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My girlfriend is trying to sell her house. Lovely home in a desirable suburb of Boston. She's asking a price comparable to homes in the neighborhood that aren't as nice as hers.

Several people have come through and liked the house but won't make an offer because, they say, if has wallpaper in the foyer and a couple upstairs rooms and it has very expensive carpet instead of hardwood floors downstairs.

We are both old enough to remember buying houses and taking it for granted we would have to paint just about every room, replace carpet, etc. Is the younger generation so spoiled that they expect everything to be perfect and match their color preferences? Apparently so.

She would even have the wallpaper removed if a buyer wanted that to close the deal or paint a room or remove the carpet, but buyers won't even consider the house because it isn't perfect, by their definition of perfect. In frustration she has asked the realtor to only show the house to adults who can see the fine finishes, prime location, and great potential to make this house their home.

Don't understand a generation that can't do anything for themselves.
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Don't take it personally. They don't sound like serious buyers.


But even if they are, they are entitled to be picky if they wish.


Seattle Pioneer
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We are both old enough to remember buying houses and taking it for granted we would have to paint just about every room, replace carpet, etc. Is the younger generation so spoiled that they expect everything to be perfect and match their color preferences? Apparently so.



I have been married 43 years and have bought and sold 3 houses and one cooperative apartment.
At the right price your girlfriends house should sell.
I will say though that all of the houses I sold I fixed up quite a bit.
My first house was a tiny house in a not so great neighborhood. It was a tiny colonial house and I used good reproduction paint from Old Sturbridge Village. I wallpapered the dining room with good reproduction wallpaper and matching paint. I paid 33,000 for the house and got back 3 times that when we sold 10 years later but it took nearly 2 years to sell because the broker priced it 30% higher than it should have been because he did not know the area. I went through 3 brokers before I found one who would price it to sell and it did the minute it went on the market.
Anyway, the apartment that we sold was in immaculate condition. Paint was neutral in all the rooms and the parquet floors were in perfect condition.
The galley kitchen had new stainless steel top of the line appliances and granite countertops that were there when we bought the place.
So, if painting something a neutral color does the job, then do it.
Get rid of clutter. Take down all personal items, pictures, etc.
New buyers want to feel as if they already own the place and don't even want to see your old stuff laying around. Trust me. I sold 4 places and made a decent profit from every one of them.
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But even if they are, they are entitled to be picky if they wish.


Absolutely!
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In frustration she has asked the realtor to only show the house to adults who can see the fine finishes, prime location, and great potential to make this house their home.


Big mistake. You never know who your buyer will be.
When I bought my second home I told the broker to never, never, never show me a ranch house. I grew up in a tiny little ranch house and hated it.
So, one day I was looking in the real estate section of the newspaper and I saw, yes, a ranch house in the best part of town at the right price.
We saw the house and loved it and lived there happily for 14 years.
So, you never know.
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Just about all sellers believe their home is everyone's castle and should be compensated for it on that basis. Reality is, if you want to sell, you need to appeal to the greatest number of buyers possible. It is the rare person who actually likes wallpaper, and absolutely no one wants to deal with wallpaper they don't like unless they are way over compensated for the removal. Problem is, you never know how easy or hard a wallpaper removal will be until you start the removal, and so the visions of chunks of wall coming off with the paper is in everyone's mind. The internet is filled with horror stories about removing wallpaper.

As a seller, she needs to eliminate the objections before they happen. She has been alerted to the fact that most people don't want wallpaper...so remove it. At a minimum have a bid for removal so the buyers don't think it will be much more expensive. We knocked about 20% off the price of the albeit too highly priced house we live in now, mostly because of the atrocious wallpaper which caused it to linger on the market, even in the very hot 2004 market. That is the kind of buyer you will get by leaving wallpaper on the wall.

...and it has very expensive carpet instead of hardwood floors downstairs.

Her vision of expensive carpet is the buyer's vision of years of her accumulated dirt left behind. You ever rip out carpet? It is totally gross underneath. I could not wait to replace the Pepto Bismol Pink wall to wall in the MBR with oak floors, and the rest of the disgusting upstairs carpet with laminate to accommodate the particle board substrate. It is always amazing how disgusting it is under the carpet and how much less our allergies were impacted after it was removed.

