increase my chances. In our market there were something like 80 homes for sale for every buyer so I had to do everything possible to stand out from the crowd. Your area and motivation will of course be different.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 7:46PM
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We're going on the market in about ten days, it's getting down to the wire! Here is our list:

*Paint in almost the entire interior: walls in 5 rooms, ceilings and trim in all except master suite. Also exterior doors and touchups on exterior trim. Had to hire a pro to get it all done, and it took HIM nearly a month. :-(
*New lighting and ceiling fans throughout first floor and exterior to replace peeling, corroded, and garish-to-begin-with "builder brass". I had bought the outside lights some months back so this was not an added expense. Moved a couple of other light fixtures around. Replaced some outlets and switches that didn't work.
*New kitchen flooring, cabinet hardware, sink and faucet. New range hood to go with the stove we bought ourselves in December. Had to hold off on counters for now, we ran out of cash as the painter went over budget.
*New hardware, mirror and curtain in powder room.
*New doorknobs and hinges entire first floor... I just found out today that I need a new door knob for the basement door because I lost the key to the old one *sheepish grin* Getting a locksmith out to rekey it will cost more than just replacing the knob, which will take about 10 minutes.
*Mostly refurbished the upstairs bath with new flooring, painted cabinets, cabinet and door hardware, light fixture, installed vent fan (there was no ventilation before), towel bars etc., cultured marble vanity top with integrated sinks (perfectly appropriate for this modest house) and staged with new shower curtain, countertop accessories, & towels (all bought dirt cheap on clearance at Target). Toilet was new last year. Really wish we could have replaced the icky Barbie-skin-beige tub but just couldn't afford it, so it's going to hide behind a shower curtain.
*New cordless pleated shades in all the upstairs bedrooms and bath - they make up the "children's zone" of the house so I chose with an eye to child safety (50% off at JCPenney!)
*Having 14yo builder carpeting we can't afford to replace steam cleaned a few days before D-day
*New window screens for about half the windows
*Reseeded the lawn, cut up and got rid of stormfallen trees, pulled a LOT of weeds and Roundupped a patch of poison ivy, and pruned the shrubbery. (Rachelrachel, there's a lawn patch product we love that is a combination of a cellulose mulch, fertilizer, and grass seed - Scotts Patchmaster is one brand but there are a few others. You just spread it out, water it in, and ignore it. We have used it on several problem areas with excellent results, and we're both black-thumbed wonders! It germinates fast too.) I sacrificed a pair of jeans to the gods of houseselling, I caught them on a branch and ripped the butt out! LOL
*My mom is coming down Monday for two days to plant flowers and help me with decluttering, since I'm completely over my head with that!!
*Bunch of small things: Took down the curtains in kitchen, DR and LR to make the rooms look brighter and bigger, moved a bunch of furniture to empty rooms upstairs, put our library back to a dining room, took down all our potentially-controversial artwork (like nudes), put away any religiously oriented books and objects (we're Pagan, which offends some people). Renting a storage unit isn't in the cards but we have one empty bedroom where we can neatly put packed boxes. We also sold some furniture on Craigslist and Freecycled a bit more since we expect to be moving to much smaller digs.

We still need to clean out the basement and garage (next weekend!), declutter and pack excess stuff, take a couple of carloads of stuff to the women's shelter (they use household items to set women up in apartments and also have a thrift store), do general housecleaning (I may hire help for this), and take care of a LOT of minor little things. We are in a BIG hurry to get the bleep out of this house, otherwise we would not have done much past just cleaning.

Rachelrachel, don't feel bad about procrastinating... I am spending endless hours on the MLS site (I signed up with a local REA to get access to a somewhat limited version of the MLS, which has a little more info and usually more pictures than and you get street addresses) and too. Which is silly because we're not going to start seriously househunting until we have a contract on this house; we cannot risk carrying 2 mortgages and a lot of sellers around here are not accepting offers with sale-of-previous-house contingencies on them. But I can't help it. I am just so darn sick of it all, we have been doing this for over 2 months now and have not had time to see our friends or do anything recreational, it's been house house house house house! By a couple weeks ago I was about ready to just light a match. I hated this house when we bought it (it was a purely practical purchase, the best of a bad selection and still kind of a dump, since we had to move fast) and I'm starting to hate it again. But not so much that I'm going to totally fire-sale it. There are 8 other houses in our price bracket in my small town of 8000, although most of them are 3/2s and ours is a smaller (just under 2000sf) 4/2.5. Two of the bedrooms are pretty small though.

Teresa, talk to your real estate agent about what you can do for curb appeal that doesn't take much oomph or expense. I totally understand because I have health issues too. He/she might know of someone who can do that work cheap, too. (If you were in coastal NH I would be able to recommend a guy who is just starting out with his own business and so is very reasonably priced.) Maybe you can find a neighborhood kid who will mow your lawns and do other chores under your direction? Earlier in my post I recommended a lawn patch product that is very easy to put down and the bags are very lightweight. It's not too horribly expensive, 1 bag is about $5 and covers a 10x10 area.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 9:00PM
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johnmari - Thanks for the good advice. I'm going to get some of that stuff tomorrow. I have a shady backyard, so I guess I'll put down the shady grass seed in the back then use the lawn patch stuff on top. This is great advice because straw is so ugly, and you end up with hay seeds entering the lawn too. Unlike you, I loved my little house when I moved in. It's a 2/2. Improved alot ($$$), and out of the blue decided that I want to move to a more reasonable area. Now that I am fixing, cleaning, decluttering --- and have something motivating to bring my mood up --- I find that I am falling for my house all over again. I think with a 4/2.5 house you will have good luck in selling. Even though the rooms may be smallish, they allow families with three kids to each have their own rooms.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE. Our hard work will pay off.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 12:19AM
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The Scotts brand of the patch stuff comes in a "sun and shade" version. I linked it below. Our yard is very shaded as well - well, it used to be until the house next door was built and the builder sort of overcleared the trees and weakened the root systems of the other trees nearby so several fell in the winter storms, now it gets filtered sun. The bag says "light shade" but our yard got only a few hours of morning sunlight in the areas where we patched and it grew just fine. So unless you already have it laying around, there's probably no need for the separate grass seed.

