Selling Disappointments/Rants Long

camsgtNovember 11, 2013

I can remember since a young age about the virtues of owning real estate.I have bought a total of 4 homes.Currently i own 3 homes.One is a rental,one is a vacation/retirement home and one is our main residence.
First was a VA home i bought through my veterans benefits.Lost the home in a divorce,so strike one.
second home i was a few years into a bankruptcy and a builder had a home he bought from his customer and let me do land contract for 3 years,while i built up a good down payment.So i got what i got and it turned out to be a horribly built older ranch style house.Bad roof,bad plumbing,electrical,slab foundation.Have had excellent tenants for last 12 years that have paid the loan down quite considerably but it's value is close to the balance of the loan.Paid 65k and it's valued at around 45k now due to all work it needs.
Third home is our current residence and the one we are trying to sell.We bought a half log kit home.5 acres of wooded land and hired a general contractor.He did an excellent job on construction.We are not into all the fancy stuff like granite,real masonry,ceramic tile.Maybe this has hurt our resale value.
Fourth home we just bought last year and currently using as a vacation home but looking to retire there as soon as we sell our current home.
So our current home is my first attempt in selling and what a strange sad disappointing experience it has been so far...Indiana Mls 338532.We built the home 10 years ago.
First realtor was okay but 3 weeks after signing he moved to another brokerage that was over the state line and had a real issue getting out property to show up on sites like, and i couldn't find it on any of the local realtor websites.She had it 6 months,we showed maybe 30 times.He went started higher than i thought the home was worth but she assured me it was well worth the listing price.When we originally built the home 10 years ago,after finishing,it appraised at 350k.We have between 280-290 in the house including land.We had an appraisal that is 2 years old that showed value at 315k.Well after 3 weeks with no offers she wanted to lower price.Went to 315,3 weeks later,we went to 298,2 weeks later we went to 289,2 weeks later to 287.At the end of 6 months,we never got 1 offer and not one question from any of the 30+ looks.
So now comes the new realtor we hire.More professional,been selling for 30 years,well known in business.He thought our asking price which was still at 287 was fair.Been about a month with him,about 6 showings and no offers yet.
We get told it's hard to value the home because it is a log sided home,logs inside as well.So hard to get comps.We understand it is unique but if people see it listed,look at pics,they know what they are coming to look at.We built the house all the way back as far as we could into the 5 acres,so the driveway is a little over 1800 feet.We are very isolated,no visible neighbors and surrounded by woods.A lot of people we see drive back to look then we get a call for a showing and know it's them.Most of the feedback has been unusable land and house placement and gravel drive in rough shape.Unusable land i just don't know what to say about because i have no idea what that even means,placement i cant fix and driveway,i guess i could put more gravel down but it's still going to be gravel.We did grade it.
Our agent says offers generally come in at about 5% under asking,that would put us at 272k...minus his 5% comm,we are going to maybe walk away with 258k.If we continue to have to lower our house,you cane see how much of a hit we are going to take.We are potentially looking at what could end up being a 30-40k hit and possibly up to 50k.We financed 180 and put about 100k in cash towards the rest of the build.
The home is technically a stick built home with log siding.It is a 2x6 frame with full footprint poured basement.Logs are 8 inch half,these are outside and inside,so walls are almost 24 inches this at widest.Our heating bills reflect this as we have printed out a list of what we have paid for last 3 years.Our highest bill ever has been $235 for 1 month,this includes electric and nat gas.We are really boggled how we could not have one offer or even a question after 7 months.It's a beautiful home.Just not sure what to do at this time.We aren't like in a bad situation or rush to sell but we would sure like to get up to our retirement home but really hard to eat 30-40k loss....
I don't know if there is a solution,i think i just am looking to vent.Nice first post huh? Lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Home

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It is a very taste specific house. One issue I see is that it is really a 2600 sq.ft. house and not 4000. Is the basement all underground or is some of it a walk-out? To me, it has the look of a house that was built in 1980 and not 2002. I've stayed in many 1980's rental ski houses in Vermont that looked just like this.

