Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is it Luck?

Or are we just fools for listening to the media? In my limited experience of buying and selling a home, I'm not seeing this huge housing crisis. Sure houses aren't going for as much as they were a year ago, but seriously, weren't we all complaining then about the ridiculous prices and retarded bidding wars? And yes, sellers have to work a little harder to sell a home, but homes that are priced right and show well are selling. We sold this house in under a month. The house we bought had two competing bids on it and it was only listed for 15 days (when we put in our offer). I just think there is something we can learn from this experience. 1) If you're selling a home, invest a little money to make it look nice. Paint the walls a neutral color. Bright colors scare people off. Buyers prefer to have the option, at least, to move in and then paint. Change out brass or dated outlet covers and light fixtures, and add consistency. It does cost a few pennies, but it will pay off in the long run. 2) Clean out your junk and personal mementos. We went into a house the other night that was a complete mess. I couldn't even get into the laundry room because of all their dirty clothes laid out all over the floor. Who wants to see your dirty underwear? Just get a small storage unit (may cost a $50-$100 a month, but it's worth it), pack up your pictures, and extra junk, and make your home look clean and neat. 3) Stage your home. This doesn't mean putting on a Broadway production, but it is sort of like setting a stage for a mind-blowing performance. You want your home to appeal to a variety of people, and most of the time, what works for us won't work for others. So this might mean a few weeks/months of inconvenience. Even if your house is vacant, stage it. Borrow some furniture from a friend or rent a few pieces to make the home appealing to the buyer. Granted, the house we bought was vacant, but it was also perfect. Vacant spaces typically look smaller, but the right amount of furniture in a room can actually increase the perceived space. 4) Watch HGTV & TLC's home selling shows, like Designed to Sell & Get It Sold. Seriously, that's where I got my education. That and from my friend Jen whose a talented decorator. In fact, apply to be on the shows, and let them do the work for you.

I wonder how one would get into the world of home staging. I'm thinking that is something I'd really enjoy. Hmm, I'll have to think about that. I realize that most of my loyal readers aren't selling a home, but I just thought I'd vent again...but turn it into something positive.

Before we fell in love with the Glenmore house, we looked at 10-12 houses in person and probably a hundred or so online. Being pregnant with my third child (I have to keep saying it so one day I'll believe it), I didn't want a house that required a lot of work (hence the Glenmore house). With every other home, except one that was gone before we had a chance to place an offer, all I could see was negative dollar signs and all Neil saw was projects. Most of the homes that weren't vacant were not properly staged, or staged at all. Now I don't know how much of it is my bias, but I just couldn't get past people's junk. It's hard to see and appreciate a home when I'm overwhelmed by a mantle cluttered with family pictures of Uncle Buck and the family dogs. This one house wreaked of cat ammonia and the owners stayed in the house while we were looking. That actually happened to us twice in one night. Can you say awkward? Go to Chick-Fil-A or something, but don't linger around when your house is being shown. If you really want to see whose looking, just park your car around the corner and do a stakeout. They'll never know it's you. Just so you know, I never did that. I had my neighbor do it for me.

Anyways, today I'm going shopping...for a mortgage. Know someone who'd give us a competitive rate? I'd be happy to give them a call.


Genelle said...

Hi Hillary,

You might try Jason Abell at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. He is a fellow Grace person and I've always had great experiences using him for my mortgages. His office number is 410-872-1933.

Congrats on the new place!

Katy said...

Good Luck with the mortgage! I agree with you on the staging! What a difference it makes!!

Anonymous said...

There 2 guys in my business classes who are in real estate here in California, the highest in the country. They both say real estate is sales are picking up. Said it's a seller's market right now.