Author Topic: Selling the house.  (Read 684 times)


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Selling the house.
« on: February 13, 2018, 01:31:47 PM »
So, we (don't any of you who are rooting for us in our job searching get too excited - nothing has happened yet) are hopefully going to be in a position to sell our house in the next six months and I am seeking advice because, admittedly, I am an art historian and, like cars, this is not my area of expertise.  Here is the background.

In 2010, we bought a 1966 house from the original owner.  She had been living here alone as a widow for 25 years when we bought it so it was already a fixer upper.  The plan (which did not materialize because brain cancer) was to slowly update it over time, keeping its groovy Mad Men features, pay it off and sell it to put our daughter through school.  Ahhhh - the best laid plans....

What wound up happening was none of that apart from the fact that I am still here.  I refinanced to a 15 year mortgage a few years ago and have quite a bit of equity in the house.  But it needs a ton - and a ton is not a strong enough word - of work.  Yet, it could be beyond charming for the right people who are into its unique features, the location (an acre of land in town yet in a good school district), etc. 

If I do no work (and remember, we're both unemployed right now), I think I could sell it for what we paid for it and walk away.  But getting started with renovations would be a bottomless pit and I frankly wouldn't even know where to begin. We will also be selling a house in England hopefully in the next six months so would have some money to put into it but what we were thinking was sell, take the equity out of both of our houses, downsize considerably in the move and buy something much less expensive that requires much less maintenance/expense.  Starting to try to fix this one up doesn't make any sense to me; it could actually be a tear down because there have been others in my neighborhood torn down for new constructions (sad but true).  Does that seem like sound logic? 

How do you sell a house you're living in "as is"?  Do I get a realtor or try to sell it myself?  Is accepting a selling price that is roughly the same as what I paid for it a mistake?  When I look at zillow, it has appreciated but zillow doesn't know about the "issues" that a buyer will inevitably need to invest money in to fix (dated kitchens/bathroom are the big ones but there are small ones, too) it up. 

Mostly, I just know I need to have a plan.  Any experience/advice you might want to share?  I just know I need to be thinking about a strategy in the (fingers crossed) event that we need to unload this albatross. 



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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 01:45:23 PM »
Most importantly I think is to get an experienced realtor involved. She'll know the market and how to position the house with its unique characteristics in the best possible light. I don't think you selling it yourself is the way to go in this case.

Also, she'll be able to give you an very good estimate of the final selling price. From this figure, all other things will flow.

My now wife and I sold the two of our homes and bought a third (in a down market) when we got married. Our agent was a godsend and was able to sell the homes quickly for much more than we would have been able to ourselves - even including her fees.

Whatever you decide - good luck! Mike

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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 02:31:40 PM »
I'm not sure I would put a lot of work into the house that might not match the tastes of potential buyers.  Your location may actually make your house more valuable than you might think, too.  Perhaps you can get an opinion of one realtor and then think again?

Good luck!

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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018, 05:35:26 PM »
I would definitely get a good local realtor. Most likely they will say to sell as is if the needs are as extensive as you to bring it up to date. Decluttering, if you’re like most of us, is probably the best thing you can do, give the illusion of ample storage space. The worst part of living in the house while trying to sell is keeping things neat and clean all of the time for last minute showings. My method of shoving stuff in closets for company didn’t work because potential buyers look in closets!
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018, 08:47:16 PM »
Sold 18 months ago..started prepping hoise about 5 months before.

Wanted to sell as is. My house needed a ton of work. (Down to new bathrooms and new roof)..I got low balled a few times..but didn't take the offer (like they offered a 3rd of what the house was worth).

Did end up sinking 30K into house..did everything neutral but high quality. Ended up getting triple the asking price compared to the lowball offers so it was worth it.

And was only on the market 2 days before in contract. Having an empty house just cost you money.

Price it right...but definitely its value. My realtor wanted me to go 10K higher...but in my area houses are on the market for years..then they come down and sell eventually. But stay firm..I refused to negotiate my asking price because I knew it was a good deal. My only regret is I wished I would have just sold it myself. (The opposite of what you are hearing).. A good real estate attorney runs about 1500-2000 but is cheaper than the 6 percent cut realtors get.
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 09:01:37 PM »
Absolutely hire a respected, established realtor, hopefully with a few good recommendations provided to back them. Declutter. Don't update anything, unless safety codes require it (which you should do for the safety of you and your family's sake regardless for the duration of your time there). Or unless your realtor recommends it, like if you're in a hot market. Be prepared, if recommended by your realtor, to offer appropriate allowances (carpet, for example). Any removable features of a sentimental nature should be changed out and stored (say, a certain light fixture- I have one in particular moved from my last home, which will be switched out prior to listing my current house when I sell, which may be within the next year). Buyers are more tolerant of out-datedness than grime, so that should be kept in mind.

