Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why Can’t I Sell My House?

Once an owner decides to sell their house, they want it to happen FAST

However, most people know that selling a house quickly depends on a lot of different factors.

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, I watched as the land around an old stone pioneer cabin in my neighborhood was dug out until the cabin seemed to be sitting on a peak. Over the course of the summer, I would drive by and see steel plates and plywood bolted to the exterior of the stone walls. Huge steel beams were placed under the cabin. I thought this whole thing was ridiculous and bizarre.  There was so much land around it, so why all the fuss? What were those people doing? Towards the fall, I saw it lifted by crane and placed on a massive truck. Then it was gone. The following spring, construction on a new highway intersection began.

I had my answers. There was something so special about that old house to justify all the work and expense to move it. Progress, this time in the form of off-ramps, could not be halted. Truth be told, I have never seen another cabin like it. It had a steep metal roof that flared out at the bottom and would have put any Olympic sky jump to shame. I regret not having taken any picture of it while it was there.

So what does this little trip down memory lane have to do with you not being able to sell your house?

No One Wants To Live In Your Neighborhood

Unlike that little cabin, you probably can’t change where your house is. Most people have heard of that old cliché: 

Location, location, location!

The neighborhood may have been ideal back when you bought the house, but take off the rose colored glasses for a moment and look around you at what the neighborhood is NOW.

  • Has your neighborhood become the unwilling recipient of a new highway, bridge, factory, toxic waste dump or other undesirable feature?
  • Has it become a battle zone, gang territory, or meth lab Mecca?
  • Has local industry pulled out, Wal-Mart cancelled construction of its new store, and are families moving away – turning your neighborhood into a future ghost town?
  • Did it suffer during the last financial crisis –like Detroit – and has not seen an up-swing, yet?

If you even paused at any of these, you may be looking at a difficult – but not impossible – sale. Assuming that your house is in impeccable condition, it is always possible to sell if you lower your expectations for price.

Everything That Goes Around, Comes Around

Do you love Mid Century Modern and Atomic design? I do! I think it was a cool period in time when home architecture dramatically changed thanks to people like Frank Lloyd Wright.  Scientific discoveries and the atomic age actually influenced interior design style!

But do you love it so much that you kept the original kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures??? That could be trouble for your sale – especially if all your neighbors have upgraded to modern gourmet kitchens and spa-like baths!

You can always gut the place and renovate with a modern design and state of the art features. But before you sign with that contractor, make sure that the cost of any work will be less than the added value to your property! You DO NOT want to spend $20000 or $30000 on a new kitchen if you will only be able to raise your asking price $10000 or $15000 in comparison to your neighbors renovated house!!! Do your homework!

Let Me Show You ALL The Great Features…

Many house owners still love their property when they put it up for sale. They want to share their enthusiasm with potential buyers. Sadly, they have the mistaken idea that buyers welcome or will benefit from their knowledge and experience. Buyers want to look around without being bothered or feeling stalked. To make their decision, they need to be able to speak candidly amongst family members and their agent.

Think of how you feel when you go shopping and a clerk immediately jumps on you before you even had a chance to look at the item. You probably resented it, right? So if you don’t like the experience for a pair of jeans you will probably throw out next year, why would you ever do it to someone interested in buying YOUR HOUSE?!

What if you inadvertently put them completely off buying your house? “Oh, and you will barely hear the neighbors’ dogs barking all night if you run the pool pump on full…”

Let them ask questions through their agent, or contact you later.  If you are selling by yourself, direct them through the house WITHOUT commentary, or better: just say where rooms are (bath down the hall on the left with bedrooms on the right…), and let them look while you unobtrusively sit and read a book/magazine (as far away as possible – like your deck/balcony).

No Curb Appeal

If you aren’t even getting visits, then you may have an issue with your exterior. Is the structure in great (not “good”) shape? Roof? Foundation? Siding/brick/stone/stucco? Is everything you planted dead or dying –or overgrown to the point no one dares go to your door?

For more information on this subject, I encourage you to read some of my earlier posts, including:

Spring Into Your Successful Sale!

Reno NoNo

A lot of sellers make the mistake of thinking that people will “see the potential” of a house. While this may be true for some buyers, in this competitive market, buyers have many options for “turn key” “move-in ready” properties. Just as you should show your house at its best, it is equally important not to be doing renovations while your house is up for sale.

