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Old 05-14-2008, 02:20 PM   #21
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The more I think about it, you two (RunningBum and Steve) really knocked yourselves out and were rewarded with quick sales. That was a lot of work!! Congratulations to you both.
That is one reason of my lack of time for forums and the like over the past several months. It does take time and effort. We saw some very negative things while we were house hunting for our new house. Like:

Yard overgrown or not landscaped. Trash in the yard and "dog" damage from digging and "land mines" in the yard.

House smelled of .......

Renters were rude, dirty, cluttered and in the way during our tour. Renters can kill you chance of selling a home. Beware!

Clutter, clutter, clutter....did I mention clutter?

Too much furniture crammed into rooms...you can't get an idea of the room size.

Poor color choices for carpets, walls and countertops. Think $$$$ the new owner will have to spend to fix it. That is why we went neutral on all our upgrades. Neutral is boring but you can dress it up with cheap accessories instead of tearing up floors and countertops. We saw more than one house where there were more paint colors and carpet colors than Home Depot. Some people shoud have to get a permit to paint and decorate.

People in the home during showings. This was a negative as you feel like you are intruding and tend to not look as close as you might otherwise if the owner were not hanging around.

Worse, was the owner showing the house. We had one old guy tell us the life history of each of his woodworking projects and telling us how bad the builder was so he had to modify the house to make it liveable.

Dirty carpets, walls, and especially bathrooms is a huge turn off.

Closets stuffed to overflowing makes them look too small. We took out 2/3 of the stuff in each of our closets. We also took out 1/2 the stuff in the garage.

Clean, neat and neutral along with up to date features and colors goes a long way in creating a house that will appeal to many.

We had over 16 individual showings and 3 Open Houses where more than 26 couples went through the home. Our realtor says we broke the record for showings in our price range and that is a huge reason it sold so fast. You have to get traffic to get potential buyers. You also have to have a good website with lot of good photos. We had to have our photos re-taken because we did not like the views selected. We also had the fliers redone twice. It all adds up in this market.

Now I am chasing the paper pushers to get all the loose ends tied up so we can do a same day closing on both homes.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:17 PM   #22
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Congratulations to both of you guys. The harder you worked, the luckier you got...

I'm a big fan of the "empty the house, repaint, and recarpet" club. No amount of staging will help if the buyer can't figure out what goes into the bedrooms, the livingroom, or the kitchen.

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Now I am chasing the paper pushers to get all the loose ends tied up so we can do a same day closing on both homes.
Gosh, two closings in one day. What could possibly go wrong?!?

Just for fun you could have you & your spouse try to simultaneously do the closings with the other's power of attorney...

One of our tactics to make those events less exciting was to request that the title company have all documents ready for our review a day or two before. That way we'd read through them and get them to fix all the typos instead of having to sit around waiting for them to fix it on "the day".

My FIL had a twofer closing where the seller, at the last minute, decided to bring along a lawyer "just to make sure everything's OK". 30 years later they're still kvetching about it...
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:46 PM   #23
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Steve R....

I had been looking at houses earlier and a few more come to mind... but in a way they are subsets of yours...

If you do stay at home... don't have your teenage kids laying around locked behind thier bedroom door...

If you have painted your house or decorated it to be 'ethnic'.... change it so neutral.... it is very hard to look past these things...

Don't try and tell me something is 'original' when you can easily see someone threw crap at the house to add something on...

Don't move out and leave your cat!!! This was not a repo... I did not know if the cat came with the house.. but he was a friendly cat at least..

Dont' think you will get 100% or MORE for any of the upgrades you made... they sell at a discount.... and maybe a 100% discount if the buyer does not like it...

Also.... don't think a coat of paint and some new carpet will hide all the flaws... I was shocked to see what some people were trying to hide... like rotten wood and water leaks...

If the roof is old.. the air conditioner is old... well, if anything is 'old'... be prepared for a discount... most people are not..
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:22 PM   #24
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Texasproud,
A cat came with the house when I bought it 5 years ago...of course the sellers disclaimed the cat but the neighbors gave me the straight story...the cat was one of several that the previous owner fed and housed in the garage. The cat adopted us but had a series of health issues with their corresponding $$$$ vet charges. DW was an animal lover so taking the cat to the Animal Shelter was not an option.

