Pinterest is the latest social media craze enabling businesses and individuals to collect and track interesting visuals and web links, and then organize them into self-labeled “pin boards.”
For example, you can create a pin board labeled, “Places I want to travel” or “Cars I want to drive” or “Home Showing Ideas.” If you’re trying to sell a house, this last pin board is a great way to collect beautiful images that show how to stage every room in your home so buyers will fall in love with it.
Recently, Homeinsurance.org wrote a blog post about helpful Pinterest boards for home buyers. I found that some of these boards would also be very useful if you’re trying to sell a home. So let me introduce you to a few of these home selling idea boards — which just may launch you into your own late night obsession:
American Realty – Expert Advice on Selling Your Home: This pin board gives you some great visual tips on how to make your home stand out in today’s competitive real estate market, including tips for decluttering and organizing your basement, garage, kitchen countertops, closets and much more.
Home Depot – Curb Appeal: Showcases lighting and interior fixtures, garden ideas and how to create captivating entryways, porches and flower-filled window boxes.
Jess Ica – Green Solutions: Shows you how to get your home sparkling clean using simple, everyday products such as lemon and salt. For example, you’ll learn how to remove furniture dents from your carpet using ice cubes and how to use baby oil to make your faucets glisten.
These are just a few examples of pin boards that can motive you in your home selling efforts. When you’re ready to take a break from admiring these great boards, and want to check out something completely different, you can take a look at my Amazing World board, filled with captivating images taken by photographers all over the planet.
And… if you’d like more ideas on how to sell your house faster, market it better, and stay saner while waiting for a buyer, read my guidebook, Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them, available on Kindle and in paperback.
”I don’t want to and you can’t make me!” Most everyone has heard a child scream this, but these days a number of home sellers are feeling the same way. When you’re already facing lower property values due to the real estate decline, the last thing you want to do is spend more money enhancing your home, only to sell it.
That’s understandable… but, if you really want to attract serious home buyers, keep your sales contract from falling through, and get the best possible price, you need to swallow hard and fix that house.
You may be in luck, the only fixes you may need to make are to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, unstick a tight hinge on your window frame and put some oil on a creaky door. Or, you may have to do more extensive, expensive work — such as fixing your roof or replacing an old furnace.
In either case, the cost of making repairs can easily outweigh the price of digging in your heels and yelling, “No! I don’t want to!” The cost of your refusal can mean more money lost or spent while waiting for a sale, the possibility of additional home problems cropping up, and months wasted on unsuccessful home selling — instead of enjoying the next chapter in your life.
Is it worth it? Come on… admit it. Maybe you ought to at least consider it?
If I’ve been able to budge you from your position, here’s what you should do:
First, get your home inspected now, instead of waiting to find out what’s wrong with it when you’ve got a potential buyer on the line. This will eliminate unexpected shocks for both you and the buyer and give you a chance to fix problems that might scare someone away. The more things you can fix now, the less overwhelmed your buyer will be, and the less likely he or she will cancel the sale.
Fixing the small things matters. Buyers often think small problems are telltale signs of bigger ones, in the same way that a stain on someone’s shirt may provide a glimpse into their deeper flaws. So, if you want to prevent someone from thinking your wobbly door knob represents more serious underlying issues, tighten that door knob today.
Many buyers will also use your home’s flaws as an excuse to offer you a lower price. They interpret these flaws as a lack pride in your home, or that you lack the money to fix them and are desperate and willing to sell for less.
When it comes to making major repairs, get several estimates on the price of the work. If you can, have the work performed before or while your home is on the market. If you can’t afford the repairs, the estimates you receive will indicate how much money you’ll need to deduct from your home price. If you don’t know the cost of the repairs in advance, you may end up taking more money off than is necessary to close a deal.
I’ve heard of many a home seller who refused to spend $5,000 in repairs, only to knock off more than $15,000 to reel in a buyer. If these sellers had gone out and got estimates in advance, they could have at least offered the buyers a credit for that amount — instead of selling the home at a much lower price.
