Doug Van Etten

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November 15, 2012
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Real estate Q&A

A: For starters, thanks for seeking a second opinion. You have that luxury or opportunity to do so in real estate whereas in medicine or the law, we often go with the first information.Now to get to your questions; my responses are yes and . . . yes.The National Association of Realtors tracks many different aspects of marketing and sales for the realty community. One of those marketing facts that have been true for many years is: Open houses do not sell properties. Statistically only about 1% of all homes are sold as the result of an open house. Realtors who do promote doing open houses do so for a handful of reasons. Oftentimes the first reason is: Sellers, like you perhaps, expect them. For the Realtor, a more effective reason for holding open houses is to meet the neighbors who come to see your house (and who may want to sell theirs next year) and to meet prospective buyers for your home, but more likely, for another home the Realtor may show them after the open house.As for your carpet: In our current market the first way that buyers look for homes is on the internet. Would you agree? Back to those National Association of Realtor statistics: They have found that about 18-20% of people buy a house they first saw online. So, in order to compete with the other homes for sale, the first thing your home has to do is show like a champion in photographs on the Internet. Dull, worn, outdated color or otherwise unattractive carpet will be one of the elements in an online photo that will send a perspective buyer looking at the next house on their computer screen.Even if they get past the photos and do actually set foot in your house, old carpet will stick out like a sore thumb. In addition to that, carpet retains odors that you as the longtime resident in the house may not even realize are there. The mustiness of old dirt, that pet accident from four years ago, even strong cooking odors can all be preserved in carpet without you even being aware of it.You mentioned a carpet allowance as something you want to offer a buyer in purchasing your house. That is only money, while the old, or new, carpet is perception. A huge amount of what drives our decisions is based on perception. One example is the young family that has or is expecting a baby. When the baby crawls around on the floor, the parents want that to be on clean carpet. Your old carpet does not convey that perception and the offer of money is not as strong as perception. A seller sometimes says: "What if I spend $4,000 on carpet and a buyer says they do not like the style or color?"The National Association of Home Builders is another of those professional trade organizations that spends a lot of money on gathering data and tracking trends. Every year they keep track of what the popular styles and colors are in paint, cabinets and carpet. In order to know what carpet to select, go to the home builder's information, visit new construction open houses, or drop by a major local carpet store and ask them what builders are putting in new homes this year. By looking and asking locally if there are any western Colorado-specific variations on style and color, you will learn those. Hopefully, this helps make more sense of what the Realtor is telling you and that with their advice and expertise and your motivation, you will be successful in selling your house.Doug Van Etten is an associate broker with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty and is also the founder/organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network (REIN). Van Etten has been helping homebuyers, sellers and investors with their real estate needs since 1992. Contact Van Etten at or 970-433-4312. For information on the REIN,

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 15, 2012 02:21PM Published Nov 15, 2012 02:19PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.