House selling - modern norms

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psteinx
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House selling - modern norms

Post by psteinx » Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm

My elderly parents will be selling their house next year to move into an independent living place. I'm not sure exactly how much help/advice I, and another of my brothers who is local, will be providing my parents, but some help will probably be in order. I'd like to fill in some gaps in my knowledge, relative to typical modern norms.

The house in question is a large-ish, suburban one story, on a large, well landscaped lot, in a L/M COL, midwestern suburb. Value probably mid-six figures. Internal condition decent (some relatively recent re-dos), but not necessarily the latest styles and such. The house would show really well in the spring/early summer (nice landscaping, neighborhood likely appeals to families with school aged kids), but because of the timing of where they'll be moving (under construction), will probably go on the market late summer/early fall.

Questions/issues:

Should they go in expecting to pay ~6-7% commission, or can they realistically get a discount commission and still get reasonably full service?

How much effort should go into prepping the place for sale? Repainting, minor improvements to areas that are aged/out-of-style, etc.? Doing this stuff would mostly involve either my brother and I pitching in labor and/or working with assorted contractors (my parents too old to do much themselves, at least IMO). Even using contractors involves coordination issues and hassle. If investing $5K and 10 hours of coordination improves the house sale price by $10K, that's probably worth it. But if it improves the sale price by only $6-7K, meh...

Did some reading and it seems the optimal target for furnishings and such is "not empty, but not too cluttered". I'm not sure about the right balance, and juggling staging versus moving versus house cleanout/estate sale issues should be. Some stuff will go with them to their new place. Some stuff likely to go to family. Some stuff probably to an estate sale or the like. Current furniture is mostly decent, not TOO dated, but not necessarily the latest designer styles either.

Other thoughts/suggestions?
Last edited by psteinx on Mon May 06, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jharkin
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by jharkin » Mon May 06, 2019 2:42 pm

We are selling right now, and in our case our agent arranged a staging consult. The stager gave us recommendations on what needed updating, de-cluttering,etc. Inn our area this seems pretty common now and the agent pays for it (out of the commission you pay of course ;) )

Also helps to just look at a lot of listing photos to get a sense of what other sellers are doing.

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FIREchief
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by FIREchief » Mon May 06, 2019 2:46 pm

psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
Did some reading and it seems the optimal target for furnishings and such is "not empty, but not too cluttered". I'm not sure about the right balance, and juggling staging versus moving versus house cleanout/estate sale issues should be.
I just sold a house. I'm not a believer in staging. I think an empty house that has fresh paint and nice floor coverings will sell just as quickly, if not quicker. We interviewed three Realtors prior to listing, and two were somewhat indifferent on staging while the third discouraged it. I think this is another one of those situations where what we see on TV just isn't reality.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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lthenderson
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by lthenderson » Mon May 06, 2019 3:49 pm

psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
Other thoughts/suggestions?
I think these questions really depend on your particular area. In my area, any additional dime you spend on prepping a house for sale is about a nickle you will end up losing. In other words not worth it.

We don't have any access to staging companies in our rural area but from what I have seen, you do want to spend quite a bit of time removing clutter out of a house and a lot of everyday items. The less is better to a point. If you take out everything, the buyer will see every defect in the floors and walls, etc. The key is leaving a few things to break up wall and floor spaces and distract the eye of the buyer from seeing every defect.

JGoneRiding
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon May 06, 2019 4:08 pm

De cluttering is super important. But if it's just as easy for them totally empty spic and span is great.

About only time I would recommend staging is if the space is super awkward and needs some layout help.

I have looked at a lot of houses only a hand full where staged. Never did it make a difference to me. Empty is always great.

The vast majority of people spend 15 to 20 min looking at a house.

Paint unless it's awful leave it. No matter what you paint it most won't like it!

See fire chief thread on down sizing.
I am working with a estate sale right now. I can't say enough good things. She told us to throw out nothing! Even the food which I was going to box and send to the food bank! And old cosmetics. Just take what you want and all personal pictures

stan1
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by stan1 » Mon May 06, 2019 4:38 pm

It will depend on the specifics, but this is what we did to my mom's 40 year old house when we sold it. She had the original 1960s kitchen and bathrooms.

