Selling a home can be a daunting experience, one that most people undertake only once or twice in a lifetime. While it’s highly advisable to work with a real estate agent who can guide you through the process, you’ll also need to put in some legwork – and probably elbow grease – beforehand. One rookie mistake many sellers make is letting their emotional investment in the home overshadow common sense. A Forbes contributor offers this excellent advice: “Start thinking about your house as a commodity, not an extension of your identity.” When you can look at your home with objective eyes, you’re well on your way to packaging a product that will be appealing to buyers. Remember that your ultimate goal is to get the best possible price within the time frame that you’ve set for yourself.
Do I Need an Inspection?
In most cases, a potential buyer will pay for an inspection once they’ve made an offer that’s contingent upon satisfactory results. However, if you have any doubts whatsoever as to the condition of your house, it would be wise to invest in a pre-listing home inspection. Spending around $400 now could translate to big savings down the road. If you clear up any problems revealed by your pre-listing inspection, they won’t come back to haunt you during the buyer’s inspection. Otherwise, these issues can potentially give the buyer a lot of bargaining room – or cause them to back out of the sale completely.
Issues to Look For
Leaving minor issues unrepaired can have bigger repercussions – potential buyers notice these cosmetic problems and wonder what sort of disasters may be lurking unseen. They often assume that if you won’t take the time to replace a worn-out window screen or touch up scuff marks on the wall, then you’ve probably neglected more intensive maintenance like roofing, wiring, or plumbing. In a buyer’s market, you can’t afford to create a negative impression.
Minor touch-ups and repairs that are almost always a good idea include:
A fresh coat of neutral paint, after you’ve patched nail holes in the walls
Good lighting – make sure all your bulbs work and consider adding light sources if needed
Kitchen and bathrooms should be sparkling clean with all appliances, plumbing, and fixtures in good working order
Curb appeal makes the first impression – resurface the driveway and spruce up the landscaping
Real estate disclosure laws vary by state, so make sure you’re up-to-date on local requirements. Generally, you are legally obligated to tell the buyer about problems that could affect the home’s value, such as foundation damage or environmental hazards like a tendency for flooding. If your home was built prior to 1978, federal law requires that you take several steps to protect the buyer from exposure to lead-based paint. A real estate agent can help tremendously in understanding your liability and walking you through disclosure procedures. If you’re ready to sell, contact Diane Beckmann at 845-709-4758 to learn more about how a real estate professional can assist you.