How Many Days Does it Take to Sell in Spring 2022?

14443 Macon Grove Lane in Gainesville listed for $325,000 on April 30, 2022

How Many Days Does it Take to Sell in Spring 2022?

With the two percent increase in mortgage interest rates since the beginning of the year, you may have heard whispers of our Bristow and real estate market changing. Certainly, interest rates increasing have pinched buyers even more when rising home prices were already making it tough to afford a home. However, to declare that the market has measurably shifted from a seller’s market would be wrong.

In late April, dealing with the same interest rates, I placed a single family home in Bristow on the market. It was hottly contested and had multiple offers in a matter of four days. This past weekend, after having been on the market for just over one week, 14443 Macon Grove Lane had three offers at the same time. Multiple offers did happen, but not quickly. It was a rolling situation that left one of the four offers pulling out and moving on. What’s different between these two homes?

9477 Cromarty Court in Bristow listed for $584,000 on April 22, 2022

The single family home at 9477 Cromarty Court was owner occupied and updated to the nines. It also had a sought after water view. The downside of this property was the compact size of the rooms on the main level. However, the sellers had left no detail unnoticed. When it was time to the hit the market, the professional marketing drove up buyer enthusiasm and the coziness of the main level was not an issue.

Water view at 9477 Cromarty Court in Bristow

While the condo at 14443 Macon Grove did hit the market a week later, it was not owner occupied. Tenants in a home never have a vested interest in a successful outcome. They are losing their rental home. In this case, the landlord realized this was an issue. She was by far, the most savvy landlord I have dealt with in my seventeen years of selling homes. She cleaned up the property herself. She decluttered the property before showings herself. She even put the tenants up in a hotel for the weekend while showings were happening. The only problem was, the weekend we really wanted to list the house was unavailable to us as the tenants had plans. That meant a hasty rush to market.

Macon Grove, cleaned and decluttered by the landlord.

A professional photo shoot with great pictures that truly represented what buyers would see in the straightened and cleaned home, happened the day before it was to go active. I am here to tell, buyers and buyer agents do not make appointments until they see listing photos. Unfortunately, the photos didn’t hit the MLS until Saturday morning of our two day showing free-for-all. Showings picked up after the photos had been in a few hours, but the real activity wanted to happen Sunday through Friday. The tenants were unable to accommodate showing requests except for three hours in the evening, and one evening was taken off the table completely. (sigh) Even with showing restrictions and showing condition dwindling after the return of the tenants, the condo in Gainesville got multiple offers. It just took eight days to get there.

Fresh & clean owner’s suite at 14443 Macon Grove Lane

We are still in seller market conditions in Bristow and Gainesville. Of course, what matters most is what has mattered all along–how your home is prepared and marketed. An unprepared home is not going to create buyer enthusiasm. And even if it does, if buyers can’t get in to see it, that is a problem. If buyers are seeing poor listing photos, you are sunk.

Proper listing preparation and professional marketing get sellers to the top of the market no matter what their condition. And when there are issues you can’t work around, having a skilled negotiator representing you as a seller is critical. These two properties are great examples of how the market is influenced by condition and marketing. Stay tuned for their final sold prices. Until then, if you want to investigate the 2022 sale of your Bristow or Gainesville home, get in touch with me for a no obligation market analysis.

Sunday Sights

Sunday Sights

Every day is a blessing when you love what you do. There are plenty of agents out there that get wadded up over showing property on a gorgeous weekend day when they know their buyers have zero chance of either liking the homes or have the ability to win in a multiple offer situation. I am an agent that understands that interacting with my buyers at properties helps me to understand better what they like, help them adjust expectations and get to know them better. Bonus for me is that I genuinely have fun just about anywhere I go. And I have found that my good disposition has a way of rubbing off.

Today my buyers and I traveled from Culpeper to Warrenton, to Nokesville and back to Warrenton. We saw some interesting things. The blue pig above was one of the more attractive things we saw today. He was so cute we just had to stop and admire. Didn’t notice he had his left ear reattached until uploading the photo above to this post. Some defects can be easily overlooked if the subject is charming enough.

One room we saw was a virtual time machine. Shag carpeting on the walls as an accent to the wood paneling below. Welcome to 1970. The literal orange laminate counter tops in the kitchen made it easy to picture Mike Brady at this desk drawing up some architecture plans.

