Prepping my house to sell and looking back at old posts...

word_docJuly 8, 2012

First of all, looking back at old posts was VERY interesting. You could feel the sense of panic and despair back 2-3 years ago. It's not quite as palpable now. That is a good sign, I think. I'm not saying things are say, 2004-level rosy, but the overall tone is much more upbeat.

Anyway, so I am prepping my house to put on the market and at first it was overwhelming. The house is not in bad shape at all, but it's not ready for the market. We have done extensive remodeling, repairs, improvements, maintenance, etc., so there's not a lot of huge things that need to be done--just a ton of tiny ones, know what I mean?

I was so overwhelmed that I sort of just froze and didn't do anything except read stuff on the internet and think about what needed to be done (as opposed to doing it).

Then I realized that there is no way it is ever going to get done if I don't start. So this is what I did: I told myself that I only need to do ONE thing a day. That thing can be as simple as packing a box. Or ordering boxes. Or making a phone call. Or ordering stuff to use for staging. Internet surfing without a purpose (like ordering boxes or something) does not count because if it did, that's what I would do as my one thing every day.

So far, since I instituted my plan of "do one thing a day," this is what I have done:

1. Measured and ordered new flooring for the kitchen (we had an appliance leak that caused some damage so it needs to be replaced).

2. Ordered boxes - they will be here next week.

3. Arranged to pick up boxes at my work and from my friends.

4. Called a real estate agent and arranged an appointment next week for a preliminary meeting.

5. Ordered two new light fixtures at super clearance prices (28 and 30 bucks) to replace some dated fixtures and make an inexpensive wow.

6. Bought fabric to recover some dining seat cushions.

7. Bought primer and paint to repaint my two front doors.

8. Cleaned both doors and primed one of them (I am taking a break and having some breakfast, then it's back at it).

9. Ordered a bunch of little stagy things, like throws and pillows, at super clearance prices. Fortunately I have neutral white comforters and shams for all of the beds, so I am building on that with pillows in cream and white.

10. Got the name and number of some flooring guys to put in the new floor.

11. Visited a storage/moving place and found out how much it will cost to have a couple of guys come and move out most of the stuff that will need to be stored while the house is on the market.

12. Figured out what furniture is staying and what will go.

13. Came up with a plan to give a function to the little alcove in the "mudroom" area of the house. Right now it houses a big old upright freezer but that is going. I am going to put a little bench in with cubbies and baskets up top, a la Pottery Barn style.

14. Found the exact cubbies I needed after I decided to do this on super clearance, along with clearance baskets, and ordered them. I thought I was going to have to build them!

There's probably 4-5 more things too but here's the kicker--I only decided to make this "one thing per day" rule on Thursday. It turns out if I just tell myself that I only need to do one thing a day, I do the thing and that makes me want to get more done. Motivation follows Action--that really is true.

I just thought I would share. If others are in the same stage as me and feeling sort of paralyzed, it is something to try. Who knows how long it will work, but for now it's just what I needed. Still trying to decide whether to list the house when it should be ready (thinking first of October or mid-September) or wait until early spring. It's a big house with an inlaw suite, and it's been my experience that people who want an inlaw suite are year-round shoppers, because we've put one in every house we've bought and so we've sold a few now. I dunno, though. The largeness of the house suggests that it will appeal to families, but two of the three people who tried to buy my last house were older with no children. Hmmmm.

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My Mom is moving in 40 days and I have been elected to stage her home for sale afterwards since I had such good luck selling mine in SoFla in '07.
Both the new and the old homes are roughly in the same town as is my own, so moving/borrowing pieces is easy. Every single square inch of the house she is selling is in excellent condition- those are our pros.
The cons are that this will not be the optimum time to offer a house for sale and the resistance I get from her "not liking" how I am decorating a home that her mother built decades ago.