Yeah, I think we'll do okay. *knock on wood* We're pricing it toward the low end to move it and because it has some less-desirable elements (flag lot, steep slope in back, yard's not very big, that kind of thing), and it really is a more modest house than advertisers are training people to want - those granite counters and stainless steel appliances that are practically standard issue in new construction would be like be putting a tutu on a bulldog - but we live in a town with a good school system and we're hoping to attract the folks who want to get their kids into these schools but can't afford most of the houses in town. Most 4 bedroom houses here are wicked expensive (and they do tend to be bigger, more like 3000sf) and "Joe Sixpack" types are priced right out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scotts Patchmaster Sun & Shade

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 2:40AM
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I had to laugh yesterday when watching one of HGTV's "how to sell" shows. In a little snipet during commerials, the host came on and reminded us that it is important to put new rolls of toilet paper in all baths before showings. I thought that when I put out new bars of soap I was being neurotic!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 8:14AM
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I have to say, as an agent, I think you're all being very smart sellers in ANY market. Clean sells! I do have to say that putting "fresh toilet paper rolls" on, seems a little over the top. I've shown hundreds if not thousands of houses and not one person has EVER mentioned the toilet paper roll being half empty. Good Luck to all of you!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 8:41AM
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My in-laws have completely repainted the interior (again), replaced all the interior doors (the old ones were cheap but in fine shape) and now they're replacing all the windows (a couple of the current ones are drafty). I think they're going to replace the carpet (15+ years old and no longer stretched).
I've heard they're thinking about painting over their gorgeous custom green-stained cabinets in the kitchen for something more neutral, but then the countertops might have to be changed, and therein starts the slippery slope.
I think that other than the carpet, the house is fine and they should let the buyers take care of the rest. They're putting too much money in the house that they will not get back in $$$.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 11:34AM
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C9Pilot, tell your inlaws to leave the kitchen cabs alone. Those country painted cabinets especially is, blue, green and cream are very in right now! The probably shouldnt be doing the windows either. A credit would be more acceptiable if this comes up during the home inspection. No one doesnt buy a house because the windows are old.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 2:40PM
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C9Pilot - holy cow! Are they going to sell though? Or doing this for their own satisfaction?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 2:53PM
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Having just sold last week... we spent months decluttering and packing away knick knacks and personal pictures. We boxed it all up into rubbermaid boxes and stored them on shelves in an unused bedroom. They were all labeled and very neat and tidy looking. (Our buyers commented on them, saying they hope to be as organized!)

I also cleaned cleaned cleaned until I could hardly move... every darned day, because of our 2 large dogs (and its spring shedding time!!). We also repainted all the outside window casings and repainted some hideous pink walls (we bought the house that way!).

I reorganized some of the rooms to look like they'd been used conventionally, when in fact they hadn't. We stopped living in any part of the house that wasn't needed to keep the mess to a minimum.

We didn't do any capitol projects, but our house was in pretty good shape and well maintained to begin with.

Good luck to all :)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 3:27PM
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Yes, my in-laws hope to sell and move before another winter (they live in the mountains). I just wish they made all these improvements when they could have enjoyed them instead of making them for someone else.
But I don't know what the market is up there and I think it was their agent that made these recommendations.
Gosh, I hope they don't paint those cabs!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 6:41PM
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OK, so I don't understand why people "remodel" just before they sell.
Doesn't it make more sense to remodel & enjoy rather than doing it for someone else?

I staged rather than re-do all kinds of things. Staging detracts the eye from those little remodels that you really should do. You could do a decent staging for $500.
I'm saying this from experience. I just sold & I staged & painted one room (had to because It was stenciled to death!).

I though about putting in granite, removing wallpaper...and got overwhemled at the thought of removing 4 rooms of wallpaper & ripping out the laminate that ran all the way up under the upper cabintes-yuck. It was way too much money & work. I knew that nobody would pay me more if I had done the above. I just decluttered & staged.

BTW- my favorite selling thread I read was when some guy quickly painted the entire interior of the house.....however, he left all the furniture against the walls in place. Could you imagine after he moved out with that furniture & the new owners opened the doors???

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 10:17PM
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Our closing is this Friday. By far our biggest bang for the buck was pressure washing the entire exterior, including driveways, and walk-ways.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 10:22PM
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"OK, so I don't understand why people "remodel" just before they sell.
Doesn't it make more sense to remodel & enjoy rather than doing it for someone else?"

By remodeling it too early, it will no longer be new and thus you cannot use that as a selling feature. And, trends change, so that remodel can quickly be considered dated in just a few years.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 4:59AM
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OK, so I don't understand why people "remodel" just before they sell.
Doesn't it make more sense to remodel & enjoy rather than doing it for someone else?

I've been here 7 years. In those 7, we've slowly been making improvements. There was paneling in the livingroom (which also had faux brick, wood stove with real brick on the floor), hall, bedroom & master. The master was the last for us, I'd wanted to paint & be done with it, hubby wanted to do it right. Adding the few feet with the new linen closet made a big difference in the master bath. I love the new master bath between the floor we picked, new shower curtain + accessories (spa leaf toothbrush holder, etc) it's one of my favorite remodels that we've done.

The main bath also has paneled walls, if we stayed it was huby's next project although it doesn't bother me because it has a design on it. We would have possibly rearranged where everything went had we taken it on. We just put a new floor in there, what a huge difference, and IMO someone won't mind the paneled walls so much. It also got a new closet door. The wood vanity was repainted, I'd wanted to put a new top on it, but with the paneling, it probably wouldn't be as faded and would look out of place.

With doing the master walls the right way with sheetrock, we have a better chance of getting away with not having to rock the (main) bathroom. Had we painted the paneling, I think it might be a deciding factor for a buyer. So the remodel will be a plus.

The mud / landry room was done a few years ago. It started with a concrete floor, and after raising part of the floor, the washer / dryer is raised so that someone with a bad back like myself doesn't have to bend down. He also put up a shelving system over the W/D giving much needed storage space. The kitchen also got new flooring at that point. Unfortunatly, I'd painted the mud room before the floor went in, so it didn't match. It does now.

Yesterday I finished up the hallway. The attic needed a new access door, so that's been painted as well. I started painting the computer room last night. It went from a smoke color to what I hope is a (light)smoky green. I'm kicking myself for not going to the Depot to have the paint formulated right. I'm not sure if the local hardware store matched it correctly.

BTW- my favorite selling thread I read was when some guy quickly painted the entire interior of the house.....however, he left all the furniture against the walls in place. Could you imagine after he moved out with that furniture & the new owners opened the doors???

The "possible" house I looked at the other day had what looked like fresh painted walls. They started packing and taking shelving down, of course they didn't remove the shelving before they painted lol

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Personally I would prefer that any "updates" be limited to big ticket maintenance items that are coming due - roofs, furnaces, or things that are "problems" and should have been done as regular upkeep.
I would prefer to be able to buy a house (i.e. expensive updates often take houses out of my price range) and then be able to remodel/update to my liking.
Recently online I looked at a old farmhouse in a location I like - they redid the kitchen putting the kitchen sink at one end of an island - I hate it. How awkward -its one of those things that would be a constant aggravation.
But then I often think I'm some sort of freak for thinking that way. I would never not buy a house because I didn't like the colors of the walls or the way they had the furniture placed etc. Its location, style house, price, structural integrity etc. that I look for. The first thing I do is google earth the address.
C9pilot - is the realtor suggesting contractors?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 8:43AM
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We basically put our lives on hold for a couple of months. The big items were to repaint any areas that didn't look new, re-finished the wood floors, repaired every minor thing we hadn't got around to, landscaped the back yard, 1/2 of our furniture either went into storage, cosignment shop or good will, borrowed or purchased new furniture that would better showcase the house (cosignment shops are great for this), declutter to the point of making sure all drawers and closets look spacious, had windows professionally cleaned, expoxied the garage floow and power washed the outside of the house.

