10 Ways to Guarantee Your House Doesn’t Sell

House Won't SellWahoo! It is official. We closed on our condo sale last week…mortgage paid off and check deposited. We were on the market for 2 weeks when we received a full price offer!

We all know that the market is particularly challenging but our situation posed two additional obstacles.

Obstacle #1- Our condo fees were through the roof {just over $1,000 per month- no, not a typo}. Yes, we lived within 10 miles of DC and our complex had fantastic amenities like utilities included, indoor/outdoor pools, fitness center, parking, tennis, convenience store, etc. However, when you’re listed at a specific price and your condo fees put you in another bracket for monthly housing costs, it’s a challenge.

Obstacle #2- Since we lived in a condo complex with four high-rise buildings there were plenty of comps that matched our floor plan exactly. They were listed between $25-50,000 lower than ours due to short sales and foreclosures. So not only did it not bode well for an offer, we had to hold our breath until the appraisal came through even though the finishes and fixtures in those may have been over 30 years old. Otherwise, we would be paying for someone to buy our home.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen. We feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted from our shoulders. Anyway, I’m still amazed at what sellers will and won’t do for a sale. I hear people complaining about how their house isn’t selling but yet they don’t feel that they need to do anything to help it along. So, I thought I’d share my Top 11 (had to add one more) list of ways to guarantee your house doesn’t sell.

1. Don’t pick up your dirty laundry. There is nothing a buyer wants to see more than your dirty underwear lying around the house.

2. Leave the clumps in the kitty litter and pet hair tumbleweeds rolling around. The aroma of pets is attractive to all.

3. Leave the repairs to the new owner. Who cares if the door knob is falling off or the light switch is broken? Buyers love to DIY and pay full price for a property.

4. Smoke a bunch of cigarettes and leave your ashtrays lying around. I don’t know about you but I want my next home to have the aroma of ashtray permeating the walls, carpet and window treatments.

5. Paint the rooms in your house a rainbow of colors. Potential buyers will also love that mustard colored room with your ketchup accent wall. {OR paint it all white OR leave your ten-year old paint job as is- the scuffs and pencil marks give it real character}

6. Place a dusty, silk plant in every corner. The dated and dusty allergen will add such appeal…oh, and they look so real, too!

7. Leave dirty dishes soaking in the sink. Everyone wants to see what you had for dinner last night and the night before.

8. Stuff your cabinets, closets and built-ins until overflowing. Buyers will see all the storage potential your home offers.

9. Use all of your kid’s primary-colored toys to decorate the floors of the dining and living room. Who doesn’t love a trip hazard along with some physical and visual clutter?

10. Don’t answer or be flexible when a Realtor calls to show your property. They should work around your schedule.

11.  Insist on being present and following the buyers around when the property is being shown. Buyers appreciate when you’re breathing down they’re neck and chatting their ear off about the improvements you paid a lot of money for. Oh, better yet, elaborate on the roof leak or humidity problem you have in the basement.

Please join in the fun and hear any additions you have to the list!

Ciao for now!



Real Estate Readiness- Preparing Your Home For Sale

Well, since I just spent every waking moment of  two of the last three weeks prepping our condo for sale, I thought I’d share some of the things that we did.

1. Clean your windows inside and out.

Living Room staged
Open blinds, clean windows and turn on the lights

2. For small chips in floor tile, white out or nail polish works wonders. For chips in furniture, a similar colored sharpie will do the trick. {yep, I admit to using these tactics.}

3. An ice cube {let it melt} and a wide-tooth comb will help eliminate depressions in carpet where furniture used to be.

4. Remove anything installed that does not convey. For example, I had a wall of Elfa Shelving in my office and two Capiz Shell Chandeliers in the bedroom. When the buyer sees things attached to the property that don’t convey, they may start subtracting dollars from your list price. Plus, they may see more work from damage to walls, etc.  I removed and stored my shelving {parts & contents are ready for packing}, repaired and painted holes from wall anchors {less for me to do on move day} and purchased two neutral and inexpensive drum shades to replace the chandelier ‘shades’. A little bit of effort and no one’s the wiser {except you}.

Remove/replace what doesn't convey

5. Double check your caulking around tubs and sinks- Eliminate mold and mildew with diluted bleach and re-caulk. It’s worth the effort.  Here’s a great tip for easy (and neat) caulking with painter’s tape from YoungHouseLove. LOVE this tip!

6. Use real closet doors- Curtains are fine for everyday living but for showing your home you need real closet doors. Though, when we bought our place, it had one set of entry closet doors missing and one broken set {it was a foreclosure}. As an organizer, I relished my floor to ceiling closet openings {hate those pesky walls impeding perfectly good storage space} until it came time to buy new doors. Can you say C-U-S-T-O-M? aka. Expensive! So I built my own with the new pocket hole jig my husband happily purchased for me {post to come}. Yes, that’s my purse on the counter in the background. It was removed for MLS listing pics and for showings :).

Closet doors in Foyer
Show with closet doors

7. Remove items from your counter tops- We removed everything including our toaster oven, bottle drying rack, kitchen utensil cup, etc. Only a few items remain…If you have a decent amount of space one appliance such as the coffee maker is acceptable {have to keep my husband sane}.

Kitchen counter tops
Keep counters clear

8. Eliminate signs of pets- This includes food bowls, pillows, cat towers, toys, etc. Oh, and it goes without saying {or does it?}, get rid of the pet hair, too!  We don’t allow our pup on the furniture so we only need to contend with the flooring but that’s a full time job in itself.

9. Replace or update outdated fixtures and shades- I had previously updated one bathroom fixture with spray paint {a girl’s best friend} and chose not to on our others in order to retain the matching finish with bathroom fixtures.  I did, however, visit my local Habitat ReStore to replace the dated glass shades for $1 each.

10. Trays & baskets- If you absolutely must have some items on a counter or other surface, placing them in a basket or tray somehow makes it look more polished and less like clutter.  Additionally, accessorizing a flat surface with a simple tray keeps the space from appearing too sterile.

Decorative trays
Use decorative trays and baskets to corral items on surfaces and add warmth/color

11. Hide your wastebaskets- Place them under your vanities or remove them entirely. The space will appear cleaner and less cluttered. We kept on in the baby’s room {only wet diapers allowed} and one in the kitchen. It was no more work than going around the house emptying the trash every time we had to show the place.

I’m not an Accredited Staging Professional® and I don’t play one on TV.  But being a Professional Organizer has given me much of the insight necessary. I received quite a few compliments from real estate agents showing our condo and one suggested that I have a backup career.

Ciao for now!