It's a Buyer's Market and Selling a House As Is Won't Do
By Susan M. Keenan ©2009
When the housing market leans clearly over to the side of the buyer, there's very little a seller can do to guarantee a quick and speedy sale short of undercutting his asking price by a hefty sum. Nonetheless, a few guidelines are in order if the seller ever wants to sell the property and still make a profit. The fact of the matter is simply this- in a buyer's market, the buyer has more choices than he can possibly want. The trick here is for the seller to turn his home into the one property that the buyer simply cannot do without.
Selling a home as it currently exists isn't really an option in a buyer's market, unless of course, you have kept up with every tiny maintenance chore and cleaning task that could ever possibly exist. Since this isn't likely unless you are a firm believer in the adage that cleanliness is next to godliness, you are going to need to fix up the old place so that it looks just like new.
Unfortunately, sellers who aren't interested in selling their homes at the current appraised rate are going to be in for a sad awakening as they watch For Sale By Owner homeowners all around them selling their properties. After all, there are numerous choices for the buyer when it comes to selecting a home. It's important to make yours stand out.
When the market is in the favor of homebuyers and credit is tight, the sellers need to maintain reasonable expectations starting with a reasonable asking price. Once the price has been set, the seller needs to take stock of the home itself.
Start with one room at a time and check that all of the room's features work properly. Make two lists- one for minor repairs and one for major repairs. Check the lighting, windows, doorknobs, locks, appliances, and more. Look at the room through the eyes of a potential buyer and recognize those problems that he won't overlook. When most people purchase a home, they prefer to have one that is 'move-in ready' rather than 'as-is' shape.
A list of the simple repairs should be tackled first since they will take less time and cost less money in most cases. Even though some of these repairs might seem inconsequential to someone who has gotten used to them over the years, these are nuisances that potential buyers will not appreciate whatsoever. Once you have tackled the minor repairs such as leaky faucets or creaky door knobs, begin to take care of the larger problems such as better insulation or chimney cleaning.
Make sure that you save all of the receipts for any repairs that you have done so you can verify that they have taken place. It's also important to note that most of today's home buyers are savvy enough to recognize the traditional ploys of fixing up the home- fresh walls of paint, freshly baked cookie smells permeating the home, and fresh plants sitting by the front door.
It might be better to offer a paint allowance of a couple hundred dollars if the walls are in need of fresh paint than to do it yourself. After all, the color that you select might not go with the potential buyer's furniture. Additionally, fixing problems such as leaky faucets, toilets that won't flush, and windows that won't open might be viewed as more important elements to the home than a splash of color on the walls.
Evaluate what your home has to offer and make the necessary improvements for a better sale. Maybe you aren't going to live there anymore and that is reason enough for you not to want to clean the home, but it can also be the reason that you don't sell the home. Be thorough when prepping your home for sale and hopefully, you will realize a quick one.