If she wants to whine about how wonderful her castle is and how people don't appreciate it, she will hold on to it until some bargain hunter shaves enough premium off the price so she takes on all the risk. If she wants to sell, she will listen to her buyers and eliminate objections before they happen.

Look here for advice on selling: http://boards.fool.com/buying-or-selling-a-home-100144.aspx?...

IP,
currently getting a home ready to sell next year
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In frustration she has asked the realtor to only show the house to adults who can see the fine finishes, prime location, and great potential to make this house their home.


Big mistake. You never know who your buyer will be.


Not to mention that could be construed as steering, which is a federal no no.

IP
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My girlfriend is trying to sell her house. Lovely home in a desirable suburb of Boston. She's asking a price comparable to homes in the neighborhood that aren't as nice as hers.

Several people have come through and liked the house but won't make an offer because, they say, if has wallpaper in the foyer and a couple upstairs rooms and it has very expensive carpet instead of hardwood floors downstairs.

Don't understand a generation that can't do anything for themselves. "

----\


Buyers can be picky. In some cases, if it isn't what they want, they'll look more...maybe come back later if it is the only one close to the area they want.

My house is 24 years old...it has neutral colors other than wallpaper in the bathrooms. Carpet in all the rooms, but tile in the kitchen, eat in kitchen area, front foyer, front hallway, one bath....other 2 bathrooms are carpeted. I didn't want hardwood floors...just a pain and a slip hazard you wind up putting carpets on!.....

My kitchen is dated...linoleum counter tops....no granite anywhere...24 year old stove top...Jenn Air but still showing some age......24 year old built in range/microwave.....23 year old refrig..... I did replace the dish washer and garbage disposal once.

-----

My next door neighbor fixed up her house to showcase condition. It sold in ONE day with 3 offers. It was nice.

New owners had contractors there for a month. Redid the very nice kitchen....put in induction range....ripped out brand new top of the line cook top...but in better granite...duh!....had painting contractors there.....weeks..... and that was for a showcase home already. Dunno..they spend $365K on the house and probably put another $20,000 or more into it.....I'm not sure why.....young couple....only he works....can't be making that much money to blow it like that......

I'd have to do $30K in upgrades to fix my place up. Heck, I still watch a 27 inch 24 year old color TV.....haven't even bought a big screen HD one yet.....

My house is smaller..but only 1 story compared to neighbor's place....but I could probably sell it quickly..this area in big demand and 4000 Toyota people coming here this summer!.....Prices should rise nicely....

When I went house looking I never wanted wall paper in main rooms or bedrooms. I always wanted carpet.

Had hardwood floors in my 3 story townhouse on main floor and tile in kitchen. Pain in neck for dust....the hardwood floors collected it and showed it...and you still put rugs down....and you worried about scratching it with furniture all the time!....yuk to hardwood floors.

I guess that is back to being a 'status symbol' or for people with supposed allergies.

the only place I don't want carpet is the kitchen, and the front entrance since dirt tracks in on it..... but I got a throw rug there anyway to stomp the feet on....

My stove works....why should I care? Half of what I cook is in a toaster oven...or the microwave.....


t.
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Brooklyn1948: my first house was a tiny house in a not so great neighborhood. It was a tiny colonial house and I used good reproduction paint from Old Sturbridge Village. I wallpapered the dining room with good reproduction wallpaper and matching paint. I paid 33,000 for the house and got back 3 times that when we sold 10 years later but it took nearly 2 years to sell because the broker priced it 30% higher than it should have been because he did not know the area. I went through 3 brokers before I found one who would price it to sell and it did the minute it went on the market.

Good post.

One of the truisms in real estate is that if the house doesn't sell (or at least get offers) in a month, the price is too high. I re-learned this when we sold our last house, a gorgeous Victorian.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/24160789@N04/2614339090/
We sold it three years ago. THe RE market was in free fall and we didn't pick it up, and the realtor kept telling us the price was good. After six months the listing expired and we got another realtor who got us to cut the price ny $100,000. It sold in three weeks.

CNC

CNC
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One of the truisms in real estate is that if the house doesn't sell (or at least get offers) in a month, the price is too high. I re-learned this when we sold our last house, a gorgeous Victorian.


