Should you fix home be­fore you sell?

Lesotho Times - - Property -

OF­TEN home­own­ers may find them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where they have de­cided to place their home on the mar­ket — but the home is in need of re­pairs.

In this in­stance, the home­owner will have to make the tough de­ci­sion of whether it is best to de­lay putting the prop­erty up for sale and mak­ing the nec­es­sary re­pairs, or tak­ing the knock on the ask­ing price and sell­ing the home as it stands.

This is ac­cord­ing to Adrian Goslett, re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa, who says it goes with­out say­ing that a home in good re­pair will achieve a much higher sell­ing price than one that needs at­ten­tion. How­ever, fix­ing a home will cost money and will de­lay the sale process by the amount of time it takes to com­plete the re­pairs.

Goslett says there are many buy­ers in the mar­ket that are look­ing for homes that have po­ten­tial and are more af­ford­able be­cause they re­quire some work, but at the end of the day it will be eas­ier for a seller to find a buyer if the home is at its best.

“While it largely de­pends on the rea­sons that the home­owner is sell­ing and the time frame in which they need to sell, tak­ing the time to get the home into its best shape could pay off,” he says.

“This is be­cause a visu­ally pleas­ing home will at­tract far more at­ten­tion from po­ten­tial buy­ers than one that is not well kept.”

Goslett says most sellers will spend some time and money pre­par­ing for the sale of their home in the form of a fresh coat of paint and spring clean­ing. Very of­ten the home may also re­quire just a few eas­ily re­pairable is­sues to be sorted out be­fore it is ready to be sold.

How­ever, what if more is re­quired? To what ex­tent should the seller be pre­pared to go be­fore they place the prop­erty on the mar­ket?

“A fresh coat of paint and a few re­pairs is fairly stan­dard, but what if there is struc­tural dam­age or an en­tire roof that needs to be re­placed? Th­ese larger el­e­ments could pose a far greater chal­lenge for po­ten­tial sellers,” says Goslett.

“Most buy­ers will want the home to be pro­fes­sion­ally in­spected be­fore they sign the sales agree­ment. It is best for the seller to have the home in­spected be­fore they put it on the mar­ket to en­sure they are fully aware of any po­ten­tial is­sues that need to be ad­dressed.”

Goslett says the seller is morally obliged to in­form their real es­tate agent and the po­ten­tial buyer of any known de­fects.

Once the home has been thor­oughly in­spected and the home­owner has ob­tained a quote for all the nec­es­sary re­pairs re­quired, he says they will have a far clearer idea of whether it is worth their while to fix be­fore the sale or sell ‘as is’ and lower their ask­ing price. “If the ask­ing price of the prop­erty would de­crease by as much as R100 000 or R200 000, but the re­pairs would only cost around R50 000, it would make more sense to de­lay the sale and have the re­pairs done be­fore go­ing to mar­ket,” says Goslett.

“How­ever, if the cost of the re­pairs is R50 000 and the ask­ing price of the prop­erty will only change by R50 000, it would seem more fea­si­ble to rather put the home on the mar­ket sooner and ad­vise po­ten­tial buy­ers of the re­pairs needed.”

Very of­ten cost is only one as­pect that re­quires con­sid­er­a­tion, while time is an­other. Goslett says ma­jor re­pairs will take time - a lux­ury that not all sellers have.

If the seller has com­mit­ted to an­other prop­erty, is mov­ing be­cause of a job or im­mi­grat­ing, they may need to sell as soon as they can. This will have an im­pact on their fi­nal de­ci­sion.

De­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion, an­other con­sid­er­a­tion could also be the buyer. The seller may find a buyer who would pre­fer to do the re­pairs them­selves be­cause it will give them the op­por­tu­nity to change cer­tain el­e­ments in line with their own per­sonal taste.

In a case where the re­pairs are cos­metic by na­ture, the buyer may want to make the de­ci­sions as to how the re­pairs are done and what ma­te­ri­als are used.

“Ir­re­spec­tive of what the seller de­cides, it is im­per­a­tive that both the seller and buyer are fully aware of all the home’s de­fects and are pre­pared to agree to the terms and con­di­tions of the con­tract,” says Goslett.

IT goes with­out say­ing that a home in good re­pair will achieve a much higher sell­ing price.

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