The other gorgeous thing we saw was this back yard. It had some truly lovely trees in bloom. The dogwood pictured above was the prettiest. Somehow, it looked better in person. Probably something to do with being in the sunlight, hearing the birds chirp and the rooster next door crow.

Though we ruled out more than we ruled in, my buyers and I made good progress today. We tried on some homes that would have been dismissed out right before. My buyers learned where they have flexibility and that the geographic area of the most interest is not out of reach with a new vision on how to utilize smaller spaces. We are now thinking out of the box.

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

Selling in a Seller’s Market is Not a Guarantee of Best Terms

As limited housing supply continues to meet unfettered buyer demand, more and more sellers have been overly confident in their place in the market. Believe it or not, not all homes sell in a seller’s market. They will if they are priced right and/or in good condition. Market forces are always at work, which means buyers still compare what is offered to what they have recently seen and what they expect to see in the near future.

It is not uncommon for a buyer to walk away from a perfectly pleasing, over priced home in a seller’s market because they fear it will get bid up above that list price. Preparing market reports regularly for the neighborhoods of Braemar, Dominion Valley and Regency I see sellers getting below list price and selling in weeks, not days. Some even have to give seller subsidy. Why? It’s a seller’s market, right?

When buyer demand is high and inventory is low we are indeed in a seller’s market. That does not mean that sellers can ignore listing preparation, hire low skill listing agents who know nothing of professional marketing and expect to get the top of the market. Consider a top athlete who is a free agent. They will get picked up, but how much money they make depends on the strength of their agent. Agency is all about advocacy. Sellers who hire listing agents are not unlike athletes or actors who have an advocate on their side advising them and helping them negotiate. Talent agents know how to best present their client’s gifts to increase demand to max out the money made.

Bringing it back to real estate and the intense buyer demand our seller’s market is facing, it is fair to say to any seller who asks if they need to complete listing preparation to sell, “No.” If the price is right for the projects left to buyers who are faced with having to pay their own closing costs, down payment and now take on projects in a home, there is no doubt the home will sell. The question is, how much is being left on the table by leaving the preparation undone? More than the cost of the preparation.

Same goes for sight unseen offers. Can a seller get a great offer before anyone has set foot in their home? Sure. If they let showings roll a few days, chances are the offers would get better and better. Why? The pressure to accept sight unseen offers is usually from buyers who know they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation. And if they will not be competitive in a multiple offer situation, why on earth would a seller who only gets one chance at maximizing their profit not wait to see more than one offer? From my own comps, I recently watched as a seller left approximately $30,000 on the table by not being photographed or going active with their listing agent. Very few sellers I know are willing to walk away from that kind of profit.

Having a strong advocate who knows the current market conditions because they are active in them every day is so important. Let’s go back to our talent agent analogy. Do you think hiring a relative who just became a talent agent is what big name athletes and movie stars do? No. Their paychecks are dependent on outstanding representation. They sign with agents with proven track records of success and outstanding reputations. Why don’t sellers when it comes to listing? Part of the problem is that they conflate the cost of a listing agent with the bottom line they will net. They never consider that a more experienced agent will more than pay for themselves in the preparation advice, professional marketing and skilled negotiation. The other part of the problem is they think anyone with a license will do. This job has very minimal standards. Agents who are exceeding industry standards are the ones breaking records with list prices.

When it is time to list your home, even if it is in a seller’s market, pay attention to the marketing done on behalf of the other listings in this seller’s market. Are they offering staging advice and other preparation? Are they hiring a professional to take listing photos? Are they pushing sight unseen offers? There is never an easy button when it comes to getting the absolute max the market will bear. However, if a seller is okay with leaving tens of thousands on the table, any agent will do. If they want every dollar they can get, are willing to do the work and put up with a few days of showings, they will be over the moon with the results when they hire an experienced broker like me to help them through the process.

A seller’s market can be exceptionally profitable, but should not be treated as a lottery. Choosing the path with the best odds of getting top of the market will make a seller successful. That path starts with hiring the right advocate.

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Is Listing Preparation Necessary in a Seller’s Market?

Sitting across from a seller this morning who had started the process of packing, pausing only to sign our listing agreement, there was a lot of discussion over what is necessary to do prior to hitting the market. Very few homes that I walk into are neutral enough, de-cluttered enough and exuding enough mass appeal to be what I, as a real estate professional, would consider market ready, but it does happen.

