Preparing your Home for Sale

If you are considering selling your home there are many things you can do to improve your chances of getting top dollar for it. Before seriously considering buying your home, a prospective buyer looks at many different things. It must be in a good neighborhood within reasonable commuting distance. He must like the architectural style, floor plan, size, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The yard must be the right size and the landscaping must be sufficiently attractive.

If all of these items are satisfactory, he will begin to move in the direction of making a purchase. His decision to purchase will be based on both emotional and intellectual factors. He will have to have a level of trust in your home. You want the buyer to quickly build trust in your home. You can do this by addressing visible and hidden repair issues even before you put your home on the market. A torn carpet or leaky faucet will give the impression that your house is not well cared for. If the buyer spots a few defects, he will be looking out for more. If the paint is fresh and the finishes inside your home are unblemished, the buyer will tend to assume that your structural, plumbing, and mechanical systems are also well maintained.

Making a Complete List the buyer will view your house with a critical eye; he and his real estate agent do not have the comfortable, warm personal memories that you have with your home. You may know that the leaky faucet only needs a $10 part, but he may see a $100 plumbing bill. Pretend you are a prospective buyer and walk through each room of your house.

What will a buyer see? What will he feel? The next step is to make a complete list of repairs that need to be done. A handyman can probably fix them all in a few days. It would be most efficient to have them all done at one time. Some clients, of course, market their houses as fixer-uppers, and some buyers are looking for this type of house, but they expect a substantial profit above the cost of labor and materials. When needed repairs are obvious, buyers always assume there are more problems that cannot be seen. It is better to fix minor repairs before marketing your home if you want your house to sell quickly and at a high price.

Getting an Inspection Sellers often have a professional inspection of their home conducted before putting it on the market. This way, they can discover repair issues that could come up later on the buyer’s inspection report.

You may choose to leave these items as they are, noting this on the inspection report along with the items you did have repaired. This would be attached to the Seller’s Disclosure. It’s also a good idea to attach any repair receipts to the report. A professional inspection report will answer many of the buyer’s questions and build trust in your home. It also helps avoid renegotiation after the contract has been signed.

Offering an Assistance Contract home service contract or home warranty covers the cost of specified repairs to mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems during the first year of new ownership. The policy costs about $350, but it may be more if you have a pool or other items. The fee is paid to a third-party warranty company that will provide any needed repair services during the first year. Such a policy protects the interests of both the buyer and seller, as it reduces after-sale disputes about the condition of the property.

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