Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Q: My dad died recently and my sister and I are trying to get his place ready to sell.

It’s been hard because he had a lot of stuff.  We’ve managed to go through everything and get rid of most of it. We think we’re just about ready to sell.  Our main question is about painting. Do you think we should paint the house or not?  It looks sort of tired but my sister doesn’t want to spend any money on it.

A:  I did go by the property and would highly recommend that you have it painted.  Tell your sister that you will be leaving money on the table if you don’t.  It is a very unpopular color and some of the paint is actually peeling.  The impression potential buyers will get is that it’s in bad shape and a real fixer. They won’t want to pay as much for it if it looks like that so you won’t end up with as much money after you sell it.
The real estate industry has always talked about “curb appeal.”  It is still true today.  People judge a home by how it appears as they walk or drive up to it.  Is the yard tidy and the grass well mowed?  Is the house painted an attractive color and does it present itself as well cared for?  These are questions buyers ask themselves as they take their first look.
You can get help picking colors from the folks at the local stores that sell paint.  They are knowledgeable and can help you select a color that will look clean and fresh.  If some of the interior rooms are dingy or stained you should paint those too.  It isn’t just for looks.  Sometimes homes that have been lived in a long time harbor lingering odors that put people off.  Paint can fix that. The reward for all that work is that you’ll get more for the house when you sell it and it will sell faster if it looks good. Try to look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Q: You sent us a listing to a sweet little house a few weeks ago and now we heard that you sold it.

We would have really been interested in that one. Why didn’t we get a chance to bid on it?
A: As I’ve mentioned to you before, you must be ready to buy in order to be competitive. You didn’t make time to see it until after it had been sold. Our very heated market has created a situation where only those buyers totally prepared to buy have any chance at all. I’m happy to show you every new listing in your price range, but it’s up to you to be fully prepared to buy.

Sadly, you have resisted getting fully preapproved for a loan and that’s absolutely a requirement to making an offer as well as knowing your financial limitations. You have to be ready and willing to look at a new listing as soon as possible, sometimes even the first day it comes on the market, just to have a chance to bid on it. You must be willing and qualified to pay over asking price, if you really want the place, if it becomes a bidding war. You should also be prepared to accept that the sellers will probably not do any repairs. That makes it more important than ever that you know the market, understand the comparable sales and feel comfortable making a fast decision.

This is not a good market for buyers but it’s what we have. I hope things cool off a bit but there is no way to know the future. Casually looking at every new listing is a good way to get a sense of the market but until you are fully motivated buyers there is no chance you can actually buy something. We have seen some homes linger for a few weeks on the market which gives me some hope that we could be slowing a bit. But some of those homes were simply overpriced. Once the prices were dropped, buyers were standing by ready to make an offer.