- Spotlessly clean
- Fix any appliances that don't work. Make sure roof will pass inspection. Repair/fix these before listing it. Don't replace things that still work but are old.
- Take out all decorations (photos, collectibles, etc) and most furniture. House looks bigger and brighter when there's less in it.
- Remove heavy or dated window coverings (drapes, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds) to let light in. Leave windows uncovered if you remove the window covering.
- Paint off white if it doesn't look crisp and fresh. If there are wood floors this will really make them stand out.
- Replace carpet if its very dirty (such as pet stains) and won't clean
- Sell after your parents move out if that is possible

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon May 06, 2019 4:44 pm

Not the question you asked, but if there is a company like Senior Moves in your area, hire them to help your parents decide what to take and what to leave, and to pack and do the day-of-move tasks like making sure the bed is made and your parents can sleep in the new place right away.

jj45
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by jj45 » Mon May 06, 2019 4:45 pm

psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
The house would show really well in the spring/early summer (nice landscaping, neighborhood likely appeals to families with school aged kids), but because of the timing of where they'll be moving (under construction), will probably go on the market late summer/early fall.
Take nice photos of the landscaping when it looks best. Consider using a professional photographer.

barnaclebob
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by barnaclebob » Mon May 06, 2019 5:03 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:46 pm
psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
Did some reading and it seems the optimal target for furnishings and such is "not empty, but not too cluttered". I'm not sure about the right balance, and juggling staging versus moving versus house cleanout/estate sale issues should be.
I just sold a house. I'm not a believer in staging. I think an empty house that has fresh paint and nice floor coverings will sell just as quickly, if not quicker. We interviewed three Realtors prior to listing, and two were somewhat indifferent on staging while the third discouraged it. I think this is another one of those situations where what we see on TV just isn't reality.
I'm with you for the most part. I think staging is only helpful on higher end homes that have a lot of extra space where buyers need help visualizing how to use it. Maybe 2x+ the median home price for the area is where staging becomes useful. My median value house sold completely empty with no problems but it was a hot market.

For your typical 3 or 4 bed 2.5 bath house with a kitchen, dining room, living room, and maybe an office, you don't need much help figuring out where your couch will go.

protagonist
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by protagonist » Mon May 06, 2019 5:44 pm

I sold a condo last May in FL using a flat fee broker who listed my property in MLS and on several online sites for a nominal fee....a few hundred dollars....paid a local photographer to take pictures for the listing ($125) and an attorney to handle the closing and title search. I offered 3% to a buyer's agent who found a buyer (to encourage sales).

The home sold within 2 weeks for what appeared to me to be market price after comparative analysis of similar properties that sold in the area.

I saved thousands of dollars. There was a bit more hassle of course, but not that much considering how much I saved.

I don't know if that would work in all markets but it worked well for me.
Last edited by protagonist on Mon May 06, 2019 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JediMisty
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by JediMisty » Mon May 06, 2019 5:51 pm

stan1 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:38 pm
It will depend on the specifics, but this is what we did to my mom's 40 year old house when we sold it. She had the original 1960s kitchen and bathrooms.

- Spotlessly clean
- Fix any appliances that don't work. Make sure roof will pass inspection. Repair/fix these before listing it. Don't replace things that still work but are old.
- Take out all decorations (photos, collectibles, etc) and most furniture. House looks bigger and brighter when there's less in it.
- Remove heavy or dated window coverings (drapes, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds) to let light in. Leave windows uncovered if you remove the window covering.
- Paint off white if it doesn't look crisp and fresh. If there are wood floors this will really make them stand out.
- Replace carpet if its very dirty (such as pet stains) and won't clean
- Sell after your parents move out if that is possible
This.

adamthesmythe
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon May 06, 2019 5:57 pm

Declutter, paint, rake, and negotiate for ~5% commission. I haven't heard ot 7% for ages.

You can pay less commission if you do more work yourself. Know thyself.

My guess is that most buyers will be helped to visualize by having some furniture. Ask your agent for advice.

delamer
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by delamer » Mon May 06, 2019 6:10 pm

stan1 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:38 pm
It will depend on the specifics, but this is what we did to my mom's 40 year old house when we sold it. She had the original 1960s kitchen and bathrooms.

- Spotlessly clean
- Fix any appliances that don't work. Make sure roof will pass inspection. Repair/fix these before listing it. Don't replace things that still work but are old.
- Take out all decorations (photos, collectibles, etc) and most furniture. House looks bigger and brighter when there's less in it.
- Remove heavy or dated window coverings (drapes, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds) to let light in. Leave windows uncovered if you remove the window covering.
- Paint off white if it doesn't look crisp and fresh. If there are wood floors this will really make them stand out.
- Replace carpet if its very dirty (such as pet stains) and won't clean
- Sell after your parents move out if that is possible
This is good advice. However, I’d also replace any carpet that is not a neutral color, even if it is in good condition.