The house we are selling is 17 years old. The A/C units are original. The buyer did not ask for a Home Warranty (I would have been more than willing to pay for one). We will have one on the new house which is only 4 years old. Cheap insurance.

The worse house we toured had a renter family where the house was filled with dirty clothes on the floor, dirty diapers sitting in the bathroom sink and kids in diapers writing on the walls with crayons. The house was in a very nice area and was listed for $850,000. My realtor talked with the owner's realtor and was very blunt about the condition of the home. The home is still on the market and is now listed for $680k.

Nords,
We have some wiggle room on the closings. They will actually be held at the same title company during our same closing period on our home. We still have several days before we have to move out so we are not too concerned. Thanks for the uplifiting comment on the lawyer...just what I needed.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:46 PM   #25
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SteveR, congratulations!

As far as the houses you looked at, I would (not addressed now to you, but to others faced with this) really try to overlook stuff like dog poop or clutter.. (ok, maybe not at $800k prices) with the idea that: if these superficial things turn off the majority of buyers you can better swoop in and get the thing for an even lower price. What's important are the 'bones' of the house.

When I sold mine, I did do some de-cluttering, but the walls remained their vibrant gold, rose, blue, green, salmon, scarlet.. ay! Come to think of it, the lady who bought it -w/in a week- was Puerto Rican!! [Ok, I guess it was just "luck", then! ]
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:29 PM   #26
 
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We will be selling our house at the end of next year when my wife retires. We have done a walk through and made notes of the things we think have to be done to prepare the house to look it's best. Our realtor came over and went through the house with us and we discussed what we felt had to be done to get the house ready to sell. She gave us some very helpful suggestions about things that didn't have to be done and others that could be done cheaper. The realtor also has a monthly e-zine that she send to us which shows what houses in our town are selling for with pictures and full descriptions of the houses so you can compare apples to apples. We have already started doing some of the work and will spread it out over the next year and a half so that we don't get hit with the expenses all at once.
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Old 05-16-2008, 04:44 PM   #27
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SteveR, that's great news! I think the excitement of a new home is one of the best of life's adventures.

Another park in your area worth checking out is Capitol Reef National Park. Capitol Reef National Park (U.S. National Park Service). Smaller, uncrowded, and stunning in a subdued way. I felt unfettered by crowds or rangers there. If you have access to a 4wd vehicle, you should do the Cathedral Valley tour there.

I agree with previous posters that a great way to see what works and doesn't work in open houses is to go to them. One of my current weekend pursuits is going to open houses in our neighborhood (usually with my kids, my 3-year-old LOVES other people's closets ). Favorite foibles in open houses to date are:

1. The couple that took a 4-bedroom, 3-bath family house in one of the area's best school districts, and remodeled it into a 2-bedroom, 2 bath "couples's" home with a GIANT show kitchen (no place to eat-in), a teensy-tiny dining room, a master bath that was at least 700 square feet, and a small second bedroom. When I mentioned to the Realtor that it was a shame they'd turned a great family home into a home not usable by families with children (and also, that they'd gotten rid of the dining room in favor of expanding the kitchen, but now there was no place to eat and so dinner parties were out of the question as well), she sighed and said "I wish they'd been able to hear it from someone other than me before they did it."

2. The current rental with 6 bedrooms, two of which could only be accessed by going through another bedroom (they were linked like a daisy chain -- to get to bedroom two, you had to go through bedroom one, and to get to bedroom three, you had to go through bedroom one AND bedroom two....)

3. The house that had rat poison prominently displayed in every room....

4. The illegal garage conversion where they sheetrocked right behind the overhead garage door, leaving ragged sheetrock and door in place, and where this was the BEST feature of the house.

5. The smell of "Glade" air-fresheners. Ugh. I don't like the way those smell, first of all, and second of all, what's making your house smell so bad that you have to pump perfume through it in order to live there? Dead rats dying behind the sheetrock? (See house #3 above).
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:48 PM   #28
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Steve, congratulations on the quick sale of your home.

