”I don’t want to and you can’t make me!” Most everyone has heard a child scream this, but these days a number of home sellers are feeling the same way. When you’re already facing lower property values due to the real estate decline, the last thing you want to do is spend more money enhancing your home, only to sell it.
That’s understandable… but, if you really want to attract serious home buyers, keep your sales contract from falling through, and get the best possible price, you need to swallow hard and fix that house.
You may be in luck, the only fixes you may need to make are to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, unstick a tight hinge on your window frame and put some oil on a creaky door. Or, you may have to do more extensive, expensive work — such as fixing your roof or replacing an old furnace.
In either case, the cost of making repairs can easily outweigh the price of digging in your heels and yelling, “No! I don’t want to!” The cost of your refusal can mean more money lost or spent while waiting for a sale, the possibility of additional home problems cropping up, and months wasted on unsuccessful home selling — instead of enjoying the next chapter in your life.
Is it worth it? Come on… admit it. Maybe you ought to at least consider it?
If I’ve been able to budge you from your position, here’s what you should do:
First, get your home inspected now, instead of waiting to find out what’s wrong with it when you’ve got a potential buyer on the line. This will eliminate unexpected shocks for both you and the buyer and give you a chance to fix problems that might scare someone away. The more things you can fix now, the less overwhelmed your buyer will be, and the less likely he or she will cancel the sale.
Fixing the small things matters. Buyers often think small problems are telltale signs of bigger ones, in the same way that a stain on someone’s shirt may provide a glimpse into their deeper flaws. So, if you want to prevent someone from thinking your wobbly door knob represents more serious underlying issues, tighten that door knob today.
Many buyers will also use your home’s flaws as an excuse to offer you a lower price. They interpret these flaws as a lack pride in your home, or that you lack the money to fix them and are desperate and willing to sell for less.
When it comes to making major repairs, get several estimates on the price of the work. If you can, have the work performed before or while your home is on the market. If you can’t afford the repairs, the estimates you receive will indicate how much money you’ll need to deduct from your home price. If you don’t know the cost of the repairs in advance, you may end up taking more money off than is necessary to close a deal.
I’ve heard of many a home seller who refused to spend $5,000 in repairs, only to knock off more than $15,000 to reel in a buyer. If these sellers had gone out and got estimates in advance, they could have at least offered the buyers a credit for that amount — instead of selling the home at a much lower price.
Hopefully this blog post will make you feel less like yelling, “I don’t wanna!” and more like saying, “Okay… I’ll think about it.”
For hundreds of good ideas on how to make home selling easier, faster and saner, read Home Seller’s Blues And How To Beat Them. Available in paperback and ebook through Amazon.com and at http://www.homesellersblues.com.