Tuesday, January 17, 2012

# 177 - My Buyer's Eyes are Wide Open!

Prepping your house to sell is a huge pain! Deputy Dave and I have sold several homes and the weeks prior to putting the house on the market is filled with nonstop, busy activity.

I find myself searching out every imperfection in the house, imperfections that I've lived with for so long, but each has suddenly turned into glaring flaws because I'm wearing my "Buyer's Eyes." Yes, as a former Real Estate Broker, I learned long ago how to put on a pair of "Buyer's Eyes" when you are looking at your own house that needs to be sold. We must take off our eyes of complacency; we must get rid of our comfortable acceptance of the imperfections in our house and do away with our willingness to overlook that tricky lock because your buyers will not be so eager to overlook such things.

Plus, each thing you overlook might as well be money out of your pocket. That sticky door --- I hear Cha-Ching when I am battling with trying to open it and that means the Cha-Ching is going into the buyer's pocket, but if the door is repaired...Cha-Ching...the money goes into our pocket. Learning to put on a pair of Buyer's Eyes when prepping your house for sale can actually help you put more money in your bank at the close of the deal.

This theory isn't untested. The past houses we've sold have set the bar high for the neighborhood. All those little things add up...a fresh coat of paint, nice doors, a clutter-free house to show to prospective buyers, clean floors and good lighting...each house we've sold has brought in the highest amount per square foot so far for each neighborhood. I'm a natural in this area, but that means we're really busting our rears to make things as competitive as possible for this real estate market. I am hoping this house will be like the rest...sell fast and for the highest price per square foot on record for the neighborhood. It's a tall order, but I'm feeling challenged.

Part of getting this house ready to sell includes painting the ceiling of the kitchen, breakfast room and living room. This has been a project that we've put off for a long while. We had convinced ourselves that no one really looks upward all that much...let's live with it for another day.

Then, the days added up. The weeks added up. The months added up and next we know, we've lived with dingy ceilings downstairs for two years. We had no use for buyer's eyes and it showed.

Now, I see our clean, white, freshly painting ceiling and I am delighted. It makes the entire area seem more open and crisp. We still have the edges to paint...all around each room and around each item in the ceiling, but I'm really liking this clean white paint job.

To be honest, I thought I'd be able to paint the ceiling all by myself. Deputy Dave let me try. I struggled with it for about thirty minutes, then he took over. In the past, I've been the main painter of the interior of our homes. But, this house has had some hurdles for me to confront that we'd not had in the other houses.

First, the ceilings are much higher in a few areas than I can imagine trying to much for high ceilings. I'll get on a regular ladder, but not one of those ladders that Deputy Dave must climb to do part of our house, a ladder that has three thank you.

Second, as of 2009, my cervical spine is kind of unmovable for some angles, I don't have full range of motion and looking upward is definitely one of the ranges that is now out of question. The metal plates in my neck don't exactly allow me to bend them so that I can look extreme up or extreme down. So, as I tried to paint the ceiling, I quickly found that it was physically impossible for me to do this IF I intended on keeping an eye on the paint roller. Let's put it this way, I'd not be the best candidate for a ceiling painter.

So, Deputy Dave took over the painting of the ceiling and he quickly knocked it out. He is tall, so that is a benefit for painting a ceiling. He has long arms, so that's a good benefit as you use the painting stick to reach the ceiling, and he is strong, which allows him to really push the roller into the texture ceiling for great coverage.

Even though I learned that ceilings are out of my realm, I confirmed that the low end of things, baseboards, walls, doors, trim and everything else is still perfectly within my range so that's what I've been tackling...everything below the ceiling. And I think I'm doing a pretty good job.

I have to scrub all of the baseboards, make sure they have NO dog-hair on them
and then I can finally paint a fresh coat of glossy white on everything.
Boy, it sure does make the house have definition. And I'm touching up
the paint on the doors along with scrubbing them clean.
But, my main job inside the house that I've dreaded since Hurricane Ike is the painting of our stairway trim and spindles. Seventy-Six spindles needed to be hand-scrubbed because there are splatters of spackling on them from the sheetrock repair crew --- Augh!

I still have to finish painting the upper part of the stairway. I've only finished the lower section. Today, I'll be wrapping up this job. After everything is dry, I'll be able to take the tape off the stairs and my Buyer's Eyes will be a lot happier!

Meanwhile, Deputy Dave is working to replace some wood on the exterior of the house. One big job included the rebuild of a corner post of our back patio. He wanted to do a good job, so he completely rebuilt the post. He is going to be caulking and painting the will look great when he's finished.

And to see him pull everything out of the garage to work in the driveway is frustrating...I stand there taking these pictures and know it will be a beautiful day to see all of his wood-working tools in the workshop on our land and to know that he has ample space to do any project he'd like...with no worries about dragging heavy equipment in and out of the garage. Those days will be OVER.

The corner post is looking great.

He caps off the top and the bottom for a nice added effect.

And the chickens are watching everything in motion. I believe they are just as excited about moving to the country. You think? Bugs, bugs and more bugs are waiting for their eager beaks.

