Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Selling our firs home

A lot of people have asked about selling our house in Minnesota. I have been meaning to do a post on the topic and haven't gotten around to it or maybe still just adjusting to it not being our home.

We had a lot of negatives stacked against us attempting to sell in an extremely down market, listing December 27th, one of the slowest real estate times of the year. We bought our house in 2006 at the peak of the market and decided to price to sell, listing quite a bit below what we bought our house for, and beyond that, not recouping any of the improvements we made. At the time we bought, homes were appreciating around 6% a year, so we had a blast fixing up our house and making some upgrades we really enjoyed (getting rid of the 70's appliances and some original carpet). So as we made major improvements and thought we would easily be able to make up for it when we sold later. This did not end up being the case!
We were lucky to get two offers after being on the market for about two weeks. The first was really low, then we got a second, so the first one upped her offer. I believe she added about $5,000, but wanted us to throw in our lawn mower, our snow blower and our garage fridge. So we passed and worked with the other offer. We countered her low-ball offer, expecting her to counter back. And she stayed and passed. So we waited it out a couple days to see if she would come back. After about a week, we didn't hear anything, so we decided to make an offer to her. She was pre-qualified and was not asking for closing costs. Which is a good chunk of money most buyers are asking from the sellers right now. We gave her our final lowest offer and she was a tough bargainer and we lowered a bit more to seal the deal. So we definitely took a decent hit selling our home, but we were fortunate to sell it quickly in a tough market. We hesitated at times selling so quick, considering better offers could have come along. But we considered our monthly carrying costs, the fact that she didn't ask for closing costs and the peace of mind to just move on and not have it hanging over our heads for months. Because as each month passed, we could have ended up with the same net or even less, and had the burden of knowing it wasn't selling. So we bit the bullet and cut our losses. Thankfully, Keith got a great relocation packaging and we didn't have to pay 6% in realtor fees. So overall, we were pretty lucky.

So how did we sell our house in a down market?

First off, we watch a lot of HGTV, so we had a few tips from them, then I did lots of reading online and took advice from many people. The key is to be the BEST house in your area in your price range. And I would say we definitely did this! There was a lot of overpriced junk on the market in the area! In addition we did all these things:
-Our realtor had a stager help us, she basically moved furniture around to make the house look as big as possible and placed things in certain spots to help your eye travel through the house and to help highlight positive features- an example of this, I had a vase by the front door, she moved it because you don't want buyers to feel crowded when they walk into the home
-Like I mentioned above, we priced to sell, many overprice and then end up taking significantly less after being on the market for a long period of time
-We got rid of a TON of extra stuff to make the house look extra big
-I had the closets extremely organized and left nothing on the floors- they say you can stack to ceiling, but keep the closet floors empty

-I did not repaint- some say bold colors can be a turn-off, if we didn't sell I would have considered repainting - we did do some touch-ups
-We had the carpets cleaned and did a big deep clean (thanks to the help of my mom and Keith's mom)

-Basically had all clean counters in kitchen and bath outside of decorations, even read to remove the hand soap
-I even did an extreme organization on the kitchen cupboards lining up the spices and having all the cups perfectly aligned - they say if buyers see you are particular about things, they will assume you treated your home with that same extreme
-It was very clean for showings (as I looked at 50+ houses during my recent house search, I believe I was an overachiever in this area. I saw a lot of messy houses, a few with closets where stuff about fell down on me and even one bathroom cabinet, I saw what I believe was at one time an apple?)
-Since it was winter, we printed larger pics of our deck/fire pit and set them on the counter so people could visualize

-We had a decent sized unfinished basement, I made a schematic to give potential buyers a vision of how they could double the size of the house (I made this on floorplanner.com)
-We bought a buyer/seller home-owner's warranty, which came in handy when the water heater broke- the new owner should throw some rocks in her heater and AC so she can get a new one before that expires - both were the original and Keith didn't think we would ever get away without replacing those
-Removed tons of clutter, I got rid of a handful of personal pictures, but not all- they recommend you get rid of all, but I think they can show some personality to the house
-We painted all the trim around the windows on the exterior and susie touched up the interior trim

I think that is about it! Selling your house is A LOT of work!!! I won't be signing up for that again anytime soon. One of the hardest rooms to pack up and say goodbye to was definitely the boys room. I put a lot of work in it to make it a special place for them and it will always be their first room with so many memories as our first moments as parents.

1 comment:

Carla said...

Thanks for the tips. I am in the process of doing this right now. I watch HGTV too. Hope we are as lucky as you. It sure isn't a seller's market right now. Ugh!!


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