Hopefully this blog post will make you feel less like yelling, “I don’t wanna!” and more like saying, “Okay… I’ll think about it.”
For hundreds of good ideas on how to make home selling easier, faster and saner, read Home Seller’s Blues And How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and ebook through Amazon.com and at http://www.homesellersblues.com.
One of our dear blog readers who sold her home recently wrote to share a quirky home selling issue: Some of the houses she and her family toured before finally buying their next home, looked great from the outside, but once inside, they were bowled over by the home seller’s, let’s call it, extreme taste.
For example, they fell in love with the exterior of one Colonial style home the minute they parked. It had long white columns, black shutters, and it sat on a picturesque acre. Ahhhh. But upon crossing into the interior sanctum, they found themselves in a Golden Greek Temple.
The home had ancient scroll wallpaper, stonework covered in hieroglyphics, and white and gold everywhere. And even though their son was smitten by the Greek statues of naked women lining the pool, the family voted it thumbs down. It was just too hard to look past the decor, and they couldn’t see themselves happily living in a museum.
I’ve witnessed this phenomena myself: Once I entered a home and suddenly felt I had slid into a pink dream. Everything around me was various hues of rose, from the walls, carpet and curtains to the super-sized sofa, coffee table, throw rugs and pillows. It felt like my eyes were somehow unable to focus–as if washed out a gauzy film of muted color.
Yes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and if the beholder is a home buyer who doesn’t share your taste, your home selling efforts are in trouble. If you want people to take your home seriously, you’ve got to make it feel anonymous so home buyers can project their own tastes onto your space.
One successful home seller I interviewed was deeply in love with Chinese art. She surrounded herself with red silks, stone lions, temple figurines and floral vases. She even hung art from her ceiling because she had ran out of wall space.
When it came time to put her home on the market, however, she knew to think of her home as “merchandise” — instead of her personal canvas for self-expression. So she took a deep breath and boxed up all her loves, knowing she’d only be apart from them temporary. And temporary it was. Her clean, uncluttered style attracted a quick buyer. In less than two months her Chinese art was up again, hanging in a new home, in a new city.
As hard as it is to believe that others might not share your love for… what ever it is you love… you’ll likely sell your house faster by toning down your unique style. Incidentally, the former home buyer who toured the Golden Greek Temple just checked to see if it was still for sale — and it is. So if you like the idea of swimming amongst naked Greek women statues, this home can still be yours.
For hundreds of other tips for selling your home faster, easier, and at the best price, check out my book, Home Selling Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in paperback or ebook through Amazon.com and at http://homesellersblues.com.
This story doesn’t start off happy: Jennifer, a home seller in Los Angeles, wrote to tell me about the difficulties she was having with the hefty demands home buyers are making on sellers these days — and wondering if this “bad buyer behavior” was a common phenomena.
Jennifer had received her first offer within three weeks of putting her home on the market — but the buyer, who was paying in cash, wanted $50,000 off the home, which was already priced below market value.
The buyer also refused to respond within the contractual time limit of three days for the counter offer, but when he finally replied five days later — he put a strict deadline on the seller’s response time — demanding a response within five hours.
I wrote her back saying congratulations on being willing to price your home so well from the start, and she must be doing a number of things right to get an offer in a relatively short time on the market. I also told her I believe there’s still many nice, well-behaved home buyers out there, willing to play by the rules.
Two days later Jennifer wrote me a gleeful response: She’d just received a better offer plus a back-up offer from an out-of-town buyer… and another family was coming by that night to see the house. Later that night she wrote again — now she had three offers, all from enthusiastic buyers.
At this point I wrote her saying, “You are clearly doing a great job of marketing your home. Could you share what you’re doing so I can tell the other frustrated home sellers who read my blog?”
Jennifer told me, beside for starting with a below market value sales price, she was offering a 4% buyer’s agent commission, with the stipulation that the agents had to have their offers in within a week of making her announcement. She also made sure her house was clean, uncluttered, and attractively landscaped and staged.
