I need to sell this, what do you think?

midwestmamaAugust 19, 2010

Ok, I've been building a new home and today we just got word it would be ready in about 3 weeks. Oh boy!!! So, we've been for sale close to 2 months, started out at $235,000 and dropped to $224,900 after one month because that is a big cut off here on sales, $225,000 and up takes longer. There is a house two up from ours that is listed at $279,000 and is the same age and similar features.

As some background, there is some limit to where we'd just rent it instead of selling. I'm not 100% sure what that limit is. There are a lot of similar priced houses for sale right now, but very few with 5 bedrooms.

Here is our ad...

Here is a link that might be useful: Our listing

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I would definitely repaint the electric blue bedroom and lavender bath.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 6:48PM
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Agree with terriks.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Very nice house. I have to agree with the previous posters.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:39AM
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Agree with the above posters... plus

1) Retake the kitchen photo but this time move the tables and chairs completely out of the photo. Currently, they take up most of the photo and you simply see the kitchen in the background. It is too crowded with the photo as is.

2) remove the stars and flag and all the country decor in the family room. Actually, the country blue stuffed chairs and sofa add the the 1980s country decor. It takes away from the room. IMO, the room would look better empty. Since you are moving soon, maybe start packing all decor now and retate the photos and maybe move the blue furniture out of the way for the photo taking.

3) the bedroom with the lacy black/white bedspread and black iron wall decor above the bed....I would change the bedspread now to neutral color and remove that black wall decor thing above the bed. Since you are moving, might as well pack up the wall decor.

4) I love trees, but you really cannot tell what the front of the home looks like because of the trees. The photo is of the garage door and a front door and such with trees hiding everything. Keep the trees, but try to get a different angle of the photo that shows what the left side of the house looks like. Also the xmas tree to the right of the garage...it needs to be trimmed so that the driveway and garage door can allow a car to enter the garage without getting scraped on the right side by the tree that had grown too large for its location.

Your price drop was small...might need to drop it a bit more IF no activity. How many showings or calls? I think the photo of the front of the home needs to be improved asap since all you see is trees. Home might be large/nice but it seems like it might be a small cottage based on the photo.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 10:43AM
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I think you have a nice house, but you hit the market late. You have a family home, however, most of the families that were looking to move did so earlier in the year so they could get moved in before school started. Showings will probably be slow. I sold at this time last year. We only had three potential buyers look at our house during the month it was on the market. Fortunately, that third couple bought it.

If this were my house, I would have the realtor pull the comps. You need to take a hard look at the data and make sure you are the best bang for the buck in your area. The house down the street from you could be highly competitive in the price range or you could be competing with someone who is overpriced. A five bedroom home is probably a little bit of a specialty property. It might work well for someone wanting an office and a playroom or gameroom or a room for grandma.

I agree withe above about repainting the blue and lavender. I would also recommend trimming a couple of the lower limbs on the front trees. It would keep the shade and privacy, but allow you to see the front of the house a little better. I love your little front porch. It's cute, but I would dress it up a little bit. I would completely remove the tree to the right of the garage door. It's beautiful, but it doesn't belong there.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:09PM
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I agree with all the other tree comments. You can't see the front of the house at all, but not in a "cute and hidden" way, more of a "overgrown and uncared for" way. The deciduous trees right in front of the porch have been trimmed, but not enough.

The gargantuan pine tree next to the garage needs to be removed completely. a tree of that size should have never been planted in that location. I'm sure it is currently causing damage to the siding, shingles, gutters, driveway, and foundation of the garage--not to mention the sides of cars.

As a buyer, that tree alone would be enough to make me look elsewhere first.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:48PM
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I agree about repainting the blue and purple rooms and trimming the trees up a little.

If you can retake the kitchen picture try pulling the table and chairs forward so they just show at the bottom of the picture. That way people can see you have a nice eat in area but it doesn't block the view into the kitchen.

Also, move your mixer to the corner between the sink and stove, it blocks the view of the sink area and that stretch of counter. A pretty bowl of apples on the island would look good, too. It's good to declutter the kitchen but it can look TOO bare. Otherwise, I think you kitchen looks nice.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 1:33PM
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I can't see your house for the trees! Call the tree service. Remove the pine. Top and severely thin the trees in front of the charming porch.

