House Sale Price Incentive (Lower the Price)

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After having the house on the market for 12 weeks, it’s time to increase the buyer’s incentive by lowering the price.  I learned that if you change the price, the listing goes back up to the top of Multiple Listings – plus the potential buyers are encouraged by “bargain buying”.  We lowered the price from $350,000 to $339,900.  My Move Manager immediately noted that the decrease “looks bigger than it is”… a concept that would not have occurred to me, but is absolutely true.  By reducing it to $339,900 instead of $340,000, it gives the impression of a much lower price by putting it in the 330,000s group instead of the 340,000s group.  Now, at Christmas time, we are having our highest traffic level to date.  When I expressed my surprise, Mr. Manager stated that if large corporations are going to transfer families (by giving the employee a big job opportunity in another city), they will often give notice to the employee in October, so that they have time to travel to the new site over the Holidays with their families to scope out the possibilities.

As the weeks go by, my out-of-pocket costs related to the “empty” house on the market have stabilized, but are still at $1400 per month. Granted, this is all not real expense, because after living in the house for 25 years, most of the payments now go to capital rather than paying for interest.  I will get most of the money back when I sell the house. But, the cash out is still $1400, and I’m paying it out-of-pocket.  That was also a factor in “speeding up” the sale by reducing the price.

An interesting technology experience came from the real estate agent sending me an Agency Agreement Amendment through DocuSign. I was not able to make the signature function work on my Smart Phone (an Android). When I tried to add the signature, the next screen was blank, but it did fine through Gmail, and I was able to print it for my file after a little encouragement.

We will see how the latest “trick of the trade” affects the sale of my lovely old house.

The Painters

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The painters were a critical part of the preparation for the sale of my house.  The exterior had relatively new siding, but the windows has not been painted in our 20-year residence. The interior was equally in need of refreshing. All rooms needed a coat of the light gray color selected by the Stager, as did all the closets.

The contractor (recommended by the real estate agent) provided the following quote <his text and grammar is reproduced> :

Exterior

Powerwashing paint all sinding and trim windows frames doors.

Interior 

Londry remove wall paper and paint cabinets White, Powder room paint walls and cieling family room paint only cieling office cieling walls and closet foyer cieling walls hallway walls and cieling, Bathroom walls and cieling hallway walls cieling master Bedroom walls cieling , Bedrom walls cieling closet, bed room remove wall paper paint cieling closet , Liven room paint cieling walls price labor material paint for all $3425

My move manager read the above, and summarized the necessary services:

– Power washing all of exterior

– Caulking as required outside

– Necessary repairs inside and out to the surfaces to be painted

– Includes all paint costs

– Priming to all repaired surfaces prior to painting inside and outside

– Interior ceilings

– Two coats of paint inside and outside

– Wall paper removal

Unfortunately, I looked at the two lists and thought that the painter’s looked complete.  A more methodical person would have looked at EACH of the spaces needing paint, and made sure that they were all covered.

The spaces that were omitted by the painter are in ALL CAPS in the following comprehensive list:

Exterior-

Power washing all vinyl siding, painting all non-vinyl siding (I had some in the garage),

Paint all doors and windows.

Interior –

Laundry, remove wall paper and paint walls and cabinets white (interior and exterior).

Powder room paint walls and ceilings AND CLOSETS

Family room, paint only ceiling (this was a paneled room)

Office paint ceiling and closet

Upper Foyer ceiling, walls AND CLOSET)/ Hallway ceiling, walls

Upper Hall Bathroom walls and ceiling

Bedroom (master) walls & ceiling AND CLOSETS(2), Bedroom 2, walls, ceiling, closet

MASTER BATH, WALLS,CEILING & CLOSET

Bedroom 3, remove wall paper, paint ceiling and closet.

Living room paint ceiling, walls

Other Spaces ADDED to original list :

Lower Foyer and Hall (paneled area that was dark) –

 -It was amazing how painting the stairwell white and adding a light carpet brightened the dark area

The Kitchen (mostly cabinets – little painted wall area).

-BUT – we should have had him paint the ceiling, which we did not think about until later.

Original Price $3425 (amazingly low, I thought for a 2800 sq. ft. home.)

He added painting the paneling in the lower hall, the four closets, and the master bath for an additional $200. I was very lucky.

The lesson learned was this: when dealing with a contractor doing a complex job with several possible options, be really diligent in defining the exact terms.  I have had success dealing with the contractors recommended on our Agent’s website.  I can be confident that those contractors are insured and bonded, and have a reputation for doing excellent work.

The Stager

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The saga of the House Sale has progressed through (1) Interviewing Potential Agents and (2) Selecting a listing agent. Now is the time for (3) The Stager.

As a component of her fee, my Agent is providing a Stager.  A young woman came to my house and spent about two hours. First, she chatted with me about what I would be comfortable doing in regards to preparing the house for public showings, then spent over an hour looking at the house room by room (with me not present), and presented a 5-page handwritten list of items that could be done to maximize the sales potential of the house. Of course, I turned it into a spreadsheet with columns of tasks for Handyman, Painter, and Owner.

The big picture items included replacing the gold doorknobs throughout the house with brushed nickel. I had not even noticed that the old ones were scratched and discolored. All toilet seats are to be replaced with new white ones (my husband had insisted on wooden), and mats removed. One bit of humor came as my daughter walked into the hall bath and announced that there was a white seat on our tan toilet – which we had not even noticed when we dutifully counted the three new seats required.

All the drawer pulls throughout the house were to be changed to brushed nickel. All of the walls painted Revere Pewter (a not-too-bright white), and empty of art, except for a few items that she designated to stay.  All closets half empty.  All counter tops as empty as possible. All carpets removed (we have beautiful hardwood floors that have always been covered).

All book cases half empty. That is the REALLY hard one for me – I have already donated a couple of hundred books to various organizations and people, and I still can’t tell a substantive difference.

The next big difference item is easy – Nice white body towels in the baths, nice white bedspread/comforter  and four fluffy pillows on the beds (two on singles).

Our downstairs has an old carpet that will have to be replaced (not unexpected), and baths recaulked (again, not a surprise).  The den is paneled, and the walls will have to be cleaned with Murphey’s Oil.

It will all look lovely.

My brother and sister-in-law came for the weekend to start the process.  We went to the Big Hardware Store and purchased toilet seats and door handles. We discovered that the drawer pulls would have to be ordered online because they are not a standard size (they have already arrived!). My brother has already changed all the door knobs and toilet seats. One bit of humor occurred as my daughter walked into the hall bath and announced that there was a white seat on our tan toilet – which we had not even noticed when we dutifully counted the three new seats required. I have not found the required tan one, and really don’t want to pay $50 to purchase one online and have it shipped. We’ll see if I can find one locally. Then my adult son came in this weekend and complained that the door knob on his bedroom was just “strange”. Change is hard.

The new house will have been purchased by then, so items to be “thinned out” can be stored there, but it requires a truck, and its location is several hours away. Now the “dance” of the house exchange really begins in earnest.