Photo of drywood termite pellets - Home in need of termite repairsDid you do the repairs outlined when you bought your home?

Recently I showed a home where the owners had been there 7 or 8 years but never did any of the suggested repairs from their pre-sale inspections when they purchased the home “As Is“. The As Is part means that no repairs were provided by the sellers, with the idea that buyers would do whatever was needed later.  Desperate to get in when prices were appreciating fast, it seemed that most home buyers said “we’ll take care of it after we own it“.

But many of them forgot.

Today, with the whitest hot market I’ve ever seen in my career, most sellers fix the major items because they understand that it will net them a higher sale price. They fix the foundation, electrical, plumbing, waste lines, roof leaks, pest items, safety issues, and do whatever other repairs would make a buyer pause.

Some, though, don’t do any repairs at all – none! Often they are the same sellers who won’t stage their homes, or for whom scheduling a showing is a big effort, and maybe the disclosures aren’t so thoughtfully done. (In recent weeks I saw a disclosure package in which the sellers wrote on every page, “AS IS SALE” and refused to answer each question.) It’s a giant red flag that these may be difficult sellers.

If you want to maximize your profits, don’t let that seller be you. As Is certainly is the norm, but it’s As Disclosed. Wouldn’t buyers pay more if they weren’t worried about needing to do a lot of expensive and time consuming repairs? You bet. Confident buyers pay more. Let that be your mantra, home sellers.

Pull out your old file, find your inspection reports and review them, especially if you are preparing to sell your home

Today I want to encourage you to dig out your old home inspection and pest reports, dust them off, and have a look.  What repairs are needed but put off? Did you need to address a problem with termites, electrical issues, leaks?  Is there something to take care of with the roof, gutters, dry rot or fungus?  All of those things do not self-correct, but instead grow worse over time.

It is not so terribly different from ignoring an unhappy diagnosis from your doctor. Either you can address it, and hopefully manage or improve whatever it is, or you can ignore it, and things will get worse.

If your reports are more than three or five years old, you might consider getting new ones done since in all likelihood there’s more work, possibly in new areas, now. Just make sure you hire a reputable company which won’t gloss over problems, leaving them latent and waiting to cost you more in the end.  Don’t toss your old inspections out – have a look and see if everything that used to be called out is covered.  If you are planning to stay put, is best to correct everything so that your home is kept in good condition for the long haul. If you are planning to sell your home, it’s important to fix it up first if you want to get the most for your sale.

In this market, most homes will sell. But not all of them will sell for top dollar (which usually means a sale within 2 weeks and with multiple offers).

Even in our crazy hot market, though, some properties take a very long time to sell. When buyers reject a home, it’s usually because the list price is too high. That’s probably the case 90% of the time. But other things can spook a buyer. Some of them are  location issues (being near high voltage power lines, freeways, too close to schools, etc.). The remedy for that is easy: an appropriate price that factors in the negative location issue.

Sometimes the problems are needed repairs. My own buyers have said NO when outstanding things included these:

  • rodent activity in the home (that the seller has not fixed, or is not trying to fix)
  • expensive foundation / drainage repairs
  • health and safety issues related to electric or waste lines
  • anything needing more than $10,000 to fix (not every buyer has money for costly repairs)
  • missing inspections – buyers are almost expected to write offers without contingencies, but how can they do that if there’s no roof inspection report outlining how many years the roof has left, or the cost to fix it?

There are more, but this is the general idea.

Homeowners, if you can make your home less worthy of worry, as long as it is also attractive, buyers will line up and pay more for your home.

Yes, it takes your time and your money, but if you do the repairs, the staging, a good and thorough job on your disclosures, the benefits in terms of the ultimate sale price will astound the neighbors when they see the closed sale price.



For more reading on this topic:

How often should you get a termite inspection?

Would you recognize signs of subterranean termites if you saw them?

Watch for Dampwood Termites in Silicon Valley!