Exactly. There is a buyer for every house assuming it's priced correctly.
Our current retirement home is in a very nice neighborhood 1900 feet from the ocean. It's part of an 18 unit association. Our house is 300 years old but the surrounding homes were built in the 60's.
The ceilings in our house, on the first floor, are so low that I can touch them and I am 5 feet tall. This house would not have been the ideal home for many people but it was for us. I don't think I even know that many people who are 6 feet tall and so we were not concerned about ceiling height. The second floor has regular ceilings.
The house stays very warm in the winter due to the low ceilings, so that's another plus.
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"Our current retirement home is in a very nice neighborhood 1900 feet from the ocean. It's part of an 18 unit association. Our house is 300 years old but the surrounding homes were built in the 60's.
The ceilings in our house, on the first floor, are so low that I can touch them and I am 5 feet tall. This house would not have been the ideal home for many people but it was for us. I don't think I even know that many people who are 6 feet tall and so we were not concerned about ceiling height. The second floor has regular ceilings.
The house stays very warm in the winter due to the low ceilings, so that's another plus. "

300 years ago, most people were a lot shorter!.....we're likely 6 inches average taller than before.

Many houses were bullt then with 7 foot ceilings...more than adequate for 5 foot high people.....and many didn't even have ceilings, but the bare floor of the story above (if they had one)..... they heated by fireplace.....and you'd have one in every room you used.....maybe 2 downstairs and maybe 1 or 2 upstairs if a 'big house' Otherwise,no heat upstairs in the bedroom. You'd just use a heavy quilt to sleep. There weren't pipes to freeze.


some of the ceilings were put in to hide plumbing that was added to these houses.....200 years later......toilets, sinks, etc....way back then you had 'outdoor facilities' and wash basins, and maybe a potty seat with a chamber pot below.....

times were different.....

t
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There are two problems with thoroughly fixing up a property to sell it:

1) You lay out a lot of cash

2) You pay more in real estate commissions.


The alternative is to do the necessary minimum in fixups and to price the property cheaper.

My theory is that there is a significant slice of the buying market that would prefer a cheaper price and an opportunity to put their own sweat equity into the property. They also get to customize their new home the way THEY prefer.

That SEEMS like it ought to have an appeal.


Seattle Pioneer
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The alternative is to do the necessary minimum in fixups and to price the property cheaper.

My theory is that there is a significant slice of the buying market that would prefer a cheaper price and an opportunity to put their own sweat equity into the property. They also get to customize their new home the way THEY prefer.

That SEEMS like it ought to have an appeal.


You would think this would be the case, but it is only so for those who allow their brain to make their real estate decisions rather than their hearts or fears. A seller will pay much more to "allow" a buyer to make their own remodeling decisions than just doing it themselves. If as a seller you are going to take the buyer do it yourself approach, make sure to have lots of bids on hand to have the job done. Otherwise, out of fear and uncertainty, the buyer will come up with a repair number in their head that is much larger. And justifiably, they deserve a premium for acting as the general contractor to get things done. I am dealing with this now on two fronts, and it is a royal PITA to even get people to give bids, never mind show up and do good work.

It's little wonder why I do so much of my home repair myself.

IP
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My theory is that there is a significant slice of the buying market that would prefer a cheaper price and an opportunity to put their own sweat equity into the property. They also get to customize their new home the way THEY prefer.

Point is the young people today don't want to do anything. I've heard this from realtors and now we're seeing it. If a paint color needs to be changed they'll walk away rather than do it themselves or even hire it done. I imagine anyone old enough to be on this board has done their share of painting or remodeling after they bought a house. This generation doesn't seem to want to invest any sweat equity.
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This generation doesn't seem to want to invest any sweat equity.


The house needs to get sold. Has the broker given you any feedback?
Also, you say it's nicer than others in the area. How do you know that?
Have you gone to the open houses of the other houses that are for sale?
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My theory is that there is a significant slice of the buying market that would prefer a cheaper price and an opportunity to put their own sweat equity into the property. They also get to customize their new home the way THEY prefer.



