Prepping my townhouse for sale

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I am in the middle of trying to sell the townhouse we lived in for 22 years. We've done about 6k in renovations (painting, redoing hardwood floors, etc). We bought an unattached house 2 years ago and have been carrying 2 mortgages, so we have very little $ for anything thing else. The townhouse is in a complex that's 30 years old. We redid the kitchen back in 88. All agents we interviewed it came up with from 199K to 225K and we split the middle. However, we've only had 1 offer and that was for 160 (finally going to 180). Our listing is up in <30 days and we're constantly being told to update this or update that. It's in much better shape right now than it was when we bought it AND the house we bought is older than the townhouse. Seems people now are too lazy to look past the superficial and see what's underneath. I can't keep putting $ into this cause we simply don't have it. The bathrooms haven't been upgraded, but I am going to do the lights and mirrors. No $ for the rest.
Seems that everyone wants 2006 in a 30 year old house and they want someone else to do it.
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It seems to be a buyer's market now. Our area now has tons of homes listed and people are picky. I just sold a home and what separated it from those nearby was that it was in move-in condition. An agent bought it on a 1031 exchange and already had a renter lined up to move in. The home inspection had only six minor things needing attention and were completed in a day.
Buyers are spending most of their money buying and simply cannot save some for upgrades, especially first time buyers.
Bottom line: you need to get the "right buyer".
Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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With Condos/townhouses it's easy to determine the market price. You should have other virtually identical units that have actually sold. If they have sold for 199-225K, and yours is priced in the middle and you haven't even had any serious offers, something is wrong. I'd find out immediately what similar units are selling for. If it's priced correctly, then I'd get a new real estate agent when the listing expires.
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Ours is the only unit for sale of about 90 units. Most residents have been there for awhile. I can easily change the pulls on the drawers in the kitchen. Will go look for new ones for that. Kitchen was totally redesigned in 88 to do away with a lot of dead space that the original had. We added a 250 sq. ft deck in 99. Granted, we haven't upgraded the bathrooms (everything is still original there) but had intended to had we not bought an unattached house in 2004. We don't have the $ now to do anything else major than we've already done. I'm so tired of all of this.
As for the price, we interviewed 4 agents. Gave us a range of 199 to 225; we split the middle. However, agent isn't marketing right and we've dropped the price 3x already. At least the listing is up in <30 days and we're going to change agents to a more agressive one.
It also doesn't help that our association fee is considered high. 1st time buyers automatically think it includes utilities (it doesn't). But after getting the breakdown/unit, it's actually reasonable for a 30 year old with solid wood siding and cedar shake shingles. Yeah, it's not fancy, and yes, there's some work to do IF you want to upgrade it, but jeez! I can't afford this anymore.
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On Mon 08 May 2006 09:15:13a, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it JD?

Given all that you either can't or won't do, you should be prepared to sell it for what you can get.
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Wayne Boatwright տլ
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On 8 May 2006 18:22:29 +0200, Wayne Boatwright <wayneboatwright_at_gmail.com> wrote:>Given all that you either can't or won't do, you should be prepared to sell