Also, listen to what the real estate agent tells you. If you vet her/him properly, s/he will know know the best approach.

The idea is to make it is easy for buyers to imagine their own furnishings in the house.

panine
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by panine » Mon May 06, 2019 7:13 pm

i sold two houses within the past 10 years and did a lot of research re: what we should take on and what we shouldn't. we decided not to sink a fortune into remodeling/staging to try to get a ridiculous price. instead, we made the houses look as clean and spacious as possible (emptied them), and planted succulents wherever we could (less watering/gardening work for the buyers we figured, and it was a big reason for them buying the houses). if you go this route, some suggestions:

*clear everything out (rent storage units if you have to then take your time weeding through belongings if y'all can't just do it in one fell swoop).
*paint walls in neutral, light color. paint the moldings a non-harsh white. this modernizes older homes.
*clean everything in the house really well
*replace obviously broken things, but don't spend too much money buying designerly things since buyers are likely to replace.
*clean the yard really well. again, don't sink money into much beyond what obviously needs fixing/replacing. replace old hoses.
*the garage alone can sell a house. get inexpensive shelving and cabinets if there aren't a lot already. pressure wash if needed.
*paint the front door if it's at all worn/dated and put a wreath on it (good first impression from a distance). get a new doormat.
*put three or four chairs (folding is fine) in the house to encourage prospective buyers to sit with their agent and talk.
*put a patio table with chairs outside for same reason.

tons more ideas, but there's a start. best of luck. :happy

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FIREchief
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by FIREchief » Mon May 06, 2019 7:36 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:08 pm
See fire chief thread on down sizing.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=262071

(just fyi) 8-)
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

GmanJeff
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by GmanJeff » Tue May 07, 2019 9:34 am

I'd begin by identifying the three most successful real estate agents in your area, and would ask them each for how they would propose marketing the home and for their advice about the cost/benefit of repairs/updating which may have a positive impact on how quickly and for what price the home will sell. They can each also discuss their experience with staging, decluttering, selling a vacant home versus putting one on the market while still occupied and other marketing topics. Lastly, you'll be able to ask each agent about their willingness to discount their sales commission in return for the listing.

Keep in mind that while the commission is important, a skilled and energetic realtor may be worth a higher commission if able to obtain a better sale price and/or a faster sale.

After hearing those presentations and completing your interviews, you'll likely have a better idea of which agent you'll want to use, and the approach to take.

bungalow10
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by bungalow10 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:38 am

stan1 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:38 pm
It will depend on the specifics, but this is what we did to my mom's 40 year old house when we sold it. She had the original 1960s kitchen and bathrooms.

- Spotlessly clean
- Fix any appliances that don't work. Make sure roof will pass inspection. Repair/fix these before listing it. Don't replace things that still work but are old.
- Take out all decorations (photos, collectibles, etc) and most furniture. House looks bigger and brighter when there's less in it.
- Remove heavy or dated window coverings (drapes, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds) to let light in. Leave windows uncovered if you remove the window covering.
- Paint off white if it doesn't look crisp and fresh. If there are wood floors this will really make them stand out.
- Replace carpet if its very dirty (such as pet stains) and won't clean
- Sell after your parents move out if that is possible
This is great advice. Get windows and carpets professionally washed, don't neglect the inside of the garage when cleaning. Have a friend come over and smell the place after you get it read and be prepared to do more cleaning. A dehumidifier in the basement does wonders for mustiness. Windows need to be uncluttered. Caulk tubs and counters if it doesn't look fresh. Paint baseboards.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Regattamom
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by Regattamom » Tue May 07, 2019 6:34 pm

Declutter! There is nothing worse than not seeing the house because of all the clutter. Box up all personal items and things that are not needed.
Clean! and clean again.
Make sure it doesn't have an odor! Especially fried food, cigarettes or pet odor. And don't try to hide odors with air fresheners. It doesn't work.

I wouldn't paint unless the paint is in terrible shape or is a very dark or bold color. Remove heavy window coverings.