The formula works. I heard from Jennifer a couple of days ago, saying her home closed yesterday. She ended up with four offers. The house sold to a wonderful family who actually wrote her a letter saying how much they loved the house — and that they made it through the inspections without a single request for repairs or credits.
As I suspected, and Jennifer confirmed — there are still a lot of well-behaved home buyers out there.
And from what I’m hearing — they’re hungry to find a good home and a polite, flexible seller!
If you’re just putting your home up for sale, or you’ve had it on the market for a while, and it’s not quite as polished-looking as it once was, a thorough cleaning is essential. As you probably know, home buyers fall in love with sparkling clean, immaculate houses, and they’ll often pay more to buy them.
So, to help you get the most bang out of your spring cleaning, here’s a list of tools that will brighten up your property, inside and out.
Let’s start with the basics: Real Simple provides a house cleaning checklist that includes 20 simple items you need to keep your house looking great, from white vinegar and baking soda to an old tooth brush and an extendable duster. These are the staples of cleaning you can use in any room in your home.
For fun, I’ll list a few more, and you can tell me which of the following doesn’t belong on the list: A dust mop, all-purpose cleaner, a squeegee, basketballs. Leave me your answer in the comments section to show you know your cleaning supplies.
Pressure Washer: Now, this is not an everyday tool, but one that can polish up the outside of your property in a big hurry. A high pressure sprayer removes dirt, grime, mud, mold, moss and many other uglies from the outside of your home and the surfaces around it, such as concrete paths and driveways. It’s like a garden hose, but much stronger, and you can add a cleanser or use heated water to give your power wash added oomph.
This is not however a tool for the uninitiated. You may want to let the experts do it for you, because a powerful high pressure washer can actually strip flesh from bone. Just hire a professionally trained expert who knows what surfaces it’s safe to pressure wash and also the angle in which to spray — because you don’t want to be in the path of what the high pressure hose dislodges.
Electric Weed Zapper: One of benefits of springtime is that all your plants come to life. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when all your weeds come to life.. So what do you do when your beautiful flowering bushes and bulbs are interspersed with bristling, budding weeds? You might not want to spray the area with chemicals, because you like the idea of saving the environment and keeping a pure garden.
Using an electric weed zapper, you kill only the weeds of your choice, using heat energy to destroy them at their roots. I know you might be thinking, but what if it sets my garden on fire? According to weed zapper literature, it doesn’t get hot enough to catch yard material on fire or even overheat.
However, you still want to be careful with clothes and skin because it does heat up, which is why it works. To me, this is a perfect tool for taking your aggression out on those spiky weeds that cut your fingers and snag your pant legs. Yeah… take that! Zap!
The All Important Vacuum Cleaner: Over the winter, you may have kept your windows closed for months and spent much more time indoors. As a result, your air quality may suffer and your home may host all sorts of unwanted matter, including dust, dirt, hair, fur, dander and other allergens. This is why a vacuum is a must-have tool.
If you haven’t studied up on the best vacuum cleaners lately, you’ll be surprised to know the vacuum has evolved into very sophisticated machine. It’s not just a tube that sucks dust bunnies into a bag anymore. Now they offer features such as low noise canisters, so not to terrorize the cat, air-driven turbo brushes, and HEPA dustless technology to prevent allergies and asthma.
Also, these new vacuums can conquer any surface, from smooth floors and astroturf to deep pile carpets and volcanic mountains. Well, maybe not mountains — which is okay — because most people don’t have mountains indoors… unless they’ve kept their windows closed for a very long time. To study up on vacuum technology, I went to Zadoozy.com, which is an online store where you can read about and buy many types of vacuums, as well as other products that keep a home healthy and clean.
