Since spring means the typical start in the uptick of homes hitting the market (and I forgot to share before now), I thought I’d share how we sold ours late last summer. We had actually originally discussed listing in the spring. Spring a year ago. But, like often happens, life happened and we held off. In the end, it probably worked out for the best.
As the title states, we did in fact sell our house in one showing within just hours of listing. Here are the details that led up to it …
Staging and Repairs
I mentioned in this post about house hunting how much of a difference staging makes. We started preparing/staging the house in May. Clearing out extra stuff by packing boxes, separating out donations and tossing the rest. We rented a 5×10 storage unit and filled it full with extra furniture and many of the boxes we’d already packed. Doing our best to make our 1350sf home feel as spacious as possible and still comfortably house the 2 of us, 1 toddler and 1 cat.
We did a few obvious repairs, fixes. Fresh caulk and new toilet seats in the bathrooms. New, neutral paint in the master bedroom. Freshening the outdoor flowerbeds with new mulch. Hiring a company to power wash the house, porch, sidewalk and drive as well as clean the gutters.
We actually called the Realtor after we had already completed these things and, I confess, I was relieved when she said we were in great shape. Even to let go of a few of the things that were still on my ‘to do’ list. Once we actually started touring other houses, I got it. Even in this age of HGTV and shows that stress all the things to do to help improve your selling, it’s unbelievable the utter messes you will walk into. One house, truthfully, we were all nervous about walking in because it was so dark and filthy. That’s another story, but proof that staging (and even just cleaning up!) before a showing makes a difference.
We were fortunate that our realty company offered professional photos for free. Also staging assuming you kept your house listed for a certain amount of time (unless it sold faster) but we had made enough progress and our house sold so fast that it was never necessary. When I saw our listing online I saw the difference the professional photographs made. Purely from my hobby I knew they would be better, but when you compared them to listings with standard photographs – those just didn’t have the same impact.
We had been watching the market and knew homes in our neighborhood were selling fast. Simply – price and location, location, location. Both things that originally attracted us to the area.
We finally chose a Monday to list the house. The first Monday in August. We had the house in pretty good shape, but assumed (wrongly) that we wouldn’t have requests for showings until the weekend. Nope. Try mid-afternoon. Dylan was napping (do not wake my child!) and, there was a bit of tidying up that I felt needed to be done. I asked to have the showing pushed back 30 minutes. A short time later I received another call (while dripping in sweat from running around in the August heat like a mad woman trying to get every detail inside and out just perfect) that the showing was cancelled. What? And so I admitted my failings to both Trent and our Realtor. Our Realtor was awesome – don’t worry about it. You’ll be ready for the next one.
The First & Only Showing
After Trent got home, we loaded the car to take more boxes to the storage unit. Barely a mile from home, we had our second call requesting a showing. This time, we accepted immediately as I u-turned it back to the now tidy house to turn on lights and put a sign on the door to please not let out the cat. Then we took our time eating dinner out and dropping off the boxes at the storage unit. Later that night when we returned, we were hopeful it went well and that we would get good feedback.
The next morning, instead of feedback, we had an email from our Realtor sharing the offer. We had a small bit of back and forth, but that was it. One showing, one full price offer and within 48 hours all the paperwork signed. The closing didn’t happen until late September to give us time to find a new house, but the showings were over and done.
In the end, it boiled down to three simple things – price, location and inventory. The day we listed, we were the only single family home in our price range in our area. I honestly believe it was key in helping us sell in one showing. And while there was still a good bit of stress in finding our new house in the time frame between the offer and closing, it was a huge relief especially with a toddler, to not have to continue to keep our home in “ready to show” shape for an extended period.
Have you sold a house before? Have any tips to add?