The for-sale sign in your front yard is generating a lot of interest. The recent open house has resulted in a few offers. The staging that your real estate professional recommended is working like a charm. In short, you are tempted to let a bidding war ensue and accept the highest bidder. Yet is there something that homebuyers should know about your property before they start bidding? Could something that you know about your home influence a buyer’s decision to make an offer in the first place?
California Law Specifies Some Disclosures
Have you added on a room addition or made a structural modification without pulling a permit? Did you invite your friend, the handyman, to do some of the work? Did he pull a permit? If you cannot prove that a permit has been pulled and an official has inspected the handiwork, you need to disclose this fact.
Some of these legal disclosures are not quite so easy to determine. Do you believe that your home has a neighborhood noise problem or are there nuisances nearby? Your real estate professional may be able to help you determine if your neighbor’s home business qualifies as such a nuisance. By the way, if someone died in the house within the last three years, you do have to disclose this fact – usually.
How Forthcoming Should You Be?
Honesty is the best policy. If you are forthright and disclose the loose shingles on the roof and the fact that your next-door neighbor runs a noisy daycare in her garden, nobody will be able to take you to court for allegedly hiding material facts about your home. Moreover, if a home inspector discovers the electrical wiring you did without the blessing of the permitting officials, you give the home buyers a reason to back out of the transaction. If you disclosed this fact ahead of time, this line item on the inspector’s report does not provide an out.
Disclosures Save You Time (and money)
As a home seller, your disclosures may turn some buyers away. This allows other serious homebuyers to step up and make an offer, which they might otherwise not have done. In fact, you are helping your home sell much more quickly by targeting the qualified buyers who are willing to deal with the disclosed shortcoming. Since time is money in the real estate business, a full set of disclosures can save both and still lets you walk away with your asking price – or more!
Selling your home can be a frustrating experience. Why do homebuyers not see what you see in the structure? What is it that is turning off the buyers? Why do so many folks walk through your home during an open house but then there are no offers coming in? Or, if an offer does come in, why is it below your asking price? If you are making one of these home selling mistakes right now, this frustrating process will likely continue!
You Set Your Home Price Too High
Sure, this is the home where your college-bound daughter learned to walk or where you and your wife celebrated 20 anniversaries. Yet for a buyer, it is a used structure with limited square footage, some wear and tear as well as ample room for home improvements.
Take your emotions out of the equation. Look at comparable properties in the neighborhood or talk to a trusted real estate professional. An objective third party can frequently give you an acceptable asking price that might be a bit – or a lot – lower than what you envision. Remember: A prospective buyer wants to pay for the house, not your memories.
You love the smell of Rover in the morning, but the buyer smells “dog” and wonders what Rover did to the carpets. You may also be a self-taught chef who loves to cook with plenty of garlic – and fish! A potential buyer does not derive the same pleasure from yesterday’s expertly prepared salmon filets.
Get rid of odors by having curtains laundered and carpets steam-cleaned. Take the dog to a friend’s house and limit your cooking to the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies or French bread. Remember: The sprays and plug-ins only mask a scent and then mix with it; they do not eliminate it.
Wallpaper, Odd Paint Choices and Decorating Oddities
Wallpaper is almost always a personal taste decision that appeals to you and pretty much nobody else. Going off the beaten path when choosing paint hues is another turn-off. While some folks will appreciate a bright orange accent wall in the living room, they are few and far between.
When you are ready to sell, it is a good idea to paint over your individualized tastes with a neutral color that matches everything from window treatments to ceiling fans. Pack away the antimacassars on the furniture, remove grandma’s doilies and store the area rugs that you put in when you first moved in – some 20 years ago.
In short, look at your home the way a critical buyer would. While you may love the home, the buyer is only interested in the house. Once you understand the difference between what you are selling and what the customer is buying, you are less likely to make these mistakes. Of course, you are always welcome to give me a call and have me help you get your home ready for sale.
The Long Beach real estate market is a wonderfully diverse canvas. There are the $700,000 detached properties as well as the $255,000 half bungalows. Owning a little piece of this city costs the average home buyer about $441,800 even as the median list price is somewhat below this figure.
Are you getting ready to list your Long Beach home for sale? There is no need to dig too deeply into your pockets to have the property look attractive.
- Enhance curb appeal through landscaping. This is the time to bag up the toys in the front yard, clean the gutters, mow and edge the grass, repair the window screens and add some bright flowers to the beds. A complete landscape overhaul is generally not required. For a really quick front yard facelift, add red cedar mulch to the flowerbeds. Not only does it beautify the landscape but it also makes your home stand out in the neighborhood.
- Focus on the interior lights. Many a realtor will turn on the home’s lights when showing your property. A well-lit interior makes your home appear spacious and welcoming. If your light fixtures are in disrepair, do spend a few dollars to replace or repair them. Polish the fixtures, replace burnt out light bulbs and pay attention to the cleanliness of the window treatments. If the drapes are a bit dusty, now is a good time to have them cleaned.
- Clean the kitchen and bathroom. Both of these areas are usually make-it-or-break-it first impressions for potential buyers. Grease splatters in the kitchen and mildew in the bathroom are major turnoffs. If necessary, enlist the one-time help of a cleaning service whose workers can do the heavy scrubbing for you. Should the other rooms of the home be clean and neat as well? Of course! Yet it is the kitchen and bathroom that really stand out to someone who walks through your property with an eye on perhaps buying it.
- Polish and wax. When everything else is in place, polish the wood that is in your home. Whether it is a stair banister or the wooden kitchen cabinets, get them to shine! Brass light fixtures and copper pots that are hanging from decorative hooks in the kitchen both benefit from a good polish with material-appropriate cleaners. Again, a cleaning service will be happy to come in and spend the elbow grease on your behalf.
Of course, there is one additional aspect of getting your Long Beach home ready for sale that you cannot discount: staging. If your realtor offers to help you professional stage your home, it is wise home seller who enthusiastically agrees.