Selling a House

Category Home Selling
There are many things to keep in mind to when wanting to sell a house. This page is about selling a house.


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DH is getting ready to retire (again). He's almost 80. We are looking for a small house with basement and or garage workshop so that he can have space for his woodworking hobby.

We have looked at online ads which advertise a basement. There will be photos of everything, even hallways and attic pull down ladders, but no pics of the basement. The outside view will have a shot of the garage, if there is one. Nobody ever thinks to take pics of the basement.

Am I the only person on earth who would like to see basement pictures?

By Marty Dick from Houston, TX

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 5, 2009

Could anyone give me their opinion please. My mother is selling her house to my brother. When the sale is completed she is giving us an equal cash amount. So far so good. However she is dropping the price of the property by 20,000 pounds to help him get on to the property ladder.


Now I am more than happy for him to have every assistance, but am I wrong in thinking that he has been handed a 20,000 pound lump sum when the property is eventually sold. Does anyone see it the same way? Or am I being harsh?

By Terry from England


August 5, 20090 found this helpful

Under normal circumstances, you have a legitimate point. However, UK is having similar housing issues as the US, right? If you were to offer it on market to the public at the price plus the 20 K extra, would it really sell at that price? You might suggest to your Mum that you contact a few realtors and ask them how houses in that area, comparable to your Mother's house are selling (if at all), and for what prices. Ask at least 2 realtors from different firms for sales the last 6 weeks or so.


See if it would have sold for anywhere near the higher price, and work out a slightly different amount for yourself based on that. You might be very glad to get what you are getting or might need a bit more to feel fairness was reached.

All realtors have access to all sales in an area so you should be able to get some idea. My guess is what people are asking is not what they are getting, or they are not selling at all. I was in real estate once long ago for a short time, but watch what's going on, and houses have been completely overpriced.

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December 6, 2004

We have a couple months before we put our home on the market. I am curious about what would be worthwhile to fix up in terms cost vs. reward when selling the home. Nothing in the house is horrible but we have old windows, ugly appliances, 15 year old carpet, probably could use some paint, kitchen and bathroom floor leave much to be desired and probably some other things I am forgetting.


I am sure my realtor will have some ideas (when I get one) but I figured I would post here too. Generally speaking, if it doesn't help the selling price of the home, I want to avoid spending time and money on it. Anyone else been there before?



By COOKIEPOM (Guest Post)
December 6, 20040 found this helpful

The very best thing you can do is look aroung the house and clear out any clutter. Make the space you have for sale look as big as you can. Clean the house really well and use a few well placed house plants to dress things up. If you have throw rugs use them over the carpet to "hide" the obvious wear. On the outside, if you list in the spring use container plants/flowers to spruce up the houses "curb appeal". Make sure there are not dead limbs hanging on tress and clean the outside windows as well as clearing them of any shrubs that maybe blocking them. These are all really cheap things you can do to enhance your homes appeal.

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By Lori (Guest Post)
December 6, 20040 found this helpful

I used to be in real estate. The most important thing is first impression based on curb appeal. Anything you can do to improve the looks of the outside. Neatly trimmed yard, a few shrubs, and clutter cleared out. Easy cosmetic things that you do on the exterior will help also, like cleaning the gutters, having the siding powerwashed, etc. This will get people into the house. If the appliances are staying, I wouldn't worry about updating, but don't count on it adding any value to your home if they are outdated. Same with needing to update the flooring. Most people will want to add their own colors or type of carpet so instead of updating, figure in 2,000 or other figure "flooring allowance" That means you will pay that much towards a new floor, or take that much off of the selling price.


Make sure that's advertised. so people are not turned off by feeling they have to do the work. Painting is fairly inexpensive and can greatly freshen things up. Best to do a neutral color. Also spring clean and store items if needed. You want to show the greatest aspects of your house, not of your decorating. People have to be able to imagine their belongings in the house. So if you have a big picture window, make sure curtains and furniture are not obstructing the view.

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By Kathie (Guest Post)
December 6, 20040 found this helpful

I'm going thru the same thing. Look around with a critical eye or have a friend tell you, but keep her/him a friend. We restained the front steps and door, the walls will need to be repainted. I'm embrassed to say but I had always cleaned my frig every 6 wks or so, but with my husband help we took it so much further apart and cleaned, its now beautiful inside.


Declutter, pack up everything you can. I read you depersonalize your house so the new buyers can see there belongings in there that is what will bring you that offer

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December 6, 20040 found this helpful

I agree cleaning - very thorough cleaning, (especially if you have a dog!), and decluttering are the most important things. All items that are not used very frequently should be packed and stored. Less is more - this goes for ornaments and furniture. All flat surfaces should be clear, with a few striking decorative objects strategically placed to draw the eye to good features. Remove excess furniture and store - rather too bare than too cluttered. When you've decided what furniture will stay for viewing try some different furniture arrangements - the idea is to clearly define areas like dining, sitting, etc., but without having furniture placed round the walls like a waiting room or blocking the flow as people walk through.

