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Old 10-13-2008, 08:24 PM   #21
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[quote}

This time of year it's never too early! If nothing else, you can interview a number of realtors and hear their ideas on getting ready for market.[/quote]

About interviewing realtors, a website said that even talking to a realtor about listing your house could land you in a heap of legal excrement over some issue of , um, I forget the latin term for who has dibs on selling your house. If some couple comes to see it and forgets to say they are working with a realtor.... it was just scary, but I can't find my notes on it.

Does a Realtor want to shoot the breeze with a homeowner without signing them up for 6 months or more? Now I have more to worry about than just getting our home ready to show.

Comments?
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:43 PM   #22
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I see no problem with interviewing a number of realtors, getting their comments and maybe a market analysis. Just don't sign a listing agreement with more than one and don't allow any showings until you have a listing agreement. Even if it is a one time showing agreement.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:49 PM   #23
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I see no problem with interviewing a number of realtors, getting their comments and maybe a market analysis. Just don't sign a listing agreement with more than one and don't allow any showings until you have a listing agreement. Even if it is a one time showing agreement.
Affirmative. We went through 3 realtors for the house we're currently selling before we found one we were comfortable with. The first one gave us a price that we new was out-of-the-ballpark high, so we knew he didn't really know the market. The second one didn't like the house, and you need your realtor to like the house if they are going to do a good job. So we dropped her. We liked the third one, so we signed the listing agreement with her. No problems (except the house hasn't sold yet).
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:02 PM   #24
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A

We overhauled a 25-year-old kitchen with refaced cabinets and "rigid thermofoil" (RTF) doors. The cabinet refacing is high-quality adhesive laminate in an amazing variety of wood-grain colors & styles. It makes the boxes look completely new again. The doors are MDF with a waterproof laminate that's vacuum-shrunk onto them for total waterproofing. They look like birdseye maple with the additional benefit of never getting water stains or dings. It's contractor work that's beyond the capability of the average homeowner, but the result is eye-popping.

et.
Nords, what is the brand name of this kind of refacing? I'd be interested in pricing that sometime.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:39 PM   #25
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Thanks, Martha and Harley. I am such a babe-in-the-woods on this house business. We wonder what a one-time showing is. Would you mind telling us what that is? Thanky. (Re: feeling lost in space- that's why I chose my avatar.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #26
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I heard a great idea, since you have to move anyway... to declutter, some people were getting those pods, or big box... pick your company... containers and filling them with the stuff you dont need on a daily basis... extra furniture, holiday decorations, garage stuff, personal items that can be packed away now... that way your house shows as clutter free as possible, without taking up your storage space.

Then when you move, you just ship the container. Most of those companies have dry warehouse where they store the container for about as much as a standing storage (like u-store-it), and you can ship your storage later.

I would personally replace the items that really date your house... some of the fixtures and handles and such that are seen during a routien tour.

I like the carpet invoice idea... I was a buyer a year ago, and I think had I seen a carpet estimate, I might have given some of the older homes I saw more of a shake. There was a beautiful home built obviously in the 60s that still had the old wiring and the old wallpaper. But the sellers had no idea what it would take to update the wiring, and had no idea what the flooring fixes would cost... the doors and baseboards were all solid wood, but walnut causing the house to be dark.

I loved that house's charm, but it was too much house for the two of us... and the electrical and pipes in the home would probably have needed upgrades that we couldnt afford. If they had gotten the estimates and been willing to work with them some, I might have gotten a bit more serious about that house.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:30 PM   #27
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Nords, what is the brand name of this kind of refacing? I'd be interested in pricing that sometime.
It's a technology but not, as far as I know, a brand name. It requires enough special equipment that it's generally used at cabinet shops or kitchen contractors. Lowes, Home Depot, or Sears might also have local firms on subcontract.

WikiAnswers - What is Rigid Thermofoil RTF
"rigid thermofoil" - Google Search
Reface or Replace Cabinets? | Kitchen Cabinets | Kitchens | This Old House - 1

It's about 25-30% of "ripping the kitchen to the studs and starting over", but the cabinets have to be in generally decent shape. We're doing it to our own home's kitchen as soon as spouse gets tired of painting.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:31 PM   #28
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Progress: Took a load of magazines to nursing home, a truckload of books, pictures and software to Goodwill, and a vanload of bins and book boxes to our U-Stor. We are getting ready for a contractor to patch plaster cracks and paint everything neutral. Donating three bins of picture frames to High School art department. Those kids rarely get a show, and framed art sells better.