That sort of depends on where you live. I sold a cooperative apartment in the best neighborhood in Brooklyn, one stop from Wall St. on the subway and a view to die for. There was a bidding war on my 850 sq. ft. apartment that sold for over $600,000. The person buying had thoughts of doing a major renovation anyway. She probably contracted to have the work done as she was a professional woman who most likely had no time to do much of it herself as was the case with many of the people who lived in the building.
For the most part, I did all the painting and wallpapering in my 3 homes over the course of 35 years. Our generation came up with very little money and wouldn't think of hiring someone to do what they could do themselves.
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<<Point is the young people today don't want to do anything. I've heard this from realtors and now we're seeing it. If a paint color needs to be changed they'll walk away rather than do it themselves or even hire it done. I>>


Sounds like there still a surplus of houses on the market.

When there is a shortage, people will start dealing with reality or keep renting.


Seattle Pioneer
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<<Point is the young people today don't want to do anything. I've heard this from realtors and now we're seeing it. If a paint color needs to be changed they'll walk away rather than do it themselves or even hire it done. I>>

...

Sounds like there still a surplus of houses on the market.

When there is a shortage, people will start dealing with reality or keep renting.


Nah, I came across this in the height of the bubble as well. I had this one couple that I took EVERYWHERE, but this was wrong, that was wrong, etc. Finally, we found the PERFECT house, except that one of the 4 bedrooms was very pink. 1 average sized bedroom in a 3500SF home. They were going to walk away until I delivered a lecture on the difference between fatal issues like bad location, and fixable issues like a new paint job. I even called a painter I had used before and put them on the phone for an instant quote range. They bought the place and even paid $15,000 over asking because 4 bids came in that day.

If these kids have no clue that these are small inconsequential issues, it is because we parents have not bothered to teach them. I too am guilty of this a bit, because frankly it's a lot easier to just do the job myself and not to include them, but I have been including the kids more, and this summer will be a busy one for Youngest helping me get the house ready for sale. At lest they know how to do yard work and pressure wash.



IP
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When there is a shortage, people will start dealing with reality or keep renting.


There was definitely a shortage of apartments like mine in Brooklyn Heights when it went on the market. I had two offers within just a few hours after the open house and another offer the following morning.
When I asked the broker about it she said "there's nothing out there".
Hard to imagine in a large city like Brooklyn but I lived in an area that was very desirable and strangely enough, 850 sq. feet seemed huge to some people. And you could see the Statue of Liberty and the harbor from my kitchen window and the Brooklyn Bridge from my living room window.
Lots of people are opting for renting right now.
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Sounds like there still a surplus of houses on the market.


Seattle Pioneer


Not in our area. Houses are going on the market and being sold for more than their asking price in less than a week. My neighbor complained that a larger house down the street was sold before they even had the for sale sign out. She was interested in it because it was a larger house.

Utahtea
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"Not in our area. Houses are going on the market and being sold for more than their asking price in less than a week. My neighbor complained that a larger house down the street was sold before they even had the for sale sign out. She was interested in it because it was a larger house."

My nieghbors house sold in one day. It was in very nice shape. Sold for $300 over athe asking price....3 offers and one was 300 higher. They had to move so didn't hold out. Glad to get their high asking price.


4000 people headed to Plano....Toyota relocation..... I imagine any house in decent condition will be gone quickly...all those CA types can sell...and buy 50% more house and still have loads of cash left over....

the rental market is already tight....

they are building new homes around here like crazy but they are 15-20-25 miles out...


t.
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I live in an affluent city. I hear buyers want to buy a house in "move in" condition. They don't want to make changes. Last house I sold was in a recession.....nothing was selling. We painted, removed wall paper, put up new wallpaper (popular at the time) and put up wainscoting, etc.

We sold the house for less than asking. The new owners removed our new wallpaper and put up paper that was the same as we removed!!! The whole neighborhood was laughing. I currently live in a '70s house and love it. I keep it in great repair, put wood flooring in the FM...granite counters, new roof, gutters, soffits, whole house generator. All this for me who lives here. I learned to make your improvements for yourself, not for buyers who will be changing it anyway.

I am staying put in my little piece of heaven. When I die, my kids can worry about selling.

Birgit
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Ever watch HGTV? Shows like "First Time House Buyers" illustrate how different people can be.

I am always amazed that condo buyers rarely seem to ask about the FEES, which can be huge. Or the heating and AC costs. Instead, they look at superficial things.

