I am a single mother of 2 who has been reading and rereading your books for the past few years. While I have put into practice many of your ideas and had success with them I want to share my recent experience selling my home as I think it may give others courage to maximize their profit by simply following your advice. When my exhusband and I divorced it was in the middle of the “down” real estate market. I got the house in the divorce but unfortunately the house was not in any condition to sell and the market was such that I would have lost money on it (I would have owed the bank!). Using your principles (my kids have never had cable TV, we made our own pizza, and forget Lattes!) I managed to make that huge mortgage payment for the last 8 years, refinancing once when rates dipped down to 3.75%. About 6 mos. before selling the house (the kids are both off to college) I opened a credit card with an introductory 0% interest for 1 year rate and used that card to pay for improvements for the house. While this was a bit of a gamble I had been watching the market and timed it so my house would be listed in early spring hopefully guaranteeing a quick sale. I spent the next 6 months following the advice about how to stage your home for a quick sale. I repainted almost every room a neutral color, installed new vinyl tile floors myself paid to have inexpensive but nice carpet installed where needed, REALLY cleaned and REALLY decluttered (moving half of my belongings off the premises), and maxed out the curb appeal with flowers, trimming hedges and spot painting the exterior where needed. When it came time to put the house on the market a realtor who wanted me to list the house with him came over and gave me a free price estimate for my home. Now here’s the important part. I also asked an appraiser that I knew to give me a price based on recent sales in my neighborhood. The price that the appraiser gave me was almost $25,000 higher than the price the realtor gave me. I ended up listing the house myself at a price just under what the appraiser suggested and sold it within 2 weeks of putting the sign in the front yard. By selling it myself not only did I sell it for $15,000 more than the realtor would have but I didn’t pay the 7% commission he would have charged me (another $13000)! With the proceeds I paid off ALL of my credit cards including the one that financed my repairs, my car loan, opened an IRA, and put the rest in a nice high interest savings account. Now that I don’t have a mortgage payment I have increased my 401k witholdings as well. Thank you David for all of your advice and encouragement! It really works!!
Julie Branch Schenectady, NY