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Don Reser, Real Estate Pro in San Antonio, TX

Help, I really want to sell a home for a very deserving couple. It has been on the market in the teeth of

Asked by Don Reser, San Antonio, TX Sun Jan 18, 2009

the down turn. The house was built in the 1980;s. It is in a great location and I believe priced right. The comments have come back about the bathtub being blue and in general that the house is not updated. The couple have a newborn and had to move back to be with family in another state. What advice can anyone give? As to painting, does anyone have some tested neutral colors they use that they can give a name or Pantone number. HELP.

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i had someone offer $20k off asking price because of a blue bathtub. This was a great house,great location,best school district. When the inspection was done(for another buyer) the inspector said he couldn't remember a house in such perfect condition. the only thing he could find in the entire house was that the AC coil needed cleaning. yet someone blew a chance to get this great house because of a blue bathtub!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Hi Don,

I strongly agree with the suggestion of having the bathroom tile/tub/sinks refinished. It's a relatively low cost & quick way for helping a dated bathroom appear more updated & appealing to what buyer's are looking for. You may also want to recommend painting cabinetry & installing new hardware, which will also help to bring a more updated appearance at a low cost.

In terms of paint, I always recommend looking at warm neutral colors--which doesn't always have to be beige or white. Other popular colors are blues, greens, and grays.

Honestly it would be in your best interest---time & money wise---to consult with a professional home stager in your area. She/he can recommend paint colors tailored for that particular home depending on location, features, lighting etc. The stager can addtionally help to identify other "facelifts" that are necessary to help bring the home up to date for today's market. Many stagers also work closely with other service providers and can recommend a reliable company to refinish the bathroom tub & tile.

The small investment & time will go a long way in helping to get this house sold quicker.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hey Randy,

Nope no rain.

I thought it might have been in the newsletter. I went back to check it, but couldn't find it in the one I looked through, so I guess I had deleted the one it appeared in already. I thought it seemed odd that it would suddenly attract so much attention without a push of some sort (ie, the newsletter).
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hello Don,
Yes, we all know about the problem when a home is not updated and won't sell. I had some of them myself.
There are "bath fitters" out there. They come in one day and put a fitting over the tub. The seller should invest in this, it makes a difference.
Go on-line and look it up where they are in your area.
If my listings aren't updated I use somebody who will paint the rooms for a very reasonable price and of course I help them, because I want to sell the house too. The price is negotiated for paint and labor with the seller and either paid out of settlement or right away. Staging will help also, especially in the bathrooms and kitchen. Good luck selling. Doris G.C 21 Alliance in NJ
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I sold a home with a Harvest Gold bathroom that looked fabulous! The shower curtain and accessories complemented the outdated (albeit in perfect condition) bath and sink. The walls were neutral and not wallpapered. I had over 30 people at an Open House and there was not one complaint about the bath color. All comments were complimentary. You can "stage" an outdated bath if it is in great condition.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Pricing is Key, I have had success with warm neutral beiges, and ivory. A light taupe color can be relaxing in a living room or bedroom.
As far as colored fixtures, I have had the same issues- but don't let it become an overwhelming problem. There is a company called Miracle Method- they have franchise locations in many areas. Here's a link to their website:
They can re-color fixtures- fiberglass or tile in as little as one day without tearing it apart. I got a quote here locally for $700 for a full tub surround. I know some people can't see past the colors.

Having the house soft-staged to enhance the positive features can help people see past the negatives. But, ultimately- price is king.

All the best to you!
Web Reference:
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Hey all and thanks for all the help. First I did not get Randy's email so sorry. Second, I really really appreciate all the help and advice, especially the exact color names. What I did not add about this story and it is true is the following. After locating here with a major airline opening a base they had a baby, but on the same day the baby was born, the mother's brother was killed in Iraq. Then they had to leave because the airline closed the base. Anyway, the help is appreciated.

What I have done on my own is hire someone to fix the sprinkler system, which is needed as the house is turning way to brown. Second we bought trays of purple panseys and red cyclamen and planted all around. I installed a small pondless waterfall. I am adding a few pieces of furniture, including a queen bed in the master. I am still evaluating the tub issue.

I really appreciate all the input from the community. This property is in Braun Oaks, which I think is a great area. I will keep everyone apprised of developments.


Thanks again.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
It's amazing how money will show your property. Up your agent comps or offer a bonus, the house will be shown alot more and with enthusiasm!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I just read your post and wanted to offer an inexpensive solution that will work beautifully on the blue bathtub. I had an opportunity to see this product in "action" at a homeshow that we participated in last year. The process is completed in one day and should cost around a ballpark figure of $300. As a professional home stager, I can tell you that the blue tub will definitely KILL the sale. As you know, buyers have so many properties to choose from that they can afford to be picky. The house down the street with the updated bath will get the offer. Buyers don't want to be bothered with these kind of updates. Here is a link to the Texas "Miracle Method." I hope this helps your sellers and you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Sorry, had an internet glitch...hopefully you didn't get this answer twice! Resurfacing the tub is a fabulous idea unless it's fiberglass. Had one today with beige & pink marble jet tub. Can you imagine? But the beige & pastels are in. (Ok, not the fixtures, but get creative!) If your seller can't resurface, just accessorize! Find some fab blue/beige towels, shower curtain and hip accessories and rock that bath out! If you can't find that, white accesories, towels and fresh soap will always make a bath look clean! Good luck! PS: a great neutral color is Sherwin Williams Latte. It's a mid-range color with a true beige finish. Stay on the same color card and you can go lighter or darker. A life saver!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Nomadic Desert. It's a wonderfully soothing, neutral color. Not too dark or light and it looks rich. Just right.
It sells.

