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Old 05-15-2015, 10:11 AM   #41
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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.

When it starts getting really hot that pool will look inviting . I would buy a few colorful rafts and have them floating in the pool .Also if you have an umbrella table make sure the umbrella is opened . If they want hgtv I would give them the essence of it with place mats , flowers and crate & Barrel accents . Beat the yuppies at their own game !
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:29 AM   #42
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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.
Or if allowed put down plastic and small rocks over it, and you have a no maintenance area. It also saves on irrigation water. Even in the wet east zeriscaping does make sense.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:31 AM   #43
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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. :-(
RE: The HVAC system, in the 3 years you have left it may spring a leak and you may be hit with astronomical bills to refill the R-22. Prices now exceed $100 per pound for R-22 as it is being phased out to save the ozone layer.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:42 AM   #44
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When we put our house on the market a few weeks ago, the realtor suggested a long list of improvements. This is one of the cheapest houses in a mixed blue collar/white collar neighborhood, and the realtor wanted to turn it into a show piece. It didn't make sense to me. Improvements would have amounted to nearly 25% of the value of the house, which was not in bad shape to start with. The house has been well maintained throughout the years, but yes some of the finishes are a bit outdated. There is a real conflict of interest here. I front the money for the improvements, it makes the realtor's job of selling the house easier and he gets a bigger commission (while I probably only recover cents on the dollar). So I understand his motivation to push for improvements, it is a no-lose situation for him. Except for small improvements that boosted curb appeal, we passed on many of his suggestions. I would rather lower the price and let the new owner make his own home improvement decisions.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:59 AM   #45
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When we put our house on the market a few weeks ago, the realtor suggested a long list of improvements. This is one of the cheapest houses in a mixed blue collar/white collar neighborhood, and the realtor wanted to turn it into a show piece. It didn't make sense to me. Improvements would have amounted to nearly 25% of the value of the house, which was not in bad shape to start with. The house has been well maintained throughout the years, but yes some of the finishes are a bit outdated. There is a real conflict of interest here. I front the money for the improvements, it makes the realtor's job of selling the house easier and he gets a bigger commission (while I probably only recover cents on the dollar). So I understand his motivation to push for improvements, it is a no-lose situation for him. Except for small improvements that boosted curb appeal, we passed on many of his suggestions. I would rather lower the price and let the new owner make his own home improvement decisions.
This makes total sense to me, as a realtor selling the home once they get the listing their main job is to schedule showings and communicate between the parties when offers are on the table. The agent gets the same amount here, contrasted with the buying end, where they might spend days showing buyers properties and end up with no sale. And if they are lucky enough to have their buyers buy a house they have listed. They get both ends of the commission.
As a seller you just want your house sold and the maximum amount possible in your pocket.

This is why it's okay to ask a realtor what they think about improvements, but don't consider it the final word.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:10 PM   #46
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There is a real conflict of interest here. I front the money for the improvements, it makes the realtor's job of selling the house easier and he gets a bigger commission (while I probably only recover cents on the dollar).
I know. We're done with the superficial stuff. The most expensive improvement was the resurfacing of the patio around the pool and it did have substantial cracks. I suppose it was worth it to get it done right. The $3K basement drain fix was just bad luck. I wish DH hadn't found it but he did.

As for the flower beds, they all had stone mulch that the builder put in- with nothing underlying it. So now we have the double curse of weeds coming up through the stones but they're impossible to get at easily. We had a thick layer of bark mulch put on in the front, which should work for awhile. If we ever get to the point of selling this place and looking for another, stone mulch and popcorn ceilings are both dealbreakers.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:26 PM   #47
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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.
Curb appeal is key. New flooring helps. The house we sold 2 years ago had a 15 year old roof (avg life of 18 years in Florida with 30 year shingles), and 20 year old HVACs. Buyers didn't discount the price for either. The only thing they did ask for was a home warrantee policy which cost me $450. Certainly was alot cheaper than replacing two HVACs that were nearing end of life.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:23 AM   #48
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An update on this. The house was shown 40 times (fortunately we were out of town for a few days during that period but it was still really disruptive having to get out of the house 2 or 3 times in one day). After some dickering we agreed on a bid for $299K vs. list price of $310K. It was the only offer. Buyer has pre-approval; appraisal was yesterday, inspection today. We're not expecting the inspection to raise any major issues but it's always a major hurdle to me. No inspector ever says a house is perfect and you hope the buyer won't nitpick on the minor issues, especially those things visible when they looked at the house.

