We have had our 3 bed 2 bath "starter home" on the market for about a year. We have heard from multiple agent that have shown our home

Asked by L. D., 83714 Sun May 30, 2010

that it "shows beautifully". We realize now that we were probably over priced to begin with, but now we just want to sell it. We have dropped our price and are now considering what else we can do to make our house appealing to buyers. These are the things that we have contemplated doing:
Replacing the stove (coil style) - it works perfectly but it starting to show some wear. Do you think that it could be worth the $600 to put in a new glass top stove?
Painting an accent wall - We have accent wall in our front room. Our agent thinks that it is fine. But I wonder if it isn't better to return it to the almond color of the rest of the walls after watching so much hgtv. Thoughts?

Thank you in advance for any help you might give. I don't want to spend money that we don't need to, but if the consensus is that they should help our sale, then it would be worth it.

I know that these are questions that we should be asking out agent, but we are done with them and are waiting for our contact to expire.

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Sandra J Ste…, Agent, Cottonwood, AZ
Sun May 30, 2010
I am going to give you 10 good ideas for selling your home •

1. Clean. Those nice angled vacuum lines, gleaming windows, and perfectly manicured lawns in Model homes speak to a potential buyer - You don't have to do a thing. A Realtor can translate that into - A little elbow grease goes a long way. A super clean home says "turn-key" to the potential buyer. Have every inch of the home, blind slats to porch light glass, super clean and perfectly coiffed. A $100-$200.00 cleaning is well worth the investment

2. Fresh & Smells Good. People buy homes on emotion, and your 5 senses are a direct path to your brain. If a home smells and looks Just like you would detail your car to sell, invest in clean and spotless carpets, patched, repaired and freshly painted walls and new appliances if the old have seen better days. Be wary to skip this step and take the low road with room refreshers, candles and stove burner covers - Potential buyers are not fooled.

3. Color. Any advertising executive will tell you color is key to properly packaging a product; and a listed home is just that, a product. Throw away the off-white manta of old school home staging rules - Welcome to the era of HGTV. Using color is a powerful and inexpensive way of making that home stand out from the rest, and with so many decorating TV shows boasting the benefits of color, you better get hip to hues. From 1st Web impressions to curb-appeal, color is a strong emotional tug for the potential buyer. Update yourself on the latest color trends in wall color, appliance, fixtures, etc... and apply it to your target buyer. For home staging, use earthy, calm tones for the bigger areas such as wall color and add pops of saturated colors in the details; such front doors, accessories or annuals.

4. Make Space - Reduce, organize, upscale and edit all the home's spaces when it comes to closets and storage areas. If the home's price point dictates, upscale the closets with custom organizing options.

5. Clear a Path. Consider that many people with be walking through the home. Make sure traffic patterns, entrances and exits are well established. Too much furniture, undefined entrances and awkward walkways confuse and discourage buyers from moving about the property. Lead and create a concise walking pattern for potential buyers starting at curbside to back fence.

6. Lovely Layouts. From the landscape to furniture placement, take a clue from Models homes that continuity and flow make for a good mix. Create curb appeal with nicely maintained landscaping, added annuals and perennials, an inviting stoop and well groomed walk and driveways. Inside, make sure each room depicts what its function is, enhances the highlights of the room, fireplaces or upgrades, and allows the buyer to envision themselves in the space.

7. Set the Mood. Create ambiance and character in the home with well thought out placement of sensory and lifestyle components. Soft music, lighting on dimmers, candles lit, and fresh floral are all great ideas for Broker or Open houses. If you have concern about candles, battery operated candles that even have timers built in are now readily available. Stage the dining room table tastefully, or set the stage in a back yard with a detailed patio retreat.

8. On the opposite note, don't over accessorize, go over-board with the lifestyle tips or create "store bought theme" rooms (i.e. Chef-with-a-Hat Kitchen or Anniversary Bathtub area complete with Champagne bottle.)

