Sell Your Own House
I've watched them a few times, and am amazed at the stupidity involved. Here's the premise, in case you have a job and don't sit at home watching tv:
1. They showcase a house that is on the market, and can't sell
2. "Experts" come in and walk around the house pointing out all the reasons the house isn't selling
3. On some shows, they have prospective buyers come through the house and tape their observations
4. Experts tell the homeowners how they are going to take away the things that make the house un-sellable, and add things that make the house more appealing
5. The prospective buyers come back and again, their observations (now positive) are again taped and shown to the homeowners
There are several reasons why this whole thing is ridiculous. I am going to tell you all you need to know about how to sell your house, so you don't have to watch these shows (you're welcome).
Firstly, Unless you are my friend Beth who is a minimalist, take a minimum of half your shit, and throw it out, give it away, sell it or store it somewhere (other than in your house). You either have too much shit, or the wrong kind of shit. Take down all personalized stuff. That picture of your grandparents on their wedding day in 1948? The one with all the kiddie-cousins sitting on the staircase? The cookie jar on your kitchen counter in the shape of a cat? It all goes away. Any items that show what kind of person you are get taken away. People need to be able to envision themselves in your house. I never see this addressed on the shows, but I think religious items should be taken down unless you are like, in the Bible-belt and having a bible on the coffee table will be a selling point.
Now you are wondering, "With all my stuff gone what should be in its place?" Instead of pictures of you and your friends skiing, put up pictures of nature or flowers. Did you just roll your eyes? I did too. But flowers are neutral and familiar. Pictures of the ocean are calming. My friend with an MFA told me once that pictures should always be in sets of odd numbers, because that's more calming than even numbers.
Secondly, if you have hardwood floors, buff them up and show them off. If carpeting is covering hardwood floors, get rid of it. If you have wallpaper, steam it off and paint. If your paint is faded, re-paint. If you have pets that create a smelly house, make your house un-smelly.
Thirdly, clean the fuck out of everything. If your faucets are from 1985, switch them out for new ones to make your house look updated. If your shower curtain is mildew-y, switch that out for a new one too. By the way, you know that front panel on dishwashers? From watching these shows I learned that the older ones are often magnetic, and you can just pop it off, flip it, and put it back on, making the dishwasher look newer and cleaner.
Now, I am always amazed by how much people focus on furnishings and decorations. People, you are smart, so I know you know that if you move into a house, all that stuff will be gone. Statistics show that staged homes sell for more money. You can't argue with that fact. I happen to love looking at houses and can tell you that no matter what furnishings a house has, I look around ignoring all the furniture so I can envision my own furniture there. Okay, or the furniture I'd like to have.
It really blows me away that prospective buyers will come into a house, look around, and make fun of the flowered wallpaper, or comment on how they don't like the furniture. These things are all going away or can be changed easily! Are they really that simple-minded? Drives me nuts.
Let's talk about the outdoors. It's fall! Just kidding, I meant let's talk about the outdoors in terms of selling a home. Actually, first let me interrupt myself, by talking about safety. I used to live next door to a guy that was retired from the FBI, and he wrote a book about safety (think Gavin de Becker). He gave our family one of his books, and we all read it. I was a kid then, so probably don't remember everything, but here are two things that stand out:
1. Do not tell everyone and their mother that you're going on vacation. Tell as few people as humanly possible! Talk about your vacation after you're back.
2. You do not want big bushes or foliage right next to your front door to your house. You do not want to give "bad guys" a place to hide so that when you are unlocking your door they push in right behind you before chopping off your hands and feet and then setting you on fire (the book didn't say that part, I did). The point is, don't help the bad guys.
So. Keep that second thing in mind when staging the outside of your house for buyers. I'm sure you can find some nice low-to-the-ground shit to put on either side of your door. The experts on these tv shows always say to make sure your house number is easily visible from the street, and to have a nondescript, clean mailbox. If you have outdoor furniture, either make sure it's not rusty or cover up the rusty parts.
Lastly, I was told that when you are showing a house, every single light in each room should be on, to make the house look brighter. This advice comes from real estate agents, and people selling homes who've told me what their real estate agents have said. Now I personally like homes that have tons of natural sunlight. In every apartment I've ever lived in besides my current one, there's been enough natural sunlight (no skylights) that I never need to turn on lamps unless I'm in a bathroom or closet. So if I were buying a house I'd walk around turning OFF all the lights to see how much natural sunlight there is.
And there ya go.
Labels: People watching