In the kitchen older appliances can be painted for a cheap retro look. But more important is to take pictures, magnets, etc off the fridge and clear all work surfaces except for a few decorative items to make the work area look larger.

If the walls are in good condition and neutral colours just wash but if any area of the house is dark and dingey - repaint.

Bedrooms are often smaller rooms and dominated by the bed. If your bedrooms are small consider getting, (borrowing/hiring), smaller beds to make the rooms look bigger.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the place to spend money if you can, repair cracked tiles, etc. but even without spending anything bathrooms should be spotless and shining with all the family's toiletries hidden. A new bright shower curtain, (if you use one), will lift the bathroom.

Get into the habit of picking up every evening/morning in case there are any viewings at short notice.

Try to pack and store any items not in daily use - don't just stuff everything in cupboards - the last time I sold/bought the estate agent commented that women always wanted to see the storage and always opened cupboards! Don't forget to clear out the garage too!

Good luck


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By RoseMary (Guest Post)
December 7, 20040 found this helpful

In the last few years we have had to sell my uncles' house and my moms' house. We were told by the RE agent that painting the walls white would help as it opens up the small rooms. And to replace any flooring that was in bad condition. Clean is one of the most important things too. The outside should be clean and tidy, all clutter inside and out should be gotten rid of. Any items in boxes should be put in closets if possible. The difference was an additional 20,000 on my uncles property and 40,000 on my moms. We also had to replace the roof on my uncles home. It took a few weeks before either could go on the market, however, my mom's property had 3 offers on the day it went on the market and sold within 5 days. Wow!

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By Glynda Lomax (Guest Post)
December 7, 20040 found this helpful

My best friend is a realtor near Dallas. If you email him, he will have really good suggestions and, if you need help, he can screen your local realtors for a good one to list your home with. It's important to get the right realtor, some of them just sit on your house and do nothing and meanwhile, you are still paying on it. If you would like to email John, his email is: johnwmorgan (at) comcast (dot) net. Good luck.

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By Denise (Guest Post)
December 15, 20040 found this helpful

My father sold real estate for 30 years, and we moved more than once to follow the bargains around town. I agree with the other posters: Clean is the big key. You house should be scrubby-Dutch clean, clutter-free, and every shineable surface (mirrors, faucets, doorknobs) should be sparkling. It should smell clean (but no potpourri. People think you're covering up a damp basement or plumbing problems).

You are most likely to get your money back from painting. If your outside paint is unchipped but dingy-looking, you may wish to gamble on renting a pressure washer to clean it up instead of repainting. Other improvements (flooring, appliances) may not improve the value of the house enough to pay for them.

Good luck. It's tough keeping your house that clean; it feels kind of like living in the display window of a department store. But it's worth it.

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By Anna Myers (Guest Post)
January 18, 20050 found this helpful


Home and Garden Television (HGTV) is seeking renovated homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to feature on the new top-rated series called Generation Renovation. As the producers of Generation Renovation, we are looking for homeowners who will open their doors and their personalities to tell their renovation stories. We are looking for:

1. Dramatic renovations that have been completed within the last five years.

2. Homeowners who are enthusiastic and passionate about their home, did much of the work themselves, and have lots of stories to tell about the completed renovation.

3. Renovations that are inspiring and unique to the homeowners' lifestyle, but have also retained some aspect of the home's history.

4. Before photos: since the renovations we feature are complete, we need
plenty of before photos or home video to show the transformation.

5. Homeowners who can commit to one day of filming with our field producer and photographer in the chosen home. Our crew is scheduled to be in the area the second week of March.

Generation Renovation is produced by High Noon Productions, which along with its affiliated companies, creates more than 350 hours of programming each year for: HGTV, Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, Country Music Television, & E! Entertainment's Style Network. We've created these highly rated programs: HGTV's If Walls Could Talk & Modern Masters; Emergency Vets for Animal Planet, & the highest-rated current show on Food Network, Unwrapped.

Thanks for your help, and feel free to visit our website:

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By (Guest Post)
May 4, 20050 found this helpful

it really depends on your market, how much you paid and what you are asking. You really want it to look as good as possible. If you are in the lower end of the market, then don't go overboard because you will not get your return. My husband and I have bought,fixed up and sold 2 homes in the North East, and we have made money on both-some was just luck but mostly we had a sense of the market. You should ask a few real estate agents to come and give you suggestions and do a property evaluation. get a couple of them, and if you are still uncertain pay for your own evaluation by an independant. we found this to be extremely helpful and worth the cost (about 300.00) here in New England.Once we got the feedback from the agents, we were then able to figure out where the "best bang for the buck" was, it also helped us stay on track budget wise. We ended up doing alot to our last home, about 70,000 worth in renovations, but we made 200,000 on the sale. (bought low, sold high) that's were the luck came in, but having a game plan helped so much. the other thing we did was to look at a lot of property for sale in our area with the same type of home etc to see what other people were selling for, and what the homes looked like. Good luck Mary

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March 21, 2008

My husband is considering a job in another state that pays a lot more then we are currently making. We live in Michigan. Houses are not really selling. We would be lucky to make what we owe. My question is has anyone else moved to another state and started completely over without selling their old house?

