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Preparing to Sell Your Home

Edie Israel

After years of executive sales and marketing experience as well as entrepreneurial success, Edie entered into the real estate market of Southern Calif...

After years of executive sales and marketing experience as well as entrepreneurial success, Edie entered into the real estate market of Southern Calif...

Oct 29 8 minutes read

Answer: That is a good question as the answer will bring you the best selling price and the most satisfied buyer. I would start with the major components of the house and those that could be the most expensive and most concern to a buyer. Have the roof checked and tuned up if needed. Roof leaks are a concern to new buyers. If you had leaks in the past, this will help the buyer know that they have been fixed. That could cost you $400 plus needed repairs. I would have the furnace and air-conditioning serviced to insure that it is working properly with proper temperature variation (a good servicing might be around $250). I would replace the filter. Check the water heater for proper strapping and free from corrosion around the pipes (in many cases the person who services the AC can also check this out for you). Then I would have a termite inspection and do the work required to get a termite clearance. If there is visible dry rot or termite damage, then once fixed that problem goes away and the home shows much better. The cost on the termite inspection and work needed is dependent of the findings. Check out under the sinks for existing leaks or corrosion and fix as needed. Now, step outside and go to your front curb. With the eye of a prospective buyer what do you see that may need some attention? Dead grass? Bare dirt? No color? You may want to add ground cover or bark on the bare dirt, put in some flowers, trim trees. Does the paint on the home look good or should you repaint the trim or fix some poor stucco areas? You may need to power wash the garage doors and the house to get rid of excessive dirt buildup. Now step back inside and look around from just inside the front door. What do you see? Too much furniture and poorly arranged? Generally, putting your house on the market will require the removal or rearrangement of the furniture to give the home a more open feel. Take the leaves out of the dining room table and take away a couple of the chairs. The kitchen is a main concern for the buyer so is the stove top clean and shiny and the floors clean (if tile then clean the grout). Clear the counter tops of stuff. Go through the house and de-clutter and move to the garage all extra furniture and boxes. Check out your bathrooms around the tub and sinks as you may need to re-grout around the perimeter where water could seep down. The end result is to have a home that shows well and does not send out concerns to the prospective buyer that they home may not have been cared for and might be in need of extensive work. Your Realtor can lead you through this process as well and help point out those things that create "red flags" to the buyer. You are approaching the sale of your home in an excellent manner, congratulations!

Answer: That is not an uncommon issue between neighbors. Generally, the cost is split equally and the problem is solved but when there is not the capacity to fund equally or at all, then there are options. The most likely fix is that you fund the entire amount so that your property will show well when you list it for sale. I would say the fence fix is a project well worth the money when you sell. You will get more money for the property than if you did not repair or replace the fence. If you did not do the replacement, then you will get a lower offer and would likely get a request from the buyer to replace the fence anyway. If the fence you are replacing is a wood fence, then I would suggest you build it with your side having the finished look. In other words, all the vertical slats would be on your side of the fence and the framing would be exposed on the neighbor's side. At a later time, when your neighbor has the funds they can add slats to their side in order to have the finished look as well. That assumes that the fence is right on the property line and not on your neighbor's property. If the fence is entirely on the neighbor's property then you will have to have their approval to do anything. Of course if the fence is entirely on your property you can do whatever you desire. You should check with the city to determine if you need a permit and to determine the height restrictions on the fence. Another consideration is to present the cost to the neighbor and ask for whatever amount they could afford since they will also benefit from the replaced fence. Getting something is better than nothing. Be sure that the neighbor understands exactly what kind of fence and the configuration of the fence and get their sign off on the project before you start, even if the neighbor is not willing to contribute. That will prevent potential problems down the road. I expect that you will have no issues, but communication up front pays off in the end. Being good neighbors is so important in any community and to work together for everyone's benefit is well worth the effort. As they say in football, "The best of-fence is a good de-fence."

Question:  My agent told me I should paint the front of the house and replace the wood by the eaves before I put my house on the market. I don’t want to spend any money and the new buyer may want a different color anyway. They can just buy it “as is” and do whatever they want is my feeling. 

Answer:  I would guess your agent told you to do those things so that your curb appeal would be at its best. One of the jobs of a real estate agent is to advise the client of those things that would make home sell faster and at the best price. Curb appeal is very important as it is not uncommon for a potential buyer to drive up, take one look, and drive away, if the presentation is unappealing. As agents we stress the need to improve that first impression the buyer receives. In your case, if they see peeling paint and damaged wood, then they will think that the home has been poorly maintained and should be avoided. The approach we take with the client is to fix those things that are easily
fixed so as to get the maximum number of buyers through our client’s home to insure that we are able to get the best price possible for their home. I understand that spending money may not be what you want to do but I also understand that you would be happy to receive a higher price for your home then you thought you would get. You are right about the color and the buyer may change the color after they buy the house. Paint is cheap and easily changed, but the paint color is not the issue. The condition of the paint is the issue. Very few homes are sold truly “as is” even though every real estate contract talks about a home being sold “as is.” If the seller pushes that fact and will do no repairs and you agree to that as a buyer, then that is how you will buy the home since that is what you agreed to in the contract. Normally, the buyer schedules a property inspection and then submits a Request for Repairs to the seller. The seller then agrees to some of those items presented
or, maybe, all of the items, or maybe none of the items requested. The problem with stating that you are selling the property “as is” is that it gives the impression to the buyer that there are several things wrong. It is a “red flag” to buyers and they will likely look elsewhere. So, if the buyer pays $5000 more because you didn’t say “as is” and then you spent $1000 on repairs you would be ahead of the game in total proceeds. Doing minor repairs and fixing some of the items that have been neglected over the years can go along ways to getting a better price and a quicker sale. Therefore, listen to your agent and paint and replace, you will be glad you did!

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