Doing work on your house while buyers may be visiting might:

  • Make you look as though you didn’t maintain the property
  • Make them think you are desperate to sell
  • Open you to legal action if someone is injured on stray materials or tools while viewing
  • Remind them of how much work they will have to do if they buy
  • At the very least, they don’t like your choices and move on

Even if your house is priced a little lower, most buyers don’t want to buy to renovate. Get work done before opening your house to buyers!

Hot Mess

Most people have heard about de-cluttering, de-personalizing and deep cleaning a house before putting it up for sale. If you are getting visits, but no offers, take another look at the condition of our home. If it wasn’t your house, would you buy it? How does it compare to homes in interior design magazines? Take a critical look at the amount of stuff that is distracting your buyers from making you an offer. 
You may also wish to look at the article on cleaning a house up for sale just below this one, which offers a cleaning check list:

Check It Once, Check It Twice. Make Sure EVERYTHING Is Nice!

Pants Are On Fire!

While many listings use code words to describe a house – such as “cozy” meaning “small” or “easy access to freeway” meaning “on a noisy road” – it is not a good idea to lie about your property. If that “pond” is really stagnant flood water, or “charm” means that everything needs to be redone, you may be doing yourself more harm than good by being creative with your description.

Buyers may resent your colorful description if it wastes their time. If they think you are lying, they will not trust you and wonder what else you are trying to hide or cover up.

Be diplomatic, but be honest.

Price To Move

After reading these different possibilities for problems, you might find that none of the situations apply to you. If your house has been on the market a while and you have not had an offer, you may have priced the house too high. Tour other properties in your area and do a critical comparison between theirs and yours. Do you like your neighbors’ house better than your own? Is it priced…lower?

You may have found your issue right there.

If a house is priced properly, no matter how bad the condition, IT WILL SELL!

Perhaps after your review of your house you come to the decision that it would be best to sell FAST, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, landscape, de-clutter and clean to put your refurbished house on the open market and hope the right buyer comes along quickly. The house can also be sold privately “as is” to resolve your situation immediately.

Next week we will take a look at Hot Housing Trends for 2015.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Check It Once, Check It Twice. Make Sure EVERYTHING Is Nice!

Everyone knows how important it is to clean your house before your sale. Yet everyone has a different idea of what “clean” is.

This week I would like to offer you a check list to help you with your spring cleaning – and your spring sale.

 The Complete Spring Cleaning Checklist

 Check your foundation for cracks
 Inspect siding for any rot or damage
 Power-wash house exterior, drive and sidewalks
 Repair your walkway by patching cracks and replacing loose bricks
 Have your roof checked for any stains or damage
 Clear your gutters of leaves, tree limbs and other debris
 Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep
 Check caulking around doors and windows
 Wash windows on the inside and out & Replace torn or damaged screens
 Apply weather-stripping to your windows
 Restore your door by polishing hinges and knobs or painting/staining
 Sweep up your porch and repaint railings
 Put out a fresh welcome mat
 Clean and condition your outdoor grill
 Freshen up outdoor furniture by painting or adding new cushions
 Clean outside light fixtures and replace bulbs
 Get your lawnmower tuned up and ready
 Check irrigation systems and timers
 Check garden hoses for dry rot and faucets for possible freeze damage
 Look for signs of pests or infestations and call an exterminator if needed
 Prune branches or remove unhealthy plants
 Plant new flowers and shrubs
 Put down mulch to hide and discourage weeds

Here is a printable sheet:


 Open windows to completely ventilate the house
 Test your air conditioning unit and get a tune up for max energy efficiency
 Clean out any air conditioning window units you may use
 Change smoke and carbon monoxide batteries
 Inspect basement for mold
 Check under sinks for leaks or water damage
 Check water heater for leaks or water damage
 Inspect all tile, grout and seals
 Thoroughly clean out closets
 Organize and clean kitchen cabinets and drawers
 Thoroughly clean out refrigerators, freezers, oven and dish washer
 Dust and clean ceiling fans
 Wash and polish light fixtures and switch plates
 Wash and polish floors
 Deep clean carpets throughout the house
 Clean or replace your furnace filter
 Vacuum and/or polish all furniture
 Clean and store away heavy bedding and linens
 Flip/rotate your mattress
 Wash pillow and dry at highest recommended heat setting
 Wash or air out all curtains and drapes. Clean blinds
 Evaluate other house contents and get rid of clutter

Here is a printable sheet:

Next week we will take a look at some reasons why you might have trouble selling your house.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here!

