Time to sell your house? Time to do the repairs…

Time to sell your house? Time to do the repairs…

Most homeowners think their home is in great shape – or at a minimum, in decent shape. Nothing is really wrong – they just want to sell it. For many higher priced homes, maintenance was never an issue – the cost of minor repairs came with the territory of owning a nice expensive home. For the rest of us, face it… maintenance was done on only those immediate items. Think light bulbs, lawn, maybe painting a room or two inside.

Remember how much fun it was when you originally were looking to move into your new dream home? You most likely saw many homes, maybe new homes too. Each one had something special that would be nice to have – but reality set in and you bought your current house for whatever reason. Now- you are on the other side – the seller hoping for buyers to like your house. What features do you have that would be nice to have? Remember – buyers want to see something new, modern, or updated. That’s what is needed to make your home stand out from the crowd.

When buyers don’t buy…

When selling a home, there are things that you see and those that buyers see, and then there are those items that inspectors see. Which ones will prevent your house from selling? Obviously – all the above!

Most buyers will run from leaky ceilings, doors that don’t close right, really old carpeting, ugly, dirty paint, etc. Wouldn’t you? You would be surprised at how many homeowners try and sell their home using the MLS service with an agent, with these problems. Of course- they will not receive full asking price for a house that doesn’t show well and not like the neighbor’s house that does.

Ever hear of expired listings? It’s due to either price or location relative to the price.  The price the sellers wanted vs. the condition of the home, and location of the house prevented a sale from happening. Assuming you can’t change the location, you must concentrate on the condition if you expect full price for your home. In this article, we’ll assume “full price” means market price – which is the maximum price a reasonable buyer will pay for a nice, upgraded home with no maintenance needed. Why should a buyer pay the same amount for a house that’s been neglected in any way?

What a buyer looks for: Layout of the home, the size of  kitchen and types of appliances in the kitchen, condition of the floors, size of rooms, bathrooms (how clean and updated/modern are they?), the yard. Of course- there’s more than just these things. You would do the same thing when you move into another home!

Compare this to the inspector- which every bank requires before approving a loan for the buyer- and demand all items to be fixed prior to closing: Roof (age and condition), electrical wiring, electrical sockets, age of HVAC and hot water heater, type of plumbing pipes in the walls, deck stability (condition of the joists, distance between joists, loose boards), cracks in foundation and driveway, rotten wood outside the house, etc. In fact- most items that you do not see – but make a house “liveable”.

What to repair…

So what to repair before you market for a buyer? You don’t want to turn off buyers from even presenting offers- so start with the obvious. If you don’t want the expense of an inspector right now, bring in a friend to help see things you won’t – but that a buyer will see first hand. Look at the plumbing fixtures- should they be replaced? How about the floors – carpet, wood, tile. Do they need replacement, repairs, or updating to today’s standards? Do any of the doors stick or don’t close correctly? How old are your appliances? When was the last time you serviced your air conditioners? Is the yard trimmed up – or is it barren without bushes, grass and trees? Does your yard have more weeds than grass on it? Are your walls dirty – or look worn? New paint never hurts- assuming its a neutral color. Today – the new color is a light silver/gray with white trim. Remember- the paint must compliment your house – and must work with the room flooring too.

What to repair after you accept a buyer offer? Everything on the inspector report- or you will be asked to accept less money at closing to cover the repairs needed. Most of the larger items must be repaired by you first – or most banks will not lend the money for the closing. No roof leaks, in fact, no water leaks of any kind,  no barren floors ( carpet or wood is a must!), appliances must work, HVAC and water heater, etc.

The above is a sampling of what to repair before you decide to sell your house. There is much more to do than the above, but it is a good start if you want to sell your house for near market value. Stay tuned for more house selling tips.

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