For hundreds of other ideas on how to sell your home faster, easier, and get the highest price, read Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and Ebook formats through Amazon.com and at http://homesellersblues.com
Let’s say you want to sell your house soon and you know you’re supposed to “declutter” it. Every piece of home selling advice out there says you need to do this — but you’re really not looking forward to the boring, tedious work involved.
Maybe you’re the type who’d prefer having a plate full of spiders dropped on your head, over having to spend countless hours sorting through closets, shelves, drawers and boxes.
So for those of you who are not looking forward to decluttering — which means most everybody — here’s a few tips for making the process well…. less awful. (Now I can’t guarantee you’ll be positively gleeful, but it will make it easier and less painful to clean and sell your home.)
1. Start by decluttering the easiest spots first. You need to have a victory right away to give you added motivation, so the best way to achieve this is to tackle the least cluttered area first… such as a guest bathroom or a small hall closet. Once that’s done, move on to the next easiest place. Now you can claim that you are already part way done!
2. Promise yourself you only have to declutter for five minutes. This is a powerfully inspiring trick when you really don’t want to get started. Set an alarm and say to yourself you can stop right after you’ve cleaned for five quick minutes. What often happens though is you don’t want to stop… you’ve gathered momentum, so you keep going for another 5 or 10 or 45 minutes… and you’ll be amazed at the clear swatch you can create in that time.
3. Don’t figure out what to get rid of — figure out what to keep. Let’s say you’re cleaning out a drawer. Instead of going through it item by item, dump the whole thing out on a table and put back only those items you truly need and love. Sort everything else into bags, such as things to throw out, things to give to friends, things to donate to charity, things to sell, and things you don’t know what in the world to do with. For these items, create a big bag called, “undecided” and sort through it later when your major decluttering is finished.
4. Intersperse enjoyable and rewarding activities between declutter sessions. For example, tell yourself you get to eat a big hunk of German chocolate cake or an exquisite slice of cheese when you’re through cleaning. Or, take a 30 minute walk, read something enjoyable or have a Facebook chat between decluttering sprees.
5. Get rid of items associated with sad or bad memories, even if they’re nice things. Yes, that shirt may look great, but if it makes you feel bad because you wore it the day you were fired– get rid of it. Same goes for gifts from tragic past relationships, souvenirs you picked up on a bad trip, or dishes you inherited from your mean Aunt Ida. Someone else will enjoy these things and you won’t miss them. In fact, you’ll feel better knowing you don’t have to be mentally triggered by them anymore.
By using these tips, you’ll eventually end up with an attractively clean place filled with useful possessions and items that bring you happy memories. Not only will your place look much better during home showings, you’ll also have much less to move after you sell your house. Now isn’t that better than having a plate of spiders dropped on your head?
For hundreds of good ideas on how to make home selling easier, faster and a lot more fun, read Home Seller’s Blues And How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and ebook formats through Amazon.com and at http://www.homesellersblues.com
In this blog, I’ve shared a variety of ideas for helping frustrated home sellers, such as considering a temporary or permanent home exchange, renting out a piece of your home, your land or your entire property, and marketing your home using today’s latest technologies.
But there’s another possibility I’ve never mentioned… If you’ve been having trouble selling a home the traditional way, or suddenly find yourself in a situation where you need to sell quickly because of financial difficulty, divorce, relocation, or you’ve just inherited a home and don’t want to invest the time and money it takes to prep and sell it, you may consider selling it directly to a company that buys houses.
These companies can assist in selling a house fast and possibly, avoiding foreclosure and damaging your credit score. Such companies can close a deal quickly and provide sellers with cash for an “as is’ house. One group that does this, Express Homebuyers, which specializes in purchasing homes, condos and other properties in Washington DC, VIrginia and Maryland, say on their website that they’ll buy your home directly from you, offer a fair market value, and usually close in under seven days.