As a Top Producing Agent in the Bristow/Gainesville area, the sellers I meet want the maximum amount of money they get out of their homes for the minimal amount of effort. Moving is hard enough. Prepping a home for a red hot market seems ridiculous to them. After all, the market is so hot that some sellers are accepting sight unseen offers. They want to know why I am advising them to paint, de-clutter, put in new carpet, etc when a buyer is likely to write a sight unseen offer. The answer is usually in the realm of, “Because you want the same or better that the seller down the street got, and their home was move-in ready.”

Market value is determined by being open to the market. Yes, buyers actually seeing the inside of your home in person. (I know. What a pain, right?) Time and again, sale after sale as sellers and I go over comps, I point out how much more this home made after a few days on the market, being presented move-in ready and professionally presented vs. that home that listed as Coming Soon and took a sight unseen offer from a buyer that didn’t even see photos of the home. A seller that popped up in our comps today sold their home sight unseen. I know the inside of the home because I have been in it. To say the seller left money on the table by taking a sight unseen offer is an understatement. Try thirty-thousand dollars or so is my guess.

Earlier in the week, two of my Coming Soon listings were getting calls from buyer agents begging for a chance to submit an offer sight unseen and have my sellers decide right then and there. Why is that? They know their buyers won’t be competitive when the listing hit the open market. Why on earth would I advise my sellers to take a sight unseen offer that I know can be bested on the open market when they only get one chance to sell the most valuable asset they have? The situations are few and far between where that would make sense. Trying to sell before losing a home to foreclosure would be one of them. Losing out on a home they are under contract to buy because their home sale contingency is about to expire. Minimizing the exposure of a bedridden relative to an overwhelming amount of buyers would be another. Anything else that would may tempt someone to walk away from thirty-thousand dollars would be worthy of investigating opportunities they may not have considered. Boarding pets. Spending the weekend in a hotel. You only get to liquidate your home once.

The same argument goes for listing preparation. Buyer enthusiasm with those exuberant multiple offers doesn’t come from a home that hasn’t been de-cluttered, neutralized and spiffed up for buyers. Sure, an unprepared home may get multiple offers, but the offers will be substantially higher when a seller has put effort into making the home move-in ready. The market comps show it time and again. Is skipping the work worth the money that would be lost?

A little effort goes a long way in this market. Painting the home a neutral color is a great way to put a fresh clean face on the interior of a home. Sometimes the outside might need some fresh paint on the doors, shutters and trim. And maybe a power washing. First impressions are powerful. Tidying up and depersonalizing allow buyers to see themselves living there, which increases their enthusiasm for a home, which increases the price seen in offers.

So when a seller asks me if preparation is necessary, the answer is always, “No, but are you willing to walk away from five to ten percent more in final sold price?” The home sale we saw today that left thirty thousand on the table may have thought differently if her agent had said, “I think you can sell for thirty thousand more if we hit the market for a weekend. What do you think?” Put a price tag on the dreaded event and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.

Selling a Home “As-Is”

Selling a Home “As-Is”

Frequently I meet with home sellers who do not wish to be nickeled and dimed over repairs when they are under contract to sell. They will express their desire to sell “as-is” during our listing appointment. There are some points that sellers need to understand about “as-is.”

Selling as-is immediately devalues a home in the eyes of a buyer.

The connotation of as-is to a buyer is one that there are numerous and expensive problems with a home. If there weren’t, why would a seller let you know up front they are selling as-is? Surely, they must be covering up a condition issue. Buyers will picture the home above when a seller is really trying to tell them, “I don’t want to be bothered fixing toilet flappers. I’m too busy.” Talk about demolishing an ant hill with an atom bomb, this is a great example of blowing the intention out of proportion.

Selling as-is is not a substitute for disclosing known issues with a home.

Sellers in Viriginia are tasked with disclosing material defects when selling their home. Latent material defects are the ones that some sellers may think an as-is disclosure is sufficient to disclose. It is not. If there is known mold, it must be disclosed. If there are high radon levels, it must be disclosed. If the seller knows the air conditioning doesn’t work, and wants to list in the winter as-is, that is a problem. And if a buyer voided a contract, presented a seller with an inspection report revealing problems, the seller can’t turn around and ignore the report and slap an as-is label on the home for future buyers and call it a day. Material defects, if not fixed, must be disclosed.

All home sales that happen using the Residential Sales Contract created by the Northen Virginia Association of REALTORSĀ® are actually sold as-is.