We may have been a little anal about all of it, but the feed back we get is wonderful. We have had several open houses and the realtor says she there is hardly any time without someone there. People are coming in and measuring to see if their furniture will fit. some are actually moving our furniture around. We had our first offer within 2 days of listing it. Unfortunately we couldn't come to agreement on terms. We are now 3 weeks on the market and have several other people very interested in it.

We are not priced under the market so it isn't the price driving the interest.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:01PM
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I do have to say that putting "fresh toilet paper rolls" on, seems a little over the top. I've shown hundreds if not thousands of houses and not one person has EVER mentioned the toilet paper roll being half empty.

Actually, I can see the point of this, although it wouldn't apply to every buyer. Some buyers are mentally oriented toward new construction even if it is out of their price range or completely unavailable in the particular area. This is why the TV home-staging shows often try to make the house look like a model home - i.e., a house that no one lives in or has ever lived in.

The most noteworthy example I can think of is a bride on House Hunters who looked at the "dated" cabinets in the kitchen (perfectly decent but not in accord with current fashion) and sniffed, "I would never think of my putting my china in her old cabinets."

Now, a person who is repulsed by the thought that someone else has previously used the kitchen cabinets is going to be even more repulsed by the idea that other people have used the bathroom, but is probably too stupid to think of it alone. A part-used roll of toilet paper makes it obvious; a full one makes it feel more like a hotel. (I suppose you should also fold the end into a triangle?)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 4:46PM
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OK, so I don't understand why people "remodel" just before they sell.
Doesn't it make more sense to remodel & enjoy rather than doing it for someone else?

Well, sure. I'd much rather redo the house to suit myself and be able to enjoy it. When we bought this house in 2004 we had planned on staying here for about 15 years and had had a "5 year plan" for the house. 2005-06 was the master suite, 2007-08 was to be the kitchen, utility/powder room and the downstairs moldings, 2009 was to be the upstairs bath and adjoining office and upstairs moldings, 2010 was to be exterior siding. We didn't get time to do anything more than the master suite, life happened and we have to move, so the kitchen and other baths looked kind of sorry since we had just been waiting for their remodels to come around to do anything to them.

We're not doing any major remodels, just enough spiffing-up to make the house look less worn and tatty. As okmoreh points out, many people are being trained by the media to want new construction even if they can't afford new construction, they don't want to think about anyone having lived in their house before. If the house is 15 years old and LOOKS it, it's less appealing to those folks. (I really don't think most people want to buy a house and immediately embark on remodeling projects, I think that's a small subset of the population.) The sheeple's money is as good as anyone else's AFAIC. In my market I certainly couldn't afford to throw away that herd of walking wallets by having the house clean but tired looking. Like the kitchen floor vinyl was permanently dirty because the surface had worn off (what idiot thought WHITE was a good color for a floor in a room with three outside doors in New England, land of mud and snow and more mud?) and it was gouged and torn in quite a few places. Replacing that did wonders for the kitchen's overall appearance. The cheap stainless steel sink was dented and scratched and would not get clean looking no matter what I did to it - I must have spent $30 on different products - so we got rid of it and its cheap faucet. Replaced both for about $200 total thanks to eBay, and again, a little more "wow" to the kitchen.

Marys100, there's a house that is giving me the shivers that has a newly-remodeled kitchen that is also downright awful in layout, clearly done by someone who had never cooked anything more complex than a frozen pizza. (There's maybe 6 linear feet of workspace. I've worked with kitchens that had less but I'd prefer not to, although I don't need these enormous kitchens the new houses have.) If we bought the house we would have to completely redo it - either pull those brand new cabinets, which are pretty nice, and reinstall them in a more sensible design, or sell them on Craigslist and start from scratch. I would rather they had just left whatever kitchen was there!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:05PM
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Having bought and sold 6 houses over the years, one thing always was a plus for us. NO PETS. So many people told us they were turned off by homes that were clean, yet you could still smell pet odors. You may love your pets, but buyers don't (unless they have them). I know some people who have them don't even smell it, but others do.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:49PM
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So what are you supposed to do, give away your pets? Board them for weeks to months? Not only would that be financially impossible for us at $35+/day - and that's discounted for a twofer, just cram 'em in cages and leave them there kind of boarding - both my pets are rescues and separation for more than a day or two is extremely traumatic for them. It's going to be bad enough having to crate the dog in an upstairs bedroom every time I leave the house and worry that some moron is going to let the cat out. (I have told the realtor about the cat but I don't expect him to remember so I am designing some nice signage to go on all the doors. Cat does not come when called - she's 12 and going deaf, although still a dang fast runner when she wants to beat feet - so crating her really isn't an option unless we get lucky and she's snoozing somewhere convenient.) We are going to clean and air out as best we can, including leaving the window open in the powder room where we keep the cat box even if it means heat going straight out the window - yes, we're still heating here, and will be for at least another two weeks - but that's the best we can do. I have gone to houses for sale where you can smell baby poo the second the door opens and no one would say WORD ONE about that! (I've babysat formula babies who could knock a buzzard off a garbage truck at a dozen paces!)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 8:39PM
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So what are you supposed to do, give away your pets? Board them for weeks to months? Not only would that be financially impossible for us at $35+/day - and that's discounted for a twofer, just cram 'em in cages and leave them there kind of boarding - both my pets are rescues and separation for more than a day or two is extremely traumatic for them.

My thoughts exactly.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 8:48PM
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Yep, I would say word one about it. There's no need for it. Get rid of the dirty diaper right away, and it won't smell up the house. An odor is an odor, and it does turn people off. OP asked, and it is an issue sellers have to deal with. I am sure some houses with pets don't smell due to the owners dilligence.
They always tell you to cook something like cookies, or boil orange peels and cinnamon to make the house smell good, but don't use heavy sprays to mask odors. As the realtor poster pointed out, clean, clean clean, and that means getting rid of odors.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:36PM
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Adding a note to sellers to remember to take down any mirrors that you want to take before listing the house. Be sure to replace it with something that doesn't have sentimental value to you.

Found this in another post, thought it might be helpful for those of us living by military bases: is a source for advertising your home "For Sale by Owner" or "For Rent" near military installations. Use the power of your military network and the web to help you find, sell or rent your next home

Here is a link that might be useful: Military by owner

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:08PM
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As the realtor poster pointed out, clean, clean clean, and that means getting rid of odors.

However, the odor of cleaning products is not necessarily welcome, either.

But sometimes it is. I once rented a house that the previous tenant had damaged and left filthy. It was a shambles when I viewed it, but I put down a deposit because the size, layout, and location were all perfect for me. The agent promised that the damage would be repaired and all the walls and ceilings would be painted. I was still concerned because the bathroom was filthy and he hadn't said anything about that.

