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...repainted exterior doors and pressure washed the outside. It may not have mattered, ...

I'll bet it did. Curb appeal, first impressions, etc, are very important.

Suggested questions:...What repairs are required? ...staging...

When I met with 3 Realtors, they all said, basically, "If you hire me, I'll tell you what to do stage the house."
(Similar to when I met with several architects about a renovation, who said, "If you hire me, I'll tell you how to improve flow, bring in more light, ..."*)

If I were bolder, I would have said, "Tell me your ideas first, and if I like them, I'll hire you."
But they probably wouldn't have, because sellers often don't like the Realtor's (or stager's) ideas. What homeowner wants to be told that their gorgeous deep-colored paint is too taste-specific, their painstakingly-hung wallpaper is dated, their comfy couch is dumpy, etc.?


* I did hire several designers (some architects), wasn't impressed with their ideas for my house (although I'd vetted them, and they'd done good work for others), and parted ways. The one I'm working with now, in his initial visit, did a quick back-of-the-envelope sketch of a concept that would provide a quantum leap in functionality. I'm glad I stuck it out until I found the right architect, but the process cost a lot of time and money, and I wish there were a better way.
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