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Old 05-11-2015, 05:16 PM   #21
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When it's time to sell, we'll check current sales in our neighborhood (CCRC with all homes basically the same except for a few hundred square foot differences). Sale prices have been very stable, and homes sell immediately.... by word of mouth, and only a few times, through a realtor.
Instead of upgrading or repairng anything we'll give upgrade $$$ for the new owners... carpeting, paint etc. Will gladly take $10K less to avoid the time, effort, and aggravation of doing what the new owner might not like.
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:20 PM   #22
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Funny you should mention this. A builder's group in the metro area sponsors hundreds of open houses around the area a couple of times a year. Saturday was nice, so we decided to look at a couple. We found one really like, several actually. At least we now have neighborhoods in mind.

Contractors showed up today to fix a crack (not structural, just cosmetic) in a ceiling and do a little floor sanding, and when that's done we're listing. We decided three years is too long to wait. Stay tuned for updates.

And thanks for the words of wisdom everyone!
Interesting how often just looking at other homes changes people timelines.

As I've mentioned before we have spent part of many winters in Southern Utah starting in about 1999.
One of the things we would do just for "fun"was to go to new housing developments and open houses. Beautiful locations and homes of course, since they were all brand new and upgraded like crazy.

After doing this for 5 or 6 years we ran into a realtor on a very slow day and he did a lot of chatting with us. He very nicely answered all our questions about his development. When he found out we had been "looking" for 5 or 6 years he laughed and said, "You guys aren't serious about buying a house."
Of the deals he had personally closed on he said 90% of people sign papers the first couple of times they go out looking and the other 10% might take 5 or 6 visits in a year to make up their minds. He said I've never had someone look for 2 or 3 years and then buy, most people just aren't built that way.

We said, Well, it's not like buying a house is an impulse purchase and he laughed again and said you'd be surprised how often that's what happens.

He was right of course, because 15 years later, with ample funds to buy a winter home, we still don't have one!
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:36 PM   #23
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the engineered wood floor in the dining/entry is pretty banged up from years of big dogs sliding and jumping. I think we have to fix that as it's a first impression thing. Since it's engineered, it probably means replacement. Real wood this time?
Engineered wood is real wood. Laminate is not real wood. Also, check on whether you can refinish your engineered wood. We have engineered wood and can refinish it (we wouldn't since it is handscraped, but we could).
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:56 PM   #24
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We have a contract on our house right now. There were several obvious things that need to be fixed but our RE advised not to fix anything unless the buyer asks for it.
We have:
broken gate
chipped sink
one broken sink faucet in master bath
rubber seal around pool is hardened and cracked
carpet in one room has a bad wear mark

We still got 2 offers over listing on the first day the house was listed. We will know by tomorrow if the buyer asks for any of this to be fixed. There's also a few things that the inspector found.
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:45 PM   #25
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You should talk to a few realtors. They won't mind; they know they have a possibility of getting the listing when you decide to sell.

Our house went on the market Tuesday of last week. I've previously owned only in NNJ, where I was just about able to keep the houses I lived in repaired. Fancy upgrades were out of the budget but that was OK- that meant my house was less unaffordable. Both times the houses sold with multiple offers above asking price.

Fast forward to now. We're in a LCOL area in the Midwest in one of those square states in the middle. I am SO discouraged. We've put nearly $20K into the house in the last 6 months. That includes tiling 2 bathroom floors, re-carpeting family room and MBR (original carpet beyond redemption), $5K to fix cracks in cement around pool and seal and paint, $1K to repaint deck, and lots of little stuff that adds up. Then DH found that the basement drain was running slowly. We did the right thing and had it checked. Mineral deposits. $$3K for the guy with the jackhammer to ream it out. Realtor said get the fireplaces inspected. Oops. No longer safe for wood burning (would cost about $8K to replace 2 flues in the chimney) but we can install ventless logs for $3K.

And you know what feedback we're getting? The house is dated. We've installed granite countertops, replaced all the windows with Pella, put bamboo flooring in kitchen and made other improvements over the years including me personally scraping off the odious popcorn ceilings. Over and over we're getting "my clients think it would cost too much to update the flooring, the lighting fixtures, the appliances, etc."

HGTV has ruined it. Our realtor (whom I trust; she's been in the business through thick and thin for decades) says Barbie and Ken can't relate to our furnishings since they're not Crate and Barrel so they go on to the next house.


I'd look very closely at what houses around you look like; go to a few open houses. But be careful of what you spend to make it more "marketable". It never ends.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:10 PM   #26
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I've previously owned only in NNJ, [...] Both times the houses sold with multiple offers above asking price.

