Do you ever wish you could go back and change something or do something differently? I try not to dwell on the past, but when it comes to this certain house that I bought I kick myself every time I think about it.
The first house that I bought with my own mortgage was this tiny little thing in the center of Provo, Utah. I bought for around $130,000 in 2006 when the market was just shy of the peak. I was so excited to be a home owner because I worked for a company that taught how to invest in real estate and I thought I was so stinking smart to buy a home (#1 reason to kick myself).
I got a great conventional mortgage and then I was talked into refinancing to take out equity (since the market value was still increasing like crazy) and invest in other properties. I did the refinance and the new loan was this "super cool" option ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) where you can choose to pay the entire amortizing payment, the interest only, or a smaller portion and have the rest tacked onto the loan acquiring interest. And I kick myself again. I didn't end up putting money into the other thing, thank goodness, but still. Kick, kick.
(oh why didn't I paint the cabinets white? WHY?!)
I had owned the house for about 6 months and got engaged to Hubsters, who owned his own (much, much nicer) townhouse in the Salt Lake area. Obviously after we got married I moved in with him and rented out my house. We put it on the market and it didn't sell. Then the renters moved out. And it didn't sell. Then we got more renters who couldn't afford it but wanted to be in a house so badly (another kick for letting them rent -- rule: when someone is increasing their rent payment a lot but not their income, you won't be paid so don't do it... I don't care how desperate you think you are). And it didn't sell. We left it empty to try to sell again. Nothing. Finally we lease optioned it and that fell through. In the end, we tried selling it with 4 agents and in 3 years it finally sold for $125,000 ish. We lost a lot of money in mortgage payments, price drop, and a lot of heartache from stress. It was all my fault for not being informed by the right people (enter Dave Ramsey -- more about that in another post). KICK!
Oh, you want me to get to the point of this story? Well fine. Here are a few tips on how to sell your house quickly. And believe me, I've learned from experience. I wish I would have known these things from 2006-2009. Kick.
1. Get a good real estate agent. Do your research! Your friend might be good, but please don't hire your friend just because he is your friend. If there is someone better, hire that person. It may be hard to not choose your friend at first, but I promise it will save your friendship (in most cases).
2. Get a marketing/action plan in writing from the agent. What are they going to do to sell your house? What is the advertising schedule? Etc. This should be very detailed.
3. Have your home professionally staged (by an APSD home stager! -- okay, they don't have to be APSD certified, but we do a great job!). This is one of my biggest reasons to kick myself about my house. I thought staging was paying for a whole bunch of expensive furniture to be put in the house. Home staging can be done on any budget. There is no excuse. Besides, home staging costs less than your first price drop and usually less than your first empty house mortgage payment!
4. If you are able, offer an incentive such as a Home Warranty. Tip: don't offer a carpet allowance. It is better to just have the carpets replaced prior to putting the home on the market. It will look nicer to potential buyers and sell for a higher price.
Alright. Four tips is good. I don't want to overwhelm those of you who are still reading this novel. But I hope it helps at least one of you!
One last picture. This is a side view from the cross streets. The house/duplex on the left was my first investment duplex (that one turned out well). The one in the center was my house.
If you are interested in becoming a home stager, click here for your free APSD CD. You know I have to throw that in. :) Muaahhh!