Answers for top questions put to Realtors
Today, I would like to answer some common real estate questions that come up frequently when I am meeting with clients, or even just chatting with friends and family. It’s easy to do a Google search, but sometimes knowing which advice to take can be a challenge because each person’s situation is unique.
1) Should I have my house pre-inspected before putting on the market?
There are two ways to look at this. If you pre-inspect, you can then address small items that the inspector will find and correct them before going to market. Occasionally a serious issue is found that you were not aware of, in which case you could get a second opinion and decide to correct the issue or not. Buyers love to see a pre-inspection report as it shows the seller is conscientious. At the very least if your home has stucco, is on a
septic system and/or well water, those systems should be pre-inspected as repairs can be costly. It is always beneficial for you as the Seller to be aware of any issues upfront so you can correct and price the home accordingly.
2) Does it really pay to stage my house?
Yes, Yes, Yes! When selling your home you want to depersonalize it so buyers can see themselves living in “their new home” as opposed to living in “your home.” There are numerous studies that have been done and support the fact that staged homes sell quicker and for higher prices than “unstaged” homes. If you find it impossible to afford a professional stager, at the very least have an impartial (and honest) friend come over and help you de-clutter, detach from your belongings and rearrange furniture to best please a potential buyer. Your realtor should also be able to give you great advice as to which items need to be removed.
3) When a buyer makes an offer 5-10 percent below my price should I even respond to them?
Always respond to every offer, no matter the price or terms. Some buyers just like to test the market. Your agent can advise you as to the best way to respond. I have seen many “lowball offers” become the final winning offer. You may feel insulted, and that’s where you get into trouble. Don’t allow your emotions to guide you in a business transaction. Merely state your terms to the buyer and see where it goes.
4. How important is it to scout out the neighborhood?
I am a strong believer in making certain the home you desire is in an area that works for your lifestyle and family life. While the specific stores and businesses around a potential home shouldn’t make or break your decision, the location in general should. For example, if you are looking for a home in an up and coming neighborhood, but there are no tell tale signs of new life springing up (like a Starbucks, Whole Foods, local speciality shops, etc) in the vicinity, you might not be looking in the right area. Take a walk around the neighborhood, get a feel for local shops, research schools, check the distance to and from work, etc. I’ve known clients who purchased fixer-upper homes in less than desirable neighborhoods because they knew their time in that area would be limited and they were able to look past the more challenging parts for the sake of their investment. But, for a home that is meant to be more long term, looking into the deciding factors of the location and accessibility can be very important.
Have a burning real estate question? Email me! And be featured in our next Daily Local Q&A.