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Jessica Sells Her Own House

The Realtor as the Client

Sometimes, being the client is the best way to remember all the best practices. Realtors are good at selling other people’s houses. How good are they at selling their own?

By Jessica Packineau

Back in 2015, Jason and I and our three kids moved from a condo nearby into 148 Lincoln Road. At the time, it was nearly a tear-down, with basically no kitchen, a single bathtub which leaked, and the remains of an iceberg in the fieldstone crawl space. In five years, we’d done so much to the house: new roof, windows, doors, trim, kitchen, baths, porch, heating system, and yard work. We’d resolved a tricky neighbor situation (and reclaimed a quarter-acre of land). We’d striped hideous aluminum siding, and pulled lead weights out of the windows, and insulated everything. We’d taken down trees, opened up walls, painted and painted and painted in and out. 

But in the end, as wonderful as it is, the house was getting too small for the five of us (1800 sq. ft.) and we’d gotten the opportunity to purchase bigger house, also in need of work. So we listed it, got a few offers, and are hoping to move at the end of June. Here’s some of the best practices and “behind the curtain” tricks.

Preparing for Selling Your House

Of course, we run through the basics on our page for sellers. A couple things that “being the seller” reinforced for me:

1. Do the heavy lifting before listing. Jason and I had done a ton of work on the house, and we knew we were about 98% of the way ready when we decided to sell. But there was still a lot of painting, caulking, cleaning, and a few projects we’d put off that I wish we hadn’t. Do the work as soon as you’re able, you’ll get to enjoy those new windows or that new light fixture for a bit.

2. Get a Pod or rent a storage unit. Or, if you plan to hire a moving company, have them take a portion of your things now. Olympia is one I know provides storage for a split move. It is REALLY important to store some large portion of your things so buyers can see what kind of space remains for their own things. Everyone needs holiday decorations and childhood memorabilia and antique electronics (?) but no one needs them for the few months it’ll take to sell. Tip: We liked having the pod pick-up fixed as a deadline, but we were very, very careful not to pack anything away that we were not going to want at the new place. That meant many trips to the donation centers, a crazy yard sale, and a special spot at the swap table.

3. We met our deadline by hiring professionals. It helps to have a Rolodex. (We can help). We also wanted it to be ready for everything, not just the photography. We prepared for folks opening closets, for the inspection, and thought ahead to what buyers would want done for them. This made it easier to move from one step to the next, even during a pandemic.

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