You either have to wait for the person who likes the style to pay your price or lower the price enough to convince someone else that it is a great deal, even if they don't love the style.

Are other homes selling in your area? What price ranges? Days on market for those homes? You need to get this data from your realtor to make any decisions.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:52PM
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Sorry to read of your disappointment. The home looks to me, as said above, like something from the 80s. You said yourself you aren't into granite, masonry, or tile. It is also apparent you haven't put money in to update the home during this time. That reduces the cost per sf. Personally, all I would see are dollar signs and it would have to be a pretty spectacular potential for me to invest more time and money into it.

30 showings seems like a lot, so there is interest. Do you have pets? I think I see a cat thing. If there is a cat smell, that could be your problem right there. For whatever reason, people just don't see the value in what you are offering right now. Have you considered renting until the land value goes up?

As for your perceived "loss." - it is all subjective. You had 10 years to enjoy the property. That is about $10/day. You also got some tax advantage of owning vs. renting. And, perhaps you were able to operate a business from the big garage?

Good luck. If I were trying to sell this - the photos need to be redone. All of them. And, the curtains and wall paper should come down. Those are free fixes. Then, it may be time to cut bait and move on with your life, or hold tight and hope that very particular buyer you need knocks on the door next week.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Hey,thanks for the replies.Very interesting about the 80's look,i don't think we have had that mentioned before but that's kind of why i am here.

No walkout in basement,all underground and completely refinished,we use it as our main living space right now.

Cats,yes we do have 2 females and yes that has been mentioned.We kind of blew it off because we have had like 6 realtors here,family and friends and they all say they can't smell anything.My wife works very hard to keep boxes cleaned.So apparently this is something we are going to have to address.
I am very upfront on criticism,i tell and tell the realtors that they do me no favors by holding back.I have to know the issues to sell the home.

I guess that's a different way of looking at such a huge loss but it sure doesn't make it much easier.I was always led to believe property goes up in value and considered the home a nice investment at the time.

Not to interested in renting.I rent the property in town and am giving that couple the option to purchase at current value since they are the ones that have paid down the mortgage.They love the home and location.Just to great a distance to have to deal with issues that come up.

You are giving me some things to consider and i appreciate the help

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:45AM
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I have to agree with the others, older and outdated comes to mind when I look at the pictures. Buyers automatically start dinging off money on the asking price when they see the up dating they need to do. In answer to your question about unusable land...the answer is in your listing description. It is "sloping". How bad of a slope is the property? Most people don't like paying for land they can't use.
I also agree with nightowlrn on the perceived "loss". You have lived there for 10 years enjoying the house. Not a loss to me. This is a unique house. So it will take a bit longer to sell. But there will be a buyer when the price is right. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 6:00AM
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I looked at a few other homes in your price range. The finishes seems pretty similar to yours so I am not sure the dated argument applies here. The Midwest doesn't seem to be as caught up in the Pottery Barn, HGTV frenzy as the rest of the country. As mentioned above, I would take down the valances and the wallpaper border,

Your house in nice but unusual.. Unfortunately, the logs automatically reduce your buyer pool. Have many homes in your price range sold recently?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 6:28AM
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A taste specific home with no back yard will be very very difficult to sell. You will either have to wait a long time for the right person, or lower the price to increase it's attractiveness for someone who might be borderline on it's appeal. Time hasn't worked for you so far.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Do you actually live in this house? Where do you eat? What do you use the space for in that picture with the staircase?

It seems all your furniture is pushed up against the walls, like a soldier line. I didn't even notice a cocktail table in front of the basement couches.

Maybe what you need is a stager to help make the space feel more cozy.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:08AM
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I like the home. But then I always wanted a log home. It looks like it would appeal to Preppers and I'd probably advertise it that way. Is it a good deep well? Is there space for growing vegetables? Chickens possible? Do you have a generator? Can you cook on the wood stove? Is the property fenced? Good wood lot for no cost heating? The finished basement looks great for storage. Any solar panels? Shooting ranges nearby? Any fruit trees?

