I Sold My Mother's House in One Day

How I Sold My Mother's House in One Day for Full Asking Price

Before and after pictures included. Want to sell a house fast? Here is what I did to sell my mother's house in one day for full asking price. It was a surprise even to me when the realtor called and said we had an offer on the house 4 hours after the realtor open house. (There were still things I wanted to do.) When I asked the realtor what the offer was, she said, "full asking price". I was floored. Should I be happy or maybe the house was priced too low?

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Houses like this were selling in the high 200's. But I thought that with a little elbow grease and paint we could get a higher price on the house than what the realtor thought it could sell for. I didn't know how this was going to go since we went against the realtor's recommended price which was lower. I reasoned that we could always lower the price of the house if it didn't sell within a month. Right? We didn't want to lose the best selling season of Spring, though. However, my sister and I insisted it be listed, at least at first, for $334,900. It sold on the first day for $335,000 Why was the house sold so quickly? This is what we did to make the house desirable.  A house is worth whatever anyone is willing to pay for it. If a buyer loves certain features of a home, then they may be willing to pay more, right? So my goal? Make this house desirable!! Make people want to buy it!! And buy it for full price.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a staged home sells for 17% more than a home that isn't staged and it sells in 11 days or less. 

So we knew we were going to clean it up and stage it. This house had some downsides... like 1 bathroom, relatively small bedrooms, and a small backyard, which realtors were quick to point out. But it is on a half acre of beautiful grassy land and it has been maintained all through the years since it was built in 1954.

Aren't these garage doors beautiful? Inside the garage, the walls had been recently painted white. This is not a front door house so most prospective buyers would be coming either through the back door or  through the garage. The garage was built some years after the house was built and my parents wanted it to be an oversize two car garage so it's really spacious in there, a beautiful way to enter the home.

Fortunately for us, Mom was a neatnik. She never had a back room filled with stuff she didn't know what to do with. Every room had furniture in it for the purpose of that room only. Great life lesson here. (Should I show a picture of one of my upstairs rooms that we don't use?)

#1 Make your home look spacious

No matter how small it is, it can give the illusion of having more space by putting less furniture and "stuff" in it(baskets, footstools, containers, etc). 

We took everything out of the house and put it in the garage. Because everything was out of the house I only selectively brought things back in when the house was ready to be staged. There is a big advantage to this. Starting with a clean canvas allows you to have a fresh start.  Everything is so beautiful, bright and clean that you only want to put nice and beautiful back into it and not too much. In order to make a  house look spacious, it can't be crammed with furniture. I would say to get rid of at least 50% of the furniture which can possibly be put in storage. Make your home look SPACIOUS.

#2  Let natural light into the house

Take down all curtains that block the light from coming in the house. It's important that the house gets as much natural light as possible. Even no curtains are better than a house that looks like a cave.

See the curtains holding back all the light in the BEFORE picture? In the AFTER picture you can see some semi-transparent cream colored curtains, letting in lots of light.



#3  Make your home look BRIGHT 

Paint light walls throughoutWe ripped out the wallpaper and painted the entire interior of the house in a light shade. One room was pure white which was just amazingly fresh and beautiful with white sheer curtains. The house was SO much brighter.  Aim to make the entire inside of the house as light and bright as you can make it. This was the bedroom wallpaper. The whole room was a lavender color with lavender balloon curtains. It was lovely in its heyday but way out of date at this point. So the first thing I did was take down the curtains and chose a nice light (almost white) color to paint the room. I wanted the room to look like a clean, blank, bright canvas, ready to be decorated and lived in.



The kitchen was dark so it was painted a light off-white with white trim and doors. That room lightened right up...the cabinets were about 10 years old so they were still decent and with a good scrubbing looked beautiful.

#4 Make the floors beautiful and new looking

If you have wood floors, all the better. We ripped out the wall-to-wall old carpet and we refinished wood floors and my nephew, Michael, put in a beautiful, new kitchen floor.

This hall also had a wallpaper border above the chair rail.Here's the hallway. You can see the beige carpet, the same wall-to-wall carpet was throughout the house. Some of the people in the family thought we could probably leave it but I said we needed a clean slate and to do that the floors had to be refinished. I looked on Home Advisor and found a wonderful company who refinished hardwood floors very reasonably. They came in and within 5 days they had transformed the inside of the house. It's best to paint before having the floors refinished, especially if you are a sloppy painter like me.
 ha ha



#5 Staging living room 

 Once it's painted and floors refinished don't put much furniture back in the house and don't put anything back in the house that doesn't look new or nice. I took things from my house, including the little upholstered chairs. I bought some fun pillows at Joann's that were 70% off to add some fun. I bought the clock at Target in the Magnolia section.

This is the only picture I had of the living room before. It shows the fireplace and the clutter.



