A while back, I showed a newer home in San Jose’s Cambrian area to some great first time home buyer clients of mine. The house has a nice location and fine floor plan. Some elements of the home were really appealing. But unfortunately, the sellers hadn’t made their home “show ready.” They cut corners.
As we walked through the property, my clients and I noted places where there was neglect. The items were generally not big, but unfortunately there were many of them. Had the owners brought in a painter to do minor cosmetic changes (patch and paint), the home could have looked “like new.” Instead, it was as if the home were full of red flags. Talk about making a bad impression!
My buyers asked me what I thought, if what we saw would scare me off. No, I told them, they all seemed relatively minor to me, but I did understand their concern. One of them explained that “if we see things like this, we believe that the sellers have not taken good care of their home; what else is wrong that we cannot yet see?”
Confident buyers write offers and tend to write good offers. Nervous buyers who are concerned that there are hidden defects (and therefore hidden costs) either don’t write contracts at all or they write lower offers.
Realtors who list homes with these minor defects or deferred maintenance sometimes have an uphill battle conveying to the home owners why it is so very important to fix up the home and make it look good. Sellers tend to think “I’ve lived with it, it’s fine” or “everything works, what’s the problem?” Buyers are cautious and afraid, though. If they are afraid about your home’s hidden defects,they’ll either pass or write a low offer.
In the case of my showing today, even though the buyers asked me if I’d have been scared off (and I wouldn’t), they were. One of them said to me, “we had had such hopes for this home!” They were very disappointed, but didn’t trust the house to be “solid”.
New paint, new carpet, needed repairs and staging can go a long way in making nervous buyers become confident buyers. Sellers, don’t skimp in the preparation or the repairs! Think of it like getting ready for a first date: you want to make the right impression! If your agent tells you to do certain things to make the home sell for top dollar, pay attention. After all, that’s why you hired your agent to guide you in the first place!
Mary Pope-Handy is an award-winning, top Silicon Valley Realtor and blogger. She is the co-author of a book, “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home in Silicon Valley”. The book is available on Amazon.com, in select local bookstores, or through Mary, who will provide it as a gift when you meet with her to discuss selling your home (no obligation).
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