What actually sells a home? By now you’ve probably heard it all. Price, location, staging, school district, curb appeal, great kitchen and baths, marketing, etc.
So here’s the deal….all of these things matter, but price is key. Basically any house can be sold if “the price is right.” The question is, how much money do you feel comfortable spending to improve its appeal. The condition of your home can obviously play a big role in its market value. Just because the house down the street sold for a certain price doesn’t mean yours will too.
Here’s a situation I’ve run into quite a few times. I list a home for sale in a great neighborhood, but the house has never been updated — no changes since the Carter Administration! I’m talking blue walls, pink shag carpet, old light fixtures and appliances — the works. In this situation the wonderful lot, great school district and location just don’t matter to most buyers.
Unfortunately there are few buyers for a house like this; most want to find a home that they can start living in immediately without worrying about repairs or remodeling. They want new carpet or hardwood flooring, neutral paint on walls, a great school district, new appliances, a safe neighborhood, and the price needs to be right. These buyers don’t want to lift a finger — and will likely look to new home construction to avoid the worries of remodeling or repairs. I have a few clients right now buying new homes in the area, and they love having the option to actually pick and choose what will be in their home.
Then there are buyers who don’t mind doing a little painting or replacing some appliances, but basically want a move-in ready home. The home needs to be priced in accordance with the condition it’s in, and it won’t sell for as much as a home that’s been renovated. Most homes on the market tend to fall into this category.
This brings me to buyers who will purchase a dated or fixer-upper home. In short — they want a deal. Much of the time they want the seller to agree to a very low price. They understand it will take a lot of time, money and energy to make the home livable. Many times buyers feel they can take advantage of these types of home sellers since these homes tend to sit on the market longer and ultimately the seller becomes desperate and wants to “unload” it. Many times the buyer is planning to flip the property once they’ve fixed it up. In this case the home that is listed should either get an inexpensive face lift before putting it on the market or priced properly right out of the gate to avoid having it sit on the market a long time.
I will take this opportunity to say ALL homes need to be thoroughly inspected and the sale should be contingent on the findings of the home inspection. Even if a home appears to be in excellent condition, there can be hidden problems, so you shouldn’t make any assumptions about its overall condition. Most serious issues with a home can’t be seen on the surface — they require a qualified inspector to do a thorough investigation.
Sellers — does this mean you should do an inspection before you put your house on the market? The answer would be yes if you believe that there may be issues that will arise during the sale. A pre-inspection can identify these issues and also help determine the list price of your home.
Be careful when pricing your home to sell. Make sure to see a list of comparable homes that have recently sold in your area and discuss the different sales scenarios with your Realtor. I know it can be a daunting task getting your home ready to sell, but a good real estate professional can help guide the way and make the process a lot easier. Good luck and contact me with any of your questions or if I can help!