Looking Out From the Garage: February 2008

Into the mailbag V... We are selling, what should we do to our house?

Once again... off to the inbox to see what needs to be answered:

Lane, we want to sell our house in a few months.  What would be the best way to increase the value and get it to sell faster?

Good questions, both.   

First, what I always recommend is that your house be clean, uncluttered, and depersonalized.  I recommend that most sellers consult with a stager at least a few weeks before listing.  They might recommend paint, removing wallpaper, or updating some parts of the house.  These will increase the value and help it sell faster.  

Paint (especially if doing it yourself) will increase the value well beyond the investment.  Going to the local home improvement store and dropping $200 may yield a couple thousand dollars in return.  That is a pretty good Return on Investment (RoI).  Of course, the right colors will do the best job... and that is part of the stager's job.  Bold colors are usually not the ticket... but they might end up being exactly the ticket for some homes.  

Having a garage sale and getting rid of "stuff" that allows your house to have more open space is also almost always a good idea.   I can't imagine any better RoI than collecting $500 and then increasing the sale price of the house by a couple thousand.  And then you won't have to pack or move that stuff...

Replacing carpet, or refinishing wood floors may also be a good investment.  But, now we are talking less about money and more about time on market.  You might (or might not) clear the $2000 for new carpet.  You probably will get the return from spending a few hundred dollars to have the floors redone if they need it... at all).

Doing much more will probably not result in an increase of value that will offset the cost, much less give a positive RoI.  But, updating a kitchen or bath may certainly speed the sale.  Most buyers don't really want to buy a house to renovate.  They might say they do, but when it gets right down to it, they pick the pretty one. 

So, there you have it.  Keep in mind that I haven't seen your house, and we haven't consulted a stager.  

Final thought...  I keep mentioning consulting with a stager.  Some agents will tell you they do their own staging.  They may.  They may be good at it, too.  But, I have an accountant and a lawyer.  I am not a stager, and I don't have the same level of training.  My stagers aren't real estate agents.  If one spends all of their time staging, they will be better at it than someone that does it occasionally.  Same thing for real estate agents.

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Comment balloon 11 commentsLane Bailey • February 28 2008 08:39PM
Into the mailbag V… We are selling, what should we do to our house?
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Once again… off to the inbox to see what needs to be answered: Lane, we want to sell our house in a few months. What would be the best way to increase the value and get it to sell faster? Good questions, both. … more
Into the mailbag IV… Should we sell?
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Cleaning out the old inbox, and getting these questions answered… Lane, should we sell into this market? Talk about a tough question… Here is the short answer. No. That said, if you have to sell, you have to… more
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Unrealistic Buyer
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{Back in the day, I wrote a post called Dear Mr. & Mrs. Unrealistic Seller It was my first feature, and still sits as my busiest post with over 1500 views and around a 100 comments. Ever since October, I've wanted to write the balancing post… more
Into the mailbag III… New home inducements
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Back to the mailbox. These are the types of questions I am getting. Here is what I have to say: We are thinking about buying a new construction home. In the Sunday Paper the builders seem to be giving away the world. What is the deal… more
Into the mailbag II… When should we start to look?
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I decided to hit my inbox and see what sort of questions consumers may have… Lane, we are thinking about buying a house in 6 or 8 months. When should we start looking? A lot depends on the remainder of your situation. … more
Into the mailbag I… Buyer's price range
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I decided to hit a few of the questions that I see regularly in my inbox… Lane, we are looking for a house between $300, 000 and $325, 000. When you sent us listings, you sent them a little outside the range. I see houses here for $273… more
Hey Mortgage people… What do you think?
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Did you see the post yesterday on Hot Topic? Unintended consequences of regulating mortgage brokers Unintended consequences seem to be one of the themes I keep coming back to. Government, doing things that are designed to sound… more
I've heard voices…
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And they were smart voices. Wandering around in the Rain, there have been scores of bloggers pointing out that the federal government trying to "fix" the foreclosure crisis. Now, Inman News is saying the same thing (the link… more
Licensing requirements may be damaging our business…
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This isn't the first time I've written about this but recently, after reading a post by Lenn Harley, called HOW TO SUCCEED IN REAL ESTATE, GET REINTERMEDIATED It got me thinking. As many of you may know, I am a car guy. So, I will use… more
Politifact
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I ran across an interesting site… I don't know how… that might be of interest. Politifact. com It attempts to gauge the comments for and about various political candidates factually and without spin. I found that it was fair… but… more