If his agent would market it he could at least get some offer. He may need to give some incentive to the new agent ($$). Do the obvious cosmetic things mentioned earlier, reduce clutter and have an open house.
Give up the money now, take all tax advantages later, but get out.
Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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As a recent first-time buyer, here's my opinion:
You have very little $ for changes because you are paying on 2 mortgages -- not my problem. Either your house is equivalent to others I'm looking at in the same price range or it's not. If it's not, it doesn't matter to me why not.
You're "constantly being told to update this or update that." Maybe this and that need to be updated for you to get the price you're hoping for. If you're constantly being told that, there's probably a grain of truth in there, whether or not you and your wallet want to hear it.
People are "too lazy to look past the superficial and see what's underneath." Hey, I'm saving up to buy a house -- I don't have extra $ to pretty it up, either. Odds are also very good that I'm looking at a townhouse because I don't have the desire to do a lot of maintenance myself. Am I lazy? Or just inexperienced? Or working two jobs? Or...?
Superficial is what's going to attract me initially and even get me to look at what's underneath. I have to live with the way it looks starting the day I move in. If I can see that despite being a sound, well-built home, it's going to need another $10,000 to look nice, I'm going to go look at houses that are priced at $10,000 more and have already had the work done.
People are going to try to get the most house for the money, and whether you like it or not, that includes getting the most UPDATED house for the money. If yours is not competitive with whatever else I can look at in the price range, you really have only two choices: Make the changes so your house competes, or put it into a different (lower) price range so I'm comparing it with a different (cheaper) group of houses.
Jo Ann
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As a 2x buyer (the last one being 2 years ago), I wouldn't have even dreamed of demanding upgrades. Things like a leaky toilet or cracked glass or broken seal in double thermal pane windows, ok. But new stove, new carpeting? My taste may well not be yours.
Yes, we all try to get the most value for the least amount of money. But when you buy a 30 year old house, you should realistically not expect it to be the same as one that's just been built.
I can only do so much.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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In my area 2 years ago it was a sellers market. I sold one in two hours with multiple offers. Of course I accepted the buyer with cash. He didn't demand anything, but there were no cracks/broken anything. You seem to think people are demanding things from you personally. They don't. Buyers are in a pinch with money to get in and have a reasonable expectation to not have to fix a bunch of things.
After 22 years in the house....buyers think you are making a killing on equity without knowing your finances.

I would expect it to be pleasurable, clean, comfortable and not needing any major structural work.
I would expect you to consider my offer and that you escrow 10K for me to have the work done.
Some first time buyers will never by a 30 year old home if a newer one is just blocks away.

Defeatism......
Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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Oren wrote:

I can fully understand that. And when we bought our unattached house 2 years ago, I did ask that certain things be fixed and we took credit for a lot of the rest. We're doing upgrades on a bathroom (the typical 70s master - shower/sink/toilet) and tearing up the old carpeting ourselves.
Re; the townhouse, we've taken out old wallpaper, painted, fixed plumbing, redone floors. We took a tree in the roof during Gaston and the insurance fixed all of that, so in a strange way, it was a silver lining 'cause it helped with some of the repairs we were going to have to do anyway. But things finally get to wear on a person and we only have so much budgeted for this. We're leaving the townhouse is way better shape than it was when we bought it 24 years ago (lived in it for 22 of those years).

And that's what I'm trying to do. I can't do anything re: the outside because that comes under the purview of the Association. The building has natural wood and they paint it. They have to say yea/nay re: door color, windows, etc.

I have no problem with that at all. I think my biggest thing in all of this is that there is no way I can do 2006 here.

No, I feel like it's finally come down to the fact that we only have so much and we're maxed out and tired.
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You still have emotions involved in this home since you lived there many years. I bet your spouse is already past the emotions and thinking current home.
Way better shape, compared to what?

But your concerns are inside and a buyer will have the exact same concern.

2006 prices are what hurt. Speak to any new agent and discuss alternatives for an allowance to fix/upgrade. Get some local written estimates as if you were going to make the house changes. Consider that price when you look at the offer(s).

You are now disengaging your emotions and soon you will feel the relief. Think about the taxes "you don't have to pay" to Uncle Sam, since you lived in the place 2 of the last 5 years.
I know the feeling....I've owned seven homes, but I'm up for another challenge.
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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Oren wrote:

He just wants it over too. We're both at our wits' end because of all of this.

LOL. Uh, well, it had heidious wallpaper in the stairwell that we lived with for about 9 years. We replaced that and then recently took that down and painted the whole thing. We replaced a single hanging light with a ceiling fan with lights so airflow would be better., We redid all hardwood floors (which weren't done when we bought it); redid floor in the kitchen when we redid that. Replaced vanity in 1/2 bath and replaced wallpaper there (it was a godawful green/silver/purple foil with geometric design). We built a deck on the back and replaced the windows when the seals have broken. Redone closets AND put in a pulldown attic stairs to access the attic instead of having to crawl thru a hole in the masterbedroom closet ceiling.

yeah, but we've got 2 mortgages (1st and home equity line on that thing)

That's what we're going to do. I've not been pleased with our existing agent and have already contacted another that will possibly be ready to go the moment the current contract expires.

Not me. We lived in the townhouse for 22 years and I figure we'll be in the current one til we die. I'm NOT moving again.
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So you, presuming are the emotional one. Forget what you have done over the past 22 years, and accept current upgrades are what people look for.