Wish we had thought of a pod sooner. But I will revisit our U-Stor and keep weeding out books and all that as the weeks go by. When moving time is closer we can haul from our U-Stor locker to one in our new city. Keep that for a year, as we adjust to a tiny condo, and be rid of everything extraneous at the end of one year.

We are moving 115 miles away. So our old Victorian "mansion" has to have a new family to love her, or turn her into a tattoo parlor, or urban tenement. She is beautiful now but we can't hold out for the perfect family. Landlords here are in it to run down the properties, drive renters out and take the tax breaks.

I will take every suggestion you make to heart, try to talk DH out of a FOSBO sale and keep my financial chin up. Do any of you remember the emotions of downsizing? It seems so darned un-American not to have "stuff." Thanks for this forum.
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:38 AM   #29
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I forgot to mention about the kitchen re-facing - we actually did that in another house and absolutely loved the results. The cabinets came with the house in the 70's and were sound but the doors were getting shaky. It took one guy a week of solid work and it was like we had a new kitchen! We went with a cabinet place that advertised in our local coupon book. They warranty the work for 10 years, and so far it's been two for us and it's holding up well. I would definitely do it again if I wanted to update a kitchen without investing in all new cabinetry.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:16 AM   #30
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LOL! we did the cinnamon aroma and music thing when we sold our house. Don't know if it actually worked, but for a few bucks it's worth a try---just needs to be subtle. Watched
a lot of HGTV too, for inexpensive suggestions.
Hm...dim lights, soft music playing, vanilla-scented candles. Add a nice fire in the fireplace, and this sounds more like what I do for the young ladies.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:55 PM   #31
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Whoa, WM, we had a neighbor who lit a fire in the fireplace an hour before a showing. He was already moved out of the house, and the house burned up before the prospective buyer got there. Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Just want to ask the rest of you if my insurance company is weird. They will pay only to rebuild our home, where it is, exactly as it was when it was built. It was built in the 1890s. Is this rule what homeowners insurance is with every company? We would not want to rebuild, because we are trying to move. Also, a house built to 1890 standards would be weird in today's market, gas lights and such.

I'm keeping a close watch on this forum. Thanks.
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:11 PM   #32
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Just want to ask the rest of you if my insurance company is weird. They will pay only to rebuild our home, where it is, exactly as it was when it was built. It was built in the 1890s. Is this rule what homeowners insurance is with every company? We would not want to rebuild, because we are trying to move. Also, a house built to 1890 standards would be weird in today's market, gas lights and such.
I'm not positive, but I believe that verbiage is intended to mean that they'll pay for the current floorplan and basic structure to be rebuilt. I believe that they would have to adhere to all new building codes during the rebuild.

Have you talked to your insurance agent about it? They can usually give you a better plain-language explanation than the legalese in the insurance papers.
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:28 PM   #33
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Yes, PB, it was someone on the phone who told us this when we called about a huge increase in our homeowners insurance bill. We finally decided to cut our coverage way down to get the premium down, since they were hardly doing us any favor with the policy. Kept liability, of course, and burglary I think. Don't know what else.

A skylarking National Air Guardsman shelled the nearest town to us a few years back, (Murray, Indiana, on my website) so I hope that shelling is included in our coverage. I like your idea of the square footage being replaced, because maybe it covers the ultra-intricate Victorian woodwork, the new double-paned windows, the new roof, maybe appliances? Thanks for answering.
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:32 PM   #34
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Curb appeal is one of the first things a Real Estate Agent will tell you. If it looks bad when the client drives up, it is usually down hill from there.

Paint. It is cheap and hides a multitude of sins. Among others it leaves an odor that most associate with clean. It is most likely the single thing that will help the most.

It must look clean inside. While most men will look at a house and see what it might be once cleaned up, in general, women do not. If the home is dirty on the first visit they don't want to live there. It's like knowing someone was killed in the house. Does not effect the new buyer, but they just don't want it.

Carpet. as said before 'If it will clean, don't replace it' When we sold our last home I got the guy that cleaned carpets for an appartment project to do our carpets. I would have said they were trash, $300, carpets looked like new, place sold in two weeks.

Clean out the closets. You don't want empty, but you don't want them to look crampted. Empty the garage. Sweep the floor. Clean, Clean, Clean!!!