9. Appeal to a Target Buyer. Consider "WHO" the ideal buyer is that will be interested in the property, and market the property accordingly. From advertising photos to furniture, consider who will find this appealing and desirable.

10. Your Realtor® will Market, Market, Market. Model Homes have great marketing incentives inside and out. From clear address markers, great signs, to small exit giveaways, to survey - market that listing to the fullest.
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Jun 1, 2010
Some very good advice below.

A few additional thoughts:

Get a good home stager to come in an give you a detailed report. It'll probably cost $250-$350, but it'll be well worth it. A stager can tell you (1) what changes are most desirable, and (2) which changes would be most cost-effective. For example, while a new stove might be an improvement, perhaps there are far more effective things you can do with $600. And a home stager could address the issue of the accent wall. As a side note, Sandra's tips are excellent, but--as you'll see from reading through them--some of them really require the expertise of a stager to make work.

Get a new CMA. Know what the current comps are. And then actually take a look at your competition--homes that are active and that potential buyers will view at the same time they're looking at yours. You obviously want to be perceived as the best value, and that's a combination of price and appearance/condition. So--scout your competition.

And as you've learned by now--maybe others reading your question and these responses will realize--feedback from other agents has limited value. My experience has been that if you manage to get feedback at all, it's usually quite positive. The reason: People, particularly agents, don't like to say bad things, even about other listings. So they'll search around for something--anything--positive to say. And in your case, at best your home does show well. But the agents, searching for something good to say, said "Shows beautifully" rather than "Overpriced by $20,000." Or perhaps "bad neighborhood." Or perhaps "you can hear that highway noise through the home." Or whatever other drawbacks there might be. Even a lot of listing agents are reluctant to be frank with their clients.

So--hope that helps.
0 votes
Build Idaho, Agent, Eagle, ID
Tue Jun 1, 2010
One of the respondents is Paul Heim. He has been very successful with other clients and listing their home and more importantly closing. You should give him a call if you are in the market for a representative.
0 votes
Build Idaho, Agent, Eagle, ID
Tue Jun 1, 2010
It boils down to two things-
1) Presentation is everything!
2) It is always about money.

I am sure you have had a realtor present you with comps but you should not only look at that but maybe you need to go see those homes so you can see for yourself what buyers are looking at.

Best of luck
Web Reference:  http://www.BuildIdaho.com
0 votes
Dawn Mitchell, Agent, Boise, ID
Mon May 31, 2010
In this market your product needs to shine to obtain top dollar. If something bothers you about your home, don't you think it bothers most potential home buyers. I don't want to spend your money, but, give your home a "spring cleaning" every week. Add some flowers, I bet your wife would appreciate that. Everyone loves a clean, uncluttered home. Paint is cheap. Check out Craigslist for a used stove. Be frugal, be creative, think out of the box. Advertise, have open houses.... and most importantly be priced correctly. There are lots of buyers, interest rates are low. All of these comments below are saying; we will do our part to sell your home, but a lot of responsibility is on the seller to be accomodating with showings, keep your house clean, smelling clean, no dishes in the sink, be an active seller!
Contact me http://www.boiserealestatedawnmitchell.com
0 votes
New View Real…, Agent, Meridian, ID
Mon May 31, 2010
I feel your pain. As a Realtor I have been through more homes than I can care to count, so I wrote an article that touches on ten ways to Improve the allure of your home without breaking the bank. Please let me know if it assisted you.

0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sun May 30, 2010
Hi L.D.

Check the following link out or copy it into your browser:


Sometimes it also makes sense for you to take it off the market for 45-60 days and re list it.

I think you hit it, its been on the market for a year, you are over priced and its a starter home.
So what is the value you are bringing as a seller.

Also, if you have decide to go with other agents you should be interviewing other agents now and getting their
opinion now. A little wear on the coil or color wont help when you are over priced.

