I made one of these lists for when we were the house hunters (13 Things I Learned while House Hunting)…but now the tables have turned and we are the sellers a year later. I personally didn’t have a good experience selling our house and that is reflected in the tone of my statements. So don’t take this completely seriously…I’m being bitter and sarcastic and hate the game of real estate.
9 things I learned while selling our house:
- You have to hide all your clutter / live in a museum until you sell your house
Our realtor said to limit items on tables to 1-3 things, get rid of bathroom rugs to show the tiles, hide the dogs toys and food bowls, no blankets on couches, etc. You want the buyers to imagine their own things in the house so if there’s too much stuff of yours lying around it will look cluttered and messy. Be prepared to never be able to find your stuff when you need it after you hide it though. We even hid our toothbrushes because, god forbid, a buyer sees it and thinks ew! I can’t believe they brush their teeth here!
- Expect last minute showings / people who show up late to showings / people who show up too early to showings
We had people who gave us literally a 12 minute warning before they wanted to come in (they hadn’t even listed their own house yet so why the rush!? They got the messy tour and I didn’t even give a crap because I was supposed to be on bed rest from my embryo transfer), we had people who showed up at the end of their appointment time when I had already came back in the house with the dogs from being away, and we had people who showed up 30 minutes before their appointment time. This really freaking sucks because you have a life to live and things to do like make dinner, shower and shit, but you just have to deal with it. I did however voice my irritation over these things to the realtor, but it didn’t make any difference.
- Get a feedback app
Our realtor gave us a link to download this real estate app, called ShowingTime, that you can check on scheduled showings of your house and to have the option to reschedule or cancel them (though the one time I tried to reschedule the 12-minute warning people they refused) and you can also read the buyers feedback on your house. Reading feedback can be a good thing so you can know if there’s things you need to change, but to me it just caused a tremendous amount of despair and stress. Most of the feedback was bad anyway (price too high, seller’s not at all interested, house too small, neighbors untidy), things we couldn’t change.
- Expect people to see your house even if the price is totally out of their price range
This was the most frustrating thing to us because if you can’t afford a $350,000 house, why are you even looking? It’s a waste of time for everyone and if you did get a buyer to bid, it will be way below what you’re hoping for anyway.
- If you need to be at your house during a showing, expect a million questions from both the realtor and buyers
I always took the dogs in the car with me and drove down the street to wait until they left, but one time a buyer came 30 minuets early (jerk) and his realtor wasn’t even there yet, and I was still in the house. So of course he asked me a bunch of questions about our house. This is not my responsibility and it made me nervous because I was afraid I’d answer incorrectly out of anxiety and scare him off. So I recommend getting lost during the times you have a showing. Plus, when we were buyers, having the owner in the house while we were taking a tour made me nervous to say what I really thought in case they heard me.
- Expect people to complain about things they should already know about the house
For instance, our listing clearly stated we only have 1.5 baths but when we read buyer feedback, people were saying there weren’t enough bathrooms. So why did they even come then if they knew they’d have a problem with the amount of bathrooms? Silly.
- Expect people to complain about things you can’t control….like your neighbors
This upset me deeply. We lived next to some Duck Dynasty type folks with junk cars in their back yard which can be seen from our upper deck, and we got more than one feedback saying something to the effect that “neighbors are untidy.” Yea, what the hell am I supposed to do about that? We bought a palm tree to put on the deck to sort of hide the view. But it just made me resent our neighbors and want to call the township to complain about the eye sore which I didn’t.
- Prepare to feel judged and your privacy violated
I know people have to go into your house to see if they’re interested, but I couldn’t help but get upset that my lifestyle and a house I loved was being judged by total strangers. I also got upset when they’d close the door to the bedroom the dogs were crated in because they were barking. At least leave the house the way you found it so the seller won’t know what you did.
- Keep hope alive by telling yourself that there IS someone who will eventually buy your house
I nearly gave up hope that we’d ever sell our house in time and that no one would want to live next to Duck Dynasty or have 1.5 baths, but eventually someone came along that didn’t care about those things. It just takes time and an impossible amount of patience and hope.