Real Estate Q & A For Every Season of Life

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Thinking about downsizing or making a move? Here’s some practical advice from an experienced Realtor®

Q: My bathroom has 1964 blue tile, and the shower, vanity, and faucet are all original – from over 55 years ago. My family says it looks dated. Do I need to upgrade my bathroom before I can sell my home?

 A: It’s not necessary to update your home to sell it. While many HGTV shows would like you to believe otherwise, homes with original, decades-old features and finishes are successfully sold every day! What’s more important to buyers is that the home is clean and uncluttered, with everything in working order. Some buyers even prefer the “retro” colors and designs of the 60’s and 70’s, so your real estate broker can show off the cool blue tile in the listing photos.

It’s good to keep in mind that homes that are not updated typically sell for a lower price than homes with modern updates and new finishes. New windows, a new kitchen, and new baths that are tastefully done will all help the home sell for more. But the hassle and expense of managing a renovation is not for everyone, and you can leave that for the next owner to do. Your real estate agent will provide guidance for pricing it “just right” with its retro features.

Present your blue tile bathroom shiny clean with some fun accessories, and it will likely be the highlight of the home tour for potential buyers!

Q: It seems like everyone is looking at homes for sale on their phones and computers these days. If buyers find their homes on real estate apps, what is the reason to have an Open House anymore?

A: It’s true that technology allows us to view thousands of homes for sale 24/7, with beautiful photos and virtual tours! So why are real estate brokers still hosting Open Houses? There are a few important reasons why we do:

  • Even with beautiful online photos and virtual tours, buyers still want to walk through and experience a home in person. With an Open House, they can do this even if they don’t have a real estate broker to represent them.

  • The Open House is a great opportunity for neighbors to see the home. Neighbors can be enthusiastic evangelists for the neighborhood, and will often share the listing with friends and family.

  • Advertising an Open House actually boosts the home’s visibility on the real estate apps, increasing the number of buyers who will see it!

  • At the Open House, the listing broker can gather live feedback from potential buyers about the home’s features. This feedback is valuable and important for knowing how the home is appealing to the market, and may be helpful for deciding on a final sale price.

Talk to your listing agent about whether an Open House is appropriate for your home sale. It’s an optional marketing activity, and plenty of homes sell without ever having an Open House. What’s the most important for marketing? Beautiful, professional photos for that online viewing.

Q: I plan to sell in the spring, but my budget is small for getting my house ready for sale. Is there anything I can do to my home, that’s not expensive?

A: Yes! Cleanliness and tidiness are more important than fancy upgrades and modern finishes. There are many low-cost things you can do that will increase the desirability of your home. First, declutter as much as you can. Donate household items to charity, give them away to family and friends, or pack them away to be ready for your move. Simple, uncluttered rooms photograph the best. Second, do that “deep cleaning” that leaves no square inch unturned. Windows, shelves, light fixtures, the areas behind furniture, drawers – leave it all shiny and fresh smelling. Finally, you can invest in inexpensive sprucing of the front entry to the home: installing new house numbers, cleaning up the landscaping, placing a new and welcoming doormat in front of the entrance, and having a pot of flowers on the walkway.

Sorting, packing, decluttering, and deep cleaning can feel overwhelming if you are tackling it by yourself. There are outstanding professionals who can assist with these tasks, who have experience in helping homeowners downsize. One way to pay for their help is to sell or auction household items that you don’t need anymore, or that won’t fit in your next home.

A clean and tidy home results in better photography, and provides a great return on investment for your sweat and hard work. Good luck in your sale!

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Rebecca Bomann is Founder and CEO of SASH Services, and Designated Broker of SASH Realty. With a background in social work and elder care, Rebecca created SASH to provide real estate services tailored for clients’ unique needs. Since 2005, SASH has served clients of all ages, with specialized home sale services for older adults and their families.

Office: 6118 S 204th St Suite 395 Kent, WA

Phone: 206.501.4375

Website: and


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