An­swers for top ques­tions put to Real­tors

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - Mau­reen Hughes On Real Es­tate

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.

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