Cookie Monster Meets Real Estate?

Real Estate Agent with Davis R. Chant, REALTORS RS301772

Cookie cutter homes. They are everywhere! So many homes are identical - or nearly identical - to dozens of others in theCookie Monster area. If they were edible, Cookie Monster would have a ball.

Currently, in the Pike and Wayne County PA MLS, there are about 2000 homes on the market. How will consumers decide which one to buy?

What are you doing to make your home memorable?

What makes your chalet better than the other 135 chalets for sale in Wayne County? Or more interesting than the 130 competing chalets for sale in Pike County? (and I swear, I feel like I showed nearly all of them to a couple last summer who never did make a decision...)

Has your agent written an interesting MLS description, or is it as dull and lackluster as day-old dishwater?

What about the photos? Are they bright and clear, or should they be in the next Halloween sequel? 

I was pleased the other day when an agent called to schedule a showing for  this home I have listed for sale in Wallenpaupack Lake Estates.

His clients were very interested in looking at it, as they read that it was Wallenpaupack Lake Estates Contemporary Homean "out of the ordinary house" and for that reason, they were eager to see it.

After describing it to him, he was able to find it on the MLS. That means I did my job; this home was not only memorable to the buyers, but it was easy for him to find.

Of course, this home truly is unique, and I doubt there's another home like it in Wallenpaupack Lake Estates...or in Wayne County for that matter...but I digress.


Back to the subject at hand - your home may be a "cookie cutter" home, and there may not be much you can do about the architectural details, but there are things you can do to make your home more appealing and memorable to buyers.


Have you:

  • Spruced up the exterior of your home to increase curb appeal?
  • Power washed that dusty siding?
  • Refreshed peeling, stained, or faded paint?
  • Stained decks and handrails?
  • Added flowers and seasonal decorations?
  • Considered staging your home?
  • Washed windows and opened blinds and draperies to maximize natural light?

Has your roof leaked in the past? If so, have you painted over the water stains? (Assuming you have fixed the problem, that is.) Is there a faint damp smell in your basement? Running a dehumidifier may solve that problem completely. These are things that buyers see as waving red flags...and something this easy to fix can send a spooked buyer off to the next home on his list.

CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN! Are your kitchen cabinets dull and dingy looking? There are many cleaning products on the market that can make cabinets shine...or consider painting them and replacing old hardware with a modern choice. Clean your appliances. Make your dining room table look cheerful with a seasonal centerpiece and coordinating place mats.

Additional Important Home Selling Tips That Are Almost...But Not Quite...Cliche:

  • Put the clutter away - get some of your packing done early!
  • Swap out oversized furniture for something more appropriate for the space
  • Rearranged furniture to maximize traffic flow?
  • Perform routine maintenance to make your home look its best.
  • Offer a home warranty to buyers as an added incentive - this will help your home compete with the new construction homes for sale in the Lake Wallenpaupack area.

With so many homes for sale, buyers now have the privilege of being picky...and picky they are! Buyers are NOT like Cookie Monster - they're not going to gobble up the first home they see here in Pike and Wayne County...they have a couple thousand to choose from!

Work with your agent and come up with a plan to make your home interesting - and if you don't have an agent, I'll be glad to sit down with you and formulate a plan together.

For further reading:

5 Tips for Home Sellers Who Smoke

Cheap Paneling Isn't The Kiss of Death

Get Out of the Cave and Into the Light When Selling Your Home


Get More Tips From

30 Can't Miss Staging Tips from Lisa LaPorta

Crank Up the Curb Appeal



Copyright ©2007 By Karen E. Rice. All rights reserved. Cookie Monster original photo courtesy of delta_avi_delta from Flickr Creative Commons. The original photo was modified by Karen E. Rice.

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Karen E. Rice is a real estate agent working in Pike & Wayne County of Northeastern PA in the Pocono Mountains. Lake Wallenpaupack is one of Pennsylvania's most popular destinations for vacations, retirement, and purchasing a home.



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Karen Rice (that's me!) lists & sells in Tanglwood, Wallenpaupack Lake Estates, Hideout, Indian Rocks, Masthope, Fawn Lake, Tink Wig, Woodland Hills, Walker Lake, Hemlock Farms, & more in Pike & Wayne County.


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Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Karen- Excellent! This should be a feature post! You have great information here for sellers to make their home stand out from the rest. Katerina
Nov 04, 2007 11:00 AM #1
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales
Katerina - thank you so much.  Your encouraging words mean a lot to me!!!  I hope someone finds this information useful and helpful.  
Nov 04, 2007 11:28 AM #2
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Congrats on your Localism feature!
Nov 04, 2007 11:31 AM #3
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
We have so many cookie cutter homes in one area of my county. If you've seen one St. James you've seen them all. Pulte way over-built. Good post on making your home stand out.
Nov 04, 2007 11:54 AM #4
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
Nice Post, Karen. I like your photos and the message is always a good one for sellers.
Nov 04, 2007 12:56 PM #5
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Karen, I agree with Katerina this should be a featured post.  You have my vote, but oops I can't vote. 

When we moved here 10 years ago I didn't see that many cookie cutter homes not like what we moved from in Colorado.  I kind of feel like Colorado is moving here as I am seeing a lot more commmunities with that boxy cookie cutter feel.  You do give some great advice though to make a cookie cutter home be unique.

Nov 04, 2007 01:54 PM #6
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent

I live in the land of cookie cutters.  

You did a great job structuring and illustrating this post, by the way.    

Nov 04, 2007 02:48 PM #7
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Katerina - again, thank you!!  I appreciate it very much.

Missy - here the cookie cutter seems to be predominantly chalet homes...with clay colored siding.   LOL.  There actually was a really nice - "unique" custom built home in one of the developments - it was very attractive.  Then I saw the builder built the exact same house right next door.  Exactly the same.  Not only that but he built two more just like them in the same development.  You may expect to see that in the suburbs but not here!  LOL

Bonnie - thanks for the feedback.  The part that took the longest was finding a photo of Cookie Monster that I could use!   

Nov 04, 2007 09:06 PM #8
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Marchel - thank you!  I was a little taken aback when visiting hubby's home state of Missouri, and seeing former cornfields turned into developments with HUGE cookie cutter "estate houses" on little postage stamp pieces of property.  It appeared like the houses would just barely fit on the land.  It's very orderly looking, but yet...

Chris - thank you.  I won't say how LONG it took me and how many drafts I published before I was satisfied!!

Thanks everyone for your comments, compliments, and feedback! 

Nov 04, 2007 09:10 PM #9
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
Karen,  We definitely live in a cookie cutter world in Northern Virginia.  Buikders build what people will buy regardless of what it does to the area, but that is changing as more people resisit the over development, Karen
Nov 05, 2007 12:46 PM #10
Jennifer Monroe
Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTORĀ®/Broker in Beautiful Charlotte
Congrats on the feature!! I will always remember your line..."dull and lackluster as day-old dishwater" ... I think it's important to consider staging a property that fits into the cookie cutter family. A little frosting and some sprinkles could make it the first cookie off the plate! Well done!!
Nov 07, 2007 03:24 AM #11
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Karen, Great tips for sellers. I like all the links as well. Congratulations.
Nov 18, 2007 06:00 AM #12
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
I love all these thoughts and suggestions about how to make a home not cookie cutter Karen.
Nov 20, 2007 01:09 AM #13
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Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales
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