Bake bread or chocolate cookies before a showing if possible. Believe it or not things that smell of home help sell the home.

Finally, there are folks that pre-stage homes for sale. They go through and tell you what to hide, change, etc. Not sure what they charge, you might talk to a Realtor to find out if there are any good ones in your area.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:05 PM   #35
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Just go for the curb appeal ... anything interior is a waste of $$ since you don't know the buyers taste.

A friend was a floor installer; used to store "new" carpet pulled from new owners homes. I'ld pay him 50 cents on the dollar for it (for rentals).
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:02 PM   #36
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Hmmm, should I have the carpet cleaned before the painters paint, or should I have the carpet cleaned after they paint? These are upstairs rooms, at this phase.

I am afraid a carpet cleaner might blast the walls with soap and steam or spray. But a damp carpet will make the paint take longer to dry, and get all mashed down by ladders, and the plaster-crack repairs would make dust.

We won't get any downstairs carpet cleaned until right before we stage the house. It is pea-soup green nylon with pet stains from previous owner. I take your word on not replacing it, but having estimates at hand to price-negotiate with will be essential. The wood under the GLUED-DOWN pea-green carpet is not in good shape, sort of very narrow dark slats, unlike modern wood floors.

Can you donate a house to a charity and get a big tax break? Would any charity take a house? Who appraises the house for that?

In exhaustion, ye editor
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:04 PM   #37
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Ours was cleaned after paint.
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Old 10-16-2008, 03:45 PM   #38
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Just want to ask the rest of you if my insurance company is weird. They will pay only to rebuild our home, where it is, exactly as it was when it was built. It was built in the 1890s. Is this rule what homeowners insurance is with every company? We would not want to rebuild, because we are trying to move. Also, a house built to 1890 standards would be weird in today's market, gas lights and such.

I'm keeping a close watch on this forum. Thanks.
No, this is not what they would do. Talk to your agent. It sounds like you don't have a good understanding of what your policy covers.

Clean the carpet after the painting.
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:54 PM   #39
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Well, you've definitely all convinced me on the carpet - we'll just get an estimate and leave it at that. Which is nice, because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of getting it all replaced at this point.

Curb appeal, we're doing pretty well and with minor effort we'll be in better shape than most around here. We will touch up the exterior paint (just painted a couple years ago and it's still in nice shape), replace a couple rotting landscape timbers, new doorbell, new porch light, new welcome mat. We'll probably also replace the scalloped red cement landscape edging with the newer plastic type that comes in a roll - very inexpensive and the red stuff's been bothering me ever since we moved in. The grass and flower bed are in good shape.

On the interior, we'll redo the 1/2 bath, which is definitely the least appealing thing about the house (not that it's terrible). We'll probably replace a couple prominent light fixtures and some worn door hardware.

Putting grass in the back yard may depend on when we list it - we're in CO so it's not like we can plant it whenever we want. But we likely will do that if it gets warm enough and we haven't sold.

We're planning to sell some furniture so that will help clear out, and plenty of things can go into storage. I wish I was naturally good at staging like Martha - I'm really sure that no one will want our furniture to go with the house! But even if we just do the best with what we have it will show well. Clean is king.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that we don't get too many foreclosure sales nearby in the coming months - that would really hurt our chances of being able to get out without bringing money to the closing.

And, no unattended fires in the fireplace - got it.
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:16 PM   #40
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Late to the thread, but after looking at over a hundred open houses here in town in the last year, I'd say priority should be:

1. Update that 1/2 bath.
2. Update lighting fixtures (in keeping with the nature of your house)
3. Update hardware (door handles, cabinet pulls, etc.) -- again, I'd try to keep it true to the period of your house.

I second the ideas above about decluttering and cleaning. Also, I'd air the house out thoroughly before an open house or showing. I hate walking into houses and smelling those Glade air-stinkifying things. The first thing I ask is: What are they trying to cover up? A house that smells like wood, soap and fresh air is a much better deal. Older houses can smell a little musty -- so run fans, do whatever to get fresh air in.

Of the hundred or so houses I've seen in the last year or so, only a couple stand out as shining examples of what to do. Both of them were lovely, well-tended homes that looked like someone lived in them -- but gracefully and with taste and charm. Your home probably already has a lot of charm, but fresh flowers, fresh air, and clean, natural smells probably will help a lot.

Good luck!
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