I agree take the wallpaper down. Probably a lot of your showings are people who simply want to see a log home in person. Maybe you could do a blog on your house? Photographs of the nature around the property and all that.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:53AM
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Seven months for a log home, or log sided home, is not long. Unfortunately there is a very small group of buyers for your house.

People looking for a family home are not likely to look at your house. They want something more traditional. A lot of people that want a log home won't be happy with log siding.

I know the area you live in. You're a bit too far from the lake for many people to consider it as a vacation home although I know there are some second homes in the area that are not close to the lake. Make sure your agent is marketing Illinois to hit those that might not want a lake house, but a quiet place to get away.

Although log homes always tend to look a bit dated to me, the light fixtures could be updated and the wall paper should be removed. Where is the missing furniture?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:11AM
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One use for sloped land also known as "recreational" land - is there a nice spot for a fire ring/gathering spot - preferably with a nice view. I've seen those featured in listings and being an outdoorsy type myself, it's an attraction. "Unusable" - welI some may feel that way, but the "use" for others would be simply in the enjoyment of natural beauty/wildlife - however, it is true that it's not generally valued as highly.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:13AM
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To make a sale you need feet in the door, and the photos aren't doing it for me.

You have 4.8 ACRES ... and you show none of them. It's a ski lodge ... and it's got suburban granny styling.

Either photograph it empty or stage it like a Ralph Lauren or Eddy Bauer ad ... the furniture looks lost and tiny in there. It desperately need COLOR, because it's all wood. Hang some large colorful stuff on the wall. Quilts and rugs?

A couple of quick fixes: Remove the ornate railing at the top of the kitchen cabinets, remove the curlique valance over the sink, and strip off the wallpaper borders. They all say 1980s. Remove all dead animals (is that a fish on the wall?).

The photos are horrible - they make the whole house look like it's orange ... they have that "I took it on my cell phone" look, especially the one with the blurry person.

It would pay to have a pro come in with some decent lighting and take new pictures. And make sure the photos are color-corrected before they are uploaded.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Even with the oppressively woody home staged and transformed and toned down into lodgey style, there is still the issue that the home is built all the way at the back of the property. That would be a complete turnoff and eliminate it from any consideration. It's an incurable defect. Especially when coupled with the small interest by the public at large in a log home. Where's the room for the firepit, or garden, or anything you might want to do in a backyard? You're going to be waiting a LONG time for someone else to find that issue a plus like you did. Some people might be interested in doing a teardown though, so you might see about marketing to that crowd with the land value only.

Here is a link that might be useful: OP's listing

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 10:25AM
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I actually really like your house. It's unique. I like your kitchen and bathroom pictures, and my boyfriend would LOVE to have that basement for his "man cave".

That said while I'm a big fan of wood, by picture 4 or 5 all I could think was, wow ... that's a lot of wood. It's a bit overpowering.

I have to second those that think that some staging would make a huge difference. Pull your furniture off the walls and out of the corners. Maybe get a large rug to break up all that wood on the main floor. Get some outside pictures. Get some new inside pictures.

The right person is going to love your house, but the pictures need to get them down the driveway.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Wow lots of input!Getting the feeling it may look dated and some bad pics ;-) Umm yes the pics were taken by the realtors iphone!Think i might break out the 35mm and do some of my own.

Going to consider bringing up all the living furniture from basement where we spend most of our time.It would fill up the great room.I expect we won't see much action now due to time of year,so i have a little time to get things set up better for next spring,from the good ideas you all are giving me.Problem is,the reason the house looks empty now is because we have been moving everything to the retirement home.I will most likely take borders last agent actually mentioned the same thing.

The other option is to pay off the retirement house and just finish moving,leaving this house empty until it sells.A lot to think about.
The one large room in basement was the game room,we did the floors in black/white linoleum going for a 60's diner theme.We had an old juke box,restaurant booth and lots of old coke memorabilia along with pool and ping pong tablesThe border in that room is of old cars,drive-ins and diners.You cannot imagine how full this house was just last year!

