Home sale: red flags that could ruin a great deal

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For an appealing commission, a real estate agent performs various tasks during the home selling process, which include using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), marketing the property through flyers and advertisements to inform potential buyers about this opportunity, organize open house events and play the role of an intermediary during negotiations. Even though having a professional handling all these important steps takes a burden off the owner’s shoulders, sometimes his help does not represent a necessity. Consequently, homeowners with basic knowledge about the real estate market in the area who know exactly how to set the price, how to list their property on MLS, how to present their home to prospective buyers and how to provide basic information about the property on websites or in brochures choose to approach this process on their own. After all, what could go wrong? As long as you do not have a tree in the driveway blocking the garage, a terribly installed toilet or a window paced exactly next to the toilet, you do not have anything to worry about; or do you?


Home fails that evoke laughter at first glance

After a walk through the neighborhood or after traveling across the country, the chances of not seeing ridiculously laughable houses are minimal, almost inexistent. Whether we are talking about architecture or design fail, construction fail, incompetent architects infusing two styles into the same property or color explosion, we bet that nobody would want to buy those properties. Fortunately, you own a decent looking house decorate with style and elegance. However, this does not mean that you should not examine every area and every corner inside and outside to make sure that everything is functional, clean and visually appealing. You might find a few surprises that could ruin a good deal. There is no need to panic; if you plan a house examination or inspection early, you will have plenty of time to tackle any necessary repairs, replacements or improvements. In fact, this represents a crucial step when preparing a property for sale. More specifically, the preparation process involves de-personalizing the interior, removing favorite items or decorations, making minor repairs, thoroughly cleaning every room and enhancing curb appeal.

Deal breakers that could ruin a home sale

Put yourself in the prospective buyers’ shoes: they spend weeks, maybe months looking for a stable and nice looking home so it is more than normal to set high expectations. Therefore, expect those interested in purchasing your property pay close attention to even the smallest imperfections. Among the most common turn-offs spotted by potential buyers, we recognize bright paint color or blinding wallpaper, outdated aspect, old windows, dark deteriorated kitchen cabinets, flooring choices and roofing issues. Some people prefer subtle colors on the walls, intact flooring, a stylish look, kitchen cabinets in good condition, functional windows and a secure roof. Is that too much to ask? These represent a few home décor flaws that have the potential of ruining a promising sale. Unfortunately, the list can go on, not to mention that we did not dive into the most obvious and unpleasant red flags yet. These consist in bad smells, cheap upgrades, pests, cracks in the foundation, mold and bouncing bathroom floors. If you are fully aware about he existence of at least one of the problems mentioned, then you should not wait and hope for buyers not to see it.


Red flags like pest infestation or mold are unacceptable

This goes beyond saying something that might insult the buyer during the negotiation process or using lousy pictures. No buyer would accept to live in a house setting him up for disaster. Just think about the health hazards associated with pest infestation and mold growth including asthma and respiratory issues, West Nile Virus, food contamination, vomiting, irritation to the eyes, toxic or allergic reactions with alarming symptoms like trouble breathing, stomach pain, dizziness and fainting, swelling of the throat and even free-floating anxiety. If the buyer intends to move in with the family, you should know that children are more susceptible to experience these concerning symptoms. If you do to want to have their fragile health on your conscience, then you should resort to mold removal services or poisonous chemicals to kill the pests lurking around your home. If you decide to handle the pest infestation by yourself, be very careful and read the manufacturer’s instructions when using those toxic chemicals because your health and wellbeing is at stake. Of course, if we are talking about ants or less harmful insects, you can get away with just using non-toxic remedies.

Two areas of interest for any buyer: the kitchen and the bathroom

Furthermore, the kitchen and the bathroom represent the main areas of interest for any buyer. For this reason, you have to make sure that everything looks sparkling clean, smells refreshing and exudes an inviting feel. For instance, having a cramped kitchen will definitely not help you close a great deal because most buyers are looking for open breathable spaces, especially when it comes to the kitchen where they enjoy savoring family dinners and organizing social gatherings. The same principle applies to the bathroom: you should know more than anyone else that spending at least ten minutes in the shower with the hot water running your back represents the most pleasant feeling at the end of the day because it eliminates all the stress accumulated at work. Moreover, some homeowners transformed the bathroom into their own oasis of silence and peace. For this reason, you should not ignore signs like foul odors or cracked walls because it will cost you immensely.


 Finally, yet importantly, never attempt to hide these red flags from prospective buyers because the entire situation might turn against you. Even if we are talking about a roof leak that occurred years ago, you have to mention it; otherwise, the buyer will think that you are trying to rip him off and you might fin yourself paying big bucks for this mistake or bad decision. 


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Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Good advice for sellers to keep their deals on track - mold, pests- thanks for sharing with us

Apr 27, 2018 05:17 AM #1
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