WHAT REPAIRS SHOULD SELLERS MAKE BEFORE THEY SELL?



Should sellers make home repairs before they sell?


After living in a home for years, most homeowners have put off taking care of various home maintenance items. Because there's usually no urgency, they procrastinate. It takes an emergency, such as a roof leak in the heavy rainy season, to motivate owners to get the problem fixed.
 
However, when you decide to sell your home, deferred home maintenance can suddenly become an issue. Most buyers want a home they can move right into without having to make a lot of repairs. And so, sellers have to decide whether to make the deferred repairs before they put their home on the market, or to leave the work for the buyers to fix.
 
If sellers have the time, money and the inclination, they'll come out way ahead by fixing any problems before listing their house for sale. If your house is in move-in condition it will appeal to a wider group of prospective home buyers. For example, first-time home buyers, and buyers with busy lifestyles, often won't even consider buying a home that needs a lot of work. That's because they don't have the time or the experience to deal with the problems.
 
Listings that command the most attention are those that are in the best condition. If a home looks sharp and is priced right, more than one buyer may make an offer. When multiple offers occur, the price may get bid up. Even if there aren't multiple offers, experience has shown that a house in good condition will sell more quickly than one that needs work. A quick sale often means that the sales price is very close to the list price.
 
Today's prospective home buyers are very particular, and few are willing to buy "fixer-uppers." If sellers don't make repairs before putting their home on the market there'll be less interest in the property, and it may take a long time to sell. Usually the longer a listing sits on the market unsold, the lower the ultimate selling price.
 
Remember that every home buyer has a professional inspection done to determine the condition of the property. So, when selling a home that needs a lot of repairs, the closing could be delayed if the buyer requests repairs or the lender requires the work to be completed prior to funding the loan. Skilled workers are very busy today and it may be difficult to schedule major repairs to close on time.
 
MORE HINTS:  Sellers may not be able to fix everything that's wrong with their home before listing it for sale. But, it's really important to spend your money on those repairs that will have the most impact on prospective buyers. An experienced real estate agent should be able to walk through your home with you and prepare a written list of all the improvements to be completed before listing. He can guide you as to which items are the most important. Ask how much difference it will make in the selling price if you complete none, some or all of the recommended repairs. See Neal Hribar's home staging program for more information on preparing your home for sale.



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