House does have a small fenced in back yard.The slope is in the woods.House sits on a hill over looking a grassy field.Lots of wild life,deer,fox,wild turkeys.We always considered the land usable to us because it's purpose was to conceal us from the neighbors,i don't have to look at them and they don't have to look at me! lol it's super quiet back here,don't have to listen to cars racing up and down the road,always a plus for us.

We thought our price was fair because of what it would cost to build a home like this today.

I guess we have been pushovers in the houses we have bought.Sure there would be deal breakers like leaking roof,boiler heat,function but we would never discount a house because of wallpaper,paint or even smells and cleanliness.If we looked at a house and we liked the house,that stuff seems pretty insignificant to me at least,apparently to a lot of people it matters a lot.I always look for the good,the what ifs and could be's and the fit.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:46PM
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"We thought our price was fair because of what it would cost to build a home like this today. "

You really need to push that idea out of your head.
A fair price is determined by market and comps.... not cost to build new.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Most of this has already been said.

Take down all the border except maybe in the "50's diner" area you described. Remove all pet related items. Stage the rooms even if that means buying some furniture or renting it. I see areas/rooms in the photos and I have no idea what they are for. Do the same outside. Show some nice sitting areas outside.

Nowadays many want move in homes. They don't even want to paint.

Take better photos or even hire a pro. They should be clear, crisp, with no light blinding you.

I would reconsider the agent as they should have told you everything you are reading here.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 2:01PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I think if you move everything out, it will make the sell more difficult. You need the furniture to break up some of the wood. If you take down the valances, I would consider adding some solid color panels to the windows, probably in white or cream, but leave them open to let natural light in.

Simple, perhaps solid color, area rugs on the floor would also help to break up the wood feeling. Agree also with pictures on the wall. If you want to get ideas on how to stage it, you can look for post and beam or log home magazines where people wigh big bucks and giant homes have made things work. Look for ideas and then try to implement them inexpensively in your home. While it does not scream 80s to me (probably because I was just a kid then), I think the phrase "taste specific" above hits the nail on the head. Because I can appreciate that home, I would consider your home but I would likely lower any offer based on the wallpaper, that is something I have preconceived notions of it being a large pain to take care of. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 2:33PM
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"Cats,yes we do have 2 females and yes that has been mentioned.We kind of blew it off because we have had like 6 realtors here,family and friends and they all say they can't smell anything.My wife works very hard to keep boxes cleaned.So apparently this is something we are going to have to address."

Some people freak out if they even think pets live there.

When I had my home for sale I made room to stash all my cat boxes (and I had four enormous storage containers for litter boxes) in an empty cabinet. When I got a call that there was a showing I cleaned boxes that needed cleaned (even though I had already done it twice that day), stacked them and hid them in a cabinet. Cat and dog food bowls went into cabinets, and dog beds scooted under human beds. The cats went into crates and then into the car with the dogs and me while folks were viewing.

It was a giant pain, yes, but I was a very determined seller and was not going to let anything I had the power to change affect the possibility of a sale.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 4:37PM
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I agree with most of the comments.

To be totally frank, the furniture and decor looks like something my mother would like. The problem is that she is 89 and most 89 year olds don't buy many houses. I'm not all that young myself, but the house seems to "old" and dreary to me. I was depressed looking at the pictures. I apologize for saying that because I've sold houses and I know how hard it is to find out that what you like isn't what many buyers like. I've learned that my personal taste is one that many other people don't particularly like. I found that out when I was selling a house and the slate floors in the master that I loved were a huge turnoff to many, many people. I like the fact that my taste isn't necessarily conventional. However, it means that I can't trust my taste to tell me what will appeal to a buyer.

In your case, your house needs staging in the worst way. When we sold our house, the stager brought in furniture and decorative items. We had a lot of our stuff in the house, but the stager brought in furniture for a couple of empty rooms and brought in some pictures and other decorative items. In our case, this was part of the overall fee and wasn't charged extra.

You need more furniture in the upstairs part of the house and you desperately need better furniture placement. I will say that if I was looking at a house and it was obvious that the homeowners were basically living in the basement rather than the main living area I would wonder why. Was there something wrong with the main living area? Too hot? Too cold? Something doesn't work right? It would actually raise a real concern to me.