I'll be happier to not have chickens so close to the doors of our house...chickens freely defecate wherever they like, even if its at your door's edge. I love my chickens; we don't want to put up extensive fencing at the point of moving from our house, so Deputy Dave daily washes the back patios down, and we all live together happily.

But, during showings, the chickens will have to stay in their chicken tractor. I'm sure that will be tough...they enjoy wandering around at their own leisure. At least the chicken coop is not too confining, they still have room to walk around and scratch and peck freely.

My Buyer's Eyes tell me that the chickens will not likely be a hit during showings. City people are usually terrified of chickens. The coop will probably be put behind the garage and kept as out of sight as possible.

Normally, our backyard has beautiful landscaping and an awesome garden, but not now. Having chickens has kind of taken care of that chore. They will rip and tear your garden apart, except for certain herbs. And don't be surprised when the chickens happily eat your Jalapenos and Bell Peppers. Dang Texas chickens...they love spicey foods, obviously.

I have some potted plants that are beautiful and are chicken-proof, I plan on setting those out in a decorative manner to fill in areas close to the backside of the house, and Deputy Dave will be laying fresh compost down on the garden area so that any new buyer will know it's ready for their seedlings, if they want a veggie garden. I hope we have a few sunny days ahead of us so that the greenery will have a chance to come out more fully. Greenery is good.

I'll sure be glad to take off my Buyer's Eyes. Once we get this house sold, it'll be nice to go back to putting on my old set of happy-go-lucky eyes and be content with my surroundings.


Michelle said...

I sold a house a while back. You are so right. Even after all the work we did. They still found things they wanted use to do. One was have the pipes wrapped under the house. Which surprised me since we didn't live in a cold area. Second was have the heater cleaned. Which I said no to since I could show we had it cleaned only 3 months ago.

Mike said...

I don't like to paint anymore but, if I have to, let it Not be ceilings. They are tough, even with my height.
And, I'm jealous...The deputy has wheels on his table saw. Oh how nice that would be. I might have to think on modifying mine for those times when I have to carry it outside the shop.

LindaG said...

I dread painting. I am not a neat painter, though I try. :|
Hubby and I were discussing that 'buyers eyes' thing. We agreed that we are not your normal buyers. Not sure how we are going to do with this.

Oh well.

Don't forget chickens love tomatoes, too. ;)

I am sure your house will sell quickly! And if Shaye where there with the chickens when buyers are looking, they would probably want your chickens, too. ;-) said...

Michelle - It's always a given that the buyers will be asking for things to be done. Boy, I could write a book on what I've seen potential buyers as for when they are interested in the house. Some of them might as well as for the moon. The good thing that most sellers don't really understand is that, during negotiations for repairs, etc., if there is anything the seller does not want to do, they don't have to do it. It may mean they lose the buyer, but they don't have do do everything they say. Sometimes, a lender/FHA/VA, etc might ask for something that is required before the loan can be processed through and those things you'd want to do your best to accomplish. Once I had a house and a buyer who wanted us to totally rewire the house and put in new windows to meet the current code. I informed him of Grandfather's laws and that you cannot make a 1958 house a 2005 house, some things will not be up to code because it's grandfathered in. We refused to do all the wiring and the still purchased the house at the sale's price. I guess they thought they'd see how we would respond. As for this house, I know buyers will come alone with their lists of repairs, etc for us to do and all I can say is that we will farily negotiate to tackle a few on that list, but not to the point of forcing us to go overboard...just good faith to show that we are willing to meet them half-way. I guess we'll see what happens when we start getting some prospective buyers sniffing around the place.

Mike --- Ceilings are a pain. Period. And the wheels on the table saw are invaluable.

Linda --- these days, I try to paint so that it lasts long-term and I always keep touch-up containers waiting, just in case. I hope we get to the point to where we must paint less and less or finally be able to hire out.

And Linda, as for having "abnormal" Buyer's Eyes, I understand. The country cabin we are to have built will not look anything like what most people would will be rustic and whimsical...not with the high-end pretty finishes. So, if we were to ever have to sell our country cabin, it would be interesting to see which kind of buyers would be in line. I'm so happy that we will be doing things with construction in an unconventional manner. I still love that MUTT KITCHEN!

And you are surely right about chickens loving tomatoes. They will fight each other to get to a tomatoe and the plant gets pulled down to the ground in their efforts. And having Shaye outside with the chickens would likely be solid marketing for the chickens, and maybe make them consider having their own backyard chickens. At least I won't have to worry about the neighbors Great Danes reaching a great big paw through the broken boar to snatch one of my chickens in a dash.

Lord, I am so ready to move. Scared, but ready to tackle it.


Dreaming said...

I was impressed with our own home when we finally finished everything and got it on the market! It's amazing what elbow grease and paint can do! And yes, I think we become blind to issues in our own home.
I'm betting your hard work will pay off. said...

Dreaming --- I agree. All the hard work is worthwhile. I'm looking around and saying "Dang" this house is truly a beauty!!! I am a firm believer in elbow-grease, a bit of fresh paint and de-cluttering/pre-packing...that is a powerful trio to make a difference in any house.

It's looking pretty good...pretty good.