Can "Character Flaws" Cost You Money?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Sevick Law PLLC

I was out today meeting with an elderly client to update his estate plan before he was having minor surgery this week.    Upon opening the storm door to his porch I found that he met me at the front main door.  He indicated that he had heard me come in the storm door.  I stopped for a moment and thought about it.  In retrospect he very possibly had heard me since the hinges on the storm door had been very loud with a squeak that I chalked up to the wet weather we have had lately.  For my elderly client, living alone, it was part of his comfort level in knowing someone had come onto the porch and was at the door.

On to the point of this post now.  We often become used to the "character" of our home and ignore the door that sticks, drawers that don't open, steps that squeak, and all the other "little" things.  However, when a potential buyer sees or hears these things they begin to take money off of an offer.  A simple sticking door may cost you $500 or $1,000 in an offer or a sticking kitchen cabinet drawer may result in thousands less since the potential buyer may be thinking of the cost to upgrade the kitchen.  Impressions and perception are everything.  I often review purchase agreements and see where people are detailing why the price is lower than the asking price either before or after a home inspection.  Interestingly enough I came across this article today that talks about using oil and other lubricants to help remedy some of the "character" items in homes that buyers may see as "character flaws".


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Jerry Santerelli
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Plainfield, IL

Christopher, What gets me is the people that smoke but insist that they don't smoke in the house.  I had a home listed that was taking forever to sell and the man insisted he went outside to smoke his cigarettes.  Anyone that does not smoke can smell that scent a mile away and no candle or air freshener can get rid of it, and it sticks with you after you have left the home. I really believe that is why other comparable homes in the area were selling before my listing.  The smell was extremely offensive. 

Mar 05, 2007 07:38 AM #1
Christopher Sevick
Sevick Law PLLC - Ypsilanti, MI
Real Estate Attorney

I can't agree more that it is so often the first thing that comes from feedback on a showing.  It seems to be the issue above location or condition that comes up the most often.  I have had some luck with an ozone machine for a couple days if the home is vacant, and other cleaning is done, but in an occupied I agree it is often a lost cause and will be the last home selling.   

Mar 05, 2007 11:23 AM #2
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Christopher Sevick

Real Estate Attorney