We also have cats and I second what cearbhaill says. Some people are just very negative to any idea of a pet having been there whether it smells or not.

I think you need to have photos of the outside (not just the barn). Most people don't buy acreage just to be far away from neighbors. I've bought a house on acreage. We bought it because we had things we wanted to do with the acreage. People may have kids where they want to have play equipment outside, they may want to build a pool or a guest house (or both), they may want to build another outbuilding, they may want to keep outdoor pets, and so on. In almost all of these instances they want to do that behind the house not in front of it. I remember one property DH and I looked at (I think it was a couple of acres) where the house was built about half way back. DH rejected it because he felt too much of the land was in front of the house so it was basically useless to us.

I keep seeing people talk about slope but I couldn't find that in the listing. If the property has a lot of slope that is an issue. The house we ended up buying has slope on one side and a little bit of slope in the backyard. That was OK to us but some people wouldn't like it I'm sure. However, we rejected a number of houses in the area that had severe slopes where you had to have steps to walk in the backyard or where we were concerned about potential drainage or flooding issues.

You have an awful lot of negatives (as perceived by most people - remember, you aren't typical) that may make it hard to sell.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Oh I don't know - what's wrong with the pictures? Random homeowner in one photo, the Realtor complete with flash in another pic, the bonus is all the out of focus photographs of corners of rooms. And the pièce de résistance? Almost 5 acres and one shot of a driveway!? What a great real estate listing.

*end sarcasm*

OP most of the advice above is very good, but I would also add... take a good hard look at your listing and home and be brutally honest with yourself about whether or not you would look at the place from the listing, and if you did decide to view the house, WHY would you buy it?

I suspect once you do, the land will become more of a highlight for the listing, the house less so. While I like the outside of your house, the inside is just too much wood for many/most people unless they are looking for a lodge-feel. The advice of staging it like a lodge is good. You really need a professional real estate photographer and stager.

Best wishes.

This post was edited by xamsx on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 14:11

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:01PM
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I just want to say again how wonderful i have found this site to be.I am overwhelmed by all the help,ideas and tips i have received from everyone who has responded.I wish i had found this site earlier,i would definitely have done a few things differently.

We are re-evaluating some options and arranging a sit down with the listing agent.Thanks again everyone!

and kats_meow?some of it is brutal but i would never take offence to any constructive suggestions that might help us sell and get to our retirement home.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Can't your agent put some captions describing each picture? I had a hard time trying to determine the flow of the home. A visual tour would be even better. And I just hate it when an agent is selling a large parcel of land and then does not post a survey, or at least a Google bird's eye view of the lot lines. How are buyers supposed to figure out the lot lines? They do want to walk it.
I agree with all of the above. Hire a stager. And I rarely advise that. Not because you have an awful house, but you have a very unique house.
And thank you, OP, for reminding me that it is my responsibility to be as honest to my sellers as possible. I make a concerted effort to tell my clients what they need to hear and not necessarily what they want to hear, but it is very refreshing and validating to hear from you that this is what you crave. It is one of the toughest aspects of my interaction with my clients. I am meeting a homeowner for the second time tomorrow to let him know that his home is currently $100,000 overpriced. It is just outdated and non maintained. So, thank you for your timely reminder that tomorrow is going to be a good day for him and me.
Back to your home... Properties that are much more unique and specific than yours sell everyday. Get it staged, market it correctly, and be patient. It is a nice looking home.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:29PM
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re:stagers - the cost to stage might not be worth the cost of the house. Consider just reducing the price by the cost 3-6 months of staging would be. Home buyers in a buyer's market aren't always wowed by a nicely placed couch and coffee table. Buyers who thought what they wanted to offer might be insulting may start making offers you want to see.

Again -- good luck!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 11:42PM
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You've gotten some good advice. I agree that an aerial view of the parcel and what's around it would be a big help in selling it. I also would agree with the advice to take down the wallpaper borders in the rooms, and the toppers off the windows. As far as staging, though -- the house has a style of it's own -- a nice Ralph Lauren-esque lodge feel, if you remove the things that detract from that type of feel then it will not need the staging. I also want to say that the house is beautiful, and has a nice front elevation, and if I were in the area I would absolutely want to buy it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 5:21AM
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Thank you Kris.There are some things we do when we have a showing.

