By DAVID HOUCK
Most sellers know that they are going to sell long before putting their home on the market. Getting ready to sell a home is a process, start early – take care of deferred maintenance early and over time. This will take the “sting” out of the cost and allow you to prioritize maintenance issues.
A well maintained home will usually sell for more money and sell faster than a home with extensive deferred maintenance issues.
Maintenance, inspections, and disclosure all tie together. A well-maintained home will have less to disclose and less to address after an inspection.
To limit your liability when selling, you must disclose facts that would affect the desirability or value of a property to a reasonable person. Good maintenance of your home will result in fewer issues you will need to disclose. If repaired you will be able to disclose the issue has been remediated.
After repairing issues you already know of, we suggest having a prelisting inspection to identify additional issues you may want to address before selling. Furthermore, we suggest having your heat and air system serviced and inspected and your roof inspected by licensed professionals. These are are often “big ticket” items and you may want to share their good condition with buyers when you sell.
To Buyers extensive deferred maintenance implies the seller didn’t care about the house and signals Buyers there may be other unknown issues they will have to deal with later. If the buyer makes an offer they will have the lack of maintenance in mind and often offer less.
Maintenance is a difficult topic. In our market good tradesmen are hard to find and both labor and materials are expensive. Some believe they don’t need to maintain their house as the market is so hot people will buy the home despite serious defects. In this market regardless of its condition it is likely your home will sell, however, you should not expect “top dollar” if poorly maintained.
In the current market most buyers do not want to take the time or spend the money to address maintenance issues. Furthermore, with today’s interest rates and home prices, most buyers don’t want a “fixer upper” because many buyers are already stretched to the limit to just get the loan.
To help alleviate tensions some sellers will purchase a home warranty for the buyer, which costs around $600. At Atomic Realty we purchase a home warranty for all the buyers Atomic Realty represents.
David Houck is the Qualifying Broker for Atomic Realty, with 40 years of real estate experience, a BS in math and physics and a doctorate in law. For more details on these issues and free selling and buying tips see AtomicRealty.net.