I work with many investors that build new & remodel and the color is a hit 9 out of 10 times.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
In addition to getting quotes from pro's for refinishing the tub a more hand's on approach would be to buy the do it yourself kits sold at home improvement stores such as Lowes. Having used the product on an investment house of my own I recommend using the spray can rather than the brush on.

You might also want to consider other options to attract buyers such as:
1. Offering closing cost assistance to buyers
2. Offering to pay discount points to lower the buyers interest rates
3. Finding out about state and local down payment assistance programs in your area and offering brochures to potentail buyers ( and have your mortgage broker prequalify)
4. Offer to pay a few months of the buyers new mortgage

Hopefully at least ONE of these suggestions will prove useful to you! Good luck!

Melanie Carney
Sales Manager
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
I can relate to the blue bathtub! I worked with a seller that had an immaculately clean house with an outdated kitchen and baths. We had the bathtub AND the ceramic tile painted. Many other realtors have suggested this and I'll tell you it makes a huge difference. Make sure you hire someone who knows what they're doing. Ultimately, this house sold, but it was about $25,000 lower than the current list price. Condition and cleanliness are important, however price it right and it will sell.
Best of luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Bath tubs can be painted (it cost me about $300) If your sellers don't want to do it, at least have a couple of professional quotes, for painting tub and house, add these to your brochures. Affordable estimates can take the fear out of the buyers, and shouldn't cost you or your seller a dime.

Best of luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 20, 2009
The BEST person to help you is a TOP Realtor in your area. I would be happy to refer to a Realtor that can help you.

So much of real estate is local. You need to know the 10-12 homes that buyers are comparing this property to, and based on the time this property has been on the market, how many other comparable homes have:
come on the market
lowered their price
gone into escrow

VALUE is what sells a home. Based on the Trulia stats you appear to have a pretty good market.That being said, cleaning, painting, decluttering, staging, and photos/virtual tour, combined with pricing, should result in a sale.

However, I do not know your competition. Email be directly if you need a referral.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
It is a buyers market. Price is king.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009

If you can provide a link to the home or an MLS number that would certainly help. A blue bathtub could easily be seen as a problem by many people. Perhaps getting it resurfaced would be a good solution? As for painting, light beige colors seem to be the most popular neutral colors right now. White is always better than dingy white. I agree with Danny as well about staging, it can really help out a home. It used to be that staging was only for the upper end of the market, but now, staging has become even more useful on lower priced homes.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009

This is a Buyer's Market, so you have two choices - perfect staging and condition, or price it cheap. There are no other options. Other than wait it out. IMO, the market has bottomed and is even working on a upswing (slight as it is) but if you can't get the condition to look as good as new, then you have to price it under market value 5-10%
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
Hi Don!

The very first thing you should do is to list the property on this site, Trulia. Then you should list it on Zillow.

Do you have a link to the listing where we could see the 'color issues' you mentioned? It's rather difficult to make recommendations like that when we can't see what's there. The thought of a blue bathtub gives me the shivers, tho, so you might want to talk to a local contractor about either replacing the tub or painting it.

Regarding color selection, are you talking about painting the interior or exterior?

Best regards,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 18, 2009
I have been staging homes since '97. Send me a link with pictures of the home and I will tell you what to do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
I can tell you, Matt! In Trulia's recent e-newsletter, they featured this question and provided a link to answer it. You and I answered it a LONG time ago, but the rest of these folks didn't even see the question until the newsletter hit their Inbox. ;-)

Has it rained yet? LOL


p.s. I emailed Don directly and suggested he get on here, read the answers, and then let us know what he's doing with the blue bathtub property. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I'm curious, why all of a sudden has this become such a hot question?

There were 8 answers up until January 20 (2 days after the question went up) - now suddenly in the last two days there are 10 additional answers. Just seems odd that it was resurrected recently. Just wondering out loud I guess.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Light colors (white, eggshell, etc...) will make a small room seem larger and allows for better visualization of a broad range of styles and tastes. As for the blue bath, in our area there isa company called "ReBath." They can do an insert over an existing tub or shower along with tub surrounds. They can cover old tiles, and basically in a days time convert and update an entire bath relatively inexpensively (at least in comparison o a full remodel). I'm sure there is someone near you who offers a similar service. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
send me your listing. I need to visually see it in order to give my best advice.

It's a tough market so it's good to incorperate the old and new to show buyers the potential without going through a total refurb. San Antonio is a great location.
I look forward to viewing and helping you if I can.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
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