About two weeks later, the agent told me that the work was not quite finished, but I could start moving things in. I went later that day with a carload, and was delighted to be met at the door by an overwhelming odor of bleach. I found the agent's cleaning woman in the last steps of making the bathroom spotless. I suspect it may have taken most of the day.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:37PM
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We are selling my wife's parents' house in suburban MD. It is empty of furniture and everything. We contracted with a top realtor in the area who was highly recommended, knows the particular community very well, and impressed us in general. He knows that the folks want to sell reasonably quickly without putting a fortune into the house. He advised us to recarpet (which we expected), but not to remove wallpaper or paint. The paper is in good condition, but of course some of it will not appeal to some buyers. He had the wood deck cleaned and stained, and some minor repairs done. The house has good curb appeal because my father-in-law has kept up the yard contract, and the service did a nice Spring trim and clean-up. So the house was on the market in one week from our meeting with the realtor. This was a big relief to my wife and I, after spending many many weekend days cleaning the place out. We are relying on our realtor's knowledge and judgment, so we'll see.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 3:15PM
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Well, yes, we don't want to asphyxiate the prospective buyers! LOL. My son once did me a favor while I was at work and did the bathroom floors with 1/2 bottle of Pine Sol...horrible, but in a few hours we could breathe again!
And I bet you were happy the bathroom smelled of clorox and not mold and filth! You can always air the bleach smell out!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 3:22PM
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I've owned/sold 4 houses in 10 years. 3 (including my current house that is in contract) were "by owner." The longest ANY were on the market was 2 weeks. The shortest was my current house, which I sold to someone I know before I even put out my "for sale" sign. I have a "system" for getting a house ready for sale, and actually "enjoy" the challenge, as sick as that sounds! I am very anal about the house. I LOVE to decorate and have been told every time that the way I had the house tastefully decorated is what sold it, but I think it's much more than that but people don't realize it. It takes a good 3-4 mos to get a house ready to sell. It needs to be as close to "perfect" as possible and make the buyer think that living in that house will make life easy and happy. I hire someone to clean so that you could eat off of ANY SURFACE you choose! (I work full time, have a DH, 3 boys and don't have time to do it myself.) I de-clutter, take away all personalization, make sure all walls, trim are freshly painted, all closets, drawers, bookshelves, cabinets, etc. organized and as attractive as possible (down to organizing all linens and clothes by color)yet make it look as "warm and homey" as possible. The kitchen has got to be immaculately CLEAN, organized and decluttered. (It doesn't hurt to have updated appliances, cabs and counters.) Curb appeal is also HIGH on the list. We always have fresh mulch, potted and hanging plants everywhere and little seating vignettes on the patios. There are several good books out that give much more detail that you need. I also think it helps tremendously to know your competition on pricing. Lots of great advice by the other posters, too. Selling a house for top dollar is hard work, but it is so sweet when you get the price you want and sign the final closing papers! Hopefully, this will be my last move for a LONG time, as we are custom building our dream home, mainly with the money we've made selling those 4 homes. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 8:52PM
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Moving the post back to page 1 for new sellers

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 2:45PM
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We became sellers as of this morning, when we came to a verbal agreement on a house in Brooklyn. Pending inspection of the new place, our current 2BR/2bath NYC co-op will be on the market for a first open house (through an agent) on June 17 - three weeks, ack!

Between now and then, besides entertaining two houseguests from June 9th-15th, our punch list is:

Living room:
- bring up coffee table from basement storage room
- box away some books so the shelves aren't overflowing
- recycle massive piles of magazines

Dining room:
- put two dining-room chairs into storage so table doesn't look too crammed

- massive cleanout of cupboards, tossing old unused kitchen stuff and getting all the clutter on the counters moved into the cabinets.
- get handyman in to change hinges on doors that don't close neatly
- tidy underneath sink
- get plumber in to fix water-flow problem in main sink

Front hall:
- clean out walk-in storage closet and front-hall closet
- swap entryway rug with small bedroom rug, which is thinner and won't jam against the coat-closet door when it is opened

Little bedroom:
- clean closet of husband's junk
- box and store extra books

Small bathroom:
- have super put down new waterproof epoxy grout stuff at base of shower, as old stuff is grungy and brown
- try to lighten stain on shower floor
- change shower curtain

Big bathroom:
- nothing

Master bedroom:
- clean closets
- move stack of boxes which has served as bedside table to basement storage

Entire apartment:
- vacuum, dust, clean
- keep Handi-wipes on hand for last-minute touchups to bathroom mirrors and bath/kitchen faucets for spur-of-the-moment showings

Let the fun begin!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 11:10PM
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Zeebee, just use grout colorant on the bathroom floor, don't bother with complete regrouting. It's a LOT easier and faster (and cheaper!) project.

Gosh, I wish our list had been as short as yours! :-) Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 5:04PM
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johnmarie, any more info on grout colorant? Does it work on old tile floors? I foolishly picked small mosaic tiles on mesh backing years ago. Thats a lot of grout. Its a pain to wash...pain in the knees, back & butt. Thanks, Sandy

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 8:32PM
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breenthumb, it's basically made for covering up scungy old grout, although some people are using it on new grout to keep it from getting grubby looking. It's discussed very frequently in the Bathrooms forum, so if you go by there and put "colorant" in the search box at the bottom of the topic page, you'll find lots of info. If you have white grout you've got it made because pretty much every hardware store or home center has white grout colorant (they might call it something like "grout touch-up"), if you have a color it might get trickier. You can order an Aquamix brand sample sheet here, it gets to you in less than a week.

I have 1" mosaic tiles m'self, a mixture of squares and hexagons, mostly almond, with almond grout. Love the look but I agree that it's rather a PITA to keep clean (I will grant that if I had been able to find a sheet vinyl in a vintage-hex-tile pattern, I would gladly have used that!). About six weeks after it was installed I had to have the plumber in to work on the radiator. He showed up in brand new jeans and sat down on the floor, coloring about six square feet of that stinkin' grout baby blue, which I did not discover until days later. Spent many hours trying to get that indigo dye off (we're talking right up to a paste of "Cascade with bleach" dishwasher detergent applied with a Scumbuster electric scrubber). I haven't yet found a colorant to match the grout, but it's on the to-do list. Right now there's a rug on top of the stain. ;-) (BTW, it was epoxy grout, too. It's nowhere near as stain-resistant as touted and a big waste of money IMHO.)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:13PM
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Those must have been some heavy duty denims. Can't recall ever seeing anyone leave a mark like that.

2 cleaners I use that are heavy duty, Greased Lightening & Krud Kutter. They take just about everything off, I used them on my parents tiled bathroom where the floor hadn't been "cleaned" in years. If the cascade didn't work, I doubt Clorox Cleanup would either.

Do you have a bleach pen?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 5:49AM
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I have a "system" for getting a house ready for sale, and actually "enjoy" the challenge, as sick as that sounds! I am very anal about the house. I LOVE to decorate and have been told every time that the way I had the house tastefully decorated is what sold it, but I think it's much more than that but people don't realize it. It takes a good 3-4 mos to get a house ready to sell. It needs to be as close to "perfect" as possible and make the buyer think that living in that house will make life easy and happy.