Number 1 we have a photo album laid on the counter that shows the house being built.From me and my friends,chainsawing through the woods to make a driveway,the semis rolling down the driveway with all the logs,through the whole process.Also in the album are pictures of the house from the outside taken in every season.

I also downloaded a nice aerial map and it shows the whole property and the property lines are all marked.

We also put out a kit book that shows some of how the house is constructed with the 2x6 frame,insulation and logs.

We also set out a print out from the gas/electric company for the last 3 years.I think people would be surprised at how cheap the bills are in a house this size.

Since we just had out first snow of the year,i posted a winter pic

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:11AM
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I hope you will listen to the advice you've been given here. I know I feel a lot more hopeful about selling my house since I implemented some of their suggestions. We've rearranged, replaced, stowed things away and decluttered. We're hosting an agent open house next week, getting new pictures taken and changing the wording in our listing. I think it will make a difference.

The one thing I somewhat disagree with is hiring a stager. You are already facing a loss on your home and you are not in a huge hurry. There's a lot you can do on your own - especially if you take advantage of free knowledge. If I were you I would post your story on the Home Decorating Forum here. The people there have a ton of knowledge and incredible talent. They can give you specific pointers that will really improve the sale-ability of your home.

For example, you seem to have taken away some of the essentials that show how your house "lives" while leaving behind a lot of stuff that doesn't add to the charm of the house.

Take that room with the bookcases -- IMO it would make a lovely reading nook but right now it looks mostly like a "doodad" storage area. Pack away most of the tchotchkes and replace them with some books. Call your local libraries, sometimes they sell older books for pennies. Haul that lonely recliner in the corner of your livingroom upstairs and set it beside the other chair, away from the wall a little bit. Add a lamp and a small table in between the chairs and, voila! You've taken an awkward space and given it a purpose.

In addition, the carpet in the family room looks worn. If it can't be cleaned to look new and you don't want to spend the $$ to replace it, consider pulling your sectional away from the wall a little, then get a cheap (but decent looking) lodge-y rug to place in front of it. Replace a couple of the sofa's throw pillows with something more colorful that compliments the rug and pull up a chair to the other side of the wood stove.

I'd consider placing a table and chairs back in the dining room too. You can probably pick one up cheap on craigslist. Set it for a family meal.

Like others have said, it's a taste specific home -- but you live in an area where there are a lot of people who have that kind of taste. Think about who might want to buy it, then imagine what would be enticing to them.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: craigslist - laporte

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:19AM
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It is a 2x6 frame with full footprint poured basement. Logs are 8 inch half,these are outside and inside,so walls are almost 24 inches this at widest.

This is NOT in the listing.

If you have exceptional features, they need to be in the first paragraph of the description, not the generic fluff the agent put there.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Where's the room for the firepit, or garden, or anything you might want to do in a backyard? Y In the 4 acres of private front yard, of course.

Number 1 we have a photo album laid on the counter that shows the house being built.From me and my friends,chainsawing through the woods to make a driveway,the semis rolling down the driveway with all the logs,through the whole process.Also in the album are pictures of the house from the outside taken in every season.

I also downloaded a nice aerial map and it shows the whole property and the property lines are all marked.

These pics needs to be in the listing, because that's what will get them into the house. A couple of construction pics showing the wall thickness, the map, and a couple pictures of the wildlife too.

Suggested listing slant: "Your Private Ski Lodge" .. play up the privacy, the log cabin, the big lot.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:08AM
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I am of the opinion that ALL wallpaper in a home for sale needs to come down BEFORE its marketed. It tends to be too taste specific, it dates a home and buyers don't want the hassle anymore. I would remove the decorative rail from the kitchen cabinets as well--it really dates your kitchen. I'd remove curtains from the windows; that is another dated look as well and these things won't cost you any money at all.