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Write to Turn My House To Sold

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Are YOUR Loved Ones Safe?

At some point in time, most people will have to concern themselves with aging parents or even older siblings. One of the major concerns is whether they are still able to live safely in their house.

My Mom was an independent and strong woman, but she had Parkinson's. When she had a kitchen fire in her home while outside gardening, our whole lives changed. For a long time my family tag-teamed to cover her needs. Eventually, as her illness progressed, it got to be too much and we realized she would have to move. Staying in a house had become too much of a challenge for her, and for us.

Even if your parent (or parents or siblings) enjoy great health, there are still several things that should be reviewed from time to time.

Style and Location of the House

If the property is a suburban single story single family house, chances are your loved ones will be able to manage well especially if they live close to amenities like groceries and medical facilities. If it is a town house (or row house), are your loved ones easily able to manage getting from the front to the back of the house? Are they dragging the lawn mower through the house to get all the yard work done?

Do they live in a remote location on a farm or ranch? Are the neighbors close by -- or a good drive away? Make sure that they are visited often so that their living situation can be checked. In addition, are they still able to meet up with the demands of this type of property, or has it become a burden to them?

If you are a close family and live in the same city, then chances are you can assist your loved ones if they need your help. If they are getting on in years and live in a different city or state, have a trusted person check on them to make sure that they are OK. If you are concerned about their well being, it may be time to live closer to each other.

Architectural Features

There are several architectural features that may make living in a house difficult. Some can be easily attended to with minimal cost. Other features may be (or become) a greater concern.

Seniors 65 years old and up have a 25 percent chance of dying within six months to a year if they fall and break a hip.


Do your loved ones live in a house with a second story or basement? Ask them if they are having difficulty on the staircase or if they have a fear of falling. Have you noticed if they are avoiding the upstairs bedroom in favor of the sofa on the main floor?

If both your parents live in the same house, are they equally mobile, or is one parent often left alone on a particular floor?

This issue may be easily resolved by rearranging the furniture or installing one of those stair lift systems.

It may also be time to look for more suitable accommodations.


More than one in three seniors over age 65 fall each year, and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) says 80 percent of these falls are in the bathroom.

Older houses may have bathrooms that are difficult to navigate. Even newer homes have the traditional shower and tub combo which may be a fall hazard. Are your loved ones able to safely get in and out of the tub? It may be time to securely install some of those grip bars into the bath area. In addition, while most people dislike the feel of those anti-slip stickers and mats, keep your family safe by adding them.

If you have greater concerns about your loved ones’ mobility, you may wish to consider installing a modern walk in tub. Just remember that they will have to sit in there until the water completely drains out, so make sure to install a rack for towels and robes!

Wet tile can be very precarious. Grout can help people from slipping, but if your loved ones’ have a seamless tile floor, it may be time for some anti-slip rugs, too.


Does your parents’ garden still look as beautiful as you remember from childhood, or has it become overgrown and unmanageable? Your parent’s once favorite pastime may have become too difficult for them. If all else is well in the house, consider hiring them a gardener so that they can continue to enjoy their garden. Their neighbors will appreciate that, too!

The Condition of The House

The Overall Appearance

Is the house relatively clean? Are there unpleasant odors indicating that hygiene may be a problem? Are there pests such as cockroaches or rodents? If you suspect any of these problems, it may be time to sit down and speak with your loved ones about their living conditions.

The Kitchen

Is it clean and is there food in the fridge? Is it full of garbage? Are the counters and floors dirty? Is the kitchen full of dirty dishes every time you visit? This may be a sign of something as simple as a broken dish washer that can easily be replaced. Or it may be a sign that your loved ones may no longer be able to keep up with house work.

In addition, check for signs of smoke or fire. While it is possible for anyone to have a cooking incident, repeated or extensive indication of kitchen fires may be a sign of bigger trouble. If your family member has become forgetful while cooking, they may become a danger to themselves and others.


Have you toured the house to check on the general cleanliness? Do your loved ones sleep on clean sheets, and wear clean clothes? If not, are the appliances working or are they unable to manage the laundry?

Do they have a clean, clear space to eat a meal? A comfortable place to sit and relax?

