When Realtors take buyers around to find property, they are looking for a HOME and not a house. And when Realtors refer to properties on the market, they are referred to as HOUSES. What's the diff erence?
When buyers are looking for a home, they want a place to raise the kids, or to watch the Red Sox with buddies, or to cook and entertain, or to have a cozy nest to come to every night after work. The buyer is not just looking for a place to eat, sleep and be merry. The buyer will want to customize the new surroundings, plant his/her own garden, make his/her own memories, create a "home."
The instant you decide to sell is the exact moment in time when your home becomes a "house." It won't be easy or unemotional, but it will be necessary to step back and look at your home as someone else's. The various improvements you've made over the years do not always add as much value as you may think, simply because that improvement does not appeal to a potential buyer. We find that a seller who is able to look at the "house" rationally, will be successful in getting the transaction done with the lease amount of heartache and get the most money.
Try to understand that most buyers have unrealistic expectations and are looking for the perfect home at the cheapest price. Here are some hints as to what buyers are most concerned about when looking and some tips on what you can do to give the buyers a great first impression.
Pet & cigarette odors. Of course you love Buffy and Jake, but you've become used to their odors and can overlook the old pee or barf stains. And if you smoke, you've lost your sense of smell anyway, so trust us, stale cigarette smoke is awful. Get your carpets, wall to wall, and fabrics professionally cleaned. Visible signs of neglect. You've been so busy at work lately, you've forgotten to keep up basic maintenance (like lawn mowing) on your home. Or the kids have you running around and you know they'll get fingerprints on the wall anyway, so why paint? Spend some extra dollars and get a handyman to do these minor chores. We have a long list of people we recommend on our Web site.
Added on or remodeled without proper permits. Your Uncle John is a great carpenter and was able to finish the basement at a fraction of the cost, but did he remember to pull a permit? If not, go to town hall and get someone to inspect the work, and get the permit after the fact.
Work done in the home by a non-professional. Speaking of Uncle John, is he a licensed Electrician? Licensed Plumber? This worry of buyers speaks for itself! Water damage or any sign of leaking! Every surface – wall, floor, toilet, furnace and window – will be scrutinized for any sign of leakage or past flood and the worst will be assumed – to the buyer a fix will cost thousands!
Structural, safety or code concerns like broken glass or seals on windows or roof tiles cracked or missing or a missing railing on the cellar stairs. We always recommend a pre-sale inspection report so any surprises can be corrected before you sell. It costs very little ($250 to $400) compared to the thousands of dollars a potential buyer will knock off . When showing the home to prospects, have the report ready for buyers to see. All recent service reports come in handy also.
Keep the thought of "selling your house" in the front of your mind; the buyer wants to imagine your house as their home. Help them visualize – remove personal photos from the fridge and the walls or the awards and trophies from the kids' rooms. Clean out all "clutter" in drawers and closets and on all surfaces. You'll be moving anyway, so box up that stuff now and put it in storage. Don't put it in the garage! The buyers want to imagine their own vehicles in there … Starting to get the picture?
Remember! You want to sell your house! Let a buyer buy their home!
By Elizabeth Hanson / The Callan Team Partner Keller Williams Westboro
For more info on buying and selling visit her Web site: www. Mass-Homes.net or call Elizabeth at 508-864- 1012.