For some worried home sellers, this may be the ticket out, or at least worth investigating further. And it’s comforting to know that this option does exist. It might just short-circuit a midnight anxiety attack where you’re wondering whether you’ll be stuck with your home forever…
For hundreds of other ideas on staying sane — and even happy — during the home selling process, read Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon.com or at http://housesellingblues.com
I was reading Joe Manausa’s Tallahassee Real Estate blog post from January 17th, 2012, “Should You Wait Until Next Year To Sell Your Home?” and chuckling at the image of a skeleton sitting on a park bench. The blog post mentions that a lot of people are sitting it out… waiting until next year, when hopefully, the market starts to look better.
Manausa contends that as you sit on the sidelines waiting, the market is dropping lower and lower. During the last six years the sellers who waited it out, got less, on average, each year for their home.
There’s lots of reasons for waiting it out, financially and otherwise. Home selling is a lot of work and it takes guts these days! (And choosing to hold on to your house takes guts too.) So I wanted to let you know about a gutsy project I just finished myself:
I just published an Ebook on Amazon called “Instant Guts! Smart Risk Taking and Decision Making To Win in Every Area of Your Life.” What’s gutsier, I decided to sell it for .99 cents.
I want to encourage and inspire anyone sitting on the fence… holding back, into taking action — whether that means doing what it takes to get your house sold, renting it out and moving to Costa Rica, or staying put and setting up a new home business for extra income.
Whatever it is you’re holding back on doing, this Ebook is a shot of courage to get you moving ahead in 2012. So please, take a moment and check it out. (And sorry for the blatant advertisement… I’m just excited about my new baby!)
And thanks for reading my posts and leaving comments. I love hearing from you!
The good news about selling your home in the winter is you face far fewer competitors than you will come springtime. And, the home buyers who are looking right now tend to be serious. Why else would they be trampling around through rain, snow and mud to get to your front door?
So, now is the time to charm these buyers into falling in love with your cozy winter house. Here’s 10 home selling tips to help you sell your house no matter what the weather brings:
- Don’t bake your house. Real estate sites everywhere are advising home sellers to crank up the heat before a buyer comes over, so your home doesn’t feel like a refrigerator. Although you don’t want it to be freezing cold, you don’t want it to be toasty either. House hunters may be wearing winter wear and a too-warm house can make them leave just as fast as a too-cold one. Opt to keep the temperature a comfortable 65 degrees instead, which is perfect for someone touring your home wearing sweaters, thick socks, coats and jackets.
- Create a focal point for each room. The focal point is the first thing a home buyer sees when walking into a room. In the spring, summer and fall, this might be a beautiful view of your garden outside your windows — but in the winter, when the outside may look cold and grey, you can shift the focal point in every room to your interior. For example, your focal point can be a fireplace, a vase of yellow roses, or an art piece depicting a warm, tropical theme. What ever you choose, you can accentuate it even more by framing your focal point with contrasting colors or warm accent lighting. For example, let’s say the focal point in your bedroom is usually a big tree outside your window. In winter however, you can change that focal point by placing a beautiful tray on your bed with a shiny red tea pot, cups and saucers.
- Make your home feel festive. Bake some chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon rolls, put them on a decorative plate, provide paper napkins and put a little sign up saying, “Enjoy!” Not only will it fill your house with an evilly tempting aroma, it will uplift a buyer’s mood and make them remember your home. Many sellers know the trick of making a house smell as if something is freshly baked, but it’s great to take it to the next step and actually offer your house hunters a little treat.
- Take the majority of items off your countertops in your kitchen. Yes, this may mean temporarily stashing your beloved coffeemaker, toaster, food processor, blender or crockpot. These appliances take up so much room and distract from the beauty of your kitchen. Opt instead for a wire basket of fruit, a display of gourmet olive oils and a cookbook, with the cover facing outward, showing a gorgeous meal. Even though you may never make this meal yourself, by association of having it on your countertop, it uplevels your kitchen into looking like the kind of place where gourmet meals like this are prepared.
- Set your table. Put out two or four place settings with sparkling dishes, glass wear, and cloth napkins. It makes your dining room look even more inviting — as if it’s a bed and breakfast inn. I’ve heard, however, that sometimes silverware walks away, so it’s best not to show off your finest cutlery.
