(Riverton, Wyo.) – Don’t make selling your house a bad experience! 

This is the story of the nightmare we suffered selling our home.  I am sharing this with you in hopes of sparing you the pitfalls, extra work and massive anxiety we experienced!  If I could have a “do-over,” I’d make VERY difference choices.

The story begins with the decision to build our own home!  How exciting! We have lived here 13 years with many fond memories, but there are just a few things I don’t love. With dreams of someday slowing our life down, I wanted a one level home with a huge, luxurious kitchen for entertaining!  I had finally convinced Jack that it was a good plan.  I agreed we would sell our current home and move into a rental, so we weren’t trying to balance building and selling at the same time. So with what I thought was the hard part –getting Jack to agree–complete, the next step was to find a Realtor to help us get the ball rolling.

Jack remembered a friend of a friend who was in the business, and thought that since we were acquaintances that way we should give him a try.  He was an established businessman with a reputable company so it seemed we couldn’t go wrong.  Looking back, maybe he had too much experience, maybe he had been in the business for to long?  Maybe he just didn’t care anymore.  Oh, but that is for later right?

Real estate agent showing couple house

Soooo, we met with Rusty Shakelford. Rusty seemed real nice, well, except for his dead fish handshake, but I guess not everyone has a nice firm handshake, right?  He came to our house with his assistant, Jeffrey.  Jeffrey seemed nice, so all seemed good.

We were very nervous about what they might say about our house. We  were proud of the many improvements we’d made. Yes, there were things we wished we had done or had dreamed of doing, but it was still a great house with amazing memories, that someone was just going to love!  Rusty and Jeffrey went through our home and asked us a few questions. At one point Jeffrey off-handedly commented it was a little bit cluttered. I immediately thought about a show I had seen on HGTV and knew I had to de-clutter!  All my hours spent watching HGTV were really going to get us ahead of the game!

Rusty and Jeffrey told us they would get with us in a few days and let us know what they thought our house would be worth in today’s market place.  We felt like it was years while we waited, so I went ahead and started packing up my “clutter’ (i.e.,  my prized possessions!  :-)

Finally…Rusty showed us a couple other houses on the market and gave us our price. It was actually lower than we had hoped, but he said he would list it at whatever price we thought would make us happy.  BUT… we needed to sign a 1-year listing.  That sounded ok, we could always reduce later, right?  It wasn’t a lot higher!

Then they told us they would draw up paperwork and get it to us right away. Jeffrey scheduled an appointment to take pictures and measure the rooms. It all seemed pretty normal and quick. I mean we had only spent about 45 minutes total with the Realtors, so we were thinking they are super efficient. Plus, with my HGTV experience, our house was gonna look AMAZING for pictures!

THEN…It took two weeks for them to get us the papers and the pictures taken.  During that time I took everything off my shelves and counter tops. We even put furniture in our storage unit so that the house would look bigger. I cleaned like crazy and took all my pictures off the wall. Then Jeffrey came to take the pictures.  He didn’t say much other than I had been busy, so I assumed that meant I did a great job.

We finally got our color brochure.  We were so excited to see our home on a brochure!  But, we were disappointed.  We thought our friends’ house down the street had better pictures, and even though they had a darling little home, it was not nearly the level of ours. But, the showings began and we just knew our house would sell.

We got lots of showings, but hadn’t really heard from Rusty. We were dying to know what people thought about our home.  BUT, Rusty told us  people didn’t like our floor plan because the rooms were too “chopped up,” and they thought it would be too expensive to update the things that we hadn’t yet updated, like our kitchen.  We knew we couldn’t really change those things so we went home discouraged.   What could we do right?

Long story short… we were on the market for an entire year, and it went sort of like this the whole time.  We reduced our price — below the original number Rusty gave us. That was the only advice we received.

I was so exhausted from living in our house for a year, all the while trying to make the house look unlived in. I mean, can you imagine…a showing scheduled the day after your Thanksgiving company leaves??? It got soooo old! I just about gave up.