That being said, the living room with the fireplace looks impressive and could be stunning if it was decorated for maximum effect. I would probably never normally recommend this for most but seeing as a log home is SO taste specific, I would look for a good stager and seriously consider that option. If you go to the decorating boards, it will be a lot of conflicting advice. Your home could use one cohesive vision and the best way, IMO, to achieve that is to at least consult with someone who can suggest some contemporary touches that buyers are looking for that compliment the flavor of your home. I think that when a home has just a slight contemporary edge that there is a kind of subconscious vibe that it sends that conveys to buyers that the home is cared for and up to date.

What I wouldn't give to get my hands on that room with the fireplace and add some updated furniture and accents--that is the room that really stood out for me!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:51PM
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I can't even look at your listing because the photos are so poor. You need to get good photos with lots of light in the rooms. The photos are so depressing, I would never go to look at your house.

Please have someone take good photos and include pictures of the outside property.

Staging is not about money. Leaving your house empty will do nothing to sell it. Staging is about selling the house quickly. I would wait until Spring and have the house professionally staged then get a good Realtor to market it. I am not impressed with the Agency you are using.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Play up the outdoors, wild life, outdoor activities.
I understand that you don't want to spend a lot of money on updating or staging, but perhaps some Craigslist finds could help. Look at online pictures of log homes and how they have staged them.
What is the floor in the bathroom? Is it carpet?
What do the other bathrooms look like?
I also would suggest posting pictures of the various rooms on the decorating forum and ask for low-cost advice.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Yes that is carpet in bathroom...i know i know Lol but wife has arthritis real bad in both knees and was afraid of anything but carpet.

Common theme
need new pics and some of outside too
window treatments
some type of staging for welcoming cozy feel, brighten things up
furniture,sure wish i had come here before i moved all that furniture and all those books to other home
trim on cabinets

At least the showings are still regular,2 last week and 3 this week,total of 7 for the month.I just need some dang offers.Hopefully what i ahve learned here will help with that.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 1:35AM
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Do you have a for sale sign at the road?

It's a long shot but it may catch the eye of Sunday drivers looking for a place in your area. A recent poster who was having trouble selling her house found a buyer when she put a sign at the end of her driveway.

I would put some flyers or add some buzz words to the sign - private, 5 acres, log home, etc.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 7:08AM
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What outdoor activities do you have there? Hiking, biking, x-country skiing, bird watching?
And, I really urge you to post on the decorating forum.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:26AM
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A note on staging: We had some empty space to fill up. I bought used furniture on CL, some cheap art and accessories from the dollar store and Garden Ridge. When we sold I put the furniture back on CL and got most of my money back.

If you've got furniture at the other place, bring it back. It's worth living somewhat awkwardly if it means you sell your home faster.

The decorating forum is good, but keep in mind you'll get conflicting advice. Don't worry about "satisfying" everyone, take the advice that makes sense and execute on it.

We had bathroom carpet two houses ago and it didn't keep us from selling. I think that falls in the category of "can be changed." Focus more on the overall feel of the place. Make it warm and inviting with staging, update moderately (wallpaper and such), and get professional photos.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:40AM
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I would be attracted by the privacy of your lot, but put off that the house was not sited in the middle of the parcel so that I was buffered on all sides, now and in the future.

In other words, what's the property behind your house (that you butt up against)? How close is your house to the property line? Who owns that property and how is it used? Any future plans for it? If I were looking at your house, I would be asking these questions, so you and your agent should have answers prepared.

Are you in an area where forested tracts are rapidly becoming developed homesites? I live in the Northeast, and the next town over is basically forest and conservation land with multi-acre zoning... a few years ago, a very nice home that was barely (and charmingly) visible from the road, seemingly nestled in the woods, was suddenly exposed when a long driveway was cut through and another house built very close by --- the first house had been built backed up against its own property line.

Those are the kinds of things I would be asking myself if I was considering your property. I know that you can't move the house :o), but maybe you need a "story" to explain why you sited the house where you did ("to take advantage of the lovely hillside view", etc.), rather than just to be as far away as possible from your neighbors.