We may have been separated at birth. I too am actually enjoying the process! Just last night I told my (horrified) family that I was really enjoying this challenge. They looked at me like I had just sprouted another head. (Though having to leave for showings is kind of a pain with all my kids and dogs.....)

I did everything on your list, and you're right on. It needs to look as close to a model home as possible, and have no visible scratches on woodwork, etc. We cleaned/painted/stained every surface of every room. Literally.

We then "staged" every room; rearranged furniture to best show off the space, and then eliminated any evidence that someone actually lives there.

The thing that surprised me is that my kids' rooms are painted in these CRAZY murals. I fully expected people to request/demand we repaint, but to my shock, everyone has loved them, and has commented how it's so nice to see some personality in a house. That one surprised me.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 8:39AM
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johnmarie, thanks for that info. Yes, mine is white grout on blue & white curvy tiles. Seemed like a good idea at the time. One of the steps in cleaning has been bleach, left to sit, scrub with brush or hard scrubbie then wipe up. I do sections at a time so I can reach while not sitting in the wet bleach. I'll check it out in bathroom forum and see if colorant might help, or just make it even harder to clean.

My husbands new shirt must have been made of that same denim. I presoaked it in a bucket to get some of the dye out and it was so strong I actually could smell the dye and it stained my bucket! Took many soak & rinses.

Roselvr, we use Greased Lightning in our powerwasher and probably already have some in garage. I'll give it a try. Thanks, Sandy

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I am painting some of my rooms. I wanted to replace two rooms that currently have old rugs with wood floors until my septic failed Title V. The potential new owners will now have new rugs in those rooms and a new septic system. In this buyers market I hope a new septic is more incentive for a buyer than an old borderline one. I am currently waiting for a perc test. My nicely manicured backyard should be a mess by the time the system is installed. Is Massachusetts the only state with Title V? To make matters worse our town does not have it's own Board of Health. We are part of a group of 12 or more towns that share in this group. This makes for long approval times for this type of process. The best I can hope for is a few months before this process is complete. The banks in our area will not lend money until the Title V is approved. This will give me plenty of time to have my home ready for sale. My new home should be finished within the next month.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:23AM
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I have had dye transfers with so many clothing items that I no longer wear anything without washing it at least once first. Way too many times I've taken a new pair of jeans off to find that my legs and butt looked horribly bruised from the dye rubbing off on my skin! I also thoroughly embarrassed myself in a rather Yupscale furniture store once by sitting down to rest a bit in a very expensive and extremely comfortable tan leather Ekornes chair... my new red sweater left marks on the leather that did not come off with their leather cleaner! (Also destroyed my bra and made a mess of the inside of my jacket, but that's a minor detail.) Thank heavens the owner said "that's what our insurance is for!" and didn't make me cough up the nearly two grand for the chair.

Buying a bleach pen would probably be a waste considering our cleaning lady resorted to trying straight bleach on the stained grout. I had to leave the house for the rest of the day since the smell of bleach = insta-migraine. The plumber apologized but that was it (and unfortunately it's SO hard to find a reliable plumber who actually returns phone calls and isn't a complete Neanderthal that I daren't fire him lest I not be able to find another). I bought Krud Kutter to get up the sticky crud from removing the vinyl floor in the upstairs bath and everywhere that any spatter/overspray touched paint the surface bubbled and pocked, and the paint peeled off! That is some scary stuff! Touching up semigloss paint really sucks, BTW.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 4:39PM
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Buying a bleach pen would probably be a waste considering our cleaning lady resorted to trying straight bleach on the stained grout.

I was thinking the bleach pen because it's a thicker consistency, it will stay on it instead of soaking through like bleach will. I would then take a firm toothbrush to it.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:43PM
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Add power washing the house to my list. I wasn't going to do it but did. Haven't had photos taken yet, so considering this like a facial to "doll her up" for pics this week

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:44PM
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I am happy to see this post, as we started about three weeks ago working on our house to sell it whenever we get all this work done. Just reading some of these posts makes me more exhausted - not that I'm not already exhausted from painting all day!

What we are working on now is a large front porch, large back porch, a deck off the master b/rm, and another small porch off the den. All of the railings/banisters are white so it's really time consuming. We had to "de-algaeize and de-mildew" first and sand off any peeling paint. Hubby is about ready to learn what "staging" is, but this will be the fun part, as then you know you can move on to the next project!

We will be finished with this big project on Monday, then we have to fill in a large hole after taking down an above ground pool, and hopefully get some grass planted. This is going to be a full day's job.

Things we plan to do inside:

1. Replace the master bath light.
2. Repaint the master bedroom.
3. Touch up the paint in the den.
4. Repaint fireplace mantel/trim in the den.
5. Paint brick in the den on fireplace.
6. New vinyl linoleum in kitchen/breakfast room/small hallway and laundry "closet". May get an estimate on tiling these areas.
7. New sink and faucet in the kitchen.
8. New hardware in the kitchen (already have, just not installed yet.)
9. Repaint kitchen from a royal blue to a neutral color (using Ralph Lauren "Raffia"). Have this in the den & love it.
10. Hang valances in the breakfast room. Paint breakfast room.
11. Hang long drapes in the great room.
12. Take down wallpaper in dining room, paint "Raffia" same as kitchen.
13. Get roof leak repaired - top priority on this one!
14. Repair damaged window sill in master bath. Got estimate today of $200, so will go with this guy. The window has to be taken completely out.
15. Replace chandelier in dining room to more modern fixture.
16. Replace ugly cheap brass fixture in foyer.
17. Paint water damaged ceiling - after repair is done. Son is doing this for!
18. Repair garage door.
19. Two new garage door openers.
20. Buy new umbrella for the deck table (not that we have ever sat out there, but you know, staging!)

I think that's enough for right now, but there's a lot more I haven't mentioned, esp. landscaping, clean out gutters, plant flowers, decorate front porch, etc, etc. Oh, and I left out clean out the attic and the basement.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 3:38PM
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On top of all the painting, almost the entire interior of the house, course 4 kids growing up left their marks..ok..all their marks. We went up into the attic and nearly died. The bathroom fans and kitchen fan was not vented outside the attic, but merely into the attic and there was mold growing on the underside of the roof, and the rafters. So we called in three companies and each one had a different 'system' from ice-blasting which entailed removing all the current insulation with the mold spores, to scrubbing with fungicide and encapsulating the stuff with more stuff and it's mind boggling. So we are choosing the company this week thats going to take care of it and giving us a warranty and EPA certification that the house is mold free.

We got lucky on our windows, Republic has a lifetime guarantee and they are replacing about 8 windows with the seals broken for free. The warrantee transfers to new owners too. The broken one from the baseball of son #1..we are paying for that one.