Repaint the blue BR and the lavender bathroom.

Remove the DR hutch.

Get closer to the kitchen for that shot. Show just a corner of the eating area, or include a shot from the kitchen into the eating area. I presume there is a window there? (People like windows.)

Remove the FR wall decor. Do you normally have a rug in there? I know you want to show the floor, but it looks cold and bare.

Remove the oversize (queen?) bed, AND the busy spread, AND the wall decor. Will this room take a double bed? If not, center a twin.

Is there room for the MBR bed to go on the wall? (Few people like beds in front of windows.)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 3:06PM
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OK, I usually just lurk, but I can't let this pass...

"I can't see your house for the trees! Call the tree service. Remove the pine. Top and severely thin the trees in front of the charming porch."

There is no pine, but there IS a beautiful spruce, and it would be a shame to cut it down. Many new owners would be attracted by such a lovely speciman! and NEVER top trees -- get an aborist if you want to thin the other trees, but butchering this landscape would lose you buyers.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 4:02PM
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Will definately retake the kitchen pics after moving the mixer and the kitchen table. Good points! And easy.

I had the realtor remove the pics (not sure if they came off yet, just told her) of the purple bathroom and the blue bedroom so it isn't the first thing you see in the listing at least. There are 3 other bathrooms that are neutral, and 4 other bedrooms that are neutral. Not going to be able to paint them before we move out and would be much easier to paint them empty anyways.

I am going to thin out some of the front trees again (you should have seen them before I listed the house, they are very sprouty each year!!!) They are tricky though, there isn't a tall trunk, it starts splitting low and the leaves are all up in front of the house. Will be difficult to make much difference. They are lovely flowering trees with beauitful pink flowers in the spring. I wish I had taken a pic then, but didn't think to.

The spruce, I'm really torn on... it is a little overgrown, but the pic may be misleading, it doesn't extend over the driveway and is no problem for our vehicles. I really like it because it provides privacy from our neighbors over there who drive me nuts. It also houses the garbage and recycling cans under it. Covenants don't allow them to be out unless covered by the tree, they fit neatly underneath it. However, I don't want it to scare people away. It is not one you can easily trim because there is only greenry on the outside.

I went to take new pics from the outside yesterday, trying different angles etc... but as I was outside it started raining... again... grrrrrr

Our realtor has said every time that she does NOT recommend a price drop. She said its priced well below market. We've had showings avg 2 every 3 weeks and she said that is not unusual for the area at all. Every single person has said that it showed well. Several went with new construction, one wanted a ranch, one wants a house for under $200,000 (ours is $225,000) one won't buy until theirs sells, others are just beginning to look but they really like ours. Its been on the market 2 months. The realtors at the realtors open house all liked it with the exception of a few comments that we remedied (bird poop on the porch) etc...

I'm very seriously considering renting the house out and trying to sell later down the road, but I'm not sure we really want to go down that path either...

I appreciate all of the feedback. I never thought of the basement (black and white) bedroom as a problem at all. Other people's perspective is helpful!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 5:22PM
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I took a second look. I would never remove that spruce. But, I would remove the first photo as it appears the house is buried in trees. The second photo is better. I agree about the kitchen. Bad angle for the shot. Try taking it from the other doorway. Remove the mixer, it will make the counters look longer.

I'm afraid I agree about the black & white bedroom. I would change the bedding and remove the wall decor. The lavender bathroom would be difficult for me to get past. I could not move in with that color.

I really think you have a lovely house, I can't believe it hasn't sold yet.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Your home is neat and tidy which is important. It will show well.

I would remove the pine to right of garage. It is overgrown and overbearing to your homes aesthetic.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 7:43AM
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Unfortunately, most prospects can't see beyond paint colours. So I'd neutralize at least one bathroom and bedroom. Professionally trimming the trees a bit couldn't hurt.

In case you hadn't noticed, resale home sales in Des Moines dropped 50% from June and were down 42% year-over-year. More important than anything you do or don't do!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:16AM
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OK, remove all the pines, but leave the spruce. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:19PM
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LOL Ottawa!!!