There is a Property Maintenance and Condition paragraph in this document that states that that home is being sold in substantially the same condition as of, and a time frame of date of home inspection, date of offer, or some other filled in date, is selected. Furthermore, there are no required repairs in this contract with the exception of smoke detectors being installed and working per the laws and regulations of Virginia and, if a termite inspection is required in the contract, sellers must remediate and fix any damage noted by the pest inspector. (I’ve been selling homes since 2005 and have had no needed repairs due to termite damage, but plenty needing treatment to kill the wood destroying insects. Treatment is not expensive and can often be negotiated down with the pest company.

My favorite as-is date is date of the home inspection. It gives a written record of the home on the date of the inspection that can be used for reference if there is a walk through issue. Sellers are not obligated to do any repairs just because a buyer is having an inspection. If the buyer agreed to move forward with no repairs and complain at walk through that the faucet in the kitchen is leaking, and the inspection report reveals it to be the same at the time of the inspection, it is in substantially the same condition as the date of the home inspection.

Selling as-is is really more of a point of warning, rather than a disclosure, for buyers purchasing from estates or banks that foreclosed on a home. These entities are exempt from the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act and, having never lived in the property, are not expected to know material defects with the home. The same point of warning, however, does not exempt a seller who has resided in the property from making disclosures.

When sellers who were vehement about selling as-is hear these points, they understand that a blanket refusal from the outset to do nothing to remedy problems in the home, no matter how small, is going to result in less money in their pockets. Buyer enthusiasm is what makes buyers excited to bid above list price and get involved in multiple offer situations. Starting from an as-is point, buyer enthusiasm is not going to exist. Buyer skepticism is going to reign the day.

Some aggravation is worth the money you get in the sales price to be open to repair requests and judge them on a case by case basis.

Attention to Detail Matters Even in Shredding Files

Attention to Detail Matters Even in Shredding Files

When you are studying to obtain a Virginia real estate license, one of the details is that is ingrained in you is that our licensing entity only requires brokerages to hold onto files for three years. That works well with the Virginia Statute of Frauds having a two year expiration from the time fraud was committed. Of course, our commonwealth law is not the only law that can apply to a real estate file.

Over ten years ago, while representing a buyer, I uncovered what appeared to be mortgage fraud. A fly-by-night investor who had taken a course in buying up distressed properties that were headed to foreclosure was crossing many lines in selling homes. State laws were being broken and ultimately, when reported to the FBI, it was the federal laws broken that mattered. Turned out, the Federal Statute of Frauds time limits are different. In the case of this investor, the statute of limitations for bank fraud was five years.

When the Federal Prosecutor called me before the Federal statue of limitations had expired, I was fishing through email for remnants of the file since the paper copy had been shred. Let me tell you, that’s not a great feeling. None the less, with what I had turned over to the FBI nearly five years earlier, was enough to kick off an investigation that would land this investor in Federal Court and ultimately, behind bars for five years.

As I shred files from 2014 and move into 2015, I realize that I am not a typical Viriginia real estate licensee. My experience in this career has taught me so much more than a lot of my fellow licensees care to even entertain. Attention to detail is the most important thing a real estate licensee has, but if they are trained to the bare minimum of details, it is their clients that pay the price. This is an industry where the required level of training does not even begin to cover how an agent can truly benefit their clients, industry and society at large. Being inquisititive and learning the ins and outs of contracts, mortgage, title and insurance are what make the agents that do attain this level of knowledge invaluable to their clients.

If you require more than the bare minimum from the person guiding you through your home purchase or sale and reside in or around the areas on my chalkboard to the right of this post, I would love the opportunity to help.

Decorating for the Holidays When Selling

Decorating for the Holidays When Selling

Having been a real estate agent since 2005, I have helped plenty of sellers needing to list between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Interestingly, I have heard many of them lament that they will be unable to celebrate the season with any decorations. Depersonalizing a home is definitely necessary when selling in any season, but when it comes to holiday decor, you don’t have to go without.

For starters, it is no secret that Christmas is a holiday celebrated on a secular level by the vast majority in our area. Once Halloween is over, pop into any retailer and you will see the tell tale green and red displays and plenty of Christmas holiday decor. And for anyone that has ever shopped a Black Friday event, it is named as such because that was the day in the year that most retailers finally started to earn profit. Christmas is a largely accepted and celebrated holiday and the decor that goes along with it is ever present in November and December. It is unlikely anyone touring a home for sale during those months would be so turned off by holiday decor they are seeing everywhere else they go.