Is it really stressful? We have 2 boys and I really want to do it, just scared of getting stuck with 2 houses. The driveway on the Michigan house is cracked and a mess.

mom of 2

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October 27, 2005

Tips to help you sell your home. Post your ideas.


May 25, 20050 found this helpful

When trying to sell your home and property, make it as appealing to the buyer as possible. My brother in law and his wife were trying to sell their home and couldn't. The very day, they bought colorful flowers to plant in the front yard, the house got sold!

By Terri H.

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By Julie (Guest Post)
May 25, 20050 found this helpful

Bake cookies during a walk-through of your house....that way the smell will make the possible new buyers feel homey and warm!

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 25, 20050 found this helpful

Make sure your home is not cluttered and also give it a good cleaning. Open windows for a little while to give it a fresh smell, no one likes to walk into a home that smells of onions!

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By Brenda. (Guest Post)
May 26, 20050 found this helpful

My parents had the same problem, their home was up for sale over a year. One morning before leaving for the day, my mom made homemade bread. The aroma was still in the home, when it was being looked at, the people who were in it, bought it. They said it smelled so good, they couldn't pass it up. The smell brought back so many memories for them growing up.

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May 26, 20050 found this helpful

Leave the lights on, blinds open
after washing the taps/faucets-dry them get them sparkling- even if the tub is slightly stained no one will notice because the taps make the first immpression
buy an attractive front doormat (it can be cheap - doesn't have to last)
and keep the clutter out of sight, even if it's under the bed- also consider putting some stuff into storage lots of furniture makes rooms look smaller

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July 28, 20050 found this helpful

Painting a room can totally transform a room & add value to the home. Also, de-personalize & de-clutter. Remember, you're trying to make your house appealing to buyers because they need to be able to visualize their belongings in the house, not yours.

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October 27, 20050 found this helpful

Selling Your Home
by Nikki Willhite

Selling a home can be one of the most stressful things that we do. It doesn't help when we call in the Realtors and in addition to telling us their fees for selling our home, they tell us that in order to make our home marketable, we need to make $15,000 worth of improvements...and somehow make our neighbors fix up their properties to boost the value of our homes.

The person who sells your home wants to make the largest commission possible. Naturally they want you to improve your home. If they can sell it at a higher price, they will make a larger commission. I have nothing against Realtors. They are doing their job. Everyone has his or her own agenda. You must follow the one most advantageous to you. You do not want to spend money fixing up your home that you will not get back at the close of the deal.

Present home excluded, our past homes always seemed to end up surrounded by neglected houses and lawns used for parking cars. The Realtor who sold our last home told me us that we were to go to all my neighbors, ask them to clean up their properties, and if they didn't do it, I should! Right! (By the way, we sold that particular home in a week). Neighborhood is important, but I don't think there is much you can do about certain situations.

Concentrate on your own home, but don't waste your money on expensive upgrades or additions. In most cases you will not get your money back when you sell your home. Since many people will put their homes on the market after the holidays, here are some suggestions. These are the things you can do for the least amount of money that will make the biggest difference in the time required to sell your home as well as the price you get for it.


First impressions are extremely important. Enhance the front of your home as your first priority. People are so busy these days. They want a home in turnkey condition. In other words, they want to move in and just start living. That is what you want to convey with the first impression of your home.

Overgrown landscaping makes any house look like it needs work. It doesn't cost anything to pull it up if you cannot prune it into an attractive shape. Be brutal. Your house is more attractive than overgrown landscaping.

Take a good look at your front door. If it doesn't look good when cleaned, paint it. If you have a screen make sure it is in good condition. If it is not, just remove it and hang a nice wreath on the door.

If you have potted plants in your yard, move them to the entry to make it more attractive. If you have concrete that has turned dark, rent or borrow a power cleaner and make it light again. Remove any grease stains from your driveway.


First impression continue to be important. The first thing people will notice is light and smell. We become so use to the smells in our homes that we don't even notice them. Sometimes they are not appealing to other people. Clean your home thoroughly and air it out. If it still doesn't smell fresh, try a little potpourri, or keep soup simmering on the stove.

If your home is dark, lighten it up. You will probably have to paint all the walls white. If you have wallpaper, take it off before you paint. It is going to hurt, but it's not going to cost you money!

