Selling Our Home

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

So we have been involved in selling our home for the last few months.  Actually since Jan of this year.  Started with a relator who came recommended from a friend.  A big-time realtor, one of the biggest in the state.  Lots of listings, lots of associates.  We were connected at the top.  Let me set the stage, we are in Colorado.  Where it can be winter.  We listed our home in Jan, not the best time, but we wanted to go ahead and get to Arizona.  I say not the best time, since it is the middle of winter in Colorado.

The month we listed, three additional home came up for sale ON OUR BLOCK!  All less money than ours.  One was a brand-new spec home, and then one on each side of ours.  There are only 13 homes on our little street, 4 are for sale at the same time.  Guess you could say we had some competition, in addition to the possible weather opportunities.  What we have is the best view out our back deck, overlooking a 2100-acre wilderness preserve.  And a stunning mechanical system, 20 seer heat pumps on top of 95% gas furnaces.  4 stages of heat, 2 of cooling.  IAQ package, heat recovery ventilators, got it all.  Still, ya gotta get them into the home to see the view, feel the comfort.  Actually, what my friend Mike Carroll says is: perfect comfort means you don’t feel any temperature or humidity or drafts or vibration.  Perfect comfort is the absence of feeling too hot, too cold, all those other things we solve in our industry.

How about the home.  We ended up cleaning out the place, getting rid of everything.  That may have been a mistake.  We gave away thousands of dollars of furniture, clothing, dishes, you know, all the things in a home.  What we learned here is it may be a good idea to rent a storage unit, or see if you should in fact, get rid of it all.

Then the realtor said: it looks too empty.  Need to stage it.  He had a company, it was thousands to stage it, plus $1000/month.  Ouch.  Here is where an important lesson comes in.  May was sharing with a neighbor how frustrating it was to get rid on our “stuff”, then have to rent “stuff” to take its place.  The neighbor mentioned that another neighbor had listed their home for sale, moved out and left behind all their possessions.  Had a contact, we emailed, and made a deal.  We bought bed room sets, living room set, recliners, patio furniture, tables, enough to furnish our home for a fraction of what it would have cost to stage it for a few months.  And we get to keep it!  Lesson is: similar to referrals, work those relationships to get things done.  Let others know what you need/want, see if they can help.  And be ready to help others when they have a need/want.  Works both ways.  Note: the couple we bought that furniture from ended up moving to Phoenix, close to where we are moving.  Small world.

Back to the comfort concept.  Hard to get that from a brochure or flyer on a real estate sign.  We know that, progress was painful the first few months, even with the “new” furniture.  We were told we should “touch up” our indoor and outdoor paint, since it was 10 years since we built the home.  We did, my wife and I spent about $800 on paint, spent days painting.  Finally pulled the home off the market after 5 months, just could not get traction.  Came back to Colorado in May, looked at selling home again.  Got a new realtor, she asked: did you paint it yourself?  Well, yes, why do you ask.  It shows, she replied.  Advised me to hire a real painter, go ahead and pay whatever, get done professionally.  Lesson here is to hire a professional, let them do the heavy lifting.  We sometimes think we can do websites, internet marketing, social media (hay, just make some posts on FB, that will drag them in!), save some money.  My advice, stick to the things you do well, let others do what they do well.  Polish your own cannon.  Old saying from a pastor way back.

We did, you heard that story last month in “Lessons from a house painting”.  Got it painted, looks amazing.  Had it inspected, did what they suggested.  About that new realtor.  She is part of a new group, a lot smaller than the original realtor.  We go to church with her.  She said they would work hard to make something happen, get our home into the hands of a new family that would love it.  New realtor asked if we would mind it she had an open house, we said excellent.  She did a couple two weekends in a row.  Now, what we had heard was that houses don’t sell from an open house.  Urban legend from other realtor.  They get listings from open houses, make contacts, that sort of thing.  Our realtor said that is not exactly true, we sell homes from open houses.  Go for it we replied.

End result, our home was on the market less than 2 weeks, got an offer with no contingencies from a couple in Florida, inspection is done and we have a contract.  I know, it ain’t over till the money is in the bank, but I feel great about how it all fit together.  And I should shout out that several of you have been praying about this very thing, we do thank you!  Appreciate you coming along on this journey, next stop is Arizona!

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