Prior to going on market?

loves2readSeptember 10, 2012

We have home in DFW Tx area we are putting on market soon. House is 25 yrs old--- in neighborhood with stable ownership/ maintenance. House was rented for past three years to family member....we have taken over yard maintenance and had contractor do some repairs after renter moved out.

We are considering two realtors to list,with---don't want hassle of FSBO eventhough there are 4 homes for sale in neighborhood and ours would likely get drive by traffic notice...

Also,considering listing "as is" because there are features we know are likely to be problems...

House has no furniture for staging and some windows don't have window coverings...

I think we should get least expensive type of faux white blind (white trim in most rooms) before listing...Have exterior windows cleaned before listing

Husband doesn't want to spend that money

The glass cooktop is chipped and largest burner is not operable---probably switch needs replacing... But trying to lift cooktop likely to crack it even more...Should we replace or just offer credit---cause this will definitely get red mark on inspection...

The HVAC is working but ducting is original to house---probably won't pass inspection

Insulation probably needs increasing since it too is original--we never added any

We have however done remodeling in all bathrooms (2.5) and to kitchen---added granite counters, new tile flooring and new carpet about 3 yrs ago

New low-flow toilets and bath fixtures, new ceiling fans, replaced some windows---so the interior of the house looks updated which most homes for sale in this neighborhood don't...

How much of a turn off is it to list house for sale---as is...and be competitive in the market?

Will this just draw bottom feeders who think they can get even more price knockdown?

Should we have house inspected ourselves before listing, so we know any items likely to cause concern and see how that might impact pricing?

Once we do that though some problems can't be withheld from disclosure document you have to provide...

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Also,considering listing "as is" because there are features we know are likely to be problems...

Just FYI, all resale homes are considered in "as is" condition. You should still expect buyers will want to do a home inspection, since they will need to know what defects may exist, and be prepared for them to ask for repairs or price reductions.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:11PM
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I would not list "as is" anytime, it is a red flag.
You can list and your agent can tell interested buyers the house is priced to sell "as is", you will not consider additional work after inspection. A buyer will decide based on price, this said, you need to price below competition in good condition.
I would look at each fix (like the cooktop) to price out fixes you can easily do. Buyers will want more compensation for the problems than they will cost you to fix.
It is hard to give a complete answer without walking through your house and knowing your competition.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:16PM
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To some extent it depends on price of house and what your competitors are doing. However, what I would probably do:

1. Replace cooktop. When we sold our house we did this just because the cooktop was old (about 20 years old). It made the house look much better. Cooktop replacement with a smooth cooktop is not that expensive and with a broken burner I would do it.

2. If the ducting isn't damaged and is functioning, even if old, I wouldn't replace it. Let them raise it during inspection. If you have any damaged ducting then you might replace it.

3. I think the faux blinds are optional. That said, we put them in when we sold our house. We had some windows with no covering at all and others had ugly bamboo coverings that we didn't like. The cost of the faux wood blinds from Home Depot was very, very inexpensive and made the house look much better. That said, they are optional. I would replace the cooktop before I did this.

4. In Texas, the typical contract provides that the buyer has an option period (often 10 days) and can do inspections during that time. The buyer can cancel the contract for any reason during that period. So you can say "as is" all you want, if the buyer has an option period then buyer can still cancel the contract (I would never buy without having the option period). Saying "as is" in the listing would be a red flag to me of major problems with the house.

5. I wouldn't do an inspection before listing as you will have to provide a copy to buyers and disclose whatever you find.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:43PM
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replacing cooktop
It will cost about 12-1400$ because it requires downdraft model and then instillation cost
Microwave is not above cooktop as many models use to serve as venting agent

Yes--I get the point about red-flag term
And understand about the option period
We have bought/sold several homes in TX

Will price like there are no problems and negotiate from there
For the sq ft this house looks better than any others for sale in area IMO
Will just have to see what realtors have to say about comps
Only problem is that most homes I have seen in MLS lately were not upgraded and upgrades won't usually get you too many points with guys doing mortgage appraisals...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:04PM
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I would definitely replace the cook top. I might buy blinds depending on cost.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 2:15PM
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I wouldn't worry about the blinds, not something that generally comes standard even in new construction.

