A House on the Market- SOLD

So the big news of what happened this summer, and one of the major reasons why I haven’t posted anything in the last five months, is that we moved!  We sold our home in Fredericksburg and bought a house in Richmond.  It took me a month to clean the house and stage it, another two months of listing it to get the offer we accepted, and then another month to actually sell the house and move to Richmond.  Another month later and I’m still unpacking and organizing. This post is about what we did to sell our house in Fredericksburg. I recently updated my house tour to become the OLD house tour so you can see the transformation.

I wish I could tell you there was a magical formula that when you do x, y, and z, you will sell your house!  And while there are some things that you can do that will definitely help you sell your house, there are so many factors that can go into the process.  From my own recent experience, I can tell you that there are a handful of things that really REALLY help.  We sold our house after 60 days on the market, which is the average for my area. I’m going to share what we did, which I think did help our situation.

1. Stage your house.  This does not mean that you need to hire professionals or rent furniture (unless you have none).  Staging your house means decluttering, de-personalizing, cleaning thoroughly, and setting a vignette to give someone the idea of what to do with the room or space.

Here’s a good example of decluttering- the craft room.  Before, it was a jumbled mess of projects, materials, and crap.

Craft Room

Craft Room

I spent about a full week (after work and on weekends) working on this room.  I got rid of a lot of materials that I knew I would never use, and packed away stuff that I wouldn’t use before the move.  Some projects would just have to wait.  It looks so clean and organized after.

Craft Room

Craft Room

And here’s a good example of setting up a room to show off its potential.

The dining room didn’t work well as the office, so I moved the office to the smaller room that it was probably originally intentioned for:

Studio After

Office Before

Office

Office

And the dining room:

Home Office

Dining Room Before

Dining Room

Dining Room

To de-personalize a space, you need to pack any family photos, and any other art or objects that others could find “weird” or offensive. In the literature I received from my realtor, an example that was used was to take down “artful nudes.”  I have to admit, I had one in the master bedroom…  It went to stay with a friend while we had the house listed.  For all the stuff I packed, and art I stored, we had plenty of room in the basement to use.  If you don’t have the spare room, I suggest renting a storage space or a POD.  The bonus about using a pod is that you can just finish packing it up after selling your house, and then have the whole thing moved to your new place.

2. Use Good Listing Photos.  We were lucky in that our realtor hired a professional photographer and company to take the photos, and do a video walking tour. I don’t think every house needs a video- but I will say this kind of video (where you actually walk through the house as though you are touring it) really stands out to me.  I imagine that a video of this nature would quickly weed out those who would not be serious about your house, and may be more interesting to those who might make a serious offer.  Just like with staging, you want to show your house in its best light.  It is much easier to sell a property when people can see the actual house, and see the potential. It’s hard to get someone to even come look at the house if the listing photos turn them off.

Top view of Living Room

Top view of Living Room

3. Highlight the positives, make note of the changes.  We did make a number of upgrades to the house over the years, but most of them were more structural.  What I mean to say is, not that we had to shore up the house or anything, but we had to fix things that made the house work properly.  Over the five years we lived there, we installed gutters, a water treatment system, a new main HVAC unit, a whole house humidifier, bought a new washer and dryer, repaired the other HVAC unit, had minor issues repaired, added electrical outlets and lighting to the basement, dug a fire pit, maintained the deck, painted almost every room, and completely renovated the master bath.  Few of these repairs had much of a visual impact, but they made the house nicer.  We made sure that the potential buyers knew about positive changes we had made, and which renovations might make a difference.  For example, knowing you don’t have to replace the HVAC in a few years adds value to the house.  We also left a binder in the house that contained all of the relevant manuals, as well as a list of reasons why we loved the house.  I don’t know if it really made a difference, but I like to think it helped.

New Master Bath Shower room

New Master Bath Shower room

4. Price it right!  This is probably the most important aspect to selling a house.  The market will go up and down, and it is about finding the right buyer, but no one will buy the house if you list it for too much.  Your realtor (and you) should do research into actual comps in the area (what houses have ACTUALLY sold for).  Compare, and then list yours for a little less.  Of course, if you don’t care how long your house is on the market, you can list it any price you want.  We listed our house for about $15,000 less than what I thought we would, and ended up selling it for quite a bit less than that.  Our main objective though was to sell it as quickly as possible.  Of course there are other factors that go into this decision- how much you owe on the house, how much you feel comfortable with, and the condition of the house.  The worse the condition of the home, the less you’ll get for it, no matter how great your location.  Don’t think that because you made all these upgrades to the house that it’s automatically worth that much more. Lastly, it is still a bit of a buyers market right now. The reports coming out are all saying that the market is changing, but I don’t think you should expect to see any major shifts in the next few years.

I know that you can find all this same advice out there- and there are people who say it much more eloquently than I do, and cover more topics.  I just wanted to add my own recent experience on what worked for us.  If you are selling your house, good luck!

 

 

Comments

  1. I can’t wait until you start posting pics of the house in Richmond, I know it’s going to be beautiful!

  2. Congratulations on your house sale and move! This post was great. It was fun to see before-and-afters of the different rooms.

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