Fix or Not to Fix When Readying It For Sale
is the question all homeowners should ask themselves
when they consider selling their home.
first item on the fix-it list: clear the clutter! If
your closets, attic, basement, garage, and other
storage areas appear neat, half-full and organized,
your house will seem to have more storage space. To
accomplish the clutter - clearing task, empty the
house, hold a garage sale, and use the profits to
help offset the next set of fix-it priorities.
your house for "curb appeal". The exterior
is the first impression a prospective buyer has of
your home. Make it as inviting as you can.
Think of it as outside decorating. Clean (or
paint, if necessary) the exterior, re-sod brown spots
and crab grass, mow the lawn, pull weeds, remove
dead trees or plants, and trim the shrubs.
give warmth and personality to a home. Plant them tastefully
in pots or beds at the entrance, on decks and around
patios. If it isn't flower season, at least clean
the beds, remove the dead leaves, and cover the
ground with fresh wood chips or other clean
you have a limited budget, make the most of it. Put
the money where it is most obviously needed and the return
the greatest and most visible.
care of the little obvious things: fix leaking
faucets, stop running toilets, replace broken
windows, kill pet or mildew odors, repair holes
in screens, remove mildew from tile, and
re-caulk around bathtubs and sinks. Walk around; look
at your house with a prospective buyer's eyes. Small things
tell buyers whether or not a house has been maintained.
coat of light-colored, neutral paint--white or
off-white--will make your home's interior look
crisper, cleaner, and also larger. Many buyers
may not be able to imagine their sofa in your décor.
White interiors work for the greatest number of
people without their having to redecorate immediately.
If you just moved, would you want to redo every
the carpet is in reasonable condition, have it
shampooed. If it is worn, threadbare or a
non-neutral color, consider replacing it with
beige or gray. You do not need to purchase the
best quality money can buy. Lifetime wear is not required.
You want it to look great now. Neutral walls and carpet
do not offend anyone. Almost all furnishings look good
with them. Rental property managers know this and have
been doing it for years.
having your house inspected by qualified inspector.
Safety- and health-related items, such as radon and
electrical problems could kill a sale if not
properly attended to. It is much better to fix
these items on your own time schedule and
financial terms than hurriedly during a contract
negotiation. Roof leaks, even if inactive, are also deal
else do you fix amongst the inspector's flagged
items? Unless you can realistically get money
back, fix only the problems with major systems.
You want to keep your home's selling price as
low as possible to increase the pool of buyers.
not undertake any major remodeling in preparation
for sale. It places more limitations on the
size of your buyer pool. Tastes vary, and some
people will dislike the results of your
efforts. You will have to raise your selling price
to reflect your fix-up investment, thereby
pricing your home out of the range of other
neutral color scheme in a house that sparkles brings
you the highest return in the shortest time.
Best Value in Home Improvements
remodeling jobs add value to your home; some
actually decrease the marketability. Which are the
most cost effective in terms of return on
investment when you sell your property? According
the the National Association of Home Builders,
improvements that yield the highest return are:
Major kitchen remodel
Master suite conversion
Family room addition
Attic bedroom conversion
Sun space addition
Home office addition
remodeling can really pay off!
planning your remodeling project, just remember
that the above figures may not apply to your
particular job. Don't go overboard with gold
plated faucets if you expect to recoup 98% of the
cost of your new bathroom. Conversely, don't
expect a yield as high as 98% if you install a
fiberglass tub surround and the least expensive
fixtures you can find. Family rooms and home
office projects in basements are far less
appealing than those built above ground.
most common improvement that actually detracts
from a property's marketability and value is a
swimming pool. Many potential buyers look at a
pool and see nothing but expense of upkeep and
danger to small children. In fact, some buyers who
would otherwise love your home won't even look at
a property with a pool. Their reaction: "It
would cost too much to fill it in and landscape
you get ready to sell your home, be realistic
about the desirability of the improvements you
have made. Sometimes a minor face lift is all that
is needed for increased marketability and a faster
sale, but not necessarily a higher price. If you
are in doubt, have a professional appraisal or
consult your REALTOR® for an honest opinion.
Your Home - Sell it Yourself or Hire a REALTOR®?
home owner decides to sell FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
instead of hiring a REALTOR®, the reason is usually to
avoid paying a real estate commission.
