Sellers...please read below. It's exactly what I repeat every time I list a re-sale home. Buyers look at every problem as a red flag. Little things that the seller overlooks can turn a buyer off.
Most of the repairs I recommend are of little cost but help the seller get more money for the property. Buyers usually come along when the house is first listed. Not later as it lingers on the market because it looks neglected.
Clean and well kept homes still sell quickly.
"So," asked the owner of my upcoming new listing "is that really necessary?"
She was referring to my recommendations about her overgrown, undernourished, abused lawn. The shrubbery was overgrown, the grass threadbare from children and dogs wearing it into a grass and dirt quilt.
"Yes", I answered. "The landscaping in the front is a major part of our curb appeal. And good curb appeal is one of the methods we'll be using in order to get people to click on our online listing, and then make an appointment to view the property in person."
"Well, but what about the landscaping in the back that you're recommending? That's not part of 'curb appeal'."
"True enough" I replied "but it is an important part of that feel-good feeling that people will have once viewing your property. And we will, of course, include photos of the backyard in our online presence, so it could become part of our digital curb-appeal."
"Okay, okay, but is it really necessary to replace the kitchen countertops, the sink and the faucet? The Formica® is mostly in good shape, except for that little spot where the burning toast 'crisped' the countertop, and if we put a plant over it, nobody will notice... and that double-bowl stainless steel sink was cutting edge when we first bought it, and the faucet, while it does leak, only leaks right into the sink, so what's the harm?"
"If you'd like to try for top-dollar, as you've indicated to me that you would, we can't have a 'burned' countertop. It's bad enough that it's Formica, instead of the Corian, Granite or even Concrete that buyers are looking for today, but burnt Formica holds even less appeal. And no, we can't just put a doo-dad over the burn mark. The sink probably was cutting-edge in 1954 when it was installed, but it's only 6 inches deep, and today, buyers are looking for those deep, deep undermount sinks that can hold an entire pot... and the leaking faucet... really, do I need to explain why a leaking faucet should be replaced?"
"All-right, all-right. But the front door, and the basement floor. The front door is fine, the lock just sticks a little, you have to wiggle it, and the paint's peeling just a little. And you're recommending painting the basement floor with a grey paint. I know the paint's peeling on the floor, but that's because we used to get water in the basement... but since we've put in the French Drains, and flood-control system we don't get any water anymore. Can't we just "explain" that, and NOT paint the floor?" You're having me spend a lot of money!
"The front door is the very first thing that potential buyers see, it's our first-impression and we can't afford to make a bad one. If the lock sticks, and they have trouble getting in, or they notice the peeling paint... you've made a bad first impression and it makes them immediately wonder what else in the home hasn't been properly maintained. We don't want them to ask that question.
And sure, we don't have to paint the basement floor ... but since the water-issue has been repaired... why would we want every viewer to 'wonder' about whether the basement still gets water or not? When they look at the peeling paint on the floor, it'll cause them concern. Why not make it look beautiful, so they can see that it's a good, clean, dry basement?"
"All-right... but if I do all of those things, can you guarantee that you'll sell it for me, at top dollar?"
"No", I said shaking my head slowly and smiling "of course I can't guarantee that... but I can guarantee that if you don't do those things we definitely will not get top dollar!
"I'll call the workmen this afternoon"... You know you're expensive!!
I know, but I'm worth it!
Now, can we negotiate your commission?
that answer is "no".
ALAN MAY, Realtor®
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 2929 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779 Cell: 847.924.3313 Email: Almay@aol.com
Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
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