Yesterday DH and I did a drive-by of houses that interested us and went crazy over a lakefront house. It's a small lake but good for canoeing and kayaking. That was a "nice to have but probably impossible"- most lakefront homes are McMansions and we want to get out of ours! So, we're holding our collective breaths. Will be visiting the house with our realtor this afternoon.

An interesting observation that I've made is that our current house, which is closer to everything and in a highly desirable neighborhood, isn't selling for much more than we're going to be paying for smaller houses, further out. I've also noticed that many ranch houses in good areas with reasonable updates disappear form the market in less than a week if they're priced right, The realtor has confirmed this; McMansions (and ours has a pool) are becoming less popular as more people snap up houses with most of the living on one floor. I think this will only get worse over time.


I still regret a lot of the things that we did recently that weren't fluffy cosmetic changes. I think an updated backsplash in the kitchen would have been a better investment than all the R-90 insulation in the attic.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:03 AM   #49
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An update on this. The house was shown 40 times (fortunately we were out of town for a few days during that period but it was still really disruptive having to get out of the house 2 or 3 times in one day). After some dickering we agreed on a bid for $299K vs. list price of $310K. It was the only offer. Buyer has pre-approval; appraisal was yesterday, inspection today. We're not expecting the inspection to raise any major issues but it's always a major hurdle to me. No inspector ever says a house is perfect and you hope the buyer won't nitpick on the minor issues, especially those things visible when they looked at the house.

Yesterday DH and I did a drive-by of houses that interested us and went crazy over a lakefront house. It's a small lake but good for canoeing and kayaking. That was a "nice to have but probably impossible"- most lakefront homes are McMansions and we want to get out of ours! So, we're holding our collective breaths. Will be visiting the house with our realtor this afternoon.

An interesting observation that I've made is that our current house, which is closer to everything and in a highly desirable neighborhood, isn't selling for much more than we're going to be paying for smaller houses, further out. I've also noticed that many ranch houses in good areas with reasonable updates disappear form the market in less than a week if they're priced right, The realtor has confirmed this; McMansions (and ours has a pool) are becoming less popular as more people snap up houses with most of the living on one floor. I think this will only get worse over time.


I still regret a lot of the things that we did recently that weren't fluffy cosmetic changes. I think an updated backsplash in the kitchen would have been a better investment than all the R-90 insulation in the attic.
Congratulations on your sale,so your offer ratio was 40-1? Did you think the 310 was a fair price or a pie-in-the sky? I'm sorry you felt your potential buyers didn't appreciate the money saving improvments you made.
Our youngest daughter and her DH just sold their first home last week in the MSP area for less then they paid for it. They were okay with that as they had moved into their "forever" home 2 years ago and got a bargain price on the newer house. Their renter left May 1 and they decided to try and get some of their equity of the home.

This home was an older style cape cod with an added on kitchen and a great 2x2 insulted garage. The price range made it a starter home.They had 22 showing in 6 days and got list with them throwing a few bucks in towards closing costs.Very well kept, with a roof less then 6 years old and about a 5 year old furnace. The kitchen had been done in the mid 90's and had the original wallpaper and some decorated tile work..you would not believe the number of people who complained about the wallpaper..it was a typical kitchen style paper..people, this is a starter home in a good safe area, 2 minutes from the interstate and 5 minutes from a park and ride.Honestly, I do think too many people watch HGTV!
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:14 AM   #50
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Sometimes people just aren't buying, but if you had 40 showings, people are buying in your area. If you had 40 showings and only got one offer, your price was too high. It may have been what you thought was fair, but fair is what someone will pay and if 39 different people wouldn't pay it, it wasn't fair.

Let's face it. Most people are not that smart and they wont pay for money saving features that they cant see or use.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:37 AM   #51
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Sometimes people just aren't buying, but if you had 40 showings, people are buying in your area. If you had 40 showings and only got one offer, your price was too high. It may have been what you thought was fair, but fair is what someone will pay and if 39 different people wouldn't pay it, it wasn't fair.