And then there is my favorite part of the Christmas holiday season–the push to be home for the holidays. Ever watch the Hallmark Movie Channel and their slew of Christmas love stories? Home for the holidays is a real emotional pull (or push by advertisers selling their holiday wares) that people have during the holiday. Emotions like that sell houses. So why wouldn’t a seller want to take advantage of it? The smell of fresh garland and white lights on a decorated tree are sure to bring out holiday emotion in just about any one. I remember doing while lights around a ficus and loft banister, and fresh garland on the mantel of vacant home during December that had been sitting for several weeks prior. Might have been a coincidence, but it was gone in short order after the holiday decor was placed.

Just because some decor around a home to be listed during the Christmas season is acceptable doesn’t mean it is time to go Griswold inside or outside for that matter. Ultimately, you are still selling a home that prospective buyers will want to be able to picture in any season. A little holiday decor is tasteful when listing, but don’t go overboard.

In general, the idea of giving more than enough space physically and visually for prospective owners to see the home itself is the way to go no matter what season you list. Personal photos and personal decor should be removed to make room for prospective buyers to emotionally connect to the property. Stockings with names on the mantel may not be advised, but the greenery and sparkle of the season are in good taste in moderation. Keep it simple and you won’t be disappointed.

The Second Key to Max Profit When Selling Your Home

The Second Key to Max Profit When Selling Your Home

There are two major things a seller can do, even in a seller’s market, to max out their bottom line. The first I wrote about in detail and is all about creating buyer enthusiasm. This is essentially putting the shiniest, most attractive bait on the hook to the get the best and/or most buyers acting on the listing. The second key is what takes place after a buyer is under contract and it is just as important. It just involves different tasks. Simply put it is:

Maintaining Buyer Enthusiasm and Seller Profit

Neogtiations after a contract sales price has been agreed upon by the seller and buyer can be just as tense as the intial negotiations, if not more so. Buyers can feel they have a seller by the shorts and want to create points of renegotiation along the way. The first point of renegoation is home inspection. Having an idea of how to prepare for a home inspection is so important. Sellers can easily overlook simple things that can cause big panic. Or buyers can feel so entitled they overask. How should a seller respond to an an over indulgent buyer? An experienced, skilled, full-time professional agent knows how to deliver “no” without losing a buyer.

Appraisal is the second hurdle many buyers need to cross as a contingency to a sale. Even if a buyer has waived an appraisal contingency and is willing to eat any difference between appraised value and contracted sales price, there can be a buyer’s remorse issue if the divide exists at all, or is what the buyer considers too big. Not every listing agent meets an appraiser with a package of information to support the sales price. Whether the buyer has an appraisal contingency or not, I know that part of maintaining buyer enthusiasm and my seller’s profit is meeting the appraiser every time.

One of my favorite success stories about meeting an appraiser comes from having a less updated home sell for more than a very updated home of the exact same floor plan. I met the apprasier and though we still appraised low, we sold for more than the updated home. Turns out that discount broker didn’t meet the appraiser and relied on the home to speak for itself, leaving $15,000 on the table. (That was way more than the updated home’s seller would have paid by hiring a non-discount broker.)

In a seller’s market, getting through HOA void periods quickly is important as well. Having an agent that prepares for that ahead of time and doesn’t wait until the seller is under contract is just leaving the right to void period open for a buyer. And that’s not the only pitfall regarding HOAs. Did you know if HOA or condo violations are not corrected before settlement a buyer maintains a right to void under the title paragraph of the contract? Professional, local agents know the most frequently seen HOA violations and can help a seller prepare for their HOA resale inspection before the home is ever listed.

Details abound in the contract to close period of a home sale. Getting the major points of negotiation handled before there is an issue is a major part of that. Hiring a professional agent to lead the way is always the path to the highest profit. Again, it may seem intuitive to cut commission to save money, but he best don’t work for less. If a seller wants the best result (highest bottom line,) the agent they hire matters.

Sellers: Is Your Home Ready For a Home Inspection?

Sellers: Is Your Home Ready For a Home Inspection?

In the seller market conditions that the Bristow/Gainesville market, and entire Northern Virginia area has been facing, home inspections have been more rare. However, after a dip in activity during the summer months, home inspection contingencies seem to be making a come back. Granted, buyers may be opting for Right to Void Home Inspections vs. the right to ask for repairs as part of the contingency. However, your property should leave very little cause for concern. You don’t want to cause undue alarm to buyers, their agents and inspectors for items that are well within your control to maintain for less than the cost of a dinner out at a very nice restaurant.

