We sold our house in one weekend!
Short version: We put our house on the market on Friday (March 2nd) night at 8pm with the help of our awesome real estate agent, Pam Stanford. We had multiple showings on Saturday. We received an offer on Saturday night. We had a couple showings Sunday morning followed by an open house on Sunday afternoon. We received another offer after the open house and accepted a full price offer with no closing costs on Sunday evening.
We were super excited to receive multiple offers on our home, but once we accepted, it became real that this wasn't really our house anymore and with that came a lot of emotions...we got married while living in this house, we brought both of our babies home to this house and have had so many fun and wonderful memories here.
We are blessed at how quickly our house went under contract and we are excited to move onto a new house that we get to make our own and watch being built, but our first home will always have a special place in my heart.
Now that we have officially sold and closed on our house, I am going to let you all in on everything we did to get our house to sell for full asking price in 48 hours.
Set a Time Frame
We knew that once spring hit, we would put our house on the market. We started prepping in early January. Two months of prepping you ask? Yes! Prepping to sell a house is hard enough, but add little ones to that mix and the hard work doubles. Once we set the deadline to have the house on the market on March 2nd, we knew we had less than two months to get the house looking its best.
See yourself through the buyers eyes (as my agent always said)
The first thing we did was declutter and depersonalize our house. We removed as many family photos and memorabilia as possible. It was hard to let go of the personal touches of our home, but we had to realize that our home was now a product that people wanted and we wanted the potential buyers to envision themselves living in the house.
Decluttering is hard and takes so much time. I went room by room and packed the items I knew we wouldn't need while the house was on the market and put into storage. If I wasn't sure about something, I donated it and then the other items stayed in the house for styling and staging.
***If you need help on how to declutter/depersonalize, go on Pinterest and search for simple decor ideas or take a look at model home pictures (or go visit some model homes). Imagine that your home is a model home...decluttering and depersonalizing makes your home feel empty and no longer a home, just a house, right? But guess what...it sells! Don't worry, you can always personalize your next house!
If you prefer a professional stager's help and live in Georgia, we highly recommend Pam. An added bonus to Pam is she stages homes as well as lists your home. How awesome is that?!?! When we were decluttering and depersonalizing, Pam suggested we rearrange some furniture and accessories in our home to appeal to all buyers. She is fantastic and really wants to see her clients home sell for top dollar in minimal time. I promise you you won't go wrong if you hire Pam as your home stager and listing agent!
We made a list of things that we knew we needed to repair/replace before putting the house on the market. Some of the items we needed to repair/replace on our list:
Power wash the front of the house, sidewalk, driveway, walkway, porch, windows, back of house and back patio
Clean out the gutters
Fix the light fixture in ceiling on the porch
Replace light bulb in outside light fixture on back patio
New toilet seats
Kitchen backsplash grout
Recover dining room chairs
Replace all light bulbs throughout house
Tighten hardware on laundry room door
Paint doors, baseboards, moulding and touch up paint
Paint dining room the same color as the rest of the house
***Fresh Paint! Realtors will tell you that paint is an easy and inexpensive fix. I wish I had a before picture of my dining room, but it was chocolate brown. Our agent suggested painting the walls the same color as the rest of the house, which is a cream color, to make the room look bigger and brighter. I was hesitant as first, as I loved the chocolate brown and I was sure that buyers would love it too! I'm sure they would have loved it, but we decided to paint the walls the cream color and OMG! why did I have the chocolate brown color for so long? It is amazing what lighter color paint can do to a room.
Once the house was decluttered and depersonalized (I left a few personal pictures up, especially in my little girls nursery) and general repairs were completed, we cleaned and cleaned and when we thought we were done cleaning, we cleaned again. We also hired a cleaning lady to clean weekly prior to the house being on the market and then she cleaned bi-weekly once we went under contract.
Every real estate agent and even HGTV tells you that neutral colors are the way to go and to add pops of colors with accessories and decor. You'll be able to see we did just that in the pictures.
Curb Appeal/Welcoming Entrance/Landscaping
Buyers want to see a pretty entrance. If the house doesn't have curb appeal they may not even want to see the inside of the house. We staged the front patio very simple, but with high impact. First impressions & curb appeal matter! We also created an oasis on the back patio. My husband and I loved our back patio. He enjoyed grilling while I enjoyed watching him cook while enjoying a nice glass of wine...haha. We added a few plants and flowers on the back patio for some color and warmth (***ferns are an inexpensive way to add warmth to a space). I chose not to add a wreath on the front door as we had just had it painted and I didn't want to scratch it, but that is another addition you can do when creating a welcoming entrance.
