More house snooping (selling a house)

Visited two more open houses, located in our housing division, with husband. These houses are priced at $249,000 in the Southwest. Comparable houses on the east and west coast, even after the crash would pull in at least twice as much (just to give you an idea). Our house will initially price at $199,000 due to smaller square footage.

Anyway, first house was gorgeous. The mouldings GLEAMED white! There were a lot of strong colors in the house which I think could work against them, especially the use of wallpaper, and specifically the plaid wallpaper in the kitchen. The stair balastrades also gleamed.

The upstairs bedrooms were all beautifully staged. Each kids bedroom had a full size bed, a dresser and maybe one other piece of furniture. The place was so clean I wasn’t sure anyone was still living there! It definitely looked like a model home.

The biggest issue with this house though was the floor plan: lots of narrow hallways. I felt like I was squeezing past hubby each time we went into a bathroom or a bedroom. Husband really didn’t like the dark colors (I did!) and I think it would be a taste issue for home viewers.

Another big drawback which I noticed was also in the next house was carpet in the bathroom areas, specifically around the vanity. Only the toilet area was tiled and carpet was still in front of the tub and shower which I really dislike in a home.

The laundry room did not have the new front loading machines but older machines. The kitchen seemed small and I didn’t notice a walk-in pantry which is a feature of our neighborhood houses generally. This house also had far too much wallpaper – it was in all bathrooms and the kitchen.

This home also had a pool and small backyard so it will limit those interested; mostly adults with no young children or teenage offspring. Also, the first floor had only wood flooring in the front entry and all the other rooms (except kitchen and bathroom which were tiled) were in carpet. Doing it all hardwood is what is the trend now and would have made the floor plan appear larger.

Overally, not much to dislike in House #1 as I love strong colors… but I wonder how it will play out to other visitors?

House #2 is priced the same and a sale by owner. I actually liked this house better with it’s more open floor plan, showcase staircase, larger kitchen, eat-in kitchen, deck and greenbelt. But, and it’s a big but, the house didn’t show as well.

Specifically, I saw dirt on some of the doors and moulding. There was vinyl in two locations and I just don’t think a house in our market should have that. Again with the carpet in the bathrooms! What is up with that?

The kids bedrooms were in strong colors and way, way too much stuff in all the upstairs rooms; 50 percent should have been packed away. Entering the boys room it looked like the bed was just put on top of boxes!

While I really liked the placement of the staircase better, it unfortunately showed how worn the carpet was upstairs. I would replace the hall carpet with wood flooring and new carpet in each bedroom.

Both houses had granite counters in the kitchen, with wood cabinets, House #1 had drawer hardware; House #2 did not. And all had cultured marble in the bathrooms with white or wood cabinetry. The cultured marble and builder mirror sinks really didn’t say high end to me.

I think that House #2, should drop their price by $10,000, and update the carpet with a good de-cluttering and fresh sprucing of the paint trim. It also needs a bit of work on the curb appeal, but overall I see this house selling faster then the first because of it’s floor plan, location on a greenbelt, deck, eat-in kitchen, and location on a cul-de-sac.

House #1 needs to remove some of the dark colors, put in new washer and dryer, and update all the brass fixtures (there were a lot of brass) as well as hardwood flooring downstairs. Biggest issue though is lightening the paint and removing the plaid wallpaper form the kitchen.  House #1 is gorgeous but it is too design-specific to appeal to a large group of buyers…. I think it will also sell once it finds the person who likes the decorating style.

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