Moving, Selling, & Buying

What We Did To Sell Our House Faster By Owner

Ok, so today our house looks like this:

We did get Clara’s room pretty settled though (we want her to feel right at home – and light blocking curtains are a must to get her to bed). We left nearly all of the curtains in our old house, but we wrote these guys into the listing as coming with us since she picked them out. And as for our new place, she LOVES it – probably thanks to doing lots of fun things with her here leading up to the move (like painting castles and a big piece of fabric for her birthday photo). When she came running into her all-set-up bedroom for the first time, she laughed, squealed, and skipped right to the window and played with her dolls. That’s my girl.

But as for the rest of the house… woof.

So – spontaneous decision! – while we get settled and find our underwear, this week is going to be moving week! Turns out you guys still wanted to hear a whole lot about the sale of our current house. So let’s do the dang thing. Here’s what we plan to cover in honor of Spontaneous Moving Week:

So onto the first bullet! We got a lot of questions like this:

“Did you stage your current home to sell it? I’d be interested to hear if you’ve made any small changes/put things in storage in order to make it seem less personal to potential buyers.”

“Would you be willing to share your For Sale flyer (obviously without any too-personal details like price and address)?

So here’s the little double sided flier we made in Photoshop (minus the address, price, and our contact info). Just click the image below to see it larger.

And here’s the back (again, just click it to see it bigger).

Turns out we’re not really staging rule followers in the traditional “neutralize and de-personalize” sense. The whole repaint-rooms-so-they’re-all-neutral-and-remove-all-personal-photos-from-the-wall approach isn’t really something we subscribe to since we sold our first house by owner without doing that, and it seemed to work out for us again this time around.

So when we were showing our house to potential buyers our frame hallway was still very much intact. We think it’s helpful to show off how cozy and personal a home can be. Chances are that it could “speak” to a prospective buyer more than a stark and stripped down house might anyway.

But that doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything at all before a showing. Instead of taking things away, we mostly focused on making things look their best. Here’s our list:

Most of those items just had to be done once before the first showing, and then keeping them up for the following ones wasn’t too bad. Sure, getting a toddler and a dog out of the house on time before each one was a little hectic, but we feel really lucky to have only had three showings this time around (we had 14 last time!). What do you guys do when your house is on the market? Any other tips for folks who are about to list?



How We Sold Our Second House By Owner

Holy cow, did we just sell our house?

(I’ll pause while Sherry flails around since that sentence is a trigger).

Now that we’re through the inspection & the appraisal (and the closing date is officially on the calendar), we’re finally at the point that we feel safe enough to shout it to the interwebs (we waited until this point to share the “we sold our house” news last time too). Of course nothing’s guaranteed until we’re all signing on the dotted line in early June, but so far, so good…

First, some background: Sherry was set on selling our house FSBO (For Sale By Owner) again. She argued that we stood to save nearly ten grand – or even more – by not owing a Realtor the 6% commission. Even if we sold to a buyer with an agent (like we did last time) we’d only be out 3% instead of 6%… so the numbers were pretty compelling. But I still wasn’t so sure. I remembered the stress that we felt last time and was also curious to experience selling with an agent. We came to a compromise. We decided we’d try straight up FSBO for a week. If that didn’t work, we’d list it on MLS for a few hundred bucks ourselves (which is what got us a buyer last time) and if there still weren’t offers a few weeks later, we’d think about engaging a Realtor.

Now for the timeline details:

Friday, April 26: The Realtor who helped us buy our new house (Anne) checks in to see if our current house is on the market yet (she knew we were hoping to sell it sometime this spring). Turns out she has some buyers looking for a ranch and she thinks ours would be perfect. We tell her that we’ll be sharing the news/putting it on the market in four days. She says she’ll call us back if they want to see it then. This is a reenactment. And it makes Sherry cry laugh. 

Saturday & Sunday, April 27 & 28: We spend the weekend furiously getting last minute projects done, on the off chance that we get any quick interest (we’ll write up a whole post about what we did to “stage” our house for a showing soon).

Now here’s where the days become a bit more action-packed…

Monday, April 29

Tuesday, April 30

Wednesday, May 1

Now we just have a bunch of little things to check off of our list (a few inspection items, ordering a final termite inspection, and of course packing things up and getting moved into the new house). Should be a busy month!

I can’t tell you how grateful and relieved we are at how quickly and smoothly this second FSBO process has been so far (just like last time we’ll pay 3% to the buyer’s agent, but we saved nearly 10K by marketing the house ourselves and acting as our own seller’s agent). We hear the market is really coming back and it’s a great time to sell, so for anyone wondering, many other homes in our area seem to be getting contracts within a week or even a few days of listing them assuming they’re priced right and show nicely. So hopefully that’s good news for everyone!

We assumed we might end up selling our house to a reader who came to us through the blog, but hilariously enough, just like when we sold our first house, our buyer isn’t a blog reader and didn’t find out about our house because of our site at all. It was just coincidence (serendipity?) that we kept our Realtor in the loop and she happened to have a buyer looking for an updated one-level ranch like ours. So it might also be nice to hear that you definitely don’t need a blog to sell your house, although I’m sure the updates that we did certainly helped us sell it.

So far this experience feels like a stark contrast to our first time selling a home back in 2010. That took us 14 showings over more than 3 weeks, and a variety of promotional attempts (craigslist,, MLS, a sign out front, etc). It was stressful, but even then we were grateful that it didn’t drag on for months. So we certainly are counting our lucky stars for the speed at which things happened with this house! As of right now we’re planning to move to our new house in around three weeks. Holy cow, we better start packing!