I feel for you - it's a beautiful house in its own unique way and I know it will really come alive again for the next owner --- I'm thinking wonderful "Martha Stewart"-style holiday parties and cozy quiet nights by the fire.

That said, I am not a big fan of staged houses. I like to see a clean slate so I can let my imagination run wild. When I first looked at your pictures, I thought, "hardship house", as in divorce or bankruptcy, because it seemed so forlorn and emptied out. I would clear out the house out completely (but always keep it fresh and clean for showings), leaving one comfortable seating area with good lighting where people can sit to discuss, review your albums, etc. Maybe that area could have some mini-staging --- couch and comfy chairs, pillows, big coffee table, nice rug a la the Ralph Lauren/upscale ski McMansion look!

I'm also impressed with your can-do and flexible attitude... you've been hit with some harsh (if well-meant and accurate) criticism here without getting defensive or hurt. I wish you the best of luck. You are getting some great advice here.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 10:23AM
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About staging since I posted already recommending it. It is much less expensive than many people realize it is. In our case, the stagers actually provided the furniture and decor items at no extra cost.

I don't think that most people who opt for staging could it themselves. I opted to pay for staging because I knew that I wasn't the best person to know how to stage the house to be appealing to our market. I don't think this seller knows how to do that either.

I am NOT suggesting to destroy the character of the house or to do something not in keeping with the log cabin nature of the house. I just think that there is a lot of money involved for the sellers and that they would be well advised to spend a small amount of it to enhance their chances of selling more quickly particularly with a house that is very unique.

As for those who prefer a house that isn't staged and want it more empty - those people are not typical either. The average person can't even imagine a room painted a different color. They can't see anything that isn't just right in front of them.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:49AM
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"As for those who prefer a house that isn't staged and want it more empty - those people are not typical either. The average person can't even imagine a room painted a different color. They can't see anything that isn't just right in front of them. "

Must be a regional thing.
Staging is not common at all in my area.

People here PREFER empty... so they can imagine the space with their things in it. Also, staging often hides flaws in floors and walls.

I am sure the OP can find what is preferred in their area.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Why do model homes look so appealing? because they have generic furniture in place without any junk or personal items. In the OPs home I could not tell from the photos what some of the rooms were.

I agree an overstuffed home is difficult to view as you have to move furniture and such just to see the walls. In a basic staged home the furniture is minimal and usually not jammed up against the wall. Rooms look bigger when they have the proper amount of furniture in them.

OP, be sure to keep us posted on how things are going.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 1:47PM
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One way to tone down the look of "too much wood" is to "pickle" a wall or two. It is similar to whitewashing. I have seen a few log homes that this has been done too, and it looks nice.
I have also seen some of the interior rooms drywalled to break up the monotony of all the wood.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:52PM
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kats_meow: I admit, I have NO idea what stagers charge. Worth it when you're already looking at a loss?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I'd say it depends. If you can spend 2K and sell your house really soon, it would be worth it.
If you have time and the ability, you can do quite a bit yourself.
Below are some links on how to get a house ready for sale.

Also, have you looked at comparable houses that are less and try to answer who would prefer your house and why?

Here is a link that might be useful: Guides on staging

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:43PM
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The staging issue is very interesting to me. I think I'll start a new thread on that topic.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 7:21PM
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I have posted on the staging thread as to what we paid. We paid extra because we also had the stagers do some work beyond staging (helping us select contractors, being there sometimes when the contractors did work, and going to stores and buying things for us that the contractor needed). We were looking at a loss given our market at the time and I do think it was worth it. Some people can do it themselves but I know I couldn't.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 4:38PM
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Hi I didn't read all the posts ...
Someone suggested that you should stage it i.e LL Bean, I agree. Also you might consider posting it in publications such as Country Smallholding.
I think you mentioned that viewers commented on the land. Is there anyway to clear more of the land and appeal to recreational horse owners or show it as gardening/smallholder friendly.
BTW I like the house(I think updating is needed but some things like granite don't work well everywhere)
Just my .02
Best of luck with your sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Countrysmallholdingmagazine

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 1:27AM
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