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Tips for living in the house while it is for sale...?
Old 02-28-2016, 09:53 PM   #1
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Tips for living in the house while it is for sale...?

So... this is our first time to live in a house while it's on the market, so I'm looking for wisdom, tips and encouragement.

What's been your experience? What security issues do I need to address? Obviously I'm not leaving a purse or wallet around, and I'm locking up checkbooks. But how far do I need to go?

The real estate agent comes tomorrow. Any tips for that negotiation are welcome as well.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-28-2016, 10:10 PM   #2
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Keep everything uncluttered. Clean it up. You want a high-price sale, and fast.

Leave anything that is illegal or embarrassing put away.

Ideally, you would have a home that looked staged, not lived in. Fresh paint, etc.

Put in a nanny camera if you want. Or Nest Camera, watch it from a distance.
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:05 PM   #3
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Keep everything immaculately clean and impersonal. Pack up 2/3rds of your stuff and put the boxes in storage. Don't allow smells from cooking or other smells. Maybe even think of boarding pets if it is too tough to keep the house looking and smelling pristine with them present.

I never had trouble with buyers taking anything, which might have been due to so much being packed away, or due to the diligence of my real estate man and the buyers' agents.

Personally I despise living in a home that is for sale, so I moved out before putting my last house on the market. But, I realize that isn't always possible.

Good luck selling your home!
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:33 PM   #4
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I don't think I could handle it. As the others have said
  • Seriously uncluttered, especially remove personal items (family pictures)
  • Immaculately clean
Add
  • No pet or other odors (most homeowners are the last to know)
  • Leave the house, you shouldn't be around when the realtor & prospects are there.
Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:49 PM   #5
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Our realtor gave us a verbal assessment of security items. He stressed my reloading/ammo stash as being a potential issue. He had some good ideas on how to simply add security.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:21 AM   #6
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Really standard rates are 5% for the costs if your home is 400K or less.

I talked to one agent who was quite willing to do it for 4.5% ( with 2.5% going to selling agent, which is normal).

Have them walk around and point out things that need improving as a way to evaluate if they are really interested or just want the listing and will shove it on MLS and forget you.
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:58 AM   #7
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How on earth does one "not allow" cooking smells? In our market, the house could easily be on the market for 6 months or more. We never eat out now, and certainly could not switch to eating out for 6 months...it would cost more than we'd make on the house.

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Old 02-29-2016, 05:54 AM   #8
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How on earth does one "not allow" cooking smells?
Most showings have a little warning. You can plan around them. And certain foods smell worse than others.

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Old 02-29-2016, 06:24 AM   #9
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Am I the only one that could care less on how the interior is 'staged' when looking for a new house? I'm looking at the bones of the structure, condition, yard, neighborhood, etc. Could care less what they might have hanging on the walls or if it's cluttered.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:25 AM   #10
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How on earth does one "not allow" cooking smells? In our market, the house could easily be on the market for 6 months or more.
If you are on the market for 6+ months, you are either under-marketing, or over-priced. Lower the price every couple of weeks.

Moving out early, painting, cleaning, etc. will probably make you more than it costs to move out early.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:43 AM   #11
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Am I the only one that could care less on how the interior is 'staged' when looking for a new house? I'm looking at the bones of the structure, condition, yard, neighborhood, etc. Could care less what they might have hanging on the walls or if it's cluttered.
You are among the few . In our experience realtors when showing homes tend to focus on the interior and how it looks, with an emphasis on the amount of space. Most people are thinking about the space/layout of the home. The nicer the home looks to them, the more they are likely willing to tolerate the yard, neighbors, roads, etc. Whereas you can have the greatest yard and neighborhood but if the house is perceived as "run down" most folks will pass on it - moving can be a hassle within itself, and most folks prefer to to minimal "extra" work to a house.

I recall with amusement the last time went house shopping years ago, the realtors kept trying to get DW interested in how spacious the kitchen and other rooms were. But she kept stomping on the floors and banging on the walls to see how sturdy the house was, going out to look over the neighbors yards (and meet them if present), and dropping in on the local schools. It really frustrated many of them.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:21 AM   #12
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Whereas you can have the greatest yard and neighborhood but if the house is perceived as "run down" most folks will pass on it - moving can be a hassle within itself, and most folks prefer to to minimal "extra" work to a house.
I guess the point I was trying to make is much of the 'staging' that takes place will have zero impact on me, it will packed up and removed before I move in.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:22 AM   #13
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The nicer the staging, the less clutter, a nice paint job in a neutral color, and the more updated the kitchen and bathrooms are, all will lead to a quicker sale at a better price.
We just signed a contract for an oceanfront condo in the east coast of Florida. We were most interested in a nice view, a good layout and the right price for the condition. We were willing to do a remodel, but those people that didn't clean up and had bulky furniture made it look smaller, yet wanted premium prices for messy older looking places. We wouldn't pay top dollar for an outdated look that has flaws with clutter. The place we ended up buying was very clean with an updated kitchen and reasonably modern baths. It still needs about $1500 in repairs which the sellers are putting into an escrow account for us to deal with, with some cushion for surprise. We have 45 days to fix the items or they get that escrow money back. Some other items need updating, like a popcorn ceiling, that we considered in our price offer. This elderly couple originally asked $500k back in September, but lowered it to $425k in February. We offered $390k and settled at $405k. Not many sales in this building with the view we have, so it's hard to know if we did well or not, but I don't think we overpaid and I know we'll be happy.