Spend time getting the front porch ready. Make sure it is clean and welcoming and not debris ridden.

stockrex
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by stockrex » Wed May 08, 2019 10:55 am

At the min:
1. Rent storage space (100 a month) and pack and take all you can to it.
2. Paint, update little things that gives a new house look.
3. fix any broken or worn items, cheap items like toilet bowls, main door, handles, window blinds etc.
4. If carpet, get it cleaned, else replace
5. Replace all lights with bright leds from costco

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psteinx
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by psteinx » Wed May 08, 2019 10:58 am

Thanks to all for the responses.

jimmo
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by jimmo » Wed May 08, 2019 11:10 am

6% commission used to be the norm around here for full service. I'd say it's getting closer to 5-5.5% now with houses jumping off the market. And I know a lot of sellers that are doing other variations a step above FSBO to save a lot money. For instance, pay a fixed price around $500-1000 to a realtor to get your house listed on MLS, a keypad on the front door, and a sign in the yard. Seller does all the rest from taking pictures, negotiating terms, scheduling appointments, etc. Getting a house on MLS is important just to get a full audience.

ohai
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by ohai » Wed May 08, 2019 11:26 am

If you're going to do a lot of the selling yourself, as opposed to using a full realtor, it might be a good idea to get some quotes for remodelling the kitchen, bathroom, and other relevant areas. How much they will spend on top of the house cost is probably going to be a major question of the buyers.

rj342
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by rj342 » Wed May 08, 2019 11:37 am

stockrex wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:55 am
At the min:
1. Rent storage space (100 a month) and pack and take all you can to it.
2. Paint, update little things that gives a new house look.
3. fix any broken or worn items, cheap items like toilet bowls, main door, handles, window blinds etc.
4. If carpet, get it cleaned, else replace
5. Replace all lights with bright leds from costco
Re LEDS -- if you are replacing old incandescents or CFLs (ugh) wiht LEDs make sure you get Warm or Soft White (pick one and be consistent), do NOT get Daylight which is usually too harsh. If the the area is a bit dim, add another lamp or go up in wattage equivalent but stay with the warm/soft white!
You *might* want Daylight in a kitchen or bathroom or garage, but not mixed with the other types anywhere.

I cannot stand mom and pop restaurants that put in the daylight bulbs -- I find I tend to skip them more even if I like the food.
Don't risk annoying buyers for something so trivial.

P.S. Worked with an Irish guy 15 years ago. He was baffled by people in US spending so much money remodeling to sell -- back home they sold closer to as-is (cleaned and repaired, not renovated), and buyer planned on remodeling how THEY wanted it. Makes a lot of sense -- spend the $$ to live and enjoy it, not spend to get rid of it.

Ybsybs
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by Ybsybs » Wed May 08, 2019 11:53 am

Some things help a place sell faster instead of helping it sell for a higher price. Depending on your situation, a faster sale might be the equivalent of more money in your pocket or it really might not matter at all.

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Wed May 08, 2019 8:05 pm

Redfin or Houwzer for full service brokerages that only charge 3.5% - 4% commission (Redfin) or $5000+3% commission (Houwzer).

Used Redfin on both buy and sell side, very pleased.

pennywise
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by pennywise » Wed May 08, 2019 8:14 pm

If your parents' home is best marketed as a family dwelling, late summer/fall is a terrible time to list. Families want to start the process in spring and finish by summer so they can be moved in for the kids to start school. People with kids in school are often VERY reluctant to move midyear.

Listing right around the time most families need to be already settled could easily mean a family-friendly house, no matter how clean and decluttered, will sit on the market. That usually ends up meaning price reductions as the listing gets stale and it becomes a negative cycle.

Especially if your parents are moving to assisted living is it reasonable or possible to try to schedule putting the house on the market not only after they leave, but in time for peak family spring sales season? That could substantially affect your/their bottom line.

Grateful1
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by Grateful1 » Wed May 08, 2019 10:24 pm