A few fake leaf branches in a jar, a stack of books and a painting that I did some years ago, complete the mantel. A feeling of openness is what I was trying to achieve here, not super decorating. Could the mantel have more on it? Yes, but it's not going to look better.

I staged the fireplace area to look comfortable with a small rug, a large pillow and knitted throw. I also put a pretty magazine on the hearth. It makes one think of long nights in front of the fire in complete comfort and coziness, doesn't it?

#6 Staging bedrooms - less is more

The bedrooms have to be super pristine and the beds, beautiful, new looking. This bedroom is painted pure white with pure white semi-transparent curtains.  I spray painted a little table I had to match the bedspread I bought at Target. Since most people look inside the closets I hung a brand new, fluffy, white bathrobe. The sign on the wall says, "Create Your Own Beauty". Nice, huh?

I didn't get a BEFORE picture of this bedroom, below, but it was painted pink with a wallpaper border around the middle of the room. It was really pretty but way outdated and need of painting. Here it looks bright, cheerful and up-to-date. YOUNG. The curtain panels were new from Target, I think, but the bedding was not.  I had the little white table and  I DIYed an old brass colored lamp a nice nickel finish spray paint. A cute little bedside clock and a flower in a vase completes the picture of clean, new and YOUNG.

The bedding should either be new or look like new. Someone mentioned in one of my research for this article that starching the pillow cases helps make them look new. The ones I had were nearly new so I didn't starch them. You want people to think luxury and comfort as they go through your home, picturing themselves relaxing, like in a hotel ..

Have you ever watched Fixer Upper? The bedrooms have very little furniture in them but the beds are dressed up beautifully and usually there is a little side table by the bed. AND IT'S WONDERFUL. Nothing else is needed to make the room beautiful. Also, the room looks larger when it isn't loaded with furniture.

Below: My nephew made this  platform bed using plywood and wooden blocks cut from 4 x 4's. He had a few old twin mattresses that were given to him and we used them to stage this bedroom. It kinda looks like a daybed. This room looks very generic ready for either a boy or a girl to put their stamp on it.

#7 Staging dining room

 We used the old table and chairs but I cleaned them up a bit. I had recovered the seats about 3 years ago so they were still nice looking. I took out the table extension making the table smaller (thereby making the dining room look bigger). I didn't put out table settings. To me that looks pretentious. However, I bought a piece of fabric that was classy and matched the drapes in the living and dining room. I was going to make a table runner but I ran out of time so I folded it to look like a table runner. I fully intended to make the table runner but the house sold on the first day!! The china cabinet was like new so I left it

I diyed  3 little milk bottles covering them with white burlap and tying them together with some baker's string. Yellow tulips completed the look of delightful and simple. I hung a sign nearby that says, "Bless this home". I left this sign for the new owners.

#8  Bathrooms - make an old bathroom appealing

New white, fluffy towels remind one of a posh hotel so that's what I put in this older pink bathroom along with some awesome modern gray geometric towels and a super awesome gray geometric shower curtain.  Shower curtain stayed open because closing it would have created a smaller looking bathroom. That's a no-no. It had a fairly new bathroom floor which was put in about 2 years  Oh, yes, I added had some pretty little NEW spa things on a tray along with a small plant.

#9 Closets - make them look large and clean

Take out MOST of your belongings, at least 75%. In order to make the closet look spacious and since you can't enlarge the closet, you can shrink the amount of clothes/junk you have in there to make it appear bigger. You can store these extra things elsewhere OR you can challenge yourself to get rid of at least half of it. I challenged myself to get rid of 50% of everything in my kitchen cabinets, thinking to myself that I really couldn't do it. I DID IT. Not only did I complete the challenge but was able to get rid of MORE THAN 50%. Unreal. Once I started really looking at each item, and thinking WHY am I keeping this, it was easier. It was still hard, though. :)

#10 Doors and door handles 

These are some of the first things people will see even before they enter  your home, so set the stage for new and well maintained in people's mind. My brother replaced some of the outside door handles and all the doors were painted inside and out. The wreath I put on the front door was chosen because it was bright and cheerful.

The realtor had a realtor's open house from 10 to 1 and by 4 P.M. we got the offer on the house, full price. At first I was a little disappointed because I thought maybe we could have gotten more for the house since the offer came in so quickly, but the realtor assured us that we were lucky to have gotten such a large offer.

In subsequent posts I will show how I designed the breezeway porch, the outdoors, and the basement which are all key places to highlight.

Happy Staging!

You may also like these summer treats

Lemon Curd BarsBlueberry CheesecakeDetox Water
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1 comment

  1. Oh my goodness, this is amazing. You did such a beautiful job. Those floors are to die for! You really created a wonderful transformation. I wish I could have bought the house! haha


So happy you came to visit today. Everyone is so busy but if you would like to leave a note for me, I would love it!!


I am the crafter extraordinaire (on this blog anyway.) I live with my husband, my son, David, in a cozy cape cod style house in Connecticut.

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