It's not fun selling a house, but we are looking forward to our new home and know that those owners are dealing with mold in the attic and windows too!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:25PM
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Moving this back up for new posters

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 7:08AM
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On top of all the bigger tasks i've completed, I sanded/re-stained/varnished the outside front door(live in a condo), re-sprayed the security door, added new weather stripping, including the metal piece at the bottom of the door(?), changed 3 toilet seats, toilet paper holders/towel bars, painted the 2-car garage floor, had the old globe-style fixture above the sink re-moved and a pot light installed, and had the noisy fan in the PR re-placed. These were all completed last week.

This week i'll touch up painting on the faux tile design I did on the patio, replace a dead plant, add a couple of ferns to shady areas(leave in pots), add two hanging pots, add a taller plant in the corner on the patio, and remove the old porch lights and add new shiny ones. I'm thinking of buying a couple of wicker chairs for the patio,too.

Whewwwwwww, i'm exhausted after reading all of that! ;o)


    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 7:40AM
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The condo association allowed you to do all that to the front door? I thought that the outside stuff was the domain of the association.

And, I never thought about painting the floor of the garage? How difficult was it, and what color did you paint it? But, wouldn't any dripping oil from a car destroy the paint then?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 2:58PM
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what i can't understand is the # of sellers who invest $$$ and sweat equity to get their homes "ready" to list...Why isn't pride of ownership maintained during the time you actually live in the house??? So many people say after all this "work" that perhaps they shouldn't sell, as the house is SO nice now...ENJOY your home,take pride in it, don't wait until just prior to selling to spend $$$ to make it "show worthy" JMHO

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 3:18PM
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what i can't understand is the # of sellers who invest $$$ and sweat equity to get their homes "ready" to list...Why isn't pride of ownership maintained during the time you actually live in the house???

I've lived here since 2000, since I've been here, I became disabled but still managed to do things like paint and landscape. Since there was a lot of paneling, I couldn't do that myself. We ended up doing a room almost every year with new sheet rock and had 1 left when we thought to sell. By this time the house could use paint again, plus things we hadn't done like flooring. Was it worth it, sure. The house is finally the way I envisioned it, too bad we need a bigger house.

During the time I was here, I was down twice for back surgery and my dad was sick (cancer) with me being his main care giver for medical, so that set me back almost 3 years.

We've been working on the house every year I've been here. One year we had the crazy idea to move the front walkway & change the back patio, so that took a summer...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 3:29PM
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what i can't understand is the # of sellers who invest $$$ and sweat equity to get their homes "ready" to list...Why isn't pride of ownership maintained during the time you actually live in the house???"

As I said upthread, we had planned to stay here for 10-15 years and had put together a "5 year plan" for the house a little over a year after we moved in. It would have been nice if we had cash coming out our ears so we could have done everything all at once, but when we finished one project we had to save up for the next. 2005-06 was the master suite, 2007-08 was to be the kitchen, utility/powder room and the downstairs moldings, 2009 was to be the upstairs bath and adjoining office and upstairs moldings, 2010 was to be exterior siding. There was no point in doing anything with the kitchen (for example) because we were going to tear it out, but nothing had been done with the kitchen since it was built and it had not been treated with great care so it looked rather ratty. (Even though our house was built in 1994, we think the builder bought all the cheap stuff left over from the 1980s that no one else wanted, because it just screamed "1980s" before we spiffed it up. And the worst of the 1980s at that!) Life intruded on our neat little plans, so we hadn't gotten a lot of stuff that needed to be done to update the house and make it look nice. Had we left things looking the way they were the house would have skewed toward the "fixer-upper" end of the spectrum which meant a lower price. It's one thing if your house is old enough to be "quaint" and "charming", very much another if it just looks worn and blah.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 1:49AM
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We just recently sold our house. It was only 4 years old and we kept it nice, so not a lot of time went in to getting it ready to sell.

We decided for sure that we were putting on the market that week on a Monday. Monday I stayed home from work and boxed up almost all the books on the bookshelves, extra items from the kitchen, toys, our bedding, etc. and moved them all to the garage. I also moved two of the dining room chairs, cabinets from the FR, ottoman, extra office chair, pac man console table, etc. all to the garage. I asked the agent if we should rent a storage space and she said garage was fine. I donated half my clothes to Goodwill. Moved small kitchen appliances and dishdrainer off the counters. DH took off another day and planted flowers, touched up paint, fixed ceiling fan, cleaned out the garage bonus room etc. I also replaced all the CFL light bulbs with standard light bulbs and replaced some of our under cabinet light bulbs that had burned out.

We had carpet cleaners come Wed, window cleaners and house cleaners come on Thursday. Thursday the agent came over with a gazillion plants and pictures, as well as new bed lines and towels and arranged it all.

Friday we went to market and had the open house Sat/Sun. Our market is still relatively fast and we had the place sold on Wednesday with multiple offers.

One thing that surprised me is that we have a mural in my sons's room and I thought we would need to repaint it. Both agents we interviewed said to definitely keep it as a selling point. The couple that bought the house are expecting and plan to keep the mural, so I guess it did help!

I thought of one more surprising thing - our agent had us leave some personal photos up in the upstairs landing. We had two wedding pictures and one baby picture and she said we could leave those.

It's true that we could have done things like touch up paint, window cleaning, etc while we were living here, but life get's in the way. I'll try and remember to have those done more often in the new house because it was nice to have the place shining!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Sure makes things a lot easier when you don't have to update a house~wish I could have been so lucky. Because of it's age, I thought my '84 condo needed some slight improvements, but nothing major like a $30K kitchen reno~that's crazy!

I think clean is the name of the game! Upgrading is nice, but a clean and well taken care of home shows love, and IMO, makes others 'fall in love'. ;o)


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 3:54PM
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Our house will go on the market this weekend. I was a realtor for five years so I know how buyers go through a house and "deduct". Our biggest jobs were cleaning out the garage and attic. I keep my home clutter free but the teenagers' rooms needed to be neutralized. I washed all my windows, touched up paint and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. I think buyers are impressed by a well-maintained home. It gives the impression that the owner has taken good care of the home in general- not just what is visible to the buyer's eye. Also, the exterior is as flawless as we can make it. We also picked an agent who specializes in our area and priced it slightly below her recommendation. Hope it works.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 6:32PM
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In prep for showing the house, I cut the lawn and painted the bathroom. That's it. House sold in NJ in 5 weeks, about 15k less than asking, which was fine because the house we bought came down 78k. Buyer of our house came up with a list of 26 items to fix. They were looking for deducts, but I own a construction company so it very easy to tackle everything with my men. I even had to jack my house and repair some foundation blocks (took 3 days start to finish). Other work-type items were removing suspected non-friable asbestos (free, DIY, with permit), repairing drywall in the garage, installing a whole house water filter, repairing the front step, digging up a bed to make sure the planter had a drainage system, removing a fan from a wall in the basement, replacing the attic fan, insulating some pipes, fixing a sink drain linkage, installing an overflow line on the HW heater, replacing a dryern vent duct, replacing a radon fan, running a bathroom vent duct outside through a soffit. I had to call some vendors in the sweep the chimneys, test and and service the HVAC, test the well pump and water. I had to hire an engineer to inspect the foundation (hence the foundation work), and a framer had to come in and do a report on the attic. I also had to get copies of all permits since 1973, and pull three permits for items that were done over the years without permits. Long list, and my realtor thought I was crazy for saying I'd take care of it all, but it ended up being rather inexpensive and easy. My closing is Tuesday.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 9:12AM
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We just sold our south Florida home in two weeks! Yea! When we bought this fixer-upper two years we went full-steam ahead to put in lots of great landscaping, new roof, and house paint inside and out. Little by little we started to realize that we were fast becoming the most fixed-up house for blocks, and that few of our other neighbors were maintaining their homes as well. That was our first clue that our neighborhood wasn't getting better, and many clues were to follow, so we decided that while the market was down it might be a good time for us to sell, break even, and get into a better neighborhood while we could afford it. We rented a storage unit for just over $100 dollars a month and put anything that prevented one from seeing end-to-end in a room in it. We also un-bulked kitchen cabinets and clothes closets to make them look roomy (don't forget how nice it is to see to the very back bottom of a closet-- they look huge this way!). That's it. And it sold with no fix-it punch list. We even made money even on top of realtor fees and the money we already put into the house!

