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Don’t Want To Sell Your House? Do These Things

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Home For SaleWe bought our first and only home four years ago, about a year away from the peak of the market in our area, and we saw some atrocious houses along the way. It was a hot housing market back then, so perhaps some of the horribleness we saw is excusable, but with the market today there’s no excuse for being lazy.

Bankrate lists ten things you should focus on if you want to entice a homebuyer looking to take advantage of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit.

  1. Dirt – Dirty = bad
  2. Odors – Stinky is not good either.
  3. Old fixtures
  4. Wallpaper – They recommend removing it all.
  5. Popcorn acoustic ceilings – They badly date your house, we have them and we hate it.
  6. Too many personal items – It’s hard for someone to envision themselves living in your house if all your stuff is still there.
  7. Snoopy sellers – Please don’t be there.
  8. Misrepresenting your home
  9. Poor curb appeal
  10. Clutter

If you don’t want me to buy your home, there’s one very simple thing you can do: be there. (which is a mix of #6 and #7)

On several occasions, we would walk into a home and the owners would be there watching television. When I am looking at a house, I want to peek in the closets, I want to turn on the showers, and I want to look in every nook to see the house for what it is. When there are a ton of personal items there, I feel like I’m snooping and I’m violating someone’s personal space. When they’re actually downstairs watching TV, I feel like I’m really violating their personal space.

So, don’t do any of the ten things Bankrate recommends you avoid and please don’t be there. :)

(Photo: thetruthabout)

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20 Responses to “Don’t Want To Sell Your House? Do These Things”

  1. DJ says:

    Another big “no-no”, never leave your pets at home and runnign around the house. My wife and I just bought a house back in November (missed out on the free tax credit). We looked through around 20 houses before we found the one we bought but along the way I cannot tell you how many people left their dogs and cats roam around the house while we looked through. My wife, who is very allergic to cat dander and is afraid of big dogs, practically ran out of every house we looked in with pets running around. It might be an inconvenience to the seller, but let’s be honest, making fido and Sally disappear for 45 minutes might be well worth your time!

  2. Jon says:

    I not only plan not to be there, but neither will any of my stuff. I know one of the “rules” is to not try to sell an empty house, but it sure makes it easier to clean/paint/repair.

  3. Ya, I agree with the “be there” aspect. When my wife and I were looking for a new home, we felt very uncomfortable in a house where the owners were home. I personally felt uncomfortable mentioning all the stuff I didn’t like about a home while the owners were there.

  4. Fairy Dust says:

    Another no-no should be leaving one’s porn stash out in plain sight :) We still bought the house, but it was creepy at the time and something we laughed about for a long time after.

  5. anon says:

    F*** that #6 and #7. Too effin’ bad if I’m still there.

    Once upon a time, a decade ago, when I still had a house and had to sell, not only was my stuff there, I was too. The first Saturday it was for sale there were 6 walkthroughs. I know the owner usually isn’t there, but all damn day?!?!

    Sorry. I had things to do (search for a job) and no, I wasn’t going to trust 6 different groups of people not to let the cat out. And no, I wasn’t going to shut him up in a carrier all day long either.

    I let people in, then stayed in the office (3rd bedroom). If they wanted to look in closets, fine. If they wanted to talk about the house, they could go to the other end or outside. Actually, I answered a couple questions for people while they were there.

    It can be done. Don’t be such dickwads. Use a little imagination.

    • Jim says:

      You can do whatever you want and people choose not to buy your house, I understand it’s important to take care of your business and staying in the office (rather than watching TV in the living room) is probably the best option, your indignation towards the very people you want to buy your house seems a bit odd.

  6. Jon says:

    #4 – You can actually paint over wallpaper if it’s in good shape and you prime it first.

    • Jim says:

      I would think it’s better to remove the wallpaper first, no sense leaving it under there where moisture can get in.

      • Jon says:

        Probably better, but much more difficult. :)

      • Fred says:

        It is DEFINITELY better to remove the wallpaper first. Wallpaper should never be painted. When you paint wallpaper, you put a waterproof coating over the paper that prevents any glue solvent from getting through the paper when you want to remove it. And you (or the next person) will want to remove it.. because eventually it will scar / rip / tear / peel on some portion of the wall.

        Trust me. Been there.

        • Jon says:

          Ouch. I haven’t painted yet, but I lightly primed it…

        • I’ve removed wall paper from two houses, and it was nasty both times. It seldom comes off easily and never uniformly. If a house has too much wall paper, I’d probably pass on it. A house can be painted neutral colors, but wall paper is never neutral. Unless you had it installed you’ll almost certainly want to get rid of it sooner rather than later.

  7. Rob Carlson says:

    The sellers of my current house did all these things wrong and I got a great deal because I was able to look past them to the quality of the home. I bet they still wonder why my low-ball offer was one of the only ones they received.

  8. aa says:

    When did “me” become a verb? “If you don’t me to buy your home”

  9. Martha says:

    For one open house that I have attended it was helpful to have the owner present. I think its different when you’re at an open house compared to when seriously inpsecting it for purchase.

    I looked at really old home from it was really intersting to have the current owner explain how she updated during the last 30 years. However it was not good to hear that she and her husband were going to move right down the street. That put me off quite a bit – espeically if you want to get a good deal for a home. They may not want to be your neighbor after you squeeze every penny out of them :)

  10. Paularado says:

    We sold our house FSBO because I couldn’t leave my geriatric 100# dog there with strangers. She would have mauled them with love. I figured most agents and potential buyers wouldn’t appreciate trying to fight off a 100 pound akita trying to lick their face. So, when people came over, the dog and I went to the back of the yard and hung out to give people the opportunity to look around. It may have been awkward for some, but it’s what I had to do. Oh, and then I saved several thousand dollars…..yes, there’s that!

  11. thomas says:

    I was looking at a house one time, the phone rang, and the dude pops out of the freaking foyer closet. I also have a story involving a raccoon, but that’s too good to share :)

  12. Dave says:

    When I was looking at houses, I always hated when people were around (even if they were hidden in a back room, etc). I never felt like I could actually talk with my wife/realtor about what I liked and didn’t because I thought the person was listening in.

    Also, the no personal items thing I think gets a bad rap. I think if you have a reasonable amount of family photos etc, no one will notice or care. I think the intent of the suggestion is for “stuff”. My wife and I took about 50 boxes out of our house prior to putting it on the market. Basically if we didn’t need it in the next 3 or 4 months, it got boxed up and moved out. The reason why they suggest you do this is so that spaces look bigger and more appealing. If you are looking at a house and can’t open the closet because there is so much junk crammed in there, you have no idea what you’ll get if you buy it…


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