How I sold my house in 2 days...
Well, really it was 5 years and two days. Wait,what? Let me explain.
In 2015 after a tumultuous period at work I sat down with my husband and said that this is not the life I want. While I absolutely loved my job, leadership had changed and for one reason or another, my previously mapped out career path hit a dead end. I explored other options for a while, but always came back to the fact that I would not be able to spend quality time with my husband if I stayed in my field. And financially, another career, well frankly, wouldn't pay as well in the short term. After having a period of time when people we knew were suddenly struck with poor health, we wanted to leave the rat race so we could spend as much time with each other and our families as we could. You are never guaranteed another day. So we knew that we both needed a better plan.
Around that time we started watching shows showing alternate lifestyles. Tiny houses were big and so was RV Living. Both of us had camped as children and our favorite times together were spent hiking or exploring a mountain, a lake or a city. So we started imagining how we could join the RV community. I started listening to podcasts (my favorite to this day is the "RV Entrepreneur"), and over a period of maybe 9 months we went from "this is a crazy idea but..." to "here is how we are going to make it happen".
The Five Year Plan
Now that we had an idea of what the goal was, I began pouring over Pinterest and Houzz and Zillow. My aim was to work on improving my house and getting it ready to sell. I hate to say it, but all of my choices in cabinets and tile and wall color were derived from what was the most popular and updated and would not look aged in 5 years. But I still had to like it, after all, I was still going to live in the house.
Tip: If you are redoing your house, add your own touch of personality. Here is my "Twisted Sticks and Bricks Wall" It formally was a half wall with a planter, but I couldn't keep plants alive in it and my sis in law had a collection of these cool sticks. I sanded some areas of them so the twisted features would stand out and to insure there were no pests living I soaked them in insecticidal soap and let them dry, and then added many coats of a gloss polyurethane as additional protection. And since it was all about resale, if the buyers didn't like it, it was easily replaceable. Maybe they had more of a green thumb than I did.
Let's DO this thing!
So 5 years passed. The original 5 year plan was always on my board in my studio. Sometimes it was buried under other papers, but it was always there. We continued to work on the house little by little. One day at the end of 2019 I told my hubby that it was time. The next day I scheduled an appointment with a few realtors for 1/1/2020, 2 weeks out (I was glad they were willing to work on New Years Day because my plan said to list the house in 2020 and by gum I was going to list the house as soon as I could). Winter is typically not a great time to list a house, but one good thing is although there are not as many buyers, there also is not as much competition. And one of the crowning glories of my house is the backyard oasis that shows best in the spring. But I had hoped that the house would sell itself, and think how the buyers would be pleasantly surprised when the backyard came to life.
So as we are decluttering and downsizing, I keep looking at my Pinterest board on "staging Ideas"(remember, we are moving into an RV that is 1/10th of the size of the house we now have. Watch for future blogs on how to get rid of your stuff!). I had a cabinet that I used for staging props, possible picture frames and knick-knacks and books and fake plants that I might use
I knew that I wanted top dollar for my house, but the "comps" were for a lot less. My plan was to wow the realtors so much that they would enthusiastically agree to the high price, so I wanted to show them how the house would be shown. Besides, the improvements made the house worth the price I wanted. As each room and closet was emptied out, I would stage it and shut the door. The last rooms to stage were the kitchen and our bedroom and the family room where hubby and I would watch hockey.
A side note about staging with family members. Prepare them. But let me tell you, even if you tell them your ideas about staging and show them the pictures, the first time they go to put a cup down on that coffee table that was in the same place for 20 years and now it is 10 feet away- well, let's just say I am glad my DH was just drinking water at the time.
To Stage or not to stage
And if you are not comfortable with staging, hire someone. Although there were several staging companies in the area, my fall back plan included two people that I knew, one that was by education an interior designer but was a organizer by trade, and another who had such fantastic taste and design sense that I know that she would do the job well for a fraction of what the other companies would charge. But ask your realtor for their input, some might be willing to help you.
I know this sounds a lot easier than it actually was. In the month before we put the house on the market we painted and cleaned and emptied and filled and emptied again and scanned and threw out and repainted and re-cleaned and it was exhausting. There was not one square inch of the house that we did not touch. But I knew that my main competition was brand new houses in my area so I needed the house to look as sparkling clean as a new house. But with personality.
We listed the house on a Saturday. On Sunday we had 6 showings. On Monday two more. By Monday night we had a contract. A very nice, solid contract. And then we got a back up contract. I breathed a sigh of relief. We still have the inspection and the appraisal to get through, but all of that hard work paid off.
And to celebrate, I moved the coffee table back.