what professional would I be looking for?


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We are looking to try to sell our house by ourselves. We need to hire someone to come give us advice on what we should do in our home before trying to sell it. If we were going through a realtor, I know they would give us the advice. What is the name of the profession I'd search for? Does one even exist? The reason we are trying to sell by ourselves first is that we know of 2 couples looking to buy a home in our neighborhood. I want to replace the carpeting with neutral colors and refinish the hardwood floors. He feels it's a waste of money because the people that buy it will want different colors and finishes. Meanwhile our carpeting is 20 years old!


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They tell you to do the beige carpet and neutral walls when you're trying to sell a house. Personally, I hate neutrals. Hardwood floors are also recommended. Granite counter tops and a deep kitchen sink are also good.


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Some of what you want to do depends on the price of your house as related to how far it is above the median home price in your area, whether you are in a buyers or sellers market, and whether you are in a desirable neighborhood/school district.

The best thing you can do to get a house sold is declutter, no matter what price you are asking.

Box up as much stuff as you can and put it in storage or the garage or basement. Make sure closets look as empty as possible. Keep very few decorative items out. Clean out kitchen/bathroom cabinets and make sure you keep only necessary items in them. You want a buyer to see that there is plenty of storage. Box up most toys, personal items, paper clutter, off-season clothing, coats, sports equipment, etc. Pack away personal photos, kids artwork, etc. Think about how a nice hotel looks. Make your house look like that.

The next most important thing you can do to sell a house is clean, clean, clean. Every item that stays in the house should shine. Every appliance, every window, every surface. When I sell a house, if I occupy it during the sale, I make sure it is ready to show at a moments notice. A decluttered house is easy to clean.

Paint all the walls a neutral color, and use only one color.

Put very few but well-placed decorations back on the walls.

New carpeting.

Put only a few pieces of necessary furniture in each room. It should look spacious, not cluttered.

Most surfaces cleared.

If you have a formal dining room and you have some beautiful dishes that complement the decor, consider setting the table. Each room should have a focal point that draws the eye. Make sure that it looks good. A fireplace, the beds in the bedrooms, the dining table, the sink in the bathrooms. Make sure these look inviting with decorative pillows and bedding (for beds) a pretty vase on the sink, a nice picture or set of pictures, vases, etc. on the fireplace.

If your overhead lighting is dated, you can update the look inexpensively by putting in new light fixtures.

Fix up the front yard. Curb appeal is very important.

If my house was going to be priced well above what the average cost of a house in my area, I would possibly have the hardwoods refinished, especially if they were in bad condition.

Fix any leaky faucets, make sure smoke detectors are in working condition, spray wd40 or cooking spray on any squeaky door hinges, do any other small handyman projects that need done before you list (or hire it done). If something is left undone, buyers wonder what else is wrong that they can't see.

Make sure no one can tell that you have a pet.

Consider writing out a list of the things you love about the house and neighborhood. Let the buyers know how wonderful living there has been and why they would want to move to your neighborhood.

Before a showing, make sure the house smells good. I spray a subtle air freshener around, vacuum, dust, make sure the air temperature is comfortable. If is hot outside, make sure it's nice and cool in the house. You want buyers to feel comfortable. I looked at a house in the winter once and it was about 45-50 degrees in the unoccupied house. It was cold and unwelcoming. You want your house to feel inviting, so a buyer can picture themselves living there.

Do you have a friend whose house you admire? The one that has a house that is beautifully decorated, looks spacious, decluttered, and has an air of peace and tranquillity? Ask that friend if she will come over and be brutally honest about your house. Tell her it's about your money and your desire to get the highest price, so she should tell you exactly what she thinks you should do.

If you know the people that are looking for a house in your area, talk to them about what they are looking for. If they are friends of friends, see if your mutual friend could act as a go-between. I once sold a house to a friend of a friend. My friend knew a family that was looking for a house in the same price range and we invited her to look at mine, just to give me tips on what I needed to do to sell. She wasn't initially interested in seeing it, as she wanted a brand new house, but agreed to come with her friend to give me some unbiased opinions, and she fell in love with it and bought it.

Sorry, I seem to have become a bit long-winded.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Hope you get top dollar!



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I would call several realtors and I would ask them to give you a sense of what your house is worth, and what repairs or remodeling make sense. They would know your market. They would give you a ballpark appraisal. You are not committed to them. You would not sign a contract. Who knows? You might decide to go with one of them, and change your mind.

You know that commissions are negotiable. The standard in my state is 6 percent, but I have heard of 4 percent. And Redfin.com I think it is, has their own agents that will market a house for much less. I am not sure if it is a percentage or a fixed price, but it is worth looking at the popular real estate websites like: Redfin and others.
I want to replace the carpeting with neutral colors and refinish the hardwood floors. He feels it's a waste of money because the people that buy it will want different colors and finishes.
To me it has to do with how much of a potential price difference it will make to do these upgrades.

I have been looking at carpet for a rental. I want to get "good" carpet that does not look cheap and will wear well. I found one at Home Depot for $1.43. For a 1450 sf house it will cost $2750.00 or so. This is a lot of money for what really, is a crapshoot. You could market your house by saying that you will give a credit for the buyer to replace the flooring. I think this would appeal more to buyers.

If it were me buying your house I would want to pick out my own carpet. Actually, when I bought my own house I tore up all the carpet and I painted the floor white. I took up the tile, too. My house is painted white/white. I do not think even 1 percent of the houses in my area would be painted in a color I would like. So, I would rather have a "credit."

That is my point. If I were the buyer the changes you make would not increase my potential to buy. It could be I am atypical. I am sure I am.

Now. My sister and mother's houses sold at top price. My sister had put in terrazzo flooring (like Marble) and had painted the whole house within the year or two before. My mother had beautiful furniture...and the house showed well. Like Apple talked about. It was extremely clean, most personal effects were gone. But the thing about their houses is that they lived in upscale areas, with high demand. Prices were rising and people wanted to get a house, before the prices went up more. This was a buyer's market.

I live in an area that is considered fairly desirable by buyers, but the general real estate market is not that hot. I do not think I would gain by doing any remodeling but I would gain by doing with Apple advises: deep cleaning; detailing; showing the house to advantage; removing clutter; fixing broken stuff.

I think there are too many variables to consider, to give good advice. I recommend calling realtors. They will know and they will know the area and how the market is.


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First, I would check on zillow.com and see what they have as your selling price. I have a very small house in a very desirable neighborhood, and it has more than doubled in value in the last twenty years. Don't use the Zestimate, just click on "buy", as if you were interested in buying your own house.

With a ballpark figure, you can decide how much you want to put in to the repainting etc.


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zillow.com and see what they have as your selling price.
I use Zillow all the time but do not know how to do what you describe KTMom.

There is the buy tab on the top but how do I get a buy price for a house, independent of the Z value?

If I enter an address all that comes up is the basic description and the Z value.

Thanks KT.


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Zillow will give the Z value and the price per square foot, even though the house is not for sale.

Redfin.com and Movoto.com will also give an estimated selling price, and a screen shot of the house.

They're all different numbers, but close enough so I can get an idea of what I could list the house for if I was planning to sell.

Trulia.com only has actual listings for sale.