Same for home buyers, as several have said. A FEW show some brains, but often one or the other people will say something about the kitchen or bathroom like "Well, this will have to be gutted!"

Some seem to love that term "gutted". Having just had our bathroom truly "gutted" three years ago (ceiling, walls, floor -- everything -- for a total redesign) we can tell them what they seem to want will mean big bucks. Instead, if the room is basically in good shape, might they live with it and see about changing SOME things when they can afford them?

Hey, to each his or her own. However, some of these folks seem to expect to find a home truly only in their minds!

One thing we finally did after looking for over a year here was to create a 4-quadrant matrix we could give the agent, broken down into:

MUST have

Must NOT have

NICE to have

Perhaps ACCEPTABLE

It helped, but we got tired of seeing homes that were too expensive or just nothing like what we said we wanted.

Vermonter
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Retired Vermonter: However, some of these folks seem to expect to find a home truly only in their minds!

I think many folks can't see past the "what's there" to the "what it can be". Such things as color, for instance, can easily be changed, but people don't buy the house because of the color of one room. Even the window treatments (drapery, blinds, etc.) can be a turn-off to some.

CNC
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If a paint color needs to be changed they'll walk away rather than do it themselves or even hire it done. I imagine anyone old enough to be on this board has done their share of painting or remodeling after they bought a house. This generation doesn't seem to want to invest any sweat equity.

That is certainly a shame that they don't want to do it themselves, but I think the older generation (myself included) needs to get used to the idea that that is the way the world is turning now. These are the people who are or soon will be running the country. They have different views and values and that's just the way it is.

We can sit back and harrumph and spit out "kids these days" and "get off my lawn," but that isn't going to change reality. Your parents probably sniped, "Kids these days," as well, and it didn't change a thing.

Take down the wallpaper and paint the walls. It's not a big deal, and it'll make a world of difference in how they see the house. I'm not sure I'd have estimates available for replacing the carpet with wood.

Chili
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I think many folks can't see past the "what's there" to the "what it can be". Such things as color, for instance, can easily be changed, but people don't buy the house because of the color of one room. Even the window treatments (drapery, blinds, etc.) can be a turn-off to some.


Eleven years ago we sold our ranch house on Long Island because my husband lost his job and the only other job he could find was out of state. Our house was worth 600,000 but we sold it to a young couple for 560,000 because we had to relocate right away.
That 40,000 reduction in price gave this young couple the opportunity to buy a house in the best neighborhood in that town. They were thrilled because they would also be living not too far from her parents.
The husband, a terrific young man, was most impressed with the new oil burner system that we had installed. It was german made and no one had anything like it. The house was in fantastic condition and well made.
So, you never know what might appeal to someone. Price? Location?
Closeness to family?
There is a buyer for every house. It just takes time.
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We can sit back and harrumph and spit out "kids these days" and "get off my lawn," but that isn't going to change reality. Your parents probably sniped, "Kids these days," as well, and it didn't change a thing.

Every generation does.

http://www.songlyrics.com/bye-bye-birdie/kids-lyrics/

Kids, you can talk and talk till your face is blue
Kids, but they still do just what they want to do
Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids today?
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I think many folks can't see past the "what's there" to the "what it can be". Such things as color, for instance, can easily be changed, but people don't buy the house because of the color of one room. Even the window treatments (drapery, blinds, etc.) can be a turn-off to some.

We as a couple are mixed in our abilities to see potential. When we are house hunting "It has potential" is the phrase from my mouth that strikes terror in his heart. He has gotten to the point where he concedes to my vision now, after decades of experience of home shopping with me, but he still can't see it if it's not in front of his face.

This is just a fact of life...many can not see potential in a property. As a buyer I take advantage of that, and low bid for a place that is not immaculate. As a seller, I eliminate objections before they can even be raised. The three houses I've sold went very quickly, often at a price significantly higher than the Realtor was happy with. Hopefully this one will too.

IP

needing to get back to decluttering
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<<Take down the wallpaper and paint the walls. It's not a big deal, and it'll make a world of difference in how they see the house. I'm not sure I'd have estimates available for replacing the carpet with wood.

Chili
>>


True, perhaps. And don't forget to JACK THE PRICE 'WAY UP to more than recover your costs.

I guess fools and their money are still soon parted.