Then one day we talked to a friend of ours who had just purchased a new home and sold theirs.  Tingling with jealousy, we listened patiently as they raved about their experience.  THEIR Realtor sent them reports and helped them to stage their house.  She even came over and moved a couple pieces of furniture with them to see what looked best!  When they were staging the Realtor had her assistant deliver packing boxes and packing tape to their house to help put away the extra things. I couldn’t believe she had told them NOT to repaint the pink wall in the little girls room, and NOT to take down all their pictures (They hadn’t worked nearly as hard as we had) .  THEIR Realtor loaned them a moving trailer to put their stuff in to help with the transition from house to house and the delicate timing. THEIR Realtor even ordered pizza for them the night they were moving in.  I know it sounds like I’m rambling, but that is what it seemed like they were doing, they were just so excited about their entire experience.  THEIR Realtor gave them a range of pricing and list of what they had to do if they wanted the top end of the pricing and why listing higher than that would be a bad idea, and how it could affect their process and make things more complicated.  THEIR Realtor or her assistant called after EVERY showing to share feedback and make suggestions for how they could counter that feedback …. On top of ALL of that, their house went under contract in less than a week! They had already moved into their new home and were so excited. Yet, here we sat twiddling our thumbs!

That was it! We called Suzy Sells and see if she would consider working with us since our listing expired in 2 weeks. She said she would love to meet with us. When we got there, they were all so nice, addressing  us by name and offering us coffee while we waited!  It was such a warm and welcoming environment!  We chatted with the secretary while we waited.  She told us how busy they’d been and how much fun their last transaction was. Apparently, their clients had kids and dogs and they just loved having them come into the office to brighten their day!  A couple other agents said hello , introduced themselves and asked if they could answer any questions for us while we were waiting.

When we met with Suzy we were shocked!  She had shown our home and gave us some feedback.  She said she couldn’t do anything for us until our listing expired, but if we wanted to work with her team at that time she would be honored to help us. HONORED?  Yes, that is really what she said.  We felt a little like we were the only clients she had, in fact, we wondered a little!

When our listing expired, Suzy came to look at our house. She gave us so many tips of simple things we could do to make the house show better it was crazy. One thing she said is that since our kitchen was dated and it would be crazy to remodel it for a sale in our market that we could “fake it until we make it”. She showed us how to change the first impression with some simple tasks. We spent about $400.00 and now I wonder why we didn’t do that sooner!  She told us where to put furniture and actually asked us to bring back stuff we had removed!  OH my!  She gave us a date to have all the things done and that she would be back then to take pictures.

Turns out,  everything our friends had said was true!  We felt like Suzi’s office was working for us.  I even remember one time when Suzy was out of town one of the other Realtors called us with feedback on a showing.  Our house took longer to sell than our friends did, but we were prepared for that. Suzy had told us that the average days on the market in our price range was higher due to fewer Buyers in that range, The average days on the market for our range would be 90 days. But, if we  we did ALL the things Suzi told us and priced properly it would be quicker than that.  AND, here we sit, 65 days later, and tomorrow is our closing!

Happy mature woman having coffee

Wait, it gets even BETTER! Suzy’s assistant helped us find a rental to live in while we were building and we have pretty much everything there, I just wanted one last quiet night in front of my fireplace to think back on all of the memories we have here.  Jack is sleeping in the other room, and we have the moving trailer outside for these few last items were need to move.  I can’t believe I’m relaxing with my journal and a good cup of hot chocolate on my last night in my home, not worrying about any last minute details.

I’m hear to tell you, that no matter what, when you are choosing your Realtor, ask your friends who they like and why! Don’t just ask one! Ask a couple, ask them for good experiences and bad experiences. Bless Rusty, I believe he is a good man, but I’m guessing he feels his experience is enough to keep a Seller happy, when really all those little extra things made a huge difference to us!  I will always find a Realtor where I feel like I am important! 

This story is fictional, but is based on a compilation of experiences ,that have been shared with me, from Real Estate clients from around Fremont County.
Thanks for reading!
-Olivia Prince


Contact your friends at Wind River Realty, today!

Address: 309 N Broadway Ave, Riverton, WY 82501
Phone: (307) 856-3999