How to prepare a house for sale —
I recently got married, and as most 50+ year old couples do, we had two homes and had to decide whether we would live in mine, his, or a new one.
So we weighed the pros:
- mine: closer to his work, no maintenance required
- his: bigger, nice deck and lawn and woods and garage for building boats, smaller mortgage,
- a new one: $$$$$$$.
So we decided to purchase property for our future new home, live in his home for now, and sell my home (the point of this blog).
We all know that most homes that are ready for sale aren’t really “ready.” They could use some fixing up, some straightening, a little paint. So as a realtor, we make suggestions for improvements. It’s frustrating when the homeowner ignores our suggestions, because they could get more money if the home was more marketable.
Viewing what is needed as a real estate agent
So here I am as the realtor, walking through my co-op, looking at it objectively. The home is NOT yet cleaned out, and not yet ready for sale. And I say, as the realtor, “YUCK. You, Mrs. Seller, have a LOT of work to do to get this place ready. All the rugs need to be ripped up and the hardwood floors refinished. The nail holes need to be spackled. The rooms need to be painted. The damaged doors need to be replaced. The damaged screens need to be fixed. All the furniture and clothes need to be removed. The kitchen could use a better stove and a new sink. And on and on and on.”
Viewing what is needed as a seller
So here I am as the motivated seller, listening to the realtor telling me what’s wrong with my place. I’m all gung ho. “YES,” I respond, “that’s exactly what I’ll do!” “I’ll do everything required to get top dollar.” And I’ve been working to get the home ready for sale.
The seller’s memories
Of course as I’m doing it, there’s a story associated with everything I find or fix. The holes in the screen from the teenager who was sneaking cigarettes in his room. He thought it would be fun to see if screens melt when a lit cigarette is pressed on them (they do). And the same teenager who thought it was interesting enough to do it about 10 more times.
The patches required in the wall from the rewiring of cable for the TV. At the time, we didn’t have any more of the crazy green paint to patch it up so it stayed sort of half-done.
The angry teenager that punched a door. Did you know bedoom doors for the most part are hollow? Well, that has to be replaced.
The teenager who locked the door of his bedroom and he didn’t have the key so he tried to take the knob off. From the outside. He damaged the wood next to the knob. That door has to be replaced.
The bathroom door that must have gotten stuck shut and someone tried to kick it open. The very bottom is damaged. That door needs to be replaced.
The 50 year old pink bathroom that I had every intention of replacing when I moved into the apartment. Of course, with all the financial obligations of a parent, I never got around to doing that. I’m still not going to be able to do it, but need to get in there and scrub every single little 1″ square pink tile that cover the floor and the shower. I also have to remove the adhesive that is still on those little tiles from the time I tried to cover up the pink with floor tiles.
The kitchen floor tiles with cracks that had cracks when I moved in and that I swore I would replace. I never did. I’m not going to now either, although it does take away from the marketability.
So here’s the thing I’m realizing. This work is exhausting. I am extremely tired after my recent day of ripping out carpet and staples and carpet boards and carrying garbage to the garbage room. My legs are sore, my back hurts, I’ve got holes in my fingers and scratches on my legs. But that’s not what I realized that I want to share.
It’s this. I, the seller, just want to get rid of this place. My heart is already somewhere else. I don’t care about this place, it’s just a co-op. It’s not my home anymore. As a seller, I just want to turn the place over to someone else. I want to let them fix it, let them sell it. I just want a check.
Sellers are DONE
I think sometimes sellers ignore realtors because they’re just DONE. “Yes,” they think, “we could get more if if it’s in the best shape”, but maybe they just want to get rid of it and pay off the mortgage and move on. That’s what some sellers might think. Others of course think their home is just awesome and simply could not be improved upon.
This particular seller is exhausted and tired of working on her place. However, this seller is also going to do what it takes to get the home in the best possible condition for sale.
But these aches and pains are certainly making me feel my age and that has GOT to stop!