Seattle Pioneer
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<<The husband, a terrific young man, was most impressed with the new oil burner system that we had installed. It was german made and no one had anything like it. The house was in fantastic condition and well made.
>>



Ummm. He'll probably be less impressed some cold morning when it doesn't fire up and he has a lot of trouble finding someone to fix it and and a couple of week delay in getting parts needed to make it work.


As a furnace repairman, I used to recommend that people by a furnace from Carrier or one of it's other brands. Carrier furnaces weren't better than other brands, but they are much the largest maker of furnaces. As a result, if some repairman can fix ANYTHING he can probably fix Carrier furnaces, because he sees them so often.

And the odds are good that if he needs parts to fix the furnace, he'll have the part with him on his truck, because the turnover on those parts is high.


Seattle Pioneer
Not a fan off off brand HVAC equipment
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True, perhaps. And don't forget to JACK THE PRICE 'WAY UP to more than recover your costs.

People in general seem to have a misconception of how real estate, sales or rentals, are priced. You don't price it to cover your costs and then some, you price it to reflect what the market will bear.

However, in addition a seller needs to make the product attractive to the largest possible number of people. Wallpaper is rarely a great seller, at least in the past 2-3 decades.

There is only one reason why real estate does not sell...price. If the place is not selling, then it is overpriced for it's condition. You have two choices...lower the price, or change the condition.

IP
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As a furnace repairman, I used to recommend that people by a furnace from Carrier or one of it's other brands. Carrier furnaces weren't better than other brands, but they are much the largest maker of furnaces. As a result, if some repairman can fix ANYTHING he can probably fix Carrier furnaces, because he sees them so often.




I doubt whether they will have a problem finding someone to service the burner. The house is in a Long Island suburb and the local oil company has been in business for over 50 years.
We bought a small house last year and replaced the gas furnace with one of the most popular brands. The first guy who gave us an estimate wanted to sell us a furnace that was too big for this tiny house. We went with Home Depot. They got the job done with the right sized furnace at a cost that was almost 50% lower than the first estimate.
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As a furnace repairman, I used to recommend that people by a furnace from Carrier or one of it's other brands. Carrier furnaces weren't better than other brands, but they are much the largest maker of furnaces. As a result, if some repairman can fix ANYTHING he can probably fix Carrier furnaces, because he sees them so often.

Furnaces maybe, but heat pumps, no. Noisiest things ever! It's not surprising ours wakes me up, as I am a light sleeper, but amazing how it frequently wakes DH up. He usually needs a cattle prod to wake him up out of a deep sleep.

We've been pricing out repairs on our older HVAC unit to the other heat pump servicing the main part of the house. One of the guys who gave an estimate said he won't sell the Carrier/Bryant brand after the class he took about installation informed him that these outside units should be on a cement pad 18" deep and far from bedrooms to compensate for noise. Got to admit it does offer a much warmer heat than other heat pumps we have had.

IP
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There is only one reason why real estate does not sell...price. If the place is not selling, then it is overpriced for it's condition. You have two choices...lower the price, or change the condition.




You are 100% correct!
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<<True, perhaps. And don't forget to JACK THE PRICE 'WAY UP to more than recover your costs.

People in general seem to have a misconception of how real estate, sales or rentals, are priced. You don't price it to cover your costs and then some, you price it to reflect what the market will bear. >>



I would suppose that the popularity of "house flippers" who buy fixer upper properties, fix them up and then sell them for a much higher price reflects this bias of buyers for a house that is already fixed up.

That implies that there is likely a significant premium to be had for spending the time and money to meet the supposed high standards buyers want these days, as reflected by comments in this thread.

Buyers aren't likely to get the house they want to buy fixed up for free. They probably have to pay a significant premium over the actual cost of improvements.

So I would suppose that people should expect to get back their costs and then some.

Of course that has to be done with a degree of shrewdness and a sensitivity for what people will pay for.


Seattle Pioneer
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I would suppose that the popularity of "house flippers" who buy fixer upper properties, fix them up and then sell them for a much higher price reflects this bias of buyers for a house that is already fixed up.

House flipping as portrayed by TV is highly romanticized. Worked well during the bubble, but many if not most flippers lost their shirt in the down fall.

That implies that there is likely a significant premium to be had for spending the time and money to meet the supposed high standards buyers want these days, as reflected by comments in this thread.
...