I was curious to know what sorts of things you did to the house to get it ready to sell. Do you mean repairs, or staging the house, or upgrades, or...?

Anyway, I think your situation is terrific and very likely could lead to the easiest move ever!
We sold our house last year on the day it was listed. Not sure what all the factors were (could have been underpriced but who knows). At any rate, I am a big fan of Roger on "Sell This House" on A&E. He has lots of great ideas about fixing up but really more staging ideas. Major de-cluttering is a key to successful house selling.
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:08 PM   #29
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We sold our house last year on the day it was listed. Not sure what all the factors were (could have been underpriced but who knows). At any rate, I am a big fan of Roger on "Sell This House" on A&E. He has lots of great ideas about fixing up but really more staging ideas. Major de-cluttering is a key to successful house selling.
Thanks! I watch "Design to sell" on HGTV and they often mention clutter too, and using neutral colors. I am mostly concerned with the fact that (while comfy) some of my furniture is way too big for the room size and makes the house look smaller than it really is. It sounds like I could remove the overstuffed furniture and just leave the den empty (for example). My present house was beautifully "staged", with taste and elegance. I have to admit that really added to the appeal. However, it would be easier/cheaper to try to sell it with little to no furniture than to have it staged. I don't think I could stage it as nicely without help.

I made an offer on my present house within hours after it was listed, before it hit the public MLS listings online. My realtor had sent me the listing at 2 AM the night before. It wasn't underpriced; in fact, it was overpriced. But, it happened to be almost perfect for me (well, other than not having a garage! ). I paid $15K less than asking price and the sellers were not happy about it; I think they felt it was priced too low already. They let my offer expire and then came back a week later asking if I would still make that offer. My realtor and I had decided that it wasn't worth a penny more, and when I got the call I was out looking at other houses.
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:36 PM   #30
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Roger always says you are selling square feet so he always removes oversize furniture to expose more of the floor space. We got rid of a lot of oversize furniture before we put the house up. It really made the rooms look larger and showed off the hard wood floors.
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:53 PM   #31
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Favorite foibles in open houses to date are:
A couple years ago when Hawaii was in its go-go "any piece of crap will get multiple offers above list" phase, we opened a bedroom door at a crowded open house and found ourselves in a nursing home's geriatric ward.

Two very very old and emaciated people, a man and a woman, were in hospital beds with IV drips and oxygen feeds. Both were out cold (sleeping, I hope) and surrounded by life-support equipment. No one else was in the room. Total silence except for beeping electronics.

We traded glances, quietly closed the door, left the house, and spent at least 15 minutes in the car trying to calm down. I think that's the day spouse decided to purchase a 9mm LTC policy.

How the $%&^ do you make an offer under those circumstances?
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Old 05-17-2008, 12:25 AM   #32
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How the $%&^ do you make an offer under those circumstances?
You just do it. If it is for sale then the seller knows they will have to move out. Ma and Pa included.

Our LTC policy is a bit more subtle than yours. "Better dying through chemistry."
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:43 AM   #33
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Hello Steve R, your post has brought me out of the shadows, I have been reading here for 2 years but never posted. As you can tell from my user name....I love the Southern Utah area.

My DH and I farm in the mid-west and have been looking for a home in the ST G., Ivins area for about 2 years. What do you think of the current market conditions?...Because of workload (we have a dairy farm) we are very limited in the amount of time we can spend looking for houses. Our last trip was Feb of '08 and we found too many listings to look at, even in the small town of Ivins...

My entire family lives in SLC, so that is a big reason for househunting in that area.Congratulations on your move, I know you are settling in a fabulous area, Snow Canyon State park, is my favorite place, it's hard to believe it's 10 minutes from St George.
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Old 05-17-2008, 04:10 PM   #34
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Check your Personal Messages.

Welcome to the "other side" of the board. Nice to see you come out of the shadows and post.

Southern Utah is not for everyone. There are some huge differences between here and the midwest. Also the smaller town environment is not for everyone either.

Good luck in your search. There are a TON of houses for sale here at very good prices. I got mine $70k under appraisal and it is in perfect shape (just got our inspection back) and it was reduced already to track with the soft market here.
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