I must say that this spring was not the best time to be selling our house. I had hoped to sell last spring (2006), but if you’ve read my previous posts then you know the PO was not going to get his act together to fit my schedule. I’m pretty sure we would have been able to sell our house last year for at least 10%-15% more than what we eventually sold it for. That means we would have paid that much more for the bungalow, so it all works out I guess. But I probably would have a few less gray hairs today if we had sold in last year’s market.
We put our house on the market at the end of March. One of the major “problems” with our house was that it was technically a 2-bedroom and had to be listed as such. When Pete’s grandparents bought the house in the early 60s as a new construction, they didn’t need three bedrooms so they asked the contractor to remove the wall of the original 3rd bedroom to create a dining room open to the living room. Pete’s family is large in number, so they needed more open space to accommodate everyone for holidays and entertaining.
It worked out fine for our needs. I used the space as an office when I worked out of the house. When I moved my office, we used it as a library/dining room. I love using rooms for multiple purposes and a library/dining space makes perfect sense to me.
The other two potentially major issues, in my mind, were the condition of the hardwood floors and the color of the walls in those two rooms. Much to my annoyance, many people I know liked to bring up the color “problem” to me, as if I were morally opposed to light-colored walls and flat out refused to change it! I had absolutely no problem painting the walls “neutral”, but I really didn’t want to do it unless the feedback we received from the showings warranted it.
I can understand why people might be afraid of darker-colored walls, especially if they’ve never really painted before. My grandfather was a foreman at a paint factory, so I’ve been painting walls ever since I can remember. As a home buyer, the color of the walls would be of least concern to me (however wallpaper might be a different story!).
To a certain degree I can also understand why someone wouldn’t want to deal with hardwood floors that need refinishing. But if I were to buy a house with newly refinished hardwood floors I would suspect that, to sell the house quicker, the seller was going for the greatest impact at the cheapest price and wasn’t concerned with quality. Personally, I’d prefer to handle the job myself as we did with the bungalow. But I know I’m not the typical home buyer.
The rest of the house was in decent shape: more neutral colors on the walls, good use of space, lots of storage, and a large finished basement with Pergo floors. All the clutter was cleared out, and we kept the place immaculate. When “our competition” had an open house, we’d go to it to compare it with ours. IMHO ours was by far the best deal in town!
So after two disappointing months on the market with only 5 or 6 showings, we decided we either needed to change what we could to make the place more marketable or be prepared to wait it out and end up owning two houses for an indeterminable amount of time