Above all, if you have a good realtor, listen to their recommendations to enhance a sale, as they should be familiar with market demands and conditions in your specific area. I've moved alot, and overall had good success, except in depressed market conditions... I lost some on my last sale. It was our dream house where we planned to stay until we died (and he did). Overbuilt for the area market, so a tough sale. I couldn't afford to hold out for years for the right buyer/economy. I held out for a couple years as it was, which continues to cost you in utilities, upkeep and taxes. All you can do is optimize your chances by heeding the recommendations of a competant, successful agent.

Hoping for good results for you!


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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 06:11:53 AM »
Helpful thread. I find myself with many of the same questions. My LW was remodeling our master bedroom and bath as well as creating a half bath. Doing the work herself. Most everything was finished except for a few of the more cosmetic details and one doorway she was in the process of widening to put in a glass door she had rescued from a clients home.  She had a talent for construction and interior design, one I never developed since she was so good at it. My plan is to have a trusted realtor come in, give me an idea of the value of my home as well as tell me which things I should finish and which I can let slide.

My hope is that the value of the home is within my sisters price range, as she has expressed interest in buying the house. I am willing to lose some of the value to sell it to her as it would be nice to keep it in the family. Nice to still have holidays celebrated there and have little children once again fill it with life and laughter. Starting to get off track.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 06:18:48 AM by Leadfeather »
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 08:10:30 AM »
Good advice here, having moved a lot and sold lots of homes I would also suggest finding a good realtor that specializes and sells high volume in your area.  Zillow isn't always accurate, those numbers can be deceptive.  Declutter and de-personalize - think about putting things in off-site storage to keep closets clear.  There may be some things that are easy and inexpensive fixes that an agent suggests.  Good luck!
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 10:06:21 AM »
In addition to getting a local realtor who has experience with your neighborhood and school district, it's worth it to hire a Seller's home inspector.
When selling my parent's home, which I thought was a "fixer-upper", the inspector was able to narrow down the repairs which were absolutely needed for safety reasons. My parents' home was in the Lehigh Valley, and it was a "seller's market".
We made only those required repairs & updates, and offered a 1 year home warranty.
 We had an offer within one week.
Good luck with your decision.


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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2018, 04:05:14 PM »
I'm with Wheeler's Wife.  Whomever purchases your home will have her own taste, ideas, thoughts and all the new stuff gives one the feeling of " would be a shame to take all this new stuff and pitch it. We'd just have to live with someone else's choices..."

Co-worker of mine did a lovely job reno-ing her home. It may have helped it sell faster since it was clean and tidy.  They were disappointed that didn't add to the price.  Especially disappointing as the sale came about from a divorce.


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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 05:14:57 PM »
It's not as bad as you think. Yes, it could use an update, but a fresh coat of paint does wonders. Talking with a realitor doesn't cost a dime. Doesn't mean you have to sign them, and the 6% can often be negotiated. Fingers crossed it all works in both your favor.
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2018, 06:25:19 PM »
You may know I'm selling my house. Right now I'm doing it on my own. Crazy - perhaps - but I needed control over the process.

What I did: I contacted a trusted local appraiser to have a good idea of what is a reasonable asking price.
I created my own website with photos and lots of information that a realtor wouldn't have and am essentially selling a way of life. I put it out to friends, through Facebook and through a Vermont specific list-serve called Front Porch Forum. Within the first 48 hours, I had 5 people contact me to see it. I have two of the five coming back for second looks. Within one week.

I just had an inspector walk through today to tell me what issues might come up. He did the full inspection but didn't write a formal report - I took notes as he talked. This set my mind at ease and gave me a list of small issues to address and the comfort of mind that nothing of significance showed up.

I haven't even put it on Zillow yet but will if need be. I am waiting to use a realtor unless I really need to.

If there is nothing structurally wrong, just old outdated stuff, you may be under estimating what you could get for it.

Happy to talk further. If you haven't seen my website, let me know and I'll send you the link. I put it on Facebook a little over a week ago.

This is big stuff, TS - good for you! Good for us!
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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2018, 09:30:10 AM »
We moved and NG is selling.  We're not doing any major work.  Slapping paint on I think.  Hoping someone will take it as is.  No bites yet.  Ugh.  We have a local realtor.  Fingers crossed.
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: Selling the house.
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2018, 05:01:40 PM »
Definitely interview some realtors.
 You have a great property there. I would sell as is. I'll bet it goes fast.
Good luck.
"All the waves must reach the shore before the water calms"-Ray ♡