To Sell a House…

  • So I went MIA for the entire summer. I had such high hopes for continuing this blog while we were transitioning from New York. In the world of blogging, the cardinal rule for success is consistent posting. But, let’s not call the whole thing off. I still have plenty to tell you about.

    We sold our house in Albany very quickly. In fact, the first couple to walk through the home, put an offer in. This was both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is obvious. The curse was that we only had the one couple come through so they kind of pushed us around a bit and we weren’t entirely sure how to navigate without other buyer feedback. The process was brutal, stressful, and kind of ruined our last couple of months in New York. But at the end of it all, the house was sold. This was the second house we sold in a timely manner. Some call it lucky. I call it- I know what I’m doing. Ok, it’s probably a combination of both. But, Adam and I worked our asses off to get that house ready to sell. Here is how we did it:

    1. Make a room by room list of all things that need to be addressed. Look at the rooms like a buyer. You might not think caulk with mildew is a big deal, but it is. Little stuff adds up to statements like, “that house needs a lot of work.” Go room to room and then just tackle a project each day.
    2. De-clutter. This should be obvious but very few people do it. Pack up everything that you won’t need. You’re moving anyway so get a head start on your packing. I took this as far as emptying every kitchen cabinet, wiping them down, and packing away the non-essentials. This goes for all household closets. Create the idea that there is ample space for storage. If your bedroom closet is small, pack up half of your clothes so that it appears like there is space to hang lots more. I packed up all the kid toys that would not fit in the few select baskets I had around the house. You may have gotten used to the kid clutter, but nobody else wants to be tripping on Mr. Potato Head while they are inspecting your crown moulding.
    3. Paint. If it looks dirty or dingy, paint it! I painted trim, doors, and window frames. It is one of the least expensive ways to update a house. Fresh paint makes a huge difference.
    4. Address the things that bothered you about the house when you were purchasing. For us, this was our freaky basement and laundry area. Our house was 110 years old. The basement was creepy. We scraped the walls of their peeling paint and repainted them white. The floor was dirty looking so we decided to paint the floor as well. They make some great garage and basement paints now. We organized all of our boxes down there on pallets and showed how much storage the basement offered. In the laundry area, we painted it a nice blue color and put in a folding table. If someone was in the market for a colonial house, our basement would stand apart. I also used a Glade plugin down there, fresh linen scent! If this is where laundry is being done, make it feel and smell like a laundry room!
    5. Create transcending rooms. It’s like when you are looking in magazines and see rooms that you just want for your own house? I personally could live in a Pottery Barn catalog. You need to take your home’s best selling features and bring them up and over-the-top. For us, this was the backyard with the gardens and our front porch with its swing. The backyard was fairly simple to address because it already had lots of plants which made the space appealing. I purchased $100 worth of black mulch to make all the beds pop and found a big empty planter box to store the kids’ outdoor toys. T-Ball sets and water toys can really be distracting. The front porch was the reason we bought our house so I knew someone else would feel the same way. A year ago, we spent an entire month refinishing our porch. A month before we listed the house, we gave it another fresh coat of paint. I sewed a new cushion for the swing and also some decorative pillows. I put a vase of fresh flowers out on the bistro table. The whole idea here is to get the buyer to see themselves hanging out in your house. This totally worked because the buyers asked for our porch furniture when they made their offer. At that point, I knew that the porch had pulled at the buyers’ heart-strings.

    I am confident that all these things are why our house sold quickly. It was a lengthy process to get our house ready to go. I began working on these things about 6 months before we knew the house was going on the market. The effort proved worthwhile and I am so grateful that we no longer own the house. Though, I miss it dearly! Now we are enjoying being renters and not having a bunch of chores for the time being. We plan on looking for a new home to buy sometime early next year. It is definitely more fun to buy than it is to sell!

    Here are some exterior photos of our home in Albany right before it hit the market.

    Fresh paint on the porch, black mulch in the beds, and nicely edged grass to give a crisp first impression.

    The backyard just needed some fresh mulch and nicely arranged furniture to convince buyers that they might stay awhile.

    The front porch did not have a swing when we bought the house. This was one of the first things we added. I knew it would add to the home’s value beyond just our enjoyment. Before we listed, I made some fresh pillows and a new seat cover.

    October 22nd, 2012 | girl has thyme | 3 Comments |

3 Responses and Counting...

  • Eileen 10.22.2012

    Nice post, jenny! I just loved your home even though i didn’t get to visit you there. So very, very glad you’re so much nearer!


  • You guys really did work your @sses off! Great check list too for anyone considering putting their home on the market. Only one more move and hopefully you’ll get to stay awhile (a long while) in your next abode! Glad you’re back to blogging!

    PS. I’m now day dreaming of making my house look like a pottery barn catalog. First step: major de-cluttering! Hope my nesting instinct kicks in soon. 🙂


  • I’m with Emily. This made me dream of making my house look like a Pottery Barn Catalog.


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