My Experience and Process of preparing my House of 20 years is documented below, The ups, downs, frustration and unexpected finds during this experience will hopefully entertain you as well as prepare you for such a move as we had experienced.
My wife and I have lived in this 2800 sf 135 year old house of 4 bedrooms and 2 baths for a little over 20 years. We have raised four kids who are now either married or at least out on their own for the last few years and the house is now in need of a family that will fill it as it use to be. Currently 3 out of the 4 bedrooms are empty to the point of only one bed and some yoga “stuff’, we have two offices in other rooms and out of the 10 rooms in the house we really only use four of them on a regular basis.
Our Plan was to sell this home, Rent at the beach from September to May and during this time find a home and downsize to a home that would shorten the commute for my wife. My profession is flexible as I am a painting contractor and do not have a set place were I have to be everyday and my wife work is in an office about a 40 minute ride from our present address. Our dream home would be a ranch or cape with a two car garage and a private back yard were our dogs could run. Oops, I forgot to mention we have two 70 plus pound Labs.
During our winter at the beach we would find a house and have time to perform any repairs, painting or modifications. Well at least it it/was the plan.
I will take you thru our journey chronologically and prepare you for a similar challenge if you so choose to accept.
Step 1: Choosing the Realtor
We choose a Realtor who was not only a friend but also we felt had the experience to “make this happen” as just last month he had 6 closings. We wanted some one with experience to handle this transaction as it is one of the biggest investments we have.
Now I have to tell all the other Realtors I know who are wondering why I did not list with them of why I choose “him”.
Step 2: The Realtor walk thru…
This is were he was brutally honest of what needed to be done prior to the listing of the house to realize maximum value for the property. The list was long and detailed from repairing and changing things that we lived with for years to little spruce ups and cleaning as every room had at least something earmarked to do.
(note: In the current sales market in Northern Massachusetts of summer of 2018 homes placed on the market are having multiple offers on the first day of the Open House with many having bidding wars)
Step 3: The list
My wife and I walked thru every room, closet, basement and exterior and made a list (actually she made the list as I told her I did not need a list).
The list consisted of things such as:
After all this work maybe I should stay..
This took much longer than expected from renting a dumpster for the debris from the sunroom and jacuzzi, btw if you ever have the chance to cut up a jacuzzi it is pretty neat inside. Crossing items of the list was gratifying but every time I crossed something off something new seemed to be added, such as cleaning out one of the closets of prom dresses from 10 plus years ago we found cracks in the old plaster walls, repair and repaint.
Cleaning out the basement or garage meant trips to our local Habitat Restore, Goodwill or book drop off. A sticker to the transfer station was purchased and multiple trips ensue to rid us of relics of years past. The garbage men must despise stopping at our house every week but the metal recyclers seem to appreciate the separate pile I leave them every other week.
I thought this list thing would of went by quicker but turned out to be a thorn in my side. The majority of the list were things only I was able to perform and it seemed when my wife worked on an item on the list we then uncovered additional items for “my” list.
OK now the list is almost done, lets have the Realtor back to go over the House Value.
Step 4: The Realtor meeting..
Lets get down to numbers but first another walk thru and some more brutal honesty… First comment :a strong dog smell, two wet dogs laying on a rug on a rainy day, Yup smells like dog.. yes but look up no more skylights
What took me over 6 weeks over working on the house everyday was glanced at for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds with a few nods of approval and a few comments.
The discussion of numbers, comps, timing, pictures, open house, ect. ect and we agreed on an asking price for the house ( I always want more but the numbers made sense).
Do we need a professional stager? Yes was the answer from all.
Step 5: Staging the house for sale not to live in..
note: prior to the Stage visiting we had to clean the entire home and while doing this the dog decided to find a skunk in the yard at 2 in the afternoon and share the fragrant skunk with us, the house and the truck. (we do not have time for this)
First the Home Stager, who I will refer to as Monique performs her walk thru with my wife and her notebook and me just agreeing and nodding my head.
I was pleasantly surprised that our purging and refreshing the house was acceptable by Monique. An agreement of timing and cost was set now I have to tackle my new list.
The Day has arrived…The dogs are boarded overnight so that they will not be a bother. Monique and a helper descend on our house with a minivan or goods, inflatable beds,, side tables and a keen eye of what will SELL or at least be appealing to the potential buyers.
Monique and crew finishes after 6 hours of moving and staging every room which I follow into every room to snap a few pictures as even I realize this house will never stay this way until the upcoming Open House.
Step 6: Pictures and Floor Plans..
As Monique (the Stager) is leaving the Realtor and Photographer arrive. This is becoming a long day.
As the Photographer who also performs the floor plans does his measuring for two hours myself and the Realtor review all the paperwork and disclosure paperwork regarding our house to note upgrades and history of the house.
While the Photographer does his magic we finish up the paperwork and my only other task is moving my truck out of the driveway.
note: after living in the house for 20 plus yeas while backing my truck out of the driveway for pictures I backed into the telephone pole across the street for the first time and caused approximately $1,500 worth of damage to my truck
The Realtor’s sign is now in our front yard with a “coming soon” placard on top. The neighbors are asking questions and slowing down as they pass.
Step 7: Hitting the Market..
It is Thursday morning and our house is now Live, on the market. The first showings are being held off until the Open House, keeping people in suspense.
This weekend is scheduled for an Open House on Saturday and Sunday and this also is the weekend prior to the 4th of July which falls on a Wednesday this week so it can be a guess of the attendance. To keep the house in museum status we will be taking the two dogs with us for a few days as this will also let the house to be shown as needed without any restrictions.
Our Realtor has had us download an app “Showingtime” to view the showings, confirm the showings if and as needed and what ever else may happen on this thing. I really do not need another app but it did come in handy to avoid all the phone calls.
Saturday was the first showings as all showings were held off till the Open House and a now a steady stream of potential new homeowners could visit our house with slim visiting restrictions thru Monday while we are away.
During this time we tried to curb our emotions to see if anyone “wanted our house”. Our Realtors feedback was positive with the attendance but the negative feedback was how hot the house was as it was in the high 90s for 5 days straight and we do not have central air conditioning. Our reaction was defensive between my wife and I as we have lived here many years with no central a/c.
Step 8: BOOM the offer:
Monday after our Open Houses and we were still away we were greeted with a missed voice mail and text from our Realtor asking to call him. “We have offers” Not one but three solid offers and with little negotiation and guidance from our Realtor we selected one early Tuesday morning.
If all goes according to plan we will be moving shy of 7 weeks from placing the house on the market.
I will continue this blog after the closing (fingers crossed) but i wanted to share a coupe notes from this experience.
Thanks for reading