You asked about modern norms in house selling ....
I just sold our second home using one of the FSBO assistance companies FSBOHomes that "provide all the services without the commission"
I did NOT use a real estate agent nor did the buyer.
The house sold for full asking price within 5 days of going on the market though our local housing market is currently neutral, neither advantageous to buyer or seller. By selling FSBO I saved at least $16500 in real estate commission fees.
Prior to marketing I decluttered aggressively. And I spent 2 days applying fresh interior paint in several rooms.
The firm provided a professional photographer, a formal home inspection, and a professional house appraisal.
With this current market information I set the asking price higher than I would have otherwise thought the house was worth. They set up online marketing through Zillow, Trulia, Facebook, MLS, etc. Then when I was ready I pressed the publish button on their website and my listing became active on the internet.
Agents came out of the woodwork wanting to know if I would pay them a 2 to 3% commission if they brought a buyer. I told about 10 of them no thank-you then got smart and changed my voicemail message to indicate I was NOT interested in involvement from a real estate agent. A few still tried to contact me. (How rough it must be getting out there for real estate agents).
I only showed the house twice each time checking first that the potential buyers were pre-approved for a mortgage. Showing the house was simple. I welcomed the couple at the front door, did a quick walk through with them of each room then left them on their own to look the place over and let the house sell itself while I made myself scarce playing chess against my phone chess app in a remote corner of the living room. They spent a half hour looking around in privacy. They seemed excited as they left. A few hours later that evening my phone went ding and a message said I had received a new offer. Opened the FSBOHomes website, signed in to review the offer, found the full priced offer and accepted it. A few days later met the buyers again at the FSBOHomes local office where their lawyer acted as a neutral party as we completed the formal purchase agreement.
FSBOHomes charge to me for their marketing, photography, inspector, appraisal, etc was just a hair over $2000. Their was no charge to the buyer for their buyers assistance and hand holding. This was by far the easiest real estate transaction I have ever been involved in and I saved about $16,500 over what it would have cost for 6% commission if real estate agents had been involved. The buyers were pleased by the transparency of the process, with market appraisal, and pre-inspection reports.
Internet marketing is amazing. Almost all buyers preview homes online. In my local market FSBOHomes is giving the traditional real estate sales model a real run for its money. If there is something like this in your area and you are willing to show your home yourself don't underestimate the possible savings. The work you do yourself is minor and the assistance and support I received was amazing. They charged me nothing up front. Just about $2000 at closing. Perhaps I was just lucky. And yes the house was desirable and affordable for an initial move-up buyer. If the house had not sold I would have owed FSBOHomes only $500 to cover their photography, inspection, appraisal, and marketing costs. What a deal! Very happy seller and buyer too.

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baconavocado
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by baconavocado » Thu May 09, 2019 12:11 am

rj342 wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 11:37 am
P.S. Worked with an Irish guy 15 years ago. He was baffled by people in US spending so much money remodeling to sell -- back home they sold closer to as-is (cleaned and repaired, not renovated), and buyer planned on remodeling how THEY wanted it. Makes a lot of sense -- spend the $$ to live and enjoy it, not spend to get rid of it.
Most buyers these days do not want to buy a fixer-upper or even a clean-upper. They expect a house in move-in condition, maybe not completely remodeled from the studs out, but certainly nothing that requires major repair or renovation. I think most people are borrowing the maximum possible to get into a house, they won't have a lot of cash left over to upgrade a house. Remember, most people don't even do their own yard work anymore and fewer and fewer even clean their own homes, so painting and home repairs are out of the question.

It makes me laugh to remember some of the sale houses we looked at in the 80s, where the sellers didn't even bother to clean up their messes and they expected to sell with pet feces all over the yard, broken fences, appliances and HVAC units on their last legs, roofs leaking, etc. Today if you try to sell a house like that, you're going to be looking at a very small market of buyers and taking an extremely steep discount.

staythecourse
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by staythecourse » Thu May 09, 2019 8:25 am

Easiest question of the day... Just call Redfin. They will give your parents an eval of what needs to be done, current comps, and, of course, rebates if you use them.

Heck, for elderly parents living far away who haven't bought or sold for years I think the default choice should be Redfin.

Good luck.

p.s. I have no affiliation. I sold our own home myself, but was impressed with their operation.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

stan1
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by stan1 » Thu May 09, 2019 8:45 am

pennywise wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:14 pm
If your parents' home is best marketed as a family dwelling, late summer/fall is a terrible time to list. Families want to start the process in spring and finish by summer so they can be moved in for the kids to start school. People with kids in school are often VERY reluctant to move midyear.

Listing right around the time most families need to be already settled could easily mean a family-friendly house, no matter how clean and decluttered, will sit on the market. That usually ends up meaning price reductions as the listing gets stale and it becomes a negative cycle.