So I would suppose that people should expect to get back their costs and then some.

Of course that has to be done with a degree of shrewdness and a sensitivity for what people will pay for.


Buyers have always preferred a home that meets their high standards, though I will agree there are probably fewer today who are even able to see the potential of a place, rather than what is simply in front of them.

Article after article warns about what provides best value for fixing up. Here's one that shows you need to chose your rehab carefully: http://www.zillow.com/howto/ValueOfHomeImprovements.htm

A neighbor who was selling his home last year was bemoaning how no one wanted to pay for his custom built house with fine materials like a mahogany stair case. Another just finally sold his extensively tiled home with beautiful granite and travertine at about 20% less than his asking. These people most certainly did not recoup their money.

Sure, selective home improvements, particularly those that push emotional buttons, help sell the home...but it still has to appraise and that is set mostly by comps, or what the market will bear.

IP
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I live in L.A., my house is paid off, and all should be right with my world. But my partner and I want to move across town to be closer to our daughter, who just got married. We're just talking a move of 8 miles. But calculating in the traffic time, we have to budget an hour just to get there in a timely way. And at rush hour, we have to add 15 minutes to that. So in preparation for when the grandkids start to arrive, we want to move into what will be our very last house. This one has been great. It's in the hills, is private with a nice swimmable pool, and we've kept up all the house systems over the years. Someone will get a great house when we sell it... but not until after we buy our new house and move in.) But moving west will cost about 50% more than our house value. That's okay. We're ready for a change and will pay up for being closer in. Our main problem is that there is very little inventory in our very liberal price range, and what is there has been ruined with generic or simply wrong modernization. I wish I could find a fixer that would give us the chance to finish it the way we want it. But it seems like too many people have been watching HGTV and mimicking either their trendy or too beige and soulless palette. But I know our house is out there somewhere.

Wish me luck. It's been six months of searching. I just hope we can find something before the end of the year.

Vivienne
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But my partner and I want to move across town to be closer to our daughter, who just got married.

Vivienne, I wish you all the luck in the world, and if I may a word of caution. How certain are you that your daughter and SIL will stay in that house? Jobs change, transfers happen, people move. And frankly, divorces happen. Your moving closer could put some pressure on these kids. Make sure you all are on the same page before you move to be near them and then they move away.

If you really love your current home, maybe give moving a year or two to see what happens.

IP
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Vivienne, I wish you all the luck in the world, and if I may a word of caution. How certain are you that your daughter and SIL will stay in that house? Jobs change, transfers happen, people move. And frankly, divorces happen. Your moving closer could put some pressure on these kids. Make sure you all are on the same page before you move to be near them and then they move away.

If you really love your current home, maybe give moving a year or two to see what happens.


Wow. I couldn't agree more. We moved from Brooklyn to MA a year ago. We live very close to my daughter and 2 grandkids. It has been such a delight living so close to them as the grandkids have finally gotten to know Grandma and Grandpa and they actually like us!!!
Just the other day my daughter told me that they might need a bigger house. I was crushed. We have gotten used to not only having them over once a week for a "playdate" with Grandma and Grandpa but routinely bumping into them on the street or in the supermarket. I can see their house from our driveway!
We would have moved here anyway but the thought that things might and will change in the near future was very upsetting to me. We love where we live and we are surrounded by others who are about the same age. We will not move again.
Young people have their own lives to live and we cannot forget that. They might move because of a job loss or maybe a better job in another state for that matter.
If it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to move 8 miles, I'd surely think twice about it.
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<<I live in L.A., my house is paid off, and all should be right with my world. But my partner and I want to move across town to be closer to our daughter, who just got married. We're just talking a move of 8 miles. But calculating in the traffic time, we have to budget an hour just to get there in a timely way. >>



Ummm.... Have you considered the possibility that your daughter moved 8 miles away from you for a reason?

You've calculated the amount of time it takes to do this commute. But have you calculated the cost per hour of the time you save if you move closer yet have substantially higher housing costs as a result?


I'm imagining you moving a lot closer to your daughter and then her moving eight miles away again....