- Show off the spaciousness of your kitchen. If you’ve got room for a table and chairs, add them to the room and put a rug under the table to further define this separate “dining space.” Keep the table on the smaller size though, to emphasize the spaciousness of the room. If you don’t have a table present, house hunters won’t be able to visualize if there’s enough room in your kitchen.
- Make the interior cozy. Put a few throw blankets on the sofa along with some soft decorative pillows that will make house hunters want to plop down and make themselves at home. After all, that’s the essence of the entire game.
- Keep some warm, glowing interior and exterior house lights on a timer. Home buyers may take a ride past your place at night after work, so it’s smart to keep it looking good in the evening hours. This might make the difference between a house hunter scheduling an appointment to see it for the first time, or someone who has already seen it, deciding to take your home seriously. If your lights are on a timer you don’t have to worry about being home or not to make an attractive presentation.
- Add outside color. Install colorful shutters or window boxes outside your windows and plant some hardy winter flowers. That way, if your garden is looking a little grey and disheveled, a house hunter’s eyes will be drawn to the attractive, cheerful house itself.
- Keep a basket of paper booties by your home’s entryway and ask people to please slip them on over their shoes. Buyers will appreciate that you care enough about your home (or their future home) that you want to take care of it for them.
You can read addition winter home selling tip in my previous post, “Home Selling Tip: Get Easy Winter Curb Appeal.”
Are you tired of not being able to sell your house? Do you need a lift? Check out Home Seller’s Blues and How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon.com and at http://www.homesellersblues.com.
It’s much easier to think about winter feasts or sitting around the fireplace holding a mug of hot chocolate with a couple of half-submerged marshmallows.
But I’ve noticed something happening out on the streets in Portland, Oregon and in many other places — city crews are outside planting new flowers, sprucing up the street’s winter curb appeal.
Home sellers can take a hint from this: If colorful pansies and other plants can thrive all winter-long in street dividers and pots around town, why can’t we do the same thing in our own front and back yards?
Here are a few quick, easy ways to boost your home’s winter curb appeal:
First off, this can actually be a good time to shop for plants. Many nurseries and stores are selling their inventory for up to 75% off, because people aren’t doing much gardening right now and stores don’t want to deal with this inventory either. This makes it a good time to replace any plants that sizzled and died in the summer with hardy perennials that will make it through the winter.
This can also be a good time to go pot shopping and see what kind of discounts you can get. There’s a good chance those fenced-in pot and sculpture places have a lot of inventory but not too many takers. Find a few colorful pots of varying heights and load them up with bright pansies and green plants which will perk up your surroundings all winter-long. You can place these along your walkway as well as throughout your garden.
Next, think about adding a blanket of winter mulch to add color and consistency to your garden, as well as to protect your plants from harsh conditions. The best way to buy this mulch is to have it delivered by truck instead of buying it by the bag. By doing so, you can get as much as five times as much mulch for your money.
Take a look around your house for broken items that can be given new life in your garden. Cracked or chipped flower pots can be partially buried, or you can fill them with ground cover plants that will artfully flow over the pot’s broken parts. Even broken garden tools with long handles, such as rakes, hoes and shovels can be used as posts for training vines. These unfortunate items can give your garden character and add varied elevations to your landscaping.
Now here’s a few more easy enhancements: Put an attractive wreath on your front door, keep your front entryway clean and swept, and move a few lamps (inside your house) close to the windows. For added ambiance, use warm hued or pinkish lightbulbs to give your home a welcoming glow.
Make sure your home’s sales material includes photos of your home in all seasons. Take pictures of your attractive winter garden and your home’s windows glowing in the dim evening light. Show these photos alongside shots of your home in the height of spring and summer.
Now you’re ready for that rewarding cup of hot chocolate, knowing if a house hunter drives by this winter — they’ll see an unexpected winter garden worth stopping for.