Often people don’t realize how much their living conditions have changed because it happens gradually over time.


Are there stacks of news papers or magazines from the last decade? If the garbage is not being put out regularly, please ask your loved ones why. Have they become forgetful? Do they know what day it is and when garbage day occurs? Cramped dirty conditions may be a sign of health issues. Take the time to find out the root of the problem and get your loved ones the necessary help.

Health and behavior

Medication and Illness

If your loved ones seem to have changed their personality, find out the reason. Are they lonely? Are they taking any prescribed medicine as required? Do they miss doses to try to save money -- or are they just forgetful? Do they take double doses because they forgot they took their medicine? The correct use of medication is very important. Incorrect use can put lives in danger. Ensure that there is a plan or supervision in place to keep medication straight.

Is their house bright and cheery, or have they closed all the blinds and drapes to live in a dark dreary space? Do you often find them in bed? This may be a sigh of depression and can become more sever over time.

It may be hard for a child or sibling to face, but are your loved ones showing signs of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s? If your parents live in a northern climate, evaluate any risk of wandering outside during the winter. Same issue for any parent in the south for the summer. Everyone has seen those sad news stories of family members who have gone out in extreme climates.


Do your parents suddenly have a large number of pets? This too may be a sign of loneliness or poor judgement -- especially if their own health is suffering in favor of care and food for the animals.

During your visit did you come across an unusual number of new magazine subscriptions or collectables? This could indicate that your loved ones have become vulnerable to telemarketers. This behavior may escalate and open them up to speaking with real scammers who could empty bank accounts!

The Solution

If you are concerned about one or two of these issues, then it may be enough to spend more time with your loved ones to ensure their well being and happiness. If that is not an option because of distance or other commitments, perhaps the family can agree to hire a care giver to give the support your family member deserves.

If, however you come to believe your loved ones need an increased level of support, or a change in environment for their own safety, it may be time for them to sell their house and move to an assisted living community.

These communities can provide great relief for the whole family. There can be some level of medical staff on site. Medication is supervised. Meals and recreational activities are provided. Common areas, grounds rooms and linens are maintained. There is companionship from people of the same age group and possibly even with similar interests.

For your peace of mind, you may wish to take the time to discuss and learn what would be best for your loved ones’ health and dignity.

If your family comes to the decision that it would be best for them to sell, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, de-clutter and clean to put their house on the open market until a buyer comes along. The house can also be sold “as is” to resolve the situation quickly.

Next week we will take a look at more ways of preparing your house for sale.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here!

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Write to Turn My House To Sold

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Preventing Senior Falls Starts in the Bathroom

Assessing the Risk of Living at Home - HELPING FAMILY & FRIENDS

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Into Your Successful Sale!

For quick house selling success, most people realize that there are several key steps to follow.

You are one of the savvy sellers and you have gone over your checklist again and again, and made all the necessary preparations to open your house to the public and sell your house fast.

Haven’t you?

If you haven't done this, you may still have time!

Just make sure you have:

þ Had your house inspected
þ Worked on your curb appeal
þ Evaluated potential problems or turn-offs in your interior
þ Decluttered
þ Cleaned
þ Made sure all your documents are in order

If you need more info about any of these, take a quick look at a post I shared a while ago on preparing your house for a spring sale in What To Get Done BEFORE Putting Your House On The Market

If you are golden, then read on!

The Spring Real Estate Market

Now that spring has officially arrived, let’s take a quick look at why the spring market is so important.

The weather has improved

While it is possible to sell a house at any time of the year, spring weather is an important factor.  During the winter, it may be impossible or inconvenient to house shop in many regions of the country. Bad weather may make travel difficult or hazardous, and may discourage house shopping.

In addition, getting the true sense of a house, yard or neighborhood may be challenging when it is under several feet of snow.

Neighbors may not be outside their homes as much as they would be in the other seasons. It is important to meet as many future neighbors as possible before making an offer, so buyers may prefer to do this when more people are outside.

Evaluating a yard or landscaping may be very difficult. If the roof is covered with snow, a buyer could not easily make a first evaluation of its condition. They may have to resort to a complete shoveling before an inspection – and that is a financial commitment!

No one wants to move during a snow storm, or in the blistering heat of late summer. Conversely, a spring purchase gives time to plan a move for late spring or early summer when the chances for good weather are much better.

