"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

Potential Buyers Won’t Take a Shower at Your House

When you get ready to sell your house, you obviously want to do it right.  You will get advice from all directions, most of it well-meaning.  Some of the advice I see, however, after almost 30 years of doing this, I disagree with.  Here is what I tell my clients prior to going on the market:

1)  Make sure that all legal issues (title, loan, etc) that could throw a monkey wrench in the sale are cleared;

2)  It is important to bear in mind that the best buyers see the house in the first month, so the house must be completely ready when we go on the market; and buyers remember what they see, so none of this “we’re going to paint that room next week” or “that room will be cleared out next week”.  We can talk about staging.  Watch this blog for my article on staging coming shortly.

3)  DO NOT fix everything in the house.  I see this advice often:  “fix everything in the house that doesn’t work

You might want to do a few things to this one

before you hit the market”.  No, no, no!  Spend your time, money, and energy fixing cosmetic things that the buyer will see and will affect his decision whether or not to make an offer.  This includes the balky sliding door to the back yard thru which buyers are going to go to see it, the loose front door knob, the inoperative doorbell, etc — items a buyer is likely to notice when looking at the house.  However, the frozen shower valve, the leaky kitchen sink sprayer, the asbestos-containing ducts, the electrical outlet that’s dead, etc, should be left alone.  Reason:  the buyer won’t be taking a shower while looking at your house.  Once you’re in escrow, he is going to have an inspection, during which the inspector will find all that stuff.  The buyer may ask you to fix some or all of it.  The buyer, by the way, will have this inspection no matter how obsessively you have gone thru the house and, trust me, the inspector will still find stuff you didn’t even know about.  If you’ve already exhausted your budget and yourself fixing everything you can find, receiving a new list is not going to be gratifying, especially if you’re already at your bottom line price.  Leave the above sort of stuff there for the inspector to find; that way your options are open to either say “at that price you’re lucky to get the entire house”, or “oh, OK, we’ll give you $1000 toward new ducting and we’ll fix the kitchen sprayer”.

3)  You do not have to “remove all personal items from the house”.  More on that in my article on Staging.

All Guns Blazing

4)  We want to go on the market “with all guns blazing”, meaning the brochures produced and on display for the initial broker’s open house, all pictures taken and in the listing, the ads produced and scheduled, the property on all websites, etc.   A few days to a few weeks’ delay is OK if that’s what it takes to put our best foot forward from the start.  In Palos Verdes, the ideal day to hit the market is Monday, with broker’s open house Tuesday.  

The best approach is to call me in the beginning to have a look at your house.  Besides meeting and talking generally about selling it, I can give you advice room-by-room as to what changes make economic sense.  As my past clients will tell you, I’m a tough sell on spending money to sell a house.  I look at it like it’s my own money, and if I’m not going to get it back in the sale price, I’m not going to spend it.  Give me a call at 310 613-1076.  I’m a pretty low pressure guy, so don’t think I’ll be pestering you, because I won’t.

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