You're planning to sell your home soon and you know there are overdue repairs that need to be attended to. Those nagging things that you've always lived with and tolerated but just didn't bother to take care of. Things like crooked doors, wall or tile cracks, drippy faucets, drafty or broken windows, rotting wood, uneven pavers, or water seepage.
Maybe the buyers won't notice . . .
Like heck they won't. Not only will they notice, but they will ding you on your price far more than the cost of the repairs. North Shore home buyers in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, and Glenview have been finicky and can afford to be - there are many homes from which they can choose. If your home is perceived to be needing attention or looking tired, they will either reduce the price more than you already thought you did when you priced it, or they will look elsewhere.
There are two ways that buyers determine what to pay for a house. After seeing the house their real estate broker will aid them by providing comparable properties and a decision will be made on price. They will consider any work that needs to be done and deduct that from the asking price. Unless your home is priced well below the comps to offset these repairs, buyers will offer much lower.
The second thing they consider is issues that the inspection reveals. I always counsel my buyers that inspections are not a vehicle to renogotiate the price - but not all buyers get that message. The point is, if you have repairs that you know need to be done, could there be more that you didn't know about? Will the inspection bring forth a wasp's nest of smaller problems that the buyer will have to deal with. Whoops - the dollars are escaping again!
It is not common to perform a pre-inspection before you sell your home - but I think it's a good idea. You would hire an inspector and have him go over the home just as if you were buying it. You will get a complete written report with all issues detailed and accompanying photos. What better blueprint to proceed and remedy the important problems. Many sellers don't like this plan because they may not want to know that much about their house - once discovered, it must be disclosed. But once discovered, it can also be dealt with before listing the home, not during the negotiation or inspection phase when both parties are stressed.
Whether you do the inspection or not, I suggest that you spend time going through your home and making a complete list of repairs that you feel need to be done. Don't try to call in specialists for each repair - there are many local vendors that are not full contractors but do more than handymen and will execute your punch list capably. I have the names of several in the North Shore area that do just this type of work.
And when you're all done you will wonder why you procrastinated. It's so lovely to close that door now that the hinges are fixed. And you won't be tripping over those uneven brick pavers on your patio anymore. And ooh la la, the rain shower works again!
While you're here, please see ALL NORTH SHORE HOMES FOR SALE
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Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.
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