Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What you should do in the winter to get your home ready to sell in the Spring & Summer

The holidays are over, and many of us are in the middle of very cold weather, but even under those conditions it looks like it will be a great spring and summer for real estate.  I addressed some things to do in my last posting and I’m going to address more things now. 

Every homeowner has a “honey do” list of items that they know needs to be fixed.  These may be as minor as drippy faucets or it may be as big as refinishing hardwood floors.   But we all have them.  

If you’ve cleaned out the closets and begun to de-clutter the next thing to do is to prioritize this “honey do” list and start working on it.  I don’t mean to say that you need to remodel the kitchen or update the bath, but taking care of things like cleaning the oven (yes, buyers will look inside your oven – and if it’s got 5 years of baked on stuff in the bottom …. well enough said).  It’s all about making your home attractive to a potential buyer.  One thing that I always encourage a home owner to do is to make sure that the front door opens easily with the key.  Curb appeal is important and your front door is the opening to your home.  Think about what goes thru a buyers mind if the agent has trouble getting in the house – they begin to think “what else doesn’t work”.   Buyers buy with their heart, so make your home warm, comfortable and inviting ….

After almost 30 years I have found out that buyers only can see what they see …. 90% of buyers cannot see the potential of a property.  I have had many sellers who have said “well I know that (blank) needs to be replaced.  I’ll just let it be and the buyer can purchase what they want.  Well, the buyer can only see that (let’s say) the carpet is old and dirty …. that’s all they can see, most of them cannot see past that item to the charm of house.  So if something needs to be fixed – fix it, if it needs to be cleaned - clean it, if it needs to be replaced then replace it.  In the long run your home will sell faster and for more money.    As a seller you don’t want to find that your home has been on the market for longer than average and that you’ve had to take some price reductions, and then items that need to be fixed come up as inspection items once you do get a contract.

And let me address the old myth about giving a buyer a “credit” to do repairs.  Yes, when I began in this business 30 years ago, it was not unusual to be able to get a “credit” or even some money from a seller for repairs or improvements.  Not today.  Banking regulations do not allow a buyer to make a “profit“ when purchasing a home … and a credit can be seen as “profit”.   Sellers often want to offer credits because they just do not want to hassle with fixing or replacing items … I can promise this will just cause the buyer to reduce the offer price even more.  SO again the best thing is to clean it up, repair or replace it if necessary.  If these just are not in the cards, then make sure you price the home accordingly and don’t be offended if a buyer offers you less, because they may not have the money or time to clean it, repair it or replace it ….

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