Selling a Home that Failed To Sell Series- Part 13-Fix it to set your home apart!
Home buyers, paying top dollar for a property, are looking at the functionality of a home. Bottom line, if it is broken- fix it!
I am not suggesting a full-blown remodel. I am suggesting that we look at the property through the eyes of a buyer. When a buyer sees something broken, even if it is minor, she will automatically wonder what else is broken that she can’t see. This can lead to a longer time on the market and less money in the seller’s pocket.
While it isn’t practical for a seller to replace all of the systems in the home, it is important that everything is in good working order to get top dollar for the home. If something is broken, go ahead and have it repaired before listing the home. The buyer will notice if something doesn’t work and 9 times out of 10 the seller will have to repair the item at the time of the inspection. Getting it fixed first avoids the possibility of the price being lowered or tanking the sale altogether.
· HVAC- heating and cooling systems in good working order.
· Plumbing- including all sinks, showers, bath tubs and faucets. Toilets are working properly, flushing and not continuously running.
· Electrical- make sure the panel is in good repair, all outlets are functioning and there are GFCI outlets in the bathrooms and kitchens.
· Roof- are there any leaks that need to be addressed?
· Gutters- no leaks, downspouts directed away from the house, empty of debris.
· Garage- doors are working properly and safely.
While the systems in the home can be the costliest to repair, at least in the buyer’s imagination, areas of disrepair inside the home can be a red flag to buyers and prevent the home from selling- even if the repair itself is minor.
Let me give you an example;
I was recently working with a buyer who was looking for a home in a specific school district. Inventory was low and only three homes fit into her criteria. Two of those homes sold very quickly. They had multiple offers and it was incredibly competitive! The third home had similar features. My buyer was contemplating making an offer, but she couldn’t get past one thing. There were water spots on the ceiling. The listing agent assured us that the roof leak had been repaired and was no longer an issue. My buyer, however, could not get the idea of the leak and potential issues out of her mind. She was terrified of having to pay for a costly roof repair. Even worse, her daughter has asthma and she was concerned that the leak could have caused water damage in the home resulting in mold that could affect her daughter’s health. She ultimately did not make an offer and waited months for the right home to come on the market.
How could the seller avoid the loss of this sale? He simply could have completed the repair. The costly part was already taken care of. The roof was repaired, and no water had come into the home in years. There was no mold or any other issue. What remained was the visible evidence of the problem- the water spots on the ceiling. Had he used paint and primer and fixed the ceiling damage, the buyer would have made the offer. She would have made the offer, even though the seller would have disclosed the leak and repair. Why? Because she would have been confident the issue had been resolved and there was not a problem.
With that in mind, fixing damaged finishes is an important step in the process of getting your home ready to sell for top dollar in the least amount of time. Look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.
Areas to consider:
· Walls and ceilings- Are there areas that need to be painted?
· Doors- is there warping or pet damage that can be sanded filled and painted?
· Carpets- Can the carpets simply be cleaned and stretched or so they need to be replaced?
· Hard Wood Floors- Can the floors simply be cleaned and polished or do they need to be refinished?
· Light fixtures- Are they functional? If they are dated, can they be quickly and inexpensively updated with paint or do they need replaced? Are any bulbs burnt out? Do they adequately light the space?
· Cabinets and vanities- Are the doors working properly? Do the hinges need adjusting or replaced? Can they be cleaned, or do they need to be painted?
I hope this post gets you motivated to look at your home from the eyes of a buyer. Your agent can walk through the home with you and point out potential problem areas so that they can be repaired before you go on the market. Ultimately the goal is to sell your house for the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Making sure that everything is functional will help you to get top dollar and to avoid buyers not making offers for fear of what else could be wrong!