Here are some items that sellers can do to prepare their properties for home inspection:

  • Change your air filters before the inspection
  • Make sure all burned out light bulbs have been replaced
  • Gas fireplaces should have pilot lights lit and ready to ignite
  • Replace batteries in ceiling fan remotes and leave remotes where they are visible
  • Make sure your garage door opener safety sensors are aligned and free of cobwebs
  • Garage door remotes should be left out for testing
  • Downspouts should be connected and in good order with extenders if possible
  • Hose bibs should be winterized in mid to late fall and remain so until early spring
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are less than ten years old, have fresh batteries and all are the same model if hard wired into your home

These simple items can save so many headaches with buyers. Light bulbs that are burned out are called out as non-functioning lights by inspectors. Same with gas fireplaces that can’t be ignited. And dirty air filters can cause all kinds of alarm.

The photo at the top of this post was taken at a home inspection where I represented the buyer. There was zero air flow going through it, thus suffocating the air handler. The filter was being sucked into the air handler. This meams the HVAC was working harder than it needed to, which can lead to prematurely aging the system. In the case of the property where this drywall dust and paint particle encrusted filter was found, it was obvious that the renovations done to the property prior to hitting the market left a lot of debris in the air. Obviously, it all landed in the air filter, as it is supposed to. Unfortunately, the sellers, nor their contractors, thought to change the air filter during or after the improvements to lessen the stress on the HVAC.

Simple maintenance items can stop a lot of unnecessary panic.

The Cost of Skipping Listing Preparation

The Cost of Skipping Listing Preparation

When meeting with sellers about what they should do to to prepare their home for market, I am often met with groans and dread. Suggesting anything from a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, updated flooring in bathrooms and even de-cluttering can elicit responses I know like the back of my hand. Here are a few:

  • The next owners will want to personalize the space with their own colors so it is a waste to paint it neutral.
  • Installing carpet is such a hassle. I would rather just offer a credit.
  • That floor in the bathroom has served us well all the time we’ve lived here. Why update it now?
  • De-clutter? I thought it was a seller’s market. Can’t buyers look past that? There’s nothing on the market.

Nobody likes the hassle of a project, that includes buyers. The cost to actually do the preparation far outweights what a buyer would charge in what I can a P.I.T.A. (Pain In The ***) tax. I’ve expressed it many times to sellers. When a buyer walks in and slumps their shoulders with the dread of a task, the adding machine is running at estimates that always exceed the cost of doing business. Now, due to a recent sale in my own neighborhood, I have a real life example to share. In fact, I made it part of my recent Braemar Townhouse Report.

In the span of seventy-nine days, one townhouse was marketed and sold twice by two different owners. The first go round was by sellers who had owned the home for three years. The home was more cluttered than it should have been on professional photo day, had some varying paint colors on the wall and needed carpet in a couple of rooms. Apparently, they also needed a new roof. It listed for $385,000 and sold for $393,000.

Only thirteen days later, the investor that bought the home had it listed for $429,000. They had painted the entire home a neutral color, which freshened it up. They added a back splash in the kitchen. New lighting fixtures were added to the bathrooms and anywhere there was a ceiling mounted fixture. The bathrooms were tiled with a very modern, neutral tile. The owner’s bathroom vanity had been painted. Faucets in the bathrooms were updated. New mirrors added or old ones framed in the bathroom for a more modern feel. Carpet in the bedrooms was replaced. A new garage door opener installed and the big one, a new roof. It closed in late August for $433,000.

The difference in sold price was $40,000. The investment to make the improvements, at worst, was likely $15,000. More likely, it was $10,000. Would spending that kind of money to get $25,000 to $30,000 more in your sold price be worth the aggravation? Clearly, the price to do the jobs was not $40,000. And if the first sellers had an approved insurance claim for the roof, they would have been facing far less money spent than they left on the table.

Some sellers really are cash strapped and can’t afford the up front costs to do improvements. The great news for them is that there are actually contractors out there who will let payment ride until the home closes and allow themselves to be paid from funds at closing.

If this example doesn’t drive home the reason to do listing preparation, I don’t know what would. And the differences in sales prices only get larger when the price point and home are larger. Hire a professional listing agent that knows how best to prepare a listing with minimal cash outlay for maxmimum return. If you are selling in Bristow, Gainesville or the surrounding area, I can help.

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