It’s time to get your house on the market to sell it, but there are a number of items that haven’t been fixed since you’ve lived there. "Oh what the heck, just leave it for the guy who buys the place. He can do it." Well, not so fast. That decision may cost you thousands. If you don’t feel like or can’t do the work, hire it out to someone who can. There are alot of people eager to work to get that clean up done for you. (Be sure to get the proper work done by a licensed professional.)
Some years ago I was approached by a friend that told me he wanted to sell his house. He asked me to buy it from him. He wanted to sell it in AS IS condition, as he had no interest in getting the necessary items repaired to put it on the open market. He was an acquaintance I had known for many years. He knew that I liked the neighborhood. So we sat and discussed his property, the recent sales in the area, and the condition of the property. We spoke extensively and we came to an agreement that worked well for both of us. I agreed to buy the house, so we signed a contract for sale and purchase. The contract was for a closing in 45 days!
I knew I was going to have to scramble, as I really hadn’t had plans of selling my own home, prior to my friend approaching me. I wanted to take the equity from my current home and move it to the new property. Having lived in the house for 10 years, I knew there were items that needed to be addressed prior to selling, and I knew the house had to sell right away. The house had to be perfect and priced properly for a quick sale. I started the work that day, working after hours and into the middle of most nights. I spent over $1000 on cleaning, scrubbing, painting inside and out and spruce up. I cleared out all the excess furnishings and pictures. I changed the carpeting in the 3 bedrooms. When I was done the house was spotless and market ready. I left nothing undone. I wasn’t in a position to waste any time. The house was ready to go.
I made numerous phone calls to my list of prospects and I secured a buyer the first day the property was up for sale. We came to an amicable agreement on the terms and conditions. We would be closing in enough time for him to get out of his current rental and for me to turn around and close on the new property.
We went to closing in the 45 days specified on the contract. I closed on my current house in the morning and bought the new one that afternoon. The seller and buyer of the properties were tickled and so was I. I recouped my fix up expenses and then some. I transferred my equity from the prior property to the new house.
Had I not done the work on my home, I don’t know how long it would have been on the market.
After closing, the work began all over again, this time on the house I had just bought.
A great reminder is not to scrimp on fix up expenses. Fixing the right things before the house goes on the market is important. It often cuts market time dramatically, as long as you have the house priced properly, to be competitive in today’s market. Otherwise, the house may grow stale, sitting on the market waiting for a buyer. Most buyers that see a house that needs work will drop their offer price substantially. Often, it’s better to do the work before the house goes up for sale. But, be careful not to spend too much.
As a footnote to this post, I have to say that being a seller, as well as a buyer (during the same transaction) helped me understand so much more of what our clients deal with while going through a real estate transaction.
The experience proved to be invaluable to me, to see the transaction from a completely different perspective.
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