Okay, so we made the decision to downsize and sell our home over a cup of tea one morning. The time was right. The house was too big, the kids were too far, the drive was too long and life was too short. So a condo near the kids was the answer. We toasted our good judgment with an extra spoon of brown sugar on our oatmeal. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
Pushy kids: Our daughter had pushed for this decision for a while, but we dug our heels in until we were stuck in the muck. And now it was time to muck it out; all 4200 square feet of house, 2 garages, Hubsey’s workshop and furnace room – every inch chock full of dusty memories. We had lots of de-mucking to do to squeeze into a condo.
But I digress – first step – SELL OUR BIG-ASS HOUSE. I’m happy to report that we hired an excellent real estate agent that we trusted, and our home sold in one week! Here’s my take on selling tips that matter.
The 6 things NO real estate agent will tell you:
1…Use your head. While you need to de-clutter and make your rooms appear spacious and appealing, don’t remove all your family photos and personal mementos. Who thought up that asinine trend anyway? Any prospective buyers who can’t picture themselves in your home because your family photos are on the mantle, are too stupid to buy the house in the first place. Don’t get pushed around by the so-called professionals in the field.
2…Forget expensive staging.This home is yours to sell and you don’t need someone else’s stuff to do that. Another real estate ruse. You know what needs to be done. Do minor repairs and spruce up the place with a touch of paint. For a few hundred dollars, you can add lots of light coloured accents to give the rooms a clean fresh feel; like crisp white bedding, fresh flowers, soft cream sofa pillows, comfy throws – and breezy white sheer curtains on an open window. And don’t forget to spa-up your bathroom with stacks of fluffy white towels, scented candles and fancy soaps.
3…Air it out. Agents find it hard to tell you that your house smells. Open windows long before a showing and burn a Lampe Berger if you have one. They work wonders. Buyers shouldn’t have to wonder if the lingering aromas are from the corned beef and cabbage you had for dinner or a dead body between the walls. But don’t overdo the air-fresheners. People may think you’re trying to hide something.
4…Write a personal letter. Word-paint a picture for your buyers by writing a list of things you love about your home. Be creative and appeal to the emotions. This personal touch had a HUGE impact on creating multiple buyer interest in our home – and the resulting quick sale. Place a stack of these letters beside the real estate feature sheets. See my Post – Make it Personal for an example of what I did.
5…Get help from St. Joseph. Now for something totally nuts! But I did it anyway. This is how it works; you purchase a small statue of St. Joseph and you bury him upside down in the yard, just below the surface. (Stay with me on this.) Place him near the For Sale sign and watch the buyers flock to your home. P.S…in my case, nothing happened after a few days, so I poured a pitcher of icy water on the burial spot to shake & wake him up. My house sold 3 days later…so you decide.
6…No Open House showings. In my opinion, if someone wants to see your house, they should damn well make an appointment. Why should you allow every Tom, Dick and burglar to walk around and case the joint? Don’t fall for it! They’re a waste of time and a security threat. Agents like to use your home as an advertising platform for new business, and to make you feel like they’re earning their commission – which is another issue altogether. You deserve respect in your own home and as such, scheduled appointments with appropriate lead time is only fair – and the safe thing to do.
Last word: Now top it all off with some classical music and a plate of bite-sized store-bought cookies on the counter and you’re good to go. (Bite-sized because you don’t want crumbs all over your house.) You should leave during the showings to give your prospective buyers privacy to look around – without you breathing down their cheque books. And make sure you get a minimum of 3 months for your closing date. You’re going to need it for the next step…mucking out the memories.
Happy Sales from Pat Skene