So you do things for yourself; but can be less willing to do things for a potential sell. Actually nobody cares why you pulled or painted or did this and that/

And your point is?

Clean the entrance, next item.....

Forget 2006, are you brain dead? Concede, give up money now, sell the house and be done with it.

Try a neraby town and get an outside agent opinion if necessary.

You might move if the home hits you right.
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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On Mon 08 May 2006 11:32:17a, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it JD?

Somewhat as I posted before, if (for whatever reason - the buyer doesn't care) either can't or won't perform the suggested/recommended changes/fixes/upgrades, then you're just belaboring the point. No one really cares why. You'd be better off to accept whatever price you can get and be done with it. Moaning won't help. I hardly even see what your point was in posting here.
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Wayne Boatwright
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While it is correct that a buyer's taste may differ from yours, an outdated stove or worn-out carpeting are flaws, no matter how you look at it. A cash-strapped buyer isn't thinking about whether his taste in carpet differs from yours; he's thinking about having to live with whatever carpeting is there until he gets some money. That being the case, odds are good he would rather live with new carpet that's not quite to his taste than with old carpet. Same for the stove -- all things being equal, most buyers would rather have a nice stove right off the bat than an outdated one.
Outdated appliances and worn-out carpet also cause the potential buyer to question whether other, more important things may also have been allowed to wear out or become out of date, such as electrical and heating systems. Obviously, this can be revealed in a home inspection -- but we're never going to get to an inspection unless you have made your house appeal to me enough to put in an offer in the first place.
Again, all other things being equal, the buyer is looking for the most house for the money, and this includes how the house looks.
Jo Ann
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Yeah, but we were told by one agent to remove new carpet that put in 4 years ago.
All appliances work fine, but granted don't 'look' new. I simply cannot see the necessity of taking out something that works perfectly fine to put something newer in. That's wasteful, imho. I was always taught to replace something ONLY when you needed to.
We put in a complete new heat/ac system 3 years ago. The kitchen was redesigned back in 88 to maximize use of space in a small kitchen. There was a LOT of dead space prior to that and we lived with it for 6 years before redoing it.
Yes, I fully understand looking for the most house for the $. However, I do have to be honest and say, even as a buyer myself, there are somethings that I do have to question and would never expect as a buyer. Maybe that's me, but as I said, we only have so much $ and I can only do so much here with what I have. If I have to offer $ incentives for decorating, so be it.
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If I were you, I'd just choose a realtor who is happy to show your place as-is just cleaned up.
Go to some open houses yourself and get more of a feel for what condition places are showing in.
I dont' exactly know your market, of course, but a kitchen dating from late '80s and 4 year old carpet should be just fine.
Folks who would have you watch "Designed to Sell" should also have you watch "Buy Me" to see what some plain old fasioned waiting for the right buyer and patience gets folks.
Banty
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On Mon 08 May 2006 12:12:06p, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it JD?

Most people would want them to look new, too.

Ye gods, man. that redesign was 18 years ago! This is 2006. You're beating a dead horse.

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Wayne Boatwright
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On 9 May 2006 22:48:52 +0200, Wayne Boatwright <wayneboatwright_at_gmail.com> wrote:>Ye gods, man. that redesign was 18 years ago! This is 2006. You're

Ya always end up with a dead horse with bruises.
So here's a mule joke.
Morris, a city boy moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day. The next day, the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."
"Well, then, just give me my money back."
"Can't do that. I went and spent it already."
"OK, then. Just unload the donkey."
"What ya gonna do with him?"
"I'm going to raffle him off."
"You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
"Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."
A month later the farmer met up with the city boy and asked, "Whatever happened with that dead donkey ?"
"I raffled him off. I sold 500 hundred tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998."
"Didn't anyone complain?"
"Just the guy who won."
"What did you do?"
"I gave him his two dollars back."
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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4 old carpet isnt new:( It looks old and worn to buyers...
Bottom line do what the realtors suggest or accept a MUCH lower price.
Fixing up might cost you 10 grand but net 20 grand more along with a faster sale.
if you cant afford it accept a slower sale at a dramatically lower price
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