I think the most important thing to know is the market for your area. Clean and bright is the way to go. Do the top of the line improvements only if you live in a top of the line neighborhood otherwise you'll price yourself out of making a profit!


    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 11:19PM
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After the master remodel, we've lived with our paint choices for a while and hated it. The Malted Milk color we picked looks much different on the chip then wall, on the wall it's too peachy.

I decided to go to Penneys to see what bed sets they had and ordered 3, keeping one. We went to Benjamine Moore 3 days this week, forgetting the carpet sample the 1st, the 2nd the color expert wasn't there. We went back yesterday and bought paint - pretty expensive compared to buying Behr from Depot.

We're in the process of painting all of the smoky slate molding / windows a lighter color and hope to put 1 coat on the walls today. I may have the new scarfs up for the agents open Tuesday but won't have the privacy curtains ready as I have to sew.

If anyone wants to see the pics, link is below. Hubby used the BM program to "paint" the walls to see what it would look like. The painting over the bed is going as it matched our old set.

Here is a link that might be useful: master

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 2:57PM
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My advice would be to paint inside and out if necessary, have the bathrooms sparkling, either new or clean carpeting, a mowed and trimmed yard, clutter removed inside and out and a spic 'n span kitchen. Think CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! Also remember that men love a clean garage.

If you do the above, bet your home will sell fast. Ours sold in two weeks. The house is 40 years old, but we did all of the above and updated it with inexpensive hardware, faucets and fixtures.

Potted plants on the front porch and patio also help. An American flag hanging outside is a wonderful addition, as well.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 12:42AM
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Does every BM have a 'color expert'?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 5:53AM
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What a great room! Great color choices!


    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:44AM
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Thank you, the actual colors will be
Trim - mocha cream
main wall color - baja dunes
accent wall behind bed - driftwood

This was what the color expert deemed "elegant" he also gave us two other choice 1 conservative - 1 warm. I'll get actual pics once we're done which should be today..

I posted on the decorating forum but didn't get any feedback.

Does every BM have a 'color expert'?

Not sure. We only went to one store although there's a few we could have gone to. One was a hardware store, doubt they'd have anything more then a paint mixer.

Also what we found is that the BM store locater is too up to date, and not always correct. We set out for one store but couldn't find it. After calling the 800 number, I found they hadn't moved into that location yet.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:53AM
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Perhaps this will help those looking for an agent.

Agent Questions

Name ______________________________ Office Name _________________________

1) How much is your commission? _____________

2) Is it negotiable if you bring a buyer?

3) How much do you give to the selling agent if you do not bring a buyer in?

4) What if I bring in a buyer?

5) Where do you rank on the MLS?

6) Where do you rank on the Re/Max team?

7) Do you work with the military?

8) Are you or your office listed at base housing?

9) How long have you been in the business?

10) Are you full time, part time, do you work another job?

11) How many houses a year do you sell_____ How many do you list______

12) Do you have your own web site, in addition to the agent link on the office web site?

13) How much of your business comes from the web site? _________________%

14) Do you pay for enhanced listings with multiple pictures on

15) What kind of advertising do you do and where?

16) Do you advertise price drops in the paper (Sunday only)

17) Do you advertise open houses in the paper (Friday Sunday)?

18) Do you use an info box?

19)Do you have an assistant? YES _____NO

20) If an assistant: who is the one you would be dealing with for questions,and such? Explain assistants role

21) If I need to speak with the listing agent for something, how is that handled?

22) When an offer comes in, who does the negotiating, the agent or the assistant?

23) What are the days on market for a house selling in my price range?

24) Do you take your own photos?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 11:40AM
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Roselvr, great list/guidelines! The only questions I didn't ask were MLS rating(duh!), but will sign papers tonight and find out, the military/base housing questions, and whether or not he uses an assistant. He's *personally* called me several times, never anyone calling saying they were his assistant, if that means anything.

Thanks again, roselvr. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 12:30PM
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You're welcome Patty.

The military question is geared towards people like me living close to a base. After being on the market for almost 3 months with 3 showings (1 was today) I wondered if my agent was missing something; so I posted at another board I go to that has a lot of military. They gave me some wonderful tips - which if anyone wants to see the details I can post that also.

#15 - this can include what real estate books as well as different newspapers. I'm fairly close to Philadelphia and with a lot of people working in NY, we're seeing people move down here. I'd never thought to advertise in some of the North Jersey papers until a few weeks ago.

Craigslist was suggested to me by my military friends. Some agents post there, others don't. I was told that they like to check there, so I'm making sure that I post an ad every few days to different sections.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 1:11PM
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Moving this up for those getting their homes ready..

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 6:18AM
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I just read through this thread...housing market has slowed considerably since summertime, when most of these were are people adjusting the ratio of what they spend to get the house ready, with the (now typically) lower house prices being seen?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 9:40PM
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too good to not bump back up

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:04PM
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I am moving within a couple weeks now and will put my house up for sale at that point. What I'm doing is having my house cleaned from top to bottom, carpets cleaned and the ductwork cleaned and deodorized. I have one room to paint and that's all I'm doing/spending. I'm offering my house at a good fair value market price but I'm not going to overkill. Most people will clean everything out themselves anyway, 'just to make sure'. But I want to do the job I've always done in keeping my place neat to help them out. Just my way.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 10:19PM
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Bringing back up~~~

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 10:40PM
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I would like to put my house up this year but am afraid to sink much money into it. There were 4 foreclosed houses on my block and they brought the values way down. I would like to have my hardwood floors redone (carpeted in 1999 before I bought the house). But I don't have the money if I will not get it out of the sale. Right now the house across the street is priced at what I owe after 9 years! It was foreclosed on in October. I have repainted all the rooms in the past 2 years, put in an 8 foot patio door to replace 1950s LR windows to back yard, replaced the large bedroom window, built a kitchen island and did a lot of landscaping myself. Things that would help the sale but I am reluctant to do: 2 other new windows, new kitchen countertop around sink area (original formica), remove all dark rose carpeting and redo oak hardwood floors(house built in 1953, small 930 sq. ft. ranch). I have replaced kitchen faucet, wall sconces, and will paint bathroom vanity a dark espresso. When do you do the work and when do you offer reduction in price for upgrades? Reason for move is to be closer to family-- not an immediate need so could wait a while but would prefer not to...

