A Seller's Guide Learn to... Maximize the Value of Your Home Minimize Predictable Buyer Objections
Liz Johnson &
Buyer & Inspector Friendly Home Tips Attic tips: All lights should be in working order Make accessible, with no obstructions Roof sheathing and rafters should be visible and not blocked or hidden by contents Neat organization of contents will enhance the buyerâ€™s perception of usable space Address any mold issues with a qualified mold expert Basement: All lights should be in working order Neat organization of contents will enhance the buyerâ€™s perception of usable space All basement walls should be accessible to buyer/inspector to check for signs of water and / or structural defects Never hide basement water or structural issues Hire maintenance specialists to repair or replace pipes, vents, etc. that are in disrepair Have torn or broken asbestos wrap on duct work inspected by an EPA specialist The following electrical issues nearly always cause challenges: Knob and tube wiring and/or aluminum wiring 60 amp service Fuse boxes Exposed wiring junctions 2
If any of the above exist, it is recommended that a certified electrician inspect the electrical and make recommendations to make the home â€œinspector friendlyâ€? Install any missing handrails Empty fireplace clean-outs Get older furnaces, hot-water tanks, etc. certified by an expert (replace furnace filter) Have utilities on and make sure pilot lights are lit for inspection Garage: All lights should be in working order Neat organization of contents will enhance the buyerâ€™s perception of usable space Walls should be visible and not hidden by contents Consider storage units for unnecessary items A clean appearance on garage doors gives a great first impression Repair things that the buyer or inspector would want fixed All of these tips are intended to maximize the value of your home and to minimize buyer objections. Most of these tips are time-only investments. Even if you must hire someone to do some of the maintenance or repair, you will save money. Following is a typical example: Broken hinges on the stairway to the attic ($100 for a repairman)
Left unrepaired, buyer/inspector perceive deferred maintenance and apply a reduction to your home’s value of $500 - $1,000) In is my experience, buyers begin negotiations at $500 and up for any items they deem to be a problem. By making your home “inspector friendly,” you can save hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars. Look at all areas of your home through the eyes of a buyer or an inspector and prepare it accordingly.
Buyer & Inspector Friendly Home Tips Bedrooms and Living Areas Fresh, clean and neat towels and linens make a favorable first impression Clean and de-clutter closets Pack and store out-of-season clothes Be mindful of valuables, put them out-of-sight and secure them Open drapes, blinds, etc. Day light brightens up any room Have plenty of artificial light for evening appointments, lighting is key! Have carpeting cleaned, if necessary Pet odors and smoke, if present, can be very troublesome. We recommend professional treatment
Neutral colors always allow a buyer to mentally place their belongings Store or discard old furniture that is not needed Minimize personal photos to allow buyers to picture their family living in your home Arrange furniture to create a smooth traffic-flow Soft, relaxing music is a nice touch (the wrong music can be deadly) Remember, buyers will only pay top dollar for a home that they feel they can move into without a lot of added work or cost. Every extra touch that you put into your home will lend itself to a quicker sale at a higher price.
Buyer & Inspector Friendly Home Tips Kitchen and Bathrooms Clean, clean, clean!!! These rooms are very high on the list of first impressions! Fresh smell adds to the feeling of cleanliness Ample lighting is important, replace burned out bulbs, etc. Appliances should be clean and in working order Minimize counter-top accessories giving the appearance of more work space Neutral floors and walls are always a plus Clean and repair grout and caulking 5
Toilet lid in bathroom should be down Flowers and a bowl of fruit (in the kitchen) give a fresh, lived-in feeling Empty trash containers Clean or remove pet dishes and cat litter boxes The kitchen and bathrooms are key to any buying decisions. The more you can make these rooms fresh, clean and non-cluttered, the faster you will move on with your life!
Buyer & Inspector Friendly Home Tips Exterior of Your Home Groom landscaping, trim bushes, etc. Plant flowers Shovel walks and driveway in winter Repair peeling paint on house, fences, etc. Place trash containers in inconspicuous place Repair pavement cracks, etc. Wash windows and doors Repair any broken downspouts Clean gutters 6
Have tuck & pointing on all chimneys in good repair All light fixtures should be in working order Flood lights make a nice nighttime accent to landscaping Hose cobwebs and bugs off of house Make house address visible and easily read Clean up after animals Trim tree limbs away from house, roof and walkways Repair or replace broken or damaged windows, screens, doors, locks, etc. A good impression outside the home will cause more buyers to request appointments to see the inside of your home.
Predictable Buyer Objections Inside of a Home The number one objection we receive from buyers is having the seller, children or pets at home during a viewing. The buyer does not feel comfortable opening closets, drawers, etc. to really get a feel for the home. When the buyer does not explore, the buyer typically does not buy. If you must be present, please stay out-ofthe-picture and do not converse with the buyer. Clutter Dirty and/or dusty Odors (smoking and pets) Electrical issues and home-made shortcuts Evidence of water in the basement Any signs of mold Bright colored walls Peeling or dated paint Peeling or dated wallpaper Carpet stains or worn spots Obvious defects Obvious deferred maintenance It is important to understand that while these things are very predictable objections, a seller should never hide defects, water stains, odors, mold, etc. If your home has any of these issues, consult with a qualiďŹ ed professional for guidance and recommendations. 8
Predictable Buyer Objections Outside of a Home Roof issues Rotting decks Broken downspouts Improper drainage from downspouts Low lying areas which lead to drainage problems Peeling or poorly painted entrance Broken windows Cracked driveways Uneven sidewalks Stoops that slope toward the house Wood stacked next to the foundation or in the garage
It is important to understand that while these things are very predictable objections, a seller should never hide defects, water stains, odors, mold, etc. If your home has any of these issues, consult with a qualiďŹ ed professional for guidance and recommendations. Avoiding these objections will bring you a better price in a shorter amount of time
Tips for “SHOWTIME” By appointment or open house visits The number one tip is for sellers to leave the premises so that buyers feel comfortable exploring, questioning and commenting. All of those activities are needed for a buyer to feel “at home” If you must stay on the premises, stay in one room and allow the buyer to ask questions of the agent, answering the buyer’s questions many times will hurt you more than help you Do not disclose your motivation, time-line, etc. with the buyer or the buyer’s agent Tidiness counts (beds, dishes, countertops, store toys & newspapers, etc.) Turn lights on to brighten rooms Open curtains and drapes for natural light Comfortable room temperatures (use your air in hot, humid weather) Clean showers, bathtubs, toilets and sinks Take pets with you or make sure that they are in a cage, etc. Police yard to remove traces of pets Front entrance should be clean and neat Store as many unused belongings as possible to show off living space Flowers make a wonderful impression, inside and out Having a fire in the fireplace is always a great touch Soft, very low volume, music adds flavor Cooking something in the oven on low creates a feeling of “home” Store and protect valuables, personal belongings, medicines, etc.
Neutralize the home: Remove pictures, etc. Allow the buyers to “picture” themselves in your home Leave notes or signs with special instructions: I.e., Don’t let the cat out (have a picture of the cat on the note!) Make sure that security systems are understood or disarmed