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Old 02-29-2016, 07:28 AM   #14
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I guess the point I was trying to make is much of the 'staging' that takes place will have zero impact on me, it will packed up and removed before I move in.
Unfortunately, the world is not 7 billion other people just like us. On the distribution curve, most here are clustered in one tail.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:34 AM   #15
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I guess the point I was trying to make is much of the 'staging' that takes place will have zero impact on me, it will packed up and removed before I move in.
Spend a couple hours on HGTV and you will see how important staging a home can be.

And, as a Realtor, I've seen this firsthand. Most buyers are drawn to homes that show nice and are as move in ready as possible. They don't want to have to deal with updates from both a financial and time standpoint.

In regards to security, I believe the biggest risk is having an open house. Yes, you do want to have any valuables and medications put away but during a showing the Realtor is typically with a client while they go through each room which lowers the opportunity to take things. During an open house that may not be the case.

You may also want to ask your listing agent to put a Supra box on your house. This gives added protections to know exactly who is entering your home and when. It's an electronic lockbox that only Realtors can open and it tracks exactly who accesses it.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:40 AM   #16
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Am I the only one that could care less on how the interior is 'staged' when looking for a new house? I'm looking at the bones of the structure, condition, yard, neighborhood, etc. Could care less what they might have hanging on the walls or if it's cluttered.
I show apartments all the time and have to sell the new prospect on how the place will look for them. Clutter and uncleanliness make it exponentially more difficult.

If I have a low-quality tenant living in the apartment, they need to move out before I can even show it. Or I need to take $200/20%+ less. This is a cost of a low-quality tenant that landlords do not understand.

If I have a high-quality tenant living there, it's easy. I rent the day after the tenant moves out. No loss in vacancy. Minimal turnover time. Higher rents.

I 'sell' places all the time. I see how pricing and show-ability works routinely.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:16 AM   #17
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Spend a couple hours on HGTV and you will see how important staging a home can be.
I second this. Zinger really is in the minority. Much of the feedback we got on the house we sold (after 40 showings) was superficial. Didn't like the wall colors (heck, they shoulda seen it before I removed the 1980s wallpaper and scraped off the popcorn ceilings.) Light fixtures were dated. (Yeah, and if we'd gone out and bought new, 50% of buyers would have hated our choices. Same with cabinets.) Appliances were dated. Yeah, but the price reflected that and they all worked.

"House Hunters" and "Love it or List it" are both good shows to check out to see what most buyers want/like. There are other threads here that deal with preparing a house for sale, but my advice is to stick to the cheap and superficial.

Anyway- DH and I spent almost $400 on restaurants during the month the house was on the market. Typically we have minimal restaurant expenses. Other places to hide out are the public library and Starbucks. Our stager was OK with us keeping a lot of our excess stuff in the garage, so we avoided putting things into storage. We had a safe bolted into a cedar closet and that's where all my jewelry and other valuables stayed. No problems with anything else disappearing.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:42 AM   #18
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We plan to sell once the last of our pets goes to a better place. Our kitchen needs to be updated and the house re-carpeted. For either of them or both I would rather give them an allowance. I am thinking we could put $40k - 50k into a kitchen and have them not like it even though it is new. Just wondering if putting $50k into the house is the best/only way to sell? House is 35 years old in a nice neighborhood near schools/freeway/shopping. Everything else in house has been redone in the last 5 years. Current value ~ $275k.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:51 AM   #19
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Moving out early, painting, cleaning, etc. will probably make you more than it costs to move out early.
While I expect to have about 3 more years in our current house, before moving into the apartments in our CCRC, am already looking ahead to the trauma of making the move. I don' t want to dump the problem of clean up and freshen up to my kids. I don't look for any value from our belongings, and would be okay with dumping it all into a few big trash containers.

The part I'm concerned about is the upgrading with paint, fixing a sinking slab in the driveway, re-carpeting, and some structural repairs... seasoning cracks, caulking etc, etc. I just don't have the ambition to deal with re-sellers and contractors and the aggravation of overseeing the progress. I want it to be over and done with.

The plus side is that none of the (now) 79 homes in our Liberty Village development has ever made it to market, being sold internally for the past 7 or 8 years, with consistently rising values, though in the under $200K range.

My current thinking is to sell at $25 or $30K under the market, and let the buyer use the savings to do their own thing. I'll still be ahead of the game, dollar wise, as I carry the house in my asset calculation at the price we paid back in 2004.

This is also the plan for our Florida mfg home, and our park model complex at Woodhaven. We hold both of these homes at their original purchase price, and are quite sure that even as-is, we'll be able to sell, based on price, rather than condition, and still make a profit.

Ten years ago, I never would have considered this, but there comes a time when peace of mind trumps $$$.

As it stands today, we are totally comfortable with our homes... Not prepared to invite the Queen for tea, not the latest colors or decor, 17 years of normal wear and tear, and different from our standards when we were in our 60's... but clean and comfortable.

So, while I agree with the Senator's suggestion, looks like we'll trade dollars, for peace of mind.
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:31 AM   #20
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Just wondering if putting $50k into the house is the best/only way to sell? House is 35 years old in a nice neighborhood near schools/freeway/shopping. Everything else in house has been redone in the last 5 years. Current value ~ $275k.
Watch HGTV and talk to a couple of local realtors. I sold a house in NJ in 1997 at a fat profit after 7 years with virtually no updates (but kept in good repair) because it was a very HCOL area and a desirable school district, but found the exact opposite when we sold in a LCOL area last year. You don't need to do everything on the realtor's list (and I agree that with the expensive updates like cabinets you run the risk of paying for something that many buyers will hate) but at least you'll know where you stand. I replaced our grubby cabinet and drawer handles for about $300- good example of big improvement for not much $$$.
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