There is always hope

…and it can carry you through much of what you cannot control. At some distant point the gravity of your aspirations will weigh in and hope will not be quite enough. It was good while it lasted. But the day comes when you will have to act and usually with clarity and commitment.

The optimism of home sellers is amazing this time of year. The seasonality of warmer weather being equated with real estate sales is a belief most share, even if it is not true. So as spring moves forward, sellers get excited about their prospects of selling. They interview several sales professionals and do some cosmetic clean up or maybe even fix a few nagging things. They watch the people come through the home during open house events and personally know about each showing if they live in the home, because it would be scheduled with their knowledge.

And between hair on fire optimism and good old hope, good results may come about. But better to take some proactive steps to make sure, just in case your competition grabs the buyers before they can fall in love with your home. I suspect you kind of know already what the next few paragraphs are going to be about. That is: what should a seller do to make sure their home sells in the time frame they desire, and for the price range they seek.

Price! Do we have to start with price all the time? See post from March 8th, 2015 about Price is Everything… SO if that post has some truth to it, the next most important items are condition and location. Can you do anything about location? Well, it is assumed you would not benefit from moving your home to a different location than where it is now. So make the most of the location and emphasize proximity to schools, shopping, trails, transportation, places of worship and the dog parks of the world. And figure out why the location can be a selling point. It might be a long way from any major streets which allows you to say how quiet it is. It might be at the end of a road which indicates privacy and possibly security from limited drive-by traffic from those just out joyriding or looking for trouble. The location may be on the side of or the top of a hill and that might make the views amazing and special. Your home might be 3 miles of dirt from the nearest paved frontage road so the views might be on the right buyer’s checklist, as opposed to proximity to pavement.

Condition is a wide scope word that means many different things to everyone. It may be impossible to be truly objective about the condition of a home you presently live in. You value its comfort or warmth or hard floor surfaces while someone else might think the master bath is luxurious and want to spend all day in there. You may not like all the windows you have to clean after each dust storm with laced rain sprinkles (they do a number on windows and black cars) while the buyer might value the view even through dirty windows. But condition is entirely up to the seller to be a selling point. Bring in some honest friends and honest Realtors and ask them what should be done to prep the home for sale. Then listen to what they have to say. If there were 10 things that consistently came up on the feedback, fix at least eight of them. By removing those little things from a checklist, you are improving the condition and removing visible issues that buyers may decide are enough to keep them looking after they walk out the door.

Some of the experts say that a seller should have a pre-listing inspection. I think that is a great idea. And I am not an inspector and don’t get kickbacks from them. But an inspection performed as you prepare the home for sale might turn up several things that can be quickly and easily remedied. And you can point that out to the prospective buyers; that the home was inspected and the items on this here list were fixed. And yes, give them the entire inspection to look over. Disclosure builds trust. Some buyers need lots of trust to be built before they can take the next step.

I recall a transaction where the listing agent informed the buyers and me (the buyer’s broker) that an inspection was done and everything was fixed. I asked for a copy and was told it would not be forthcoming. And then my buyer customers had their own inspection done (which they should always do regardless of whatever the seller tells you) and found a long list of things that needed to be addressed. Try the fact that there was a huge pond on the garage roof that covered maybe 85% of the tar/gravel surface normally visible – even 48 hours after a rainstorm. You see, the canales were uphill from the surface of the pond so it did not drain properly. The price was renegotiated.

So price is important, as we all know. And condition is entirely within someone’s grasp to improve, to the extent they are willing and able (and perceive that they will get the money back in a sale). And the location is still and always will be a top three item for buyers. They want the neighborhood they want and they want to (sadly all too often) impress their friends and visitors with how the home looks from the road and the streetscape has to be uniformly clean and attractive. Not everyone has to have that. Some are quite willing to live in an area with no covenants and hope that none of their neighbors wants to store building materials on their front yard along with several trailers and trucks that rarely move.

Thanks for listening. Go buy a house.

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