I would look at replacing the cooktop. Is there a scratch and dent place where you can find one that would work? We had really good luck with a scratch and dent place in Houston on getting a new glass cooktop. It had a dent in the metal portion that houses everything. Cook top looked perfectly fine just a dent on the non-visible parts.

Another option would be to check craigslist if there is something for sale that would work.

As far as insulation - I wouldn't worry about that if it was standard for the age of the house. Although higher insulation value would be good and nice, I'm not sure other houses of the same age necessarily would have that. If it was up to standards when the house was built then that is all that matters.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 2:58PM
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I bet if your husband was selling his car, he would have it detailed and have the little blemishes corrected. Why would he not do the same for a much more valuable sale?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:31PM
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My husband isn't cheap
We have spent 2400+ so far taking care of repairs and make ready and cleaning
He just thinks cooktop is something they might not want
They might want to spend money to extend gas line from hot water heater in garage and have gas cooktop
That is certainly a doable project
Same with blinds
They might really prefer something more expensive like imsulating double cells

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:11PM
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You can look at it 2 ways. On one hand, if you leave it alone, buyers may wonder if the windows are dirty and the stove (which in most homes is frequently used) is broken, then what else is wrong with the house? Or, as you mentioned above, they may want a gas stove and don't want to pay for the new stovetop that you just put in (whether or not you add it to the price). Have you considered a partial credit for the stovetop maybe?

The broken burner will come up in the inspection, so maybe offer a few hundred dollars as a credit for a new one.

If your potential buyer gets an FHA loan, one of the requirements is a fully functional stove though. You may want to keep that in consideration.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Posted by ncrealestateguy (My Page) on Mon, Sep 10, 12 at 20:31

I bet if your husband was selling his car, he would have it detailed and have the little blemishes corrected. Why would he not do the same for a much more valuable sale?

^ I hope you didn't take his comment the wrong way but I totally agree with it. No one was saying your husband was cheap but if you have already spent money to fix somethings, you might as well go ahead and fix something that will be obvious as the cooktop. If we were looking and it came down to comparing properties to purchase, a non working cooktop would be a checkmark against your listing for us as that would be another expense we would incur when we moved in. Although "as is" is pretty much standard with any house you buy, that verbage along with the stove not working would send red flags to me immediately to what else are they hiding that needs attention or honey we are going to low ball them...just being honest! Someone earlier had a great suggestion of scratch and dent cooktop. If its an older home buyers aren't necessarily looking for it to be perfect but they will expect functional. As others have stated blinds, more insulation for an older home, etc are extras and not expected but the cooktop would have to be functional as that is another expense the buyer will have when moving in, period!

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:10AM
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I guess I did take that comment the wrong way....
It is just that it seems this house has become a bottomless pit for us...and that neighborhood for various reasons has not really seen lot of price appreciation since we bought the house in earlyn80s...list was 199K and we will do well to get 240K less commission...we won't really see any profit after what we have spent...some of which was maintenance of course but some was upgrades just in hopes of selling in down market...
Most buyers in our area don't want a house that needs updating....even if price might reflect that...for whatever reason...the ones that sell are those w/o wallpaper and that have had updating in kitchen and bathrooms....

Will have to see what realtors have to say...
Comps dom't always reflect accurate picture of what has sold vs your house...

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:13AM
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BTW have you looked into what it would cost to have the cooktop repaired? Ie pay somebody to repair it. Then you don't have to worry about breakage yourself.

You will have to note this on the disclosure form if it is not working so it is known even before inspection time to a buyer.