Ok, I went out and pruned some more. Then I took some new pictures. I'm posting them here, do you prefer any one of them for the front of the house picture? I seriously was ready to cut one of the crabapples down, but it provides a lot of nice shade and privacy. (My neighbor across the street watches through our windows, she's posted on facebook before that a picture on my wall was crooked, she was looking through the window) Any more suggestions on how to take it, what angle etc...











Now off to work on the kitchen for those pics...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 1:25PM
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I LOVE the outside of your home, and think it has great curb appeal! I think the trees look nice as shown in the pictures, but if you decide to take any of them out, I'd do the crab apple to the right (when you're facing the house). Multi-trunked crab apples have a limited life span, and it's hard to do judicious pruning when they're that old.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:18PM
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I like #2 best, but would crop the sides so you don't show the neighbor's houses.

As far as the spruce, I still think it needs to go. It is touching your house which makes me think damage to the house. You could trim it, but then it wouldn't look right. The roots might be causing foundation problems.

I like the trimmed crab apples. I would buy the house with mature trees if all other things were equal.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Don't cut any trees down! But for the picture remove the trashcans, the welcome banner, and maybe the for sale sign.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:47PM
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I think the outside of your house looks great, and you have really done a nice job with keeping it really tidy. I do have to agree that the first thing should be the paint colors for the bathroom and the blue bedroom, I also agree that the black and white decor is too much of a look. It isn't expensive to go with a white bed look, you can use your comforter and cover it with an ikea duvet cover in white with a texture, and then some textured but neutral pillows. The sofa look with the two different colored side chairs might be comfortable, but I think renting or even buying something a little more modern but not expensive will really, really help! Your house looks great though, don't get discouraged!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:09PM
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Or you can just drop the picture of the black and white bed from your pictures. It really doesn't add anything because it shows nothing of the room. I bet it looks fine in person.

In that picture with the sofa and the two chairs and the big expanse of wood floor, do you have a coffee table? If you do it might make the picture look better, you could even borrow one from a neighbor for the picture.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 6:00PM
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I love the outside of your house, but would love to see a bright splash of color somewhere. How about a nice hanging plant on the porch?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:35PM
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Sorry, I said 'pine' and am corrected that it is a spruce. It's a lovely tree, but it and the crabapples are overgrown. They dwarf your house.

I bet those are not the newer, blight-resistant crabs. I'd be removing them if I bought your house. (Sorry about your nutty neighbor, but you won't be LIVING there soon anyway.)

I like the photo that shows the vacant lot next to your house -- the one with the fire hydrant in the frame. (Maybe you could photo-shop the hydrant out of the pix.)

You've done a great job of de-cluttering.

What are coparable homes selling for per square foot? You can't include below-ground space in the overall in our area. (No basement 'bedrooms'.)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Just a thought... would it be good or terrible to include the following pic. It is from the assessors site from 8 years ago. The house was grey there, its sage green now. There is snow on the ground. But it does show the house...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:38PM
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I wouldn't include it. Your house shows fine in several of those pictures. And plenty of people like trees.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:39AM
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I wouldn't include it either. I think your house looks "happier" now.

You might leave a copy of the picture for the new owner. I am always interested to see what my houses looked like before I lived in them.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 11:39AM
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What is that weed monster attacking your mailbox? That simply looks like an untidy area and despite your best intentions, it is not really attractive to the landscape design. You don't want anything detracting from someone's first impression. You have a lovely home that could be showcased much better with some "curb appeal" attention.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 4:41PM
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I agree with Susanelewis, you should remove the planting around the mailbox.