If your drapes are old and unattractive, and privacy isn't an issue, just take them down. You will have more light, and the room will look bigger.

Remove excessive accessories. Most people accumulate so many things, the only way to accomplish this is to box them up and store them in a friend or neighbor's garage or rent a storage locker. Small, stuffed closets will turn away many a buyer. Keeping your personal items to a minimum helps the new buyer visualize living in your home with their things. They are going to pay a lot of money for your home. Help them do that!

Cleaning the carpets is always worth the expense. Rent a steam cleaner or have it professionally done. Families with young children or babies know how much time their children will spend playing on the carpet. Will they want them playing on yours? This is one area where sometimes you do have to outlay some money. Many a house sits on the market for 9 months until the owner replaces the carpet. Most people just can't visualize how it will look if they do it themselves, even with a carpet allowance.


Kitchen and bathrooms almost always need new caulking. Grout will need a heavy duty cleaner. The level of cleanliness in your bathroom will need to be greater than normal. You are probably going to have to clean it every day. Make it shine.


The biggest mistake people make in basements is putting up dark paneling. It just makes the room darker.

You have a few inexpensive options to make your basement look better. You can cover the walls with light colored pictures or posters. You can install better lights (preferably large fluorescent fixtures), or you can paint the paneling white. Painting is the most effective, and can look very nice. A lot of people are afraid to do it, but it has a nice cottage feel to it, and brightens up the whole room.


Don't store your clutter from your home in your garage. Clean, dust, sweep, and paint the cement floor if you have to. Nothing dates a home more than a cluttered, grease splattered, and water stained mess of a garage. This will probably be your biggest challenge, but don't neglect it. With most people, a few trips to the dump would probably be in order.

There are many factors that go into the sale of your home. The ones I have listed are the ones that get you the most for your money. For more ideas, visit the website at

©1995 Nikki Willhite - Nikki Willhite, mother of three, and an Interior Design Graduate, is the editor of The Pennypincher E- zine and Tightwad Tidbits Daily. Visit her at

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February 7, 2011

Do I have to go through a title company or lawyer to sell my mortgage free home to someone who is paying cash for it? He did not get a mortgage.

By Laura from Groton, MA

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November 19, 2007

Trying to sell our home, everything has gone wrong, from the real estate company firing our realtor at the end of the summer, (she never showed the property) to investors who want to harm our credit to take over our home. We started out trying to sell it for $145,000 and now we are doing a short sale and selling for $127,000. Now the investors want even less. Where do I go, what do I do? We were going to refi if it didn't sell and now we can't because it was on the market and the loan to value is too high. People lie to be in this school district, what are we doing wrong?anyone have a rich uncle who would buy it or some great advice? HELP!

Brenda from Peachtree City, GA

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May 10, 2016

I just put my house up for sale and was wondering if houses sell on CL or I'm just wasting my time?
Thank you.

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I live in a mobile home that needs work. I can't afford these repairs. Propane costs about 2,000.00 a year which is way over my budget. I can't sell it without all these repairs being done. How can I go about moving without having to do this? I plan to move into senior housing.

Do I sell off the new furnace/air conditioner and the "insides" such as stove, frig, etc.? Anyone know how to go about this without creating a "monster". My lease is up Oct. 1st next year. Please help with suggestions.

By lstanhope63 from Bristol, CT

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November 18, 2014

I received notification that an empty house I had purchased for investment (prior to husband being hit by truck and my having a stroke) had to be sold within a certain time frame per SSI eligibility requirements. My husband is 100% disabled in wheelchair. He draws SS.

I contacted several real estate companies who would not list as home needs too much work. I posted it on craigslist and local paper, but no luck. House is not eligible for loan and no one seems to have cash. Called all the 'we buy homes' but they will not pay value set by SSI administration.

We had thought this would add to our retirement security, but things changed and all our savings are gone. He had begun repairs but it still needs new roof and bathroom repairs as well as floor coverings. I have family that could help with actual work, however, no money to purchase supplies.

Are there loans available for 2nd houses in this type of situation. Unless I sell the house, my SSI will stop (it is already being reduced for value of this house). I can't give away the house or sell for less than tax value and no one is interested with cash to buy outright. To make matters worse, I am required to repay any money I received from SSI at time of sale. Catch 22.

Is it possible to get a line of credit on a 2nd home you plan to immediately sell as soon as it is up to finance level? Home in Chattanooga, TN. I have only six months left before deadline.


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September 18, 2013

My niece stayed with us for awhile and I am now selling my house. I am pretty sure she was throwing up a lot. Will I pass inspection?

By Maggie

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March 12, 2012

I would like to know the steps for selling a home without an agent.

By Raymond

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Budget & Finance Home SellingSeptember 25, 2012
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