Saturday, March 28, 2009

Selling in a Buyer’s Market

In case you aren’t paying attention this is a “Buyer’s Market”. Buyers have many options to choose from. If they are turned off by something in your listing, guess what, they will simply move to the next one.

It never ceases to amaze me at the blatantly obvious issues which repeatedly surface as part of home inspections. Most are obvious items which could have been addressed prior to placing the home on the market but are ignored. I have come to the conclusion that some buyers and apparently some Realtors must be blind when they list a property for sale. Do you desire to get a contract on your listing at a reasonable price? It might be wise to pay attention. Do you desire to close on that contract at the contracted price with minimum repair cost? Then you had better pay even closer attention.

Here is a list of very common issues ignored by many sellers that become a major issue during the potential buyer’s consideration of the listing or during the inspection process:

  1. Basement or crawl space water problems caused by negative drainage around the house and/or lack of, improperly installed, damaged leaking gutter and downspout systems. Grade sloping toward the house? Gutter issues? FIX IT NOW! A potential buyer will often overlook evidence of basement or crawl space water issues if it is clearly evident you have attempted to address the problems causing it. How difficult is it to tell that water is running toward the home?
  2. Evidence of any type of leakage such as stains, damage, rot, fungal growth or visible standing or dripping water from plumbing, condensation or roofing issues. FIX IT NOW! Oh, it’s been that way since I moved in doesn’t get it with buyers.
  3. Rot and termite damage. FIX IT NOW!
  4. Fungal growth, call it whatever you please, mold, mildew, black stains, dirt, it doesn’t mater, clean it up.
  5. Got polybutylene pipe, aluminum wiring, EIFS – synthetic stucco disclose it up front. No need for these types of items to be a shock to your potential buyer.
  6. Have an active underground fuel storage tank? Have it checked for leakage and get a written certification that it hasn’t leaked. Have an abandoned underground storage tank, have it checked for past leakage and contamination then properly remove or fill it.
  7. Is there an abandoned well on your property? Check with your local health department and have it properly closed per their regulations.
  8. Is the listing on a well or septic tank system and public water and/or sewer available but not connected? Guess what, this is usually a home outside of the urban limits and there is a very good possibility the buyer will need an FHA loan. Public water and/or sewer available but not connected? FHA will not fund the loan until it is and they don’t care how it happens it simply must happen. Why not simplify the negotiations and connect it now?
  9. Are there obvious cracks in your home or evidence of movement? Call a structural engineer now and either deal with issues or at minimum have a report that states the implications aren’t a concern at this time. Have an issue which is a concern? Fix it. Can’t afford to fix it, fine, have a report from an engineer and a price so the potential buyer knows upfront what to expect the cost of repair to be.
  10. Broken windows or double pane windows with broken seals fogged between the glass panes? Replace them!
  11. Have your heating and air conditioning systems checked out, running like a top, cleaned up and standing tall.
  12. Old, damaged or non-functional appliances? Replace them.
  13. Toilet loose? Secure it.
  14. Door will not close, latch not engage, window will not open, hardware damaged or inoperative? Fix it.
  15. Exposed electrical wiring or wiring connections? Fix them.
  16. Don’t have a clue about the condition of your home? Call an experienced, reputable home inspector to check it out upfront.
Would you rather the potential buyer walk away or that much desired offer to purchase fall apart? Fine, ignore these issues and the buyer moves to the next one or I get paid to do the next inspection for the client who decides your listing isn’t worth it. I know you don’t believe this but nothing gives me greater pleasure than to walk away from a home inspection knowing that my client is pleased and that you, the seller and listing agent, will have a smile on your face when you receive my report.

If you are a seller then most likely you are also a buyer. Look at your listing as if you were the buyer rather than the owner. In what condition will you expect the home you are purchasing? Do you honesty think that your buyer should expect any less from you? Take a walk in their shoes, pay attention and you just might sell your house.

Don’t simple place you house on the market, prepare your house to sell in this market.

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