Overall I think your house is lovely and the landscaping attractive.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:56PM
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I would personally get rid of the 2 trees by the front porch. The spruce doesn't bother me but those trees by the porch would have to go for me.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Your house is nice, but you could focus on curb apeal to bring on the VERY nice that will seperate you from the masses of just nice. Hire a knowledgable tree person and have them trim prune and remove all the over growth on the shrubs close to the house and use their extpertise to cut the crabs WAY back especially the one closest to the drive.
Remove the plants that are swallowing the mailbox. Edge everywhere and brighten things up with a some well placed colorful mums and other fall plants Three by the mailbox - at least two near the walk by the door. Don't stick them around like raisons in a cookie - but look for a repeated pattern that draws the eyes to the door. Your welcome point to the home. Lose the trash cans, welcome flag they are not adding any joy. Take a drive, look through decor magazines and plan a nice fall display or wreath for your door or porch. Good time to splurge on a wow wreath from a nice home store. White pumpkins in a porch arrangement would look nice with the house colors. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Ok, distracting ourselves from the tree debate for a little while... I took a few different pictures today. I still need to work on the family room, but what do you think of these pics, specifically which living room picture do you like? Is it worth putting the front entry one in? Back of the house? (Since the front doesn't show size well) I retook the front walkway since my flowers are bigger now.

Is this better kitchen? I didn't have a bowl of apples for the island

Powder room


Living Room

Front entry

Front walk


    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:35PM
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I like the pictures of the front walk, the kitchen, bathroom, the back of the house and the one of the living room showing the entry. The entry closet doors, the nursery, and the other shots of the living room don't work for me. Why are the curtains closed? It looks like you're hiding something.

I also like picture #6 from your earlier post. I would not cut the trees-they add to the charm of your house. The grass behind the mailbox will not appeal to most people. I would cut that.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:46PM
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That kitchen picture is much better but it's a little too bare. Put the mixer back in the corner and put a bowl of fruit on the island or counter. Do you have a pretty kettle for the stove or any other decorative items?

When I sold my mom's house I left 4 decorative canisters, a coffee maker, a pretty spoon rest, and some attractive cookbooks between two bookends. She had a lot of countertop. I put a nice plant in the windowsill (there was no view),and yes a bowl of green apples on the table.

I wouldn't use the picture of the hall closet. It doesn't add anything.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 4:02PM
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Kitchen: Lose the rug and add a FEW tasteful decorative elements like the previously suggested bowl of fruit. But no clutter...

Living room: Remove the family pictures on the wall. In fact, take down all the smaller pictures and put one nice one over the couch. In the arrangement of the 2 purple chairs and table, move the table to the corner and chairs on each side to make a less "waiting room" look. Put one medium to large item on the coffee table that coordinates with the room colors.

The front porch needs bold colors like bright mums (I think this has been said before). Capitalize on the great fall colors!

Baby's rooms is fine except for remove the garbage can that is under the bed.

I'm not sure how much work you are wanting to do, but stained crown unless it is sizeable and in a very formal room isn't popular. I would paint that to either match your wall or you ceiling. Also. paint over or remove any stenciling. I have some myself and I know that when the time comes, I will have to repaint the wall that has my handpainted mural. It is too taste specific.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 9:38PM
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One other thing, straighten the photos to make the roof line level or the walls plumb. Use a free application like Picasa 3 if your own photo software doesn't have a straighten utility.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 10:08PM
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Do not do anything with the trees. I am so saddened to see some people saying "cut them down" or "I'd cut them down". Trees add much charm to your home, and much charm to a neighborhood. They are an asset :). If someone wants to cut them down, so be it. They are crabapples, not sycamores...fairly easy things to hack away, if you ask me.

Your home is very beautiful. I like the new pictures you took today. I also enjoy seeing your entrance hall through the sitting room/living room. The entrance to your home looks nice with your colourful impatiens. The red crib doesn't do much for me. There's a lot of personal effects in there. I LOVE those monkey things, my Mom has a lot, but people looking at the pics may not love them as much.

The kitchen picture is better but it's too bare now :). LOL.

The new pictures you took of the outside are also nice. I love that little "welcome" banner, it's so colorful and happy!

Not sure what the issue is with the grass around the mailbox, it's obviously ornamental grass and not weed grass. It adds some character to the home.

Good luck :).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 12:45AM
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I agree that the kitchen looks much better, albeit somewhat bare. However, I would still move the dining table and chairs back a little while you take the photos so that they do not intrude into the picture.

Also, another thumbs up for the ornamental grass. I love all the greenery you have out front :-)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 9:52AM
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