Maybe you want to offer incentives to a buyer:

Such as help with closing costs
Lower the price 3-5% below market to create a multiple offer situation
Help buying down the interest rate on a buyers loan.
Offer a vacation to the Buyers agent or the Buyer
Offer a higher commission to the Buyers' agent

Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes
Jim Paulson, Agent, Boise, ID
Sun May 30, 2010
Interesting, my answer posted but not with text so I will repost.

I have been a Realtor here in Boise for 19 years and always coach my buyer clients to not pay much attention to things that change. Therefore, if the buyers are coming with a Realtor like me, you wouldn't need to paint or change the stove. However, some people can only see the obvious that is in front of them so if it looks bad, consider changing it, but not at the costs you mentioned.

I use a number of handymen that do small jobs for my clients all the time to dress up my listings when needed, but keep in mind there is a point of diminishing returns. Hopefully your Realtor has personally previewed some of the homes you are competing against to give you insight to where you are in the market. For example, did you know you can have a new home built in your zip code in a nice area that is 1400 sq. ft. 3 bedroom 2 baths for about $150k? If not, go take a look at them and honestly ask yourself which home you would buy based on your current list price?

Have you considered turning your home into a rental so your tenants could pay off that home while you retain the tax advantages? Then you can continue with your plans to buy your next home that meets your needs better!

Now more than ever, it is important to look at all options when buying and selling a home.

Hope that helps!
Jim Paulson
Owner/Broker - Progressive Realty Corporation
(a BBB accredited company)
0 votes
Jim Paulson, Agent, Boise, ID
Sun May 30, 2010

I don't want to interfere with the relationship you already have with a Realtor, but since you asked, it is ok for me to answer. I take our Realtor Code of Ethics very seriously!

Every buyer is unique; however, I would never let one of my buyers not buy a home due to something that is easily fixable after closing (i.e. the stove or paint). The main thing is to show in repaired condition so it doesn't look like it needs a bunch of work.

In your zip code, there are currently 229 listings for sale so there is a lot of competition. 80 of them are 3 bedroom 2 baths like yours.

Prices are all over the board right now including short sales that are sometimes listed below what banks will actually accept which really plays havoc with pricing. Also, there are new homes being built that are about 1400 sq. ft. for about $150K. I suggest looking at them to see how they compare to your home and see if you were a buyer, which one you would still honestly buy. Putting yourself in the eyes of a potential buyer can be a rude but necessary experience in selling your home.

Now more than ever, you need to look at all aspects of what it takes to sell your home including but not limited to: loan options, competition, pricing trends, inventory levels, which repairs add value to a home, marketing, etc. Have your agent run the numbers again to make sure you are priced to compete if you can afford to.

Some sellers are choosing to rent their smaller homes and then buy the next home and wait for the pricing to come back up on the smaller homes.

Hope that helps!
Jim Paulson
Owner/Broker - Progressive Realty Corporation
0 votes
Tim Burroughs, Agent, Meridian, ID
Sun May 30, 2010

Your question is one the puzzles lots of sellers. The seller can control the condition and price of a home. Neither the seller or the agent can control the location, except to adjust it based on where the house is located.

The key is to look at what has actually sold, and compare your house to them. Another good idea is to see the homes you are competing with. If you see other homes that are priced similar to yours but are in better condition, then you need to place yours in better condition to compete.

Was your home staged? Were any items that needed repair, fixed before you went on the market?
Were professional photographs taken?

All these items allow a home to show its best when on the market.

I would recommend that since you have been on the market for quite a while that you stop the listing for at least 31 days between agents to re-set the days on market and cumulative days on market to zero. It will also give you time to interview other agents and find the right one to work with.

Make sure they work full-time in the real estate business. Many agents have had to take other jobs because they do not sell enough to make ends meet. They may not be here to finish the job.

Thanks for listening. When your contract is over, I'd be happy to talk with you.
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Sun May 30, 2010
You would likely get a lot better of a quality reply if you gave the address or MLS#. Seeing the property gives agents an idea of what to say.
0 votes
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