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:26PM
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So far, we have painted every room in the house except for the kitchen. That will come when we rip out all the cabinets and tear up the flooring. My son is building new cabinets for us, and we will lay the floor ourselves. We have done a complete remodel of the master bath, and plan to do the same to the other bath. All carpeting has been removed and we have resurfaced with vinyl plank flooring that looks like hardwood. We have a couple of rooms left to do on that. All interior doors have been replaced and we plan a new entry door and a new garage door. We're also replacing all the interior trim. We have done some landscaping, plan to do more, and will be painting the exterior this Spring. Sounds almost like new construction, but this place was built in 1980, and everything in it was original...including the carpeting! All work we have done so far has been completely necessary, and we haven't done anything just because it would "look better". Everything was shot after raising 5 kids in this place. With the down turn in the housing market, we've decided to stay a while longer than originally planned, but will finish our projects with resale foremost in mind.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 8:33AM
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We recently sold a home and pulled up all the carpeting revealing hardwood floors that needed to be re-done. I used a floor "reviving" type product that made a HUGE difference. You just apply it to the clean floor. It's a messy job pulling up old carpet and removing all the staples and nails, but I think in most cases (unless the floors are really badly stained) it's well worth it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 3:27PM
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mostone, would you mind describing that product. I saw an ad for this and wondered if it was a gel-stain or paint. We also pulled up old carpet and the floors need refinishing but I hate the thought with all the mess.

Planning to sell and the floors need sanding. I would be interested hearing what is involved with this product.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:00AM
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There is a Minwax product called floor reviver.

We used it on floors to just "perk them up." It was easy and it made a huge difference.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:50AM
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I'm sorry - I didn't describe it. Basically you clean the floors and squirt this stuff on the floor and mop it on like a floor finish. It's a liquid. It's very slippery while wet! It doesn't last like a coat of poly and it doesn't make the floors look as nice as they would refinished, but it is well worth doing.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:59AM
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My problem is that I have no idea how bad the floors might be under the carpet. The house was a rental for many years until the people I bought it from (they carpeted). I asked them when I bought the house what the floors were like and they just said dirty. Well, that could mean anything from dirty to awful and stained. I can't find myself in a bind with no carpet and bad floors. But...if it means no sale otherwise, I guess I would get some estimates or tear some carpet up and see what it looks like. Any hints on how to do that with minimal damage?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Terryincs, you can pull back the carpet and look. I think the floors would have to very very bad not to be worse then dark rose carpet.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:56PM
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I'll tell you what happened to me just recently. I want to put my house up in April. I have oak floors throughout but the bedrooms have been carpeted for the 35 yrs we have lived here. The Realtor said to pull up the carpet in the bedrooms and hallway as buyers want wood floors.

We pulled up and the floors were stained in a number of places including black marks from the carpet tacks. I've had dogs over the years and apparently a few had accidents I wasn't aware of.

I had a floor refinisher come and he said most stains would sand out, except for the black dog stains. He has to replace the boards. He said he can't sand out the black nail marks but they are along the base board and won't be noticeable. I need 5 boards replaced and he said he wouldn't charge, but it means we now have to stain and poly which adds to the cost.

My livingroom/dining room is large and I had a oriental rug under my coffee table. When I pulled it up there was a dinner-size black stain under that rug. I can't afford to do that whole area. I'm going to try to disguise the stain somehow.

I regret pulling up the carpet.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:44PM
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Don't pull up good carpet unless you are prepared to refinish the floors or replace with new carpet.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:30AM
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I hired a stager, in addition to painting most of the interior in a cream I chose with the realtor. I live in a neighborhood much sought after by artists, musicians and other creative types, but it's not very expensive, so we also get people just looking for modestly priced houses. That makes it kind of hard to know how to prepare, other than clear and decluttered. The artistic types are like me: they like quirky and don't want to pay for someone having neutralized when they are just going to paint the whole thing turquoise. But others have to be able to see a blank canvas.

Take down ceiling fans (I live in the south, we mostly have to have them for livability) unless ceilings are very high; they make rooms look smaller. Yes, the new occupants will go out and get their own and what a waste but that's not my problem.

Take all the books out of the built-in bookcases in the living room and replace with "tasteful" decorative articles. God forbid anyone should be offended by reading matter.

Neutral tablecloths and bed coverings.. Curtains in bedrooms, even if there are blinds. Curtains soften bedroom windows. Outlet covers should match wall as should the outlets (beige in this case), but switchplate covers and switches should be white.

Bathroom: white shower curtain and bath mats and towels (as soon as I move out I will put in white towels, not before - I would never be able to keep them spotless). Nothing on the bathroom counter; no one wants to see someone else's personal belongings in the bathroom. Probably need to take almost everthing off kitchen counter.

Paint old china cabinet white. It is now an off-white which doesn't stand out enough against the walls. She wants the dining area to be more distinct, and even though there is a table in it, she wants the china cabinet to stand out more.

Paint the storage room, which was just press board, to make it seem more like a usable room. Lot of single women buy houses here, so make her think of it as her craft room. Put a work table next to the washer and dryer. I have a lot of textiles, so I can fold them VERY NEATLY on shelves, with some nice baskets of thread and ribbon.

The entry way is as large as a room, and it has brick about 3 feet up - old brick. The mortar isn't in great shape. Stager said paint white, realtor said no, leave it as most people who come here really like natural material.

Of course, I will put fresh mulch down in the front yard and wash the exterior of the house. The windows need special attention. I am going to paint the trim. The house is painted green, and I thought cream or beige. However, the stager has suggested a brown with green undertones and the realtor liked it so I am going to buy a test quart. This is a pretty unusual community.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Our agent sent in a stager and we worked for a couple of months to do as she said, even when it seemed rather preposterous. We had the master br painted beige (tray ceiling, above our skill level) and painted another br ourselves. Switched furniture around a lot and got rid of some. Borrowed a crib to stage the br across from the master as a nursery (although one of my friends said, "If they can't figure out they could put the baby right across from them they shouldn't be having kids!"). Packed about 50% of the house, including things we use daily. Took down anything that could give any indication that someone lived here. Did nothing outside except prune roses back. Were on market for 10 days and have accepted an offer very close to ask. Was it worth it? Who knows what could have happened if we didn't do as much as we did, but I'm delighted not to have to worry about it any more!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:13PM
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