Yesterday I posted on Facebook a little rant about us looking at houses. On Monday, we will be closing on the first house we purchased together. It’s bittersweet, but it was time for a bigger place. I work from home, so it’s really important that our new house has an office, so it’s not in our bedroom anymore. Yes, Aaron made that stipulation a must and seconded it.
But my rant was more about us looking at new houses. Almost every house that I have liked has been sold or has an option pending. I know the Lord is in control, and He has the right house waiting for us, but it’s a little frustrating since we don’t go home till the end of June. I know, all the houses won’t be sold by then even though I feel that way.
Besides that, there are some things that I have noticed about looking at houses that I think people need to know before they sell their house and some tips for possibly new realtors.
Paint The Walls
The first one is for people selling their house. When we moved out of our house three years ago to leave to Jakarta, we repainted most of the house to a neutral color. We did, however, keep our bedroom gray and our formal dining room tiffany blue. It worked out cause my cousin was renting our house and they were cool with it. So when we decided to sell the house, our realtor Kirk said it was good that we had a neutral color throughout. My dad on the other hand really thought we needed to paint the master bedroom and formal dining room. I wasn’t planning on it, but he went ahead and did it anyways, and I’m glad he did.
Now was we look at houses I understand why this is so important. I know it takes time and money but trusts me, it will be worth every penny! I have seen houses that the inside is completely painted mustard yellow, dining rooms that are dark maroon, hunter green, hot pink walls, crazy color, and stripes, or even some crazy faux something. As soon as I see this, I stop looking. Part of the reason is I don’t want to deal with having to do major repainting. The thought of that right now makes me a little anxious since as soon as we get back we need to start looking, buy a house, buy a car, and furnish an entire house on top of the other million things we need to do. I don’t want to have to do it right away, so one of my sons doesn’t have a hot pink room.
Get Rid of the Clutter
First of all, I am not a person that likes clutter! I don’t have lots of little knick-knacks or tons of things hanging on our walls. I’m very simple, like things to be organized and orderly, and want to imagine how my things would look in the house, this is not the case with loads of houses we have looked at.
For example, there was a house that had everything that we were looking for based on the specs. By the second picture they had listed, I couldn’t look. It gave me anxiety! They had so much stuff in the living room I was wondering if it was a house from hoarders. So the key is if you want people to start imagining it as your house, take as much out as you can!
We are 10,253 miles away from home. So looking online is the only option we have right now until we go back home this summer. So we have to be able to get a good idea of what the flow of the house is, room size, feel, etc. is from the pictures. And trust me, at least half of the pictures aren’t worth me wasting my time.
We were very fortunate that our realtor works for a bigger agency, so they had someone come to the house and take professional pictures and even do a virtual tour of the house. I understand that not every realtor works for a big agency, but that is no excuse for taking bad pictures especially when there are wonderful articles out there like this one from Houzz or this one from HGTV. Do yourself a favor, if you want to sell their house, take great pictures. If your pictures aren’t, they are like me and totally assume that the house is crap if they can’t even see the pictures clearly.
Think Before You Do Updates
My last tip isn’t just for someone selling their house; this is for anyone who wants to do upgrades to their house. Don’t do something just because that is what you want at that time. Think long term when making choices for upgrades. So many houses that I’ve looked at you can tell that they did not think of the changes with the intent of selling the house in the future. The most common thing I have seen is, especially with flooring.
You wouldn’t believe how many houses have four different types and looks of flooring on one level of the house. Yeah, one room with carpet, one with tile, another with a different tile and then hardwood., all in a house that has an open concept. I’m sure this could all work together, but they are all different colors and textures, and it looks like it was piece milled together and it’s just not appealing. Then there are bathrooms you can see completely updated, and they keep the carpet in the bathroom. First of all, carpet should never be in a bathroom. Let me repeat that, NEVER! Why spend thousands of dollars updating everything else without updating the floor. I just don’t understand, so if there is a reason, someone, please let me know.
Another update is custom built-ins that may work for you but not others. For example, a random bookshelf/desk in the living room that works with your furniture. Or a bedroom that you turned into an office and had a large desk built in that takes up half the room. The point is, people are looking at everything. Think long term, unless you know this is the house you will retire and die in before you make major changes.
Anyhow, there are just a few of the things that have stood out to me as we have been looking at houses. Again, we were very blessed with a realtor that was honest with us, and my wonderful dad who has sold his houses in the past and happened to be the smartest person I know. Was everything perfect in our house beforehand, no, but we did everything possible, and listened to people with history and wisdom and our house sold in a week? Hopefully, this will help someone who plans on selling their house in the future!