"do-it-yourself" approach can be successful for
a hot property in a hot market, you might want to think
about what’s required to sell your home yourself before
you decide to follow that route. In many cases any savings
in dollars are quickly lost in expending your time and
energy. There’s a lot more involved than sticking a sign
in the yard and an ad in the paper!
you’re thinking the For Sale By Owner method is for you,
three of the most common problems you’ll face in
achieving a successful sale are:
market exposure – you are only targeting the local
community and consequently you miss thousands of
potential buyers that would have access to your
property information when marketed with a REALTOR®.
serious, qualified buyers – often people who visit
FSBO properties are either just ‘kicking tires’ or
they are bargain hunting.
Your FSBO Skills - Are
They Up To The Task?
As your own agent, you'll
- Price your home
- Prepare, schedule and
run your ads and produce handouts
- Take calls, screen
inquiries, schedule appointments
- Pre-qualify potential
buyers by asking the right questions
- Stay home to show your
property at looker’s convenience
- Hold open houses,
negotiate offers and counter offers
- Make sure buyers are
qualified before accepting
- Understand and prepare
- Follow up with the
buyer’s mortgage application and approval
- Coordinate inspections
- Collect all buyer and
seller legal documents
Serving as your own agent
is a bad idea if you're in a hurry to sell, you have a
hard time handling tension, complications and rejection,
you don’t price your home properly or you're
Pricing Your Home - You
Need A REALTOR® To Get It Right!
An over priced home will
not sell in a timely fashion, and you’ll end up lowering
the price anyway. An under priced home causes potential
buyers to think there’s something wrong with it!
BEWARE of online automated
appraisal programs. They crunch numbers, use averages, and
can’t take into account, for example, curb appeal,
extraordinary condition, the fact that yours is the best
lot on the street.
While a REALTOR® looks at
objective factors just as an appraiser does (square
footage, number of bedrooms), a REALTOR® will also take
into account the special features of your home. A REALTOR®
compares your home to other homes on the market. An
appraiser compares only to properties that have sold and
closed – in some cases many months ago. It is likely
your REALTOR® has been inside every property in your area
on the market. An appraiser has seen only the homes he was
hired to appraise. Who has the better basis for
Common Pitfalls - Of
Selling Without A REALTOR®
A major stumbling block in
selling your home yourself is your emotional attachment to
it and your familiarity with it. You overlook its flaws
because you love the huge dogwood tree in the backyard or
Your REALTOR® has no such
emotional attachment and can help you immensely in giving
you information about what you should do to prepare your
home for sale. REALTORS® know what’s important to
buyers and what’s not so important. They can help you
prioritize what you must do, what you should do, what you
don’t need to bother with in getting the house ready for
Another common difficulty
of FSBO selling is the failure to properly identify in
writing items not included in the sale. Generally,
anything permanently fixed to the house stays with the
home after the sale. Exclusions (items not included with
the sale) can be a cause of contention for buyers when
those items are not specified ahead of time. Your REALTOR®
will help you think this through.
Showing and Selling - Time
A few of the things your
REALTOR® does to save you time:
1. Handles telephone and
email inquiries about your property. You don’t have to
be always by a phone whether it’s convenient or not.
2. Screens potential
buyers to gauge their level of interest and financial
ability to purchase your home. You don’t have to know
the ‘right’ questions to ask (which they most likely
wouldn’t answer for you anyway since you’re the
3. Schedules showing
appointments and follows up for feedback. You don’t have
to make those follow up calls which take time and might
yield comments you don’t want to hear.
4. Brings buyers to see
your home or arranges with other REALTORS® to bring
buyers to see your home. You don’t have to be present at
5. Arranges for access for
inspectors and appraisers. You don’t have to be present
at inconvenient times.
Do you have the time to
handle all of the above – and more - without A REALTOR®?
Legalities and Paperwork -
It Can Get Sticky for FSBOs
You may be obligated to
disclose problems that could affect the property's value
or desirability. In most states, it is illegal to
fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your
property such as a basement that floods in heavy rains. In
some states, a less stringent seller disclosure may be
used when buying the property from an estate.
In many states, a separate
lead paint disclosure is also required, and in some areas,
there are local ordinances pertaining to disclosures.
Do you know what your
state and local laws are? Do you have the correct forms?
Do you know how to properly execute the forms? Do you know
when disclosures are presented?
Your REALTOR® does!