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April 27, 2009


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My wife and I are in the process of painting our new house. It was built in 1985, but from what we can tell, it had never been painted (and hadn't been well taken care of for that matter). So, we've gone about painting the house from top to bottom. Right now we are in the process of painting our kitchen cabinets. They are a dingy brown color, but we are painting them white. It is a lot of work, but our house looks much better.

It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a place.

Here's the number one fastest way:

- price it correctly!

None of the other stuff matters if you over price, especially in this market. We've had our home on the market now for two months - It's in move-in condition, well staged, clean, landscaped, etc. We dropped our price once (about 4%) and are contemplating another price change. We're anxious to move up in housing and we know that an attractive price is what will ultimately get the house sold.

Two additional items:

Declutter - Most homes we go into have every room filled with junk and personal effects. It is hard to visualize how your things will look in a room when you have these distractions.

Odors - Pet smells, etc. are a big turnoff. Regardless of the other attributes, if a bad smell hits me in the face when I walk in the door, I leave with a bad impression.

Remember the inverse of this when shopping for a house. Our home needed some exterior painting, lawn mowed, fences falling down, walls were all dingy white inside, everything packed full of clutter, thick dark curtains keeping out light, old carpet, etc.. Got a great deal on the house (I'm certain this had everything to do with it). The kitchen was already updated (big $s I didn't have to spend) but would've shown much better without the dirty dishes still in the sink. With a month's work and $3K it looked $30K better (best "pay" I've ever received for my time)

I cannot agree more with John Z and JimL. My condo was newly painted (about 1 year old paint job), I had a newly renovated bathroom (18 months), new windows and sliding glass doors (18 months) and a 2 day old newly remodeled kitchen when it went on the market. And I was in the process of moving out of the country so there was no clutter. My realtor misread the market and suggested too high of a price, which admittedly I agreed to (he was the "expert"), not a single offer.

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