Seattle Pioneer
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Hi IP,

Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. Had a friend posted what I did, I am sure I would have replied with a similar response. To add a few facts to my original post, we aren't moving primarily to be closer to Jamie and Matt. Okay, maybe Sandi, my partner, would put that at the top of her list... right alongside of hoping a grandchild comes in the next few years. But for me, I originally lived in the neighborhood where we're looking. I only moved here because when we decided to make our relationship permanent and live together, we had to choose between our two houses. My house was a 3br/2ba (perfect in every way mid-century modern with walls of glass looking out towards Griffith Park on w=one side and a sea of city lights out the back)... and hers had 5 bedrooms. Since we needed the space... we both worked at home and she and a full time assistant weekdays... it only made sense for me to sell my house and buy half the equity in hers. So that's what I did. it took me two years to make the decision, but it was one of the best of my life.

For me, moving back to the Hollywood Hills or nearby Studio City, is a major quality of life thing. My old tennis club is there. You can get out and walk where there are actual sidewalks instead of my current driving only neighborhood with hills too steep to walk without almost killing yourself. It's closer to everything I like to do: museums, the Hollywood Bowl, a couple of close friends. Sandi, too, loves that area. She used to live in Studio City when she first moved to L.A. and would love to live there again. So while it might appear by my first post that the primary consideration was just to be closer to the kids, that was only one variable. The funny thing is that even after we move, we will probably still only see them once every month or so. We're all pretty busy and with the advent of texting and email, we communicate more (daily) than we ever did. And that feels pretty much like seeing them even if it's only an IM or text.

So thanks for weighing in! And whatever happens in the kids' lives, we'll roll with it. We're making this move for us and how we envision the next chapter of our life. I'm just glad we have choices.

Vivienne
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Young people have their own lives to live and we cannot forget that. They might move because of a job loss or maybe a better job in another state for that matter. If it takes an hour and fifteen minutes to move 8 miles, I'd surely think twice about it.

Hi Brooklyn1948,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm so sorry they decided they need a bigger house and might move. Oh well, at least you love your house and have people your own age around. If they do move, I know you'll miss having them so close. But maybe they won't be moving too far. Fingers crossed for that.

As I replied to inparadise, for us, our main consideration is that we want to be closer in from our current neighborhood. I want a little more action when I go out walking... stores and coffee places. And this current house was never my dream house. It's been great. But I am ready for a change. So is my partner, Sandi. It took her a little longer to get to that frame of mind. But I'm grateful she joined me on that page!

Vivienne
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You've calculated the amount of time it takes to do this commute. But have you calculated the cost per hour of the time you save if you move closer yet have substantially higher housing costs as a result?

Hi Seattle Pioneer,

If we move across town and then the kids move, c'est la vie! We aren't moving just to be closer to them. But that is an added bonus. Especially for my partner, Sandi, who is really ready for a grandchild. Me? I just want everyone to be happy and busy. And so far, so good.

It will cost us more money to buy a more expensive house. The rise in taxes alone will be a hit to the bottom line. But we can afford it. Do I want to spend more in taxes or to take on a mortgage again? Not really. But I am happy to make those payments if what I am paying for makes us happy and opens our world. And I know it will. Whether the kids remain within a closer radius or not. :-)

Vivienne
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We're making this move for us and how we envision the next chapter of our life. I'm just glad we have choices.

Best of all worlds! Choices are great.

IP
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As I replied to inparadise, for us, our main consideration is that we want to be closer in from our current neighborhood. I want a little more action when I go out walking... stores and coffee places. And this current house was never my dream house. It's been great. But I am ready for a change. So is my partner, Sandi. It took her a little longer to get to that frame of mind. But I'm grateful she joined me on that page!


Good for you! Sounds like you are moving for all the right reasons.
If my daughter moves, well, so be it. We LOVE our little house and we especially love our neighbors. People here are so nice that I ask myself "what's in the water". As a former New Yorker I am surprised at the kindness of my neighbors as this did not happen in any other place that we've lived in the past 43 years.
Our granddaughters will both be in school full-time in two years and they will be busy all day. My daughter wants to get back to work full-time and she will be busy and we rarely see our son-in-law as he is always working too.
We will have to find things to do for ourselves and there's plenty of opportunity to do that here in this town. (we have our name on a waiting list for a puppy!)
I wish you the best of luck. Sounds like you have a wonderful life ahead of you!
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