Fast forward to now. We're in a LCOL area in the Midwest in one of those square states in the middle. I am SO discouraged. .
Don't be discouraged! As the saying goes, all real estate is local. Median time on the market is a lot greater in some parts of the country than in others. When houses aren't selling briskly, the "inventory" of houses can grow, buyers have a lot of houses to choose from, and they can afford to be unreasonably picky. Good luck and I hope the right buyer sees your house soon!
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:53 PM   #27
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Don't be discouraged! As the saying goes, all real estate is local. Median time on the market is a lot greater in some parts of the country than in others. When houses aren't selling briskly, the "inventory" of houses can grow, buyers have a lot of houses to choose from, and they can afford to be unreasonably picky. Good luck and I hope the right buyer sees your house soon!

That is true.... If I ever put my house up for sale, I would expect it to take 6-9 months even if every HGTV amenity was added....Unless I just gave it away. And yes, I live in a small Midwest town.


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Old 05-14-2015, 08:30 PM   #28
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Thanks for the encouragement. The good news is that we're not in a hurry. We're not relocating, divorcing, or struggling to make the payments. It's been less than 2 weeks. I need to chill!
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:48 PM   #29
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With 20 year old HVAC you have an R-22 system in all likelyhood, as well as being less efficient than more modern system. If I was buying I would want a newer r-410 system since you can get refrigerant for that system. (r-22 is being phased out because of Ozone effects). If gas heat check the efficiency of the furnace also, and recall that if you live in northern climes you can now get 90% efficient furnaces if you have a drain nearby (all be it you may have to redo the chimney). Since you have a couple of years left before you sell why not replace the HVAC and enjoy the lower energy bills.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:48 PM   #30
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Let me make a very short-sighted, environmentally-hostile observation. Not worth it. You yourself will not make the cost back in reduced bills over the next few years, and Josh and Tiffany, your prospective buyers, don't give a crap unless you're in Fargo. We've had 33 showings and not a single inquiry on utility costs. We spent a lot on R-90 insulation in our attic. Josh and Tiffany want trendy backsplashes behind the kitchen sink. :-(
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:54 PM   #31
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Let me make a very short-sighted, environmentally-hostile observation. Not worth it. You yourself will not make the cost back in reduced bills over the next few years, and Josh and Tiffany, your prospective buyers, don't give a crap unless you're in Fargo. We've had 33 showings and not a single inquiry on utility costs. We spent a lot on R-90 insulation in our attic. Josh and Tiffany want trendy backsplashes behind the kitchen sink. :-(
+1

Though I'll definitely be bragging about my whole house wrap with telfon taped R-1 insulation I had the contractor put underneath the new vinyl siding.

"Oh, wow, honey, the whole house has extra R-1 all the way around it! We'll be saving so much on electricity".
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:57 PM   #32
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Let me make a very short-sighted, environmentally-hostile observation. Not worth it. You yourself will not make the cost back in reduced bills over the next few years, and Josh and Tiffany, your prospective buyers, don't give a crap unless you're in Fargo. We've had 33 showings and not a single inquiry on utility costs. We spent a lot on R-90 insulation in our attic. Josh and Tiffany want trendy backsplashes behind the kitchen sink. :-(

That is a dangerous broad generalization that implies a great many potential homebuyers are shallow and short sighted buyers. And in my experiences, you are absolutely spot on!


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Old 05-14-2015, 10:14 PM   #33
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Let me make a very short-sighted, environmentally-hostile observation. Not worth it. You yourself will not make the cost back in reduced bills over the next few years, and Josh and Tiffany, your prospective buyers, don't give a crap unless you're in Fargo. We've had 33 showings and not a single inquiry on utility costs. We spent a lot on R-90 insulation in our attic. Josh and Tiffany want trendy backsplashes behind the kitchen sink. :-(
My ex-wife and I bought three houses together, two in Thousand Oaks, Ca and one in Connecticut. All this was before HGTV, and the houses were chosen (by her) the minute she walked into the kitchen that dazzeled her! (she wouldn't have known an A/C unit or furnace if she tripped over one!)
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:33 AM   #34
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That is a dangerous broad generalization that implies a great many potential homebuyers are shallow and short sighted buyers. And in my experiences, you are absolutely spot on!
Thanks. I once knew an actuary who worked a lot on modeling the financial impacts of catastrophes such as hurricanes. He lived in FL and they were building a house. He told me he had a heck of a hard time getting the builder to do the non-sexy things that made a house less vulnerable to wind damage because they were infrastructure things. They wanted him to spend lots of $$ on the kind of upgrades that make people want to buy such as granite countertops. He joked that he really wanted the windows to be small portholes; his wife wanted floor-to-ceiling windows. You're right about the typical buyer.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:40 AM   #35
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Let me make a very short-sighted, environmentally-hostile observation. Not worth it. You yourself will not make the cost back in reduced bills over the next few years, and Josh and Tiffany, your prospective buyers, don't give a crap unless you're in Fargo. We've had 33 showings and not a single inquiry on utility costs. We spent a lot on R-90 insulation in our attic. Josh and Tiffany want trendy backsplashes behind the kitchen sink. :-(
33 showings is a lot with no sale, are the economic conditions bad in your area, or on the flip side is there lots of new construction going on? Agree, some of it is HGTV driven, if they work on a house more then 25 years old, the first thing they do is rip out all the walls on the main floor to "open it up".