Let's face it. Most people are not that smart and they wont pay for money saving features that they cant see or use.
I don't know if I agree that the price wasn't fair..the buyer did pay 299 which is only 11k under asking. I think people have somewhat unrealistic ideas of what they can get for their money and buyers shoot down a decent fairly-priced house for all kinds of petty reasons. HGTV makes it seems as if that if you can't put a bowling alley in your main "open" floor plan, the house isn't worth buying!
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:42 AM   #52
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I agree that most people are unrealistic about what features the house should have, but anything will sell if the price is right.

Some of those 39 people who didn't make an offer may not have been serious buyers but that's a huge number of showings. If 20 of them bought a different house, it was probably either a cheaper house similar to his or a house listed at his price but with more updates. Either option means his house was overpriced.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:29 AM   #53
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Congratulations on your sale,so your offer ratio was 40-1? Did you think the 310 was a fair price or a pie-in-the sky? I'm sorry you felt your potential buyers didn't appreciate the money saving improvements you made.
Two days before we put ours on the market, a house down the street went on the market for $315K. Slightly more square feet but about the same floor plan. Their pool was smaller. Their family room ceiling was that awful popcorn; ours was wood paneling (cathedral). I'd gotten rid of popcorn on all but the cathedral ceilings; theirs was still there. Their landscaping was fancier (and, to my eye, higher maintenance). We'd enclosed our deck and made it a 3-season sunroom. Theirs was still a deck. They'd put hardwood floors in the family room and laminate in the kitchen; we had new carpeting in FR and bamboo in the kitchen. Our walls were all light/neutral colors; theirs were more fashionable colors, but the mustard-yellow they used in the FR (including on the stone fireplace!) was not to my taste.

So, pluses and minuses on each side, but as close to a valid comp as you can get. It sold the first day so I have to assume it was at or near full price. Based on that, $310K looked reasonable.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:49 PM   #54
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SumDay we were in more or less the same position 3 weeks ago. Called in the realtor to figure out if I should be spending the next few years pulling out the old butyl pipes, redoing bathrooms, furnace, what exactly do I need to do. His answer was forget about the pipes, that comes way later in the sales process. Get rid of the ugly carpet in the master ensuite (the only room in our late 80s house that has never been redone.) New tile, new vanity, toilet, paint, listing agreement and now the only thing I will be fixing up is a sail boat. Sold in 3 or 4 days. Nearly lost the sale because my wife liked the new ensuite so much, she was thinking she would like to live here for a few more years. I have always had joy in updating my house, but once I figured out that it wasn't part of the long term plan, improvements became an unwanted chore. Now I am free.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:55 PM   #55
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Get rid of the ugly carpet in the master ensuite (the only room in our late 80s house that has never been redone.)
Yeah, WTH were those builders thinking? (Other than doing the cheapest possible thing that would sell.) We'd put bamboo in the floor of the master bath years ago but I tiled the floors of 2 other baths; one was still carpeted, the other had cheap plastic linoleum. I don't regret THAT fix-up expense at all.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:06 PM   #56
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Yeah, WTH were those builders thinking? (Other than doing the cheapest possible thing that would sell.) We'd put bamboo in the floor of the master bath years ago but I tiled the floors of 2 other baths; one was still carpeted, the other had cheap plastic linoleum. I don't regret THAT fix-up expense at all.
The ensuite was always going to be this huge project, because I planned to run new pipe down to the crawlspace, put in a deluxe shower, rework the adjoining walk in closet area etc. So it never got done. As soon as we decided to sell, the project shrank in scope and got done in 3 days. Wish I had done it 15 years ago.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:15 PM   #57
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I agree that most people are unrealistic about what features the house should have, but anything will sell if the price is right.
Like I told DW when she was fretting over selling FIL's house "We'll have plenty of buyers at $50,000 and none at $500,000. Somewhere in between is our buyer." And it sold for the asking price of $268k in three days. We'd done a lot of fixing up.

She was fretting because her father was in a nursing home at ~$10k/month and had about three or four months before cash was exhausted so having it sit on the market for long was not a viable option.
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