I did sell my old house with a non-working digital display read-out on my stove. It meant you couldn't read the temperature you set on the oven. However I decided not to bother with it as I knew the house would sell quickly and the kitchen also had a wall-mounted oven so not like the buyer was without. The oven also worked. You just couldn't read the display on the stove to make sure you set it correctly. I looked into repairing it and it was a simple thing and passed the info on to the buyer. I had no issues selling quickly though. Several offers over asking before even listing.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 11:41AM
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I don't think the blinds are a big deal. None of the houses I've bought have come with blinds.

The cooktop? That really needs to be fixed. Even if the buyer wants to tear it out and replace it, they might want the option to wait a few months while they get their plan together. Our house is going to be listed within the next 30-60 days. About a month ago, our range started making a strange sound. I think it dated back to the renovation the last homeowner did in 1997, so I just replaced it with the least expensive "brand name" smoothtop white range I could find. I think it was about 500 bucks delivered. I have to say that even though it is not high-end, it is obviously new and it does make the kitchen look better. Still, it stinks to have to replace that stuff in a place you are going to sell. I feel your pain!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:28PM
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I just sold a starter/first buyer condo that was a rental for over 15 years. I bought an investment property last year. I am buying another one now. I have been looking at lots of homes to buy. I have been well educated in the market in the past couple of years in Seattle, WA.

Our in city 1989 condo had carpet replaced, walls freshly painted, doors painted. (the old doors were too old and beat up looking) Wood trim work was rejunenated with a coat of oil (not varnish). My husband found someone that cleaned and sealed the grout for 2 baths for about $900. Expensive but made the bathrooms sparkle. We had all original kitchen and baths except for the replaced appliances that failed over the years. Nothing updated other than the carpet and paint. We put the condo on the market for slightly lower (2 to 5%) than what I thought was the market price. We had 2 full price offers on the first day. The fact that I sold my property when I wanted to sell it was worth a lot to me. I did not want to hold onto this rental property any more and I am glad that I sold quickly even if I may not have gotten a better price.

The real estate market now is completely internet based. The buyers have a listing show up on their phone and e-mail the moment it hits the market. (I do on mine. I am buying as well as selling.) When they start to look, historical record of what you paid and how long the house has been on the market is completely transparent. These are young savvy buyers. When the property sits for 2 or more months without an offer, they assume that there is something wrong with the property; priced too high, not good enough etc.

Therefore your best chance of selling is the moment it hits the market. The house has to be as good as it can be and priced well. In my town, the good properties have had offers within the week of hitting the market all summer. I have also seen properties next door that have been for sale for months and months! The owners keep dropping the price. The sad thing is that they would have done better if they started at a lower price because the price that they end up is often much lower than had they started at a good price. This is a hard concept to explain but I am seeing this effect.

These are musts....

IMHO, the house has to be spotlessly clean. Even if it is old, a clean house is absolutely necessary, especially if it is empty. This means that the carpet needs to be shampooed, paint fresh or walls freshly washed. Even if things are old, they should all be in working order. You can always get used appliances for a fraction of cost. You just need an working appliance. You have an old house. Therefore, new appliances are not necessary.

I am confused why the old ducting would not pass inspection? You do not need to update any more. You need to price it to sell!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:23PM
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Found new cooktop from wholesale supply that we can get installed or less than places I was pricing before---delivering Tuesday and installing by professional company recommended...

Re ductwork that runs in attic --we have had repairs done on that unit and been told that if there are leaks in ductwork it won't pass inspection...

Problem we found checking master shower after our cleaners were done is rust on door frame where there is magnetized section the metal piece under door's handle meets when closed---to latch the door...
Can't get it off the door frame --maybe because of magnetization
Tried SOS pad and scraping w/Xacto blade which took off some

Any suggestions? No CLR on aluminum which that frame is

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:41PM
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Try asking in the cleaning forum.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:45AM
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You do not have to replace the cook-top with like kind, just one that works and looks good.

Most buyers will be pleased with the 'new' and they will have no knowledge of the 'was.'

While 'inspection' appear sin the name, there is no pass or fail.

Just observations about the conditions present.

Old duct work is not necessarily 'bad,' it is just old.
Like the walls, floors, wiring, plumbing, etc.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:48AM
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