Especially if your parents are moving to assisted living is it reasonable or possible to try to schedule putting the house on the market not only after they leave, but in time for peak family spring sales season? That could substantially affect your/their bottom line.
If the house is in a very good neighborhood or otherwise very desirable or if the market is very strong this advice may not matter. Plenty of buyers are moving up within the same neighborhood and parents seem OK with driving their kids around until the new year starts to get the right house. If its a slow market or the house is less desirable it may become more of a factor that would take longer to sell the house. Also may vary by region. In areas where strong sellers markets have been the norm for most of their lifetimes (with exception of 2008-2011) buyers are pretty acclimated to making compromises. If buyers have been outbid five times they may just want the drama to end and will be fine with driving kids to their old school until the next school year.

brianH
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by brianH » Thu May 09, 2019 2:37 pm

baconavocado wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:11 am
It makes me laugh to remember some of the sale houses we looked at in the 80s, where the sellers didn't even bother to clean up their messes and they expected to sell with pet feces all over the yard, broken fences, appliances and HVAC units on their last legs, roofs leaking, etc. Today if you try to sell a house like that, you're going to be looking at a very small market of buyers and taking an extremely steep discount.
Counterpoint being the numerous white-hot markets where a run down shack has 10 offers over asking the first day, most in cash and waving inspection contingencies.

Even in medium-hot markets, you can still get away with quite a bit if the price is right. Houses that sit around 50-75% of the median priced house in the area always seem to go fast. In great areas, many buyers are finding themselves priced out of buying that move-in-ready home. One of the many downsides to flippers is that they grab up all the fixer-upper deals before the average folks can buy them. What used to be a first-time buyer's sweat equity is now captured by the flipper who prices the final product out of reach.

mak1277
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by mak1277 » Thu May 09, 2019 2:54 pm

GmanJeff wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:34 am
I'd begin by identifying the three most successful real estate agents in your area, and would ask them each for how they would propose marketing the home and for their advice about the cost/benefit of repairs/updating which may have a positive impact on how quickly and for what price the home will sell. They can each also discuss their experience with staging, decluttering, selling a vacant home versus putting one on the market while still occupied and other marketing topics. Lastly, you'll be able to ask each agent about their willingness to discount their sales commission in return for the listing.

Keep in mind that while the commission is important, a skilled and energetic realtor may be worth a higher commission if able to obtain a better sale price and/or a faster sale.

After hearing those presentations and completing your interviews, you'll likely have a better idea of which agent you'll want to use, and the approach to take.
This is exactly what I would suggest.

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JoeRetire
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by JoeRetire » Thu May 09, 2019 3:28 pm

psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
Should they go in expecting to pay ~6-7% commission, or can they realistically get a discount commission and still get reasonably full service?
Perhaps. I ended up paying a 5% commission last month, with full service.
How much effort should go into prepping the place for sale?
That's really a question for a good local realtor. The answer depends on the condition of this house relative to all the comparables in the market.
In my part of the world no effort at all is required, but a little effort pays off.

There may be a few things that are no longer in code. For us, it was the fire alarms. They both needed to be replaced - not a big deal. And there may be a few things that wouldn't pass inspection. It might be better to deal with that now rather than dealing with them after sale/inspection. Again, a good real estate agent can provide good advice.

You want to strive for neat, spotlessly clean, and bright. The house will be much easier to sell that way. If you don't want to put in the personal effort, hiring a good cleaning crew. Our real estate agent gave us a handy checklist for prepping a house pre-sale.
Repainting, minor improvements to areas that are aged/out-of-style, etc.?
Repainting, probably. We repainted most of the rooms. Used a light gray (not a color I would ever have used) on all the repainted walls. Did it all with a single, inexpensive 5-gallon pail. Only repainted one ceiling. Take down all wallpaper first. Apparently, nobody likes it any longer.

Very minor improvements, maybe. Cure all leaky faucets, for example. Fix all lights that don't work. New shower curtains. That sort of minor thing.