She understands in her head but her heart hurts a bit when she hears that I will be replacing some old light fixtures that her mother loved and neutralizing the "every shade of pink and orange known to man" color scheme that permeates the home.
She would not move at all except she is coming on eighty years of age and is in a secluded area a bit too far from me- it takes me too long to get to her and in winter she is near inaccessible. The new house is literally seven houses away from me in a more populated area, so we know it is the right thing for her to do.
Just that the process is difficult for her emotionally- leaving an old family home.

Best of luck to all of us trying to sell this fall.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:00AM
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word_doc will you come help me? Please?! You nailed my paralysis exactly. I'm impressed with your strategy and admire your progress. Although I'm sure I can benefit from your suggestions my situation is anything but straightforward and I'm getting a permanent butt dent from fence sitting!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:53AM
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I am seeing news and internet stories of bidding wars in home buying these days. Apparently, there is just not much in the way of nice homes on the market in some areas since people are postponing listing their homes until the economy picks up. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:56PM
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The home my mom bought had three offers the first day it was listed.
People were ready.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Not to sound mean, but GET IN THE GAME! :)

You will never sell if you don't get your house on the market. Nothing will ever be perfect so do your best to get your list completed so you can put yoru house on the market to get it sold. We weren't as fortunate as others to have ours sell quickly and we felt the quicker we got it listed the better chance we had of selling it as we knew we would have to be patient and wait it out(easier said than done). Took us roughly 9 months from being listed to closing which required a lot of patience and a lot of prayer!

Good luck! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: our home sell/build log

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:37AM
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I agree that things are looking up. I think that prices are rebounding somewhat and people have come to terms with the fact that their house isn't worth what it was at its peak, and they aren't looking to make a quick $50,000 on their house anymore.

If you price it correctly, it will sell - at least around here. But that's not news, that's real estate.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:26AM
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When we were prepping, we took one room at a time, did a deep cleaning (including windows), touched up paint and caulk, and staged. That helped with the sense of accomplishments, as a room could be checked off the list, and we'd move on to the next one.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Thanks for the insights. I actually sort of enjoy this process once I get going. We got the doors painted and updated the door hardware--one by spray painting with oil-rubbed bronze paint and one by buying a new door handle set because I somehow mangled the old one trying to get it off the door. Oops! The doors look great! Yesterday's "one thing" really was just two small things--I touched base with a different real estate agent, and then I started to deep clean one of the rooms. DLM2000--can you do some stuff without making a decision as to what the ultimate outcome will be?

Yesterday I realized while deep cleaning a room that it needs to be repainted--was hoping not to have to do that, but I can see it's necessary, so I am adding it to the list.

Xclusive, I get what you are saying about just getting in there and getting it on the market--but it's truly not ready yet. I am hoping to speed up the timetable a bit, though! Your blog was cool, thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 5:58AM
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"Xclusive, I get what you are saying about just getting in there and getting it on the market--but it's truly not ready yet. I am hoping to speed up the timetable a bit, though! Your blog was cool, thanks for sharing!"

No problem & thank you! Just keep knocking off your list room by room and you will be ready soon enough. I did update the blog with pics of our house the realtor took which were on the MLS. As you will see our wasn't anything fancy at all(no staging), we just focused on keeping our place clean and decluttered (not easy with a 4yr old). My advice: Price it right, keep it clean, be ready for the long haul and alot of prayer and you should be just fine :)

Hope it helps and good luck! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Our home sell/blog

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 3:04AM
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Be ready for the long haul--yup! We are hoping for a quick sale like everybody else, but if it takes a while, it takes a while.

Today we had a handyman come over. We went through the whole house and he made a list. He was recommended by the real estate agent, so everything he does is geared toward selling a home. He was great, LOVED him. He is going to email me soon with a quote for everything. There are several small repairs and a couple of medium-sized ones, plus just general touch-up.

I was originally targeting the first of October to list the house (not a good time, I know) but now I think we can shoot for possibly late August/early September. There is no way we can get everything done sooner than that (maybe if I didn't have a full time job?), but when we do list the house, it will be as ready as we can get it.

Still a lot to do--lots of packing, lots of cleaning, lots of detail stuff, but we are starting to get there!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 8:08PM
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