***The HOA (home owners association) grounds crew put pine straw in the backyard instead of grass, but it was just temporary, due to work they were doing. Good news was they replaced the pine straw with grass prior to closing.***
We removed majority of the items on the counter, except the day-to-day items like the coffee pot and fruit bowl. We also cleared out all the cabinets and only had what we needed in them. We didn't want them to be overcrowded, because potential buyers WILL open the cabinets and drawers.
Our agent, Pam, suggested we raise the blinds on the top windows in our two story family room. At first I was like no way having them down gives privacy, but we ended up doing what she suggested. I'm so glad we did because it made a huge difference. We also replaced every lightbulb in the house with a brighter white bulb instead of a soft white bulb...again huge difference!
We didn't have to do anything in the bedrooms except patch up a couple holes and touch up paint.
We removed everything expect the bathroom rugs and pretty hand towels. When I was staging the bathrooms, I envisioned a 5 start hotel. When you walk into a hotel you don't see used soap, used towels, hair or water spots on the glass shower, so that's how I imaged our bathroom when we staged it.
We decluttered and put a lot of the kids toys away. Since we still lived at the house, we put a lot of the toys in boxes and stored in the garage. The toys that remained in the house were neatly stored and organized in the toy boxes and living room niche.
Those who know me well know that I am OCD organized. I don't have pictures of it, but everything was labeled in our closets, pantry, laundry room, and linen closet. Anything that could be labeled was labeled and perfectly organized. We removed about half of what was in our closet. Surprisingly, I donated a good portion of my clothes. The rest was packed to put into storage or packed to move to our temporary apartment. We did the same in the kids closets, laundry, linen closets, and downstairs hall closet. The buyer told me that she loved how organized I was and had taken pictures and showed her co-workers. She told me their response was "we are so jealous and what organization program/school did she attend." I thought that was really nice and it honestly made me feel good that she appreciated it. We are so blessed to have people buy our house and love it as much as we have!
Our garage was storage for a long time, I can't even remember how long...years! It took my husband and I several weekends to go through everything. We had six donation pick ups and finally once we had gone through everything, the items that we kept were put into storage or packed to bring to our temporary apartment. How in the world did we have so much? I honestly have no idea, but it goes to show you that you really don't need a lot. I didn't know about some of the stuff we had or honestly forgot about it. Lesson learned for us though...we don't need everything and what we are living with right now is plenty! I'll be very selective when buying items for the new house because I honestly don't want to have to store anything, except holiday decor.
We sold all the appliances with the house. We made sure that they were empty as much as possible during showings and of course cleaned to look new (well as much as we could)...we didn't want to remind the potential buyers that they were getting "used" appliances or that it wasn't theres. Remember, you want the buyer to see themselves living in the house.
Have you looked at a house and thought yikes, what were they thinking? I have and honestly didn't even want to look at the house during our search if I didn't like the pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words and they are showing your house to potential buyers before they even walk into your house, so get professional pictures taken! I promise you won't regret it! Make sure to have the pictures taken on a bright, sunny day with lots of natural light. Pictures are what will get your house recognized and make people schedule showings.
Realistic House Price and Extra Key for the Lockbox
We listed our house priced to sell. We paid attention to what the other houses in our neighborhood sold for and decided to price a couple thousand over what the others listed for. We had several upgrades (extra square footage, entire first floor porcelain tile that looked like hardwoods, storage under the stairs, completely redone master bathroom to name a few things) that other homes didn't have. I am very thankful and very pleased that we accepted a full price offer and got top dollar for our neighborhood.
Don't forget to get an extra key for the lockbox. You don't want to have to give up your key to put into the lockbox and get locked out. That wouldn't be any fun!
We have another awesome tip to share, but it is too big to share in this post. Make sure to follow Mommy of Minis Blog to get the staging tip. You won't want to miss the post...coming soon!
The buyers of our home wanted a lot of our furniture and belongings with the house, which showed us that we had done everything right when it came to styling and staging the house. We want to say thank you again to our awesome agent, Pam Stanford. We appreciate all your help, advise and expertise! If you are looking to sell or buy, look no further. Contact Pam...you will be so glad you did! We can't thank her enough and we highly reccommend her...she is truly the best real estate agent and home stager!
515, we miss you and you will always hold a special place in our hearts!
I hope these tips for staging your home help. Remember that your house is now a product that people want...you need to stage it like a model home. Neutral, generic decor and pristine condition is a must in order to sell fast and get top dollar!
***Disclaimer: I am not an expert in staging or selling houses. These tips are to help you, but will not guarantee that you sell your house for top dollar or even fast.***