Changing the style, probably not. It probably won't pay back what it would cost in many cases.
Even using contractors involves coordination issues and hassle. If investing $5K and 10 hours of coordination improves the house sale price by $10K, that's probably worth it. But if it improves the sale price by only $6-7K, meh...
Right. That's why some local professional advice would help.
Did some reading and it seems the optimal target for furnishings and such is "not empty, but not too cluttered". I'm not sure about the right balance, and juggling staging versus moving versus house cleanout/estate sale issues should be. Some stuff will go with them to their new place. Some stuff likely to go to family. Some stuff probably to an estate sale or the like. Current furniture is mostly decent, not TOO dated, but not necessarily the latest designer styles either.
Our real estate agent staged our house at no fee when we sold it last month. They used some of our furniture (in bigger rooms) and brought in some of their own (for smaller rooms). In general, they never left any room fully furnished - just enough to suggest the typical use of the room.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Thu May 09, 2019 3:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Quickfoot
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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by Quickfoot » Thu May 09, 2019 3:39 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:46 pm
psteinx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:37 pm
Did some reading and it seems the optimal target for furnishings and such is "not empty, but not too cluttered". I'm not sure about the right balance, and juggling staging versus moving versus house cleanout/estate sale issues should be.
I just sold a house. I'm not a believer in staging. I think an empty house that has fresh paint and nice floor coverings will sell just as quickly, if not quicker. We interviewed three Realtors prior to listing, and two were somewhat indifferent on staging while the third discouraged it. I think this is another one of those situations where what we see on TV just isn't reality.
For starter homes this is probably true. For higher value properties or where you want to extract maximum price this has been proven through research to be completely false. Staging results in faster sales and higher prices. People can't envision a space with furniture, providing them with a visual helps them see it as "their" space and also frame the space. Staging also allows people to emotionally connect with the space and see themselves living there which leads to more offers. I did real estate marketing and custom real estate software development for 10 years and personally observed this to be the case.

Staging is 100% worth it, that said you do NOT have to hire someone to stage a property. There are many articles and free resources on staging, if you don't want to invest the time by all means either hire someone or don't stage and anticipate a lower price / more effort to sell.

The most basic thing is most people have WAY too much stuff, you want to de-clutter, it is common for people to rent storage units to store clutter during a sales process. You also want it to be clean, a fresh coat of paint is fine but don't undertake major remodels and even for carpet and flooring it's often better to give an allowance than replace it yourself, this allows the new buyers to pick the flooring they want.

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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by JimSmiley1850 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:01 pm

For your consideration, we recently sold our home, we wanted to get the maximum value from the sale. We interviewed 4 agents. We got their estimates of value. Three said we would have to do some significant work —get rid of wallpaper(which we liked) and repaint everything in neutral color; get a new dishwasher because it was white and did not match the refrigerator; get rid of carpet people want hardwood floors; make sure everything works all house systems. One agent said the people that will buy your house like old houses and will see past cosmetic issues. The house value estimate for “significant work” was 55 percent higher than “no work”. We did significant work. Other observations: invest in staging get a pro to help; invest in pictures, the first thing someone will do is go to the realtor website and look at the pictures if they don’t like them they will not visit the house. We paid 6 % commission but the realtor earned it as we ran into a complexity that her experience was able to address quickly — it would have been a real mess without her experience. I tracked how much we invested in the house and I would say for every $1 we put in we got $2.92 out as reflected in the sales price. (Nearly all the investment also reduced our capital gain — as “only” the first $500K is tax free).

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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by baconavocado » Thu May 09, 2019 9:30 pm

brianH wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:37 pm
baconavocado wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:11 am
It makes me laugh to remember some of the sale houses we looked at in the 80s, where the sellers didn't even bother to clean up their messes and they expected to sell with pet feces all over the yard, broken fences, appliances and HVAC units on their last legs, roofs leaking, etc. Today if you try to sell a house like that, you're going to be looking at a very small market of buyers and taking an extremely steep discount.
Counterpoint being the numerous white-hot markets where a run down shack has 10 offers over asking the first day, most in cash and waving inspection contingencies.

Even in medium-hot markets, you can still get away with quite a bit if the price is right. Houses that sit around 50-75% of the median priced house in the area always seem to go fast. In great areas, many buyers are finding themselves priced out of buying that move-in-ready home. One of the many downsides to flippers is that they grab up all the fixer-upper deals before the average folks can buy them. What used to be a first-time buyer's sweat equity is now captured by the flipper who prices the final product out of reach.
Your point is not inconsistent with mine. Yes, you can sell a dump, but you won't get much for it. If the price is low enough, anything will sell.

But the more problems a house has, the smaller the pool of potential buyers. If there are many problems, many big $ problems, well, now you're dealing with people who repair and refurbish or flip houses for a living and they are going to bargain much harder and be much more savvy than you, the seller, about getting a good deal.

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Re: House selling - modern norms

Post by KyleAAA » Thu May 09, 2019 10:42 pm

Staging is really cheap and can be very effective for non-cookie-cutter layouts. Much easier than trying to do it yourself.

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