The Daily Communicator
Surviving the Sale of Your Home (Part 2 of 2)
Follow your agent's advice on whether you need to be present for open houses and showings. Generally, it's often good to have the owner present for the agent's open to answer questions about the house. Owners shouldn't linger, however, during public open houses and are almost always expected to leave when agents are showing prospective buyers the house. Leaving during showings accomplishes two things: It allows prospective buyers to truly shop your house and talk freely without fear of offending you. It also protects you from the temporary insanity of hating the strangers who hate your carpet. Most real estate agents aren't this blunt so we'll say it -- excessive hovering by an owner only serves to scare potential buyers away.
Here are a few other things your agent may be too polite to tell you:If you smoke in your house, it will be much harder to sell. Consider having it professionally cleaned, carpets to drapes, and repainted on the inside. Then smoke outside while the house is on the market or until you move out.
Do you have pets that spend a lot of time inside? Does your house smell like your dog or, worse yet, like cat urine? Pet odors repel buyers; be aware of the fact that people who don't have pets are far more sensitive to pet odors than pet lovers are. In other words, you may think your house smells fine, but it might be really stinky.
Clean up, for gosh sakes! Let's face it, nobody's perfectly clean all the time, but let your inner Martha Stewart or Felix Unger come to the surface while you're marketing your house. Get rid of clutter, even if it means doing some of your packing early. Keep countertops and bathrooms shiny. For some reason, there's nothing more off-putting than some other family's crusty toothpaste on a bathroom sink. Nobody's going to declare, "Heck, I would have bought that house at full price until I saw the hairball on the floor of the tub." But a clean, nice smelling house speaks volumes on an emotional level, and will sell itself in a way that a dirty, funky place never will.
Be prepared for unexpected costs.So, you've got an offer you're ready to accept? Don't buy that magnum of champagne yet. That money may need to go toward some home repairs. This is the ultimate rub when selling your home: meeting the terms and conditions the buyer may request. In plain English, this means you may be required to fix problems that you've lived with for years in order for the sale to be completed. That burned out rear-left burner on the stove that you've endured for years? You can bet that the buyer will want that repaired. The mossy roof that adds character? The buyer will want it replaced.
These negotiations sting on two fronts: First, there's the implied judgment about your living conditions. Secondly, you're being asked to spend money on a problem that you've lived with, so someone else can enjoy the fix. The solution? Swallow your pride and be honest with yourself about the condition of your roof, and other major systems in your home. And fix that back burner now if it will really chap your booty to have to repair it later for someone else.
In the best case scenario, if you last through listing and sell your house, you may be a buyer later on. And buying a home is generally a lot more fun than selling one.
By: Anne Erickson, www.realestate.msn