Frankly, I don't understand most people, we have a 100 year old updated foursquare farm house on five acres. I'm certain if we had it for sale, some buyers would walk thru it and say it looks "dated". Well , DUH it's a 100 years old what do you expect!

Good Luck on your sale and just curious if you have a Plan B or would you be happy continuing to live in your newly "updated" house.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:52 AM   #36
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33 showings is a lot with no sale, are the economic conditions bad in your area, or on the flip side is there lots of new construction going on? Agree, some of it is HGTV driven, if they work on a house more then 25 years old, the first thing they do is rip out all the walls on the main floor to "open it up".<snip>
Good Luck on your sale and just curious if you have a Plan B or would you be happy continuing to live in your newly "updated" house.
Lots of new construction- we also have a pool. A few people have asked about maintenance costs (which really aren't that bad unless the equipment breaks down) and then decided they didn't want a pool.

Plan B is that we keep living here. We love the area and the mortgage payment is highly affordable; we just want something that's less hassle to maintain. I spend a heck of a lot of time weeding the flower beds and there's a lot of house to clean. Not the most disastrous scenario.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:58 AM   #37
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I think 33 showings is excellent because it tells me that given the size of your house and the neighborhood, you have the house priced right; otherwise, people wouldn't view it. I think it is especially good considering that you have a pool because at least some people (like me) who don't happen to want a pool, wouldn't view it at all. So, I think the number of showings you have had is very encouraging.

So now, all you have to do is wait until the right buyer sees it and you'll be headed towards closing the deal. It may take a while but it sounds like it is going to sell. It is not at all uncommon in some areas to show a house as many times as you have, or more, before it sells.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:04 AM   #38
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Plan B is that we keep living here. We love the area and the mortgage payment is highly affordable; we just want something that's less hassle to maintain. I spend a heck of a lot of time weeding the flower beds and there's a lot of house to clean. Not the most disastrous scenario.
Hmm.... I am thinking that (in the event of Plan B) you could rip up the flower beds and plant grass instead. That would be easier to maintain IMO. Then, maybe a housekeeper? That's expensive but probably not as expensive as moving.

Easy for me to say; I'm still battling with myself about getting a housekeeper. I detest the idea of letting someone into my "castle" regularly.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:07 AM   #39
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Lots of new construction- we also have a pool. A few people have asked about maintenance costs (which really aren't that bad unless the equipment breaks down) and then decided they didn't want a pool.

Plan B is that we keep living here. We love the area and the mortgage payment is highly affordable; we just want something that's less hassle to maintain. I spend a heck of a lot of time weeding the flower beds and there's a lot of house to clean. Not the most disastrous scenario.
You are in a great position then and can just wait it out for the right buyer. If you don't sell, you can enjoy the updates and consider hiring a lawn service or a house cleaner to help out with the maintenance. I imagine the biggest hassle now is keeping everything in "show" ready condition. Good Luck and keep us updated, this is a situation that a lot of us are curious about as we could be doing the same thing in the future.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:41 AM   #40
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We plan to downsize in ~3 years when I retire, and I want an objective opinion on what we should do out of necessity to help it sell.
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We did some landscaping, refinished the floors, and painted everywhere. That was pretty much it. Oh, and took out half of our furniture and ALL of the photos and knickknacks.
A realtor friend came in to suggest these things, and also that we replace the roof shingles, as they needed doing.
+1

Looks like we may be selling later this year. It is an older home with lots of opportunity to spruce up. My thoughts are to limit spending to two areas - curb appeal and major repair. We would never recover most updating expense, and buyers don't mind a home that needs interior design work, as long as it is not major and can be done over time. What a buyer does want is the assurance that no major repairs are around the corner, so I'll look at the HVAC, roof and floors.

We will also focus on the landscaping. The first impression is critical and his doesn't have to be expensive, just create a clean, inviting, well groomed look.
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