This also coincides with another important factor:

The end of the school year 

If a family needs to move out of a school’s district, it might be preferable to move when school is out for the summer. In this way their children’s studies and exams are not disrupted.

This timing would also give children a chance to get familiar with their new environment and make friends before the stress of having to go to a new and unfamiliar school and continue their studies in the fall.

Interest rates will rise

This year there will be additional incentive to buy early. After many years, reports indicate that interest rates on mortgages are going to go up. When rates rise, homeowners can devote less of their income to paying down the mortgage, as the interest on the loan becomes a bigger part of the monthly expense. Effectively, they will have to buy "less house" to compensate for higher interest when rates go up. It is to the advantage of anyone planning to buy a house to do it sooner rather than later to get the best rate possible.

Study Finds Sweet Spot For Sales

Spring sales are so important that Zillow actually conducted a study on when the ``sweet spot`` for the most advantageous housing sales occur in different areas of the country. The northern mid-west is not represented in this image, but one can expect that the weather conditions might put the area in a similar time frame to the north east, like Boston.

March Madness to the Masters: The Best Time to Sell a House ~ Zillow

The range is fairly consistent, with the colder northeast – represented by the city of Boston - coming in a little later.

Due to these factors, a house may attract a premium price if it is for sale during this magic time period because it is the ideal time for most buyers. On the other hand, many of your neighbors may be thinking along the same lines and you may have more competition to sell your house fast in the spring.

So what can you do to gain an edge over your neighbor?

Make your house as inviting as possible!

Curb appeal

Even if you did perform maintenance on your house’s exterior, make sure that everything is in order. Check your roof, foundation and drive to ensure that a spring thaw didn’t cause any new cracks, heaves or other issues.  If you painted, look again to see that no issues developed and that you didn’t miss anything – especially if you rearranged your plantings.

Hopefully you attended to your yard early on this spring and healthy plants have had time to take hold. If you have any plant that is damaged from winter weather or under performing for any reason, make it a priority to rectify the situation. Be sure to attend to your lawn. Seed any bare spots and deter any weeds now. You don’t want any buyer to think they are buying “work”!

Celebrate the arrival of spring and summer living by getting rid of any remnants of winter. Store shovels, storm windows and anything else you may have needed during the winter. If you have a temporary car shelter that is still up -- and you know who you are! ;) pack it up – even if you are intending to include it with your sale (take pictures to show what you are offering potential buyers!) 

Outdoor lifestyle

While it might still be too chilly to use them in your area, arrange patio sets and any other outdoor furniture to create inviting outdoor spaces. Make sure BBQs, fireplaces and fire pits are clean. Clean and place garden planters with fresh plants. Set up any out door lighting, such as solar lanterns, to enhance the appeal of your garden for evening visits. If you have any decorations that you usually set out, be very critical and think before you do it. While you may LOVE garden gnomes, some people many not appreciate them and children may even be frightened! You don't want to turn off or frighten your buyers!

Clean, clean, clean!

Once you are finished outside, give your houses interior another critical inspection. With more daylight and different angles to sunlight, make sure that you didn’t miss cleaning any part of your house. It is very important to buyers that your house is clean and fresh, so don't disappoint!

Declutter and refresh your design

If you have any decorations or décor that is a reminder of winter, it's time to pack it or get rid of it! Keep your house as uncluttered as possible for that clean fresh spring look. Display some healthy flowering plants by the windows or put fresh cut flowers in as many rooms as possible. For goodness sake, don’t skimp and try to fool anyone with artificial flowers! Buyers will wonder what other corners you are trying to cut!

Everything should help your buyer see all the positive aspects and potential for growth in your house.

It is important to suggest to your buyers that if they live there, that they will have these things, too!

With a bit of effort, your house will shine above all others in your neighborhood.

So what do you do if you didn’t plan to sell your house this spring?

If you suddenly need to sell your house, it is still possible! While this is the most active selling time, people do need to find houses throughout the year. Relocation, marriage, retirement and other life events happen throughout the year. Follow the same steps and be patient. A buyer will eventually come along. 

Just remember, if you don’t have the time or money to renovate to put your house on the conventional market and wait, or you need to sell your house fast, none of this work is necessary!

You can always sell your house as it is.

Next week we will take a look at the dangers of living at home for seniors.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Write to Turn My House To Sold

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Zillow via AOL Real Estate March Madness to the Masters: The Best Time to Sell a House