Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ink is dry.

Big gulps huh? Welp. See ya later. We are currently living in a house we no longer own. Hoo. Ray. Guess that means I can stop cleaning and mowing and maintaining, right? Kidding. No one wants that kind of karma hanging around.

If you like to snoop around other people's houses, this is the post for you. You have hit the jackpot.

I should be a professional stager. Or someone realtors pay to come in and give honest opinions. Say things like,'wallpaper is the devil, especially if it has bears on it' or 'while your children's school pictures from 30 years ago are precious, they would look better in a box, in the garage.'

I composed this post before closing. And am posting it after. I am a tad superstitious.

We sold our house in five days. Using pictures I took. In a horrible housing market. For more than we bought it for. We got lucky. But I will share what we did and hope it helps.

First. We weren't greedy. We wanted to get out. And fast. So, we priced the house at close to $8,000 more than we bought it for 5 years ago. We have put close to $20k in the house. But. We put that money in the house because we were living in it, not to make money on the house. And we knew that it just wasn't realistic in this economy. And the comps in our neighborhood suck.

Second. We took the first offer. Didn't counter. Took it. It's more than we bought it for. All we wanted to do was break even (ignoring all the improvements we made) and walk about with the 20% that we put down.

Now. The house. Go ahead, look around. Catch you after the pics.

We pretended like we didn't have children. We put all the toys away. And with the exceptions of their bedrooms, our house was kidless. No gates. No toy bins. No bouncers or highchairs or race cars. No diapers. Nothing.

Also. The dog disappeared too. No bowls. No hair. No toys.

We had the house professionally cleaned. Floor to ceiling. Blinds. Floorboards. Fans. Everything. Scrubbed.

My phenomenal better half worked his ass off on little projects. Painting. Aesthetic stuff. Upstairs in the hallway I put up about 20 different frames with family pictures. We took them all down. He filled the holes and repainted the whole hallway. The mailbox got a facelift. The deck got stained. Anything that a buyer could look at and say 'well if that is worn out, what else is worn?' we fixed.

The house was on the market for a week-ish. We had showings daily, sometimes more than one. Every night I cleaned. I made sure that if i got up in the morning and had a showing at 9 we would be ready.

I have spent the last 6 weeks selling a house and virtual house hunting. I am not an expert. But. Here's what I do know. Even if you think your suff is awesome, your kids are cute, your paint selection is phenomenal, and your decorating style rivals that of Martha's. If people can't picture their stuff in your house, they will not buy it. My kids are cute. Like really cute. I take tons of pictures and display them. But if you came over right now, you'd never know. My decorating style is pretty Pottery Barn esque. But my paint, is neutral. There is no wallpaper. No strange window treatments. No themes. Have sticker charts on your fridge? Take them down. A potty seat resides in your bathroom? Hide it.

The reason stagers make money and are successful is because they make a house look like the perfect people, with the perfect amount of furniture, the cleanest closets, and the shiniest countertops live in a house. It's a farce. Because no real person lives like that. But we did. On the temporary. And it worked.

The Best part? It worked.

1 comment:

Geigerin said...

We're getting ready to list our house. Thanks for the tips and pics! About to powerwash the deck & spent nap time putting away pictures, CDs & DVDs (all too personal). I now have a stack of boxes in the sun room. :)

Good luck with the home search!