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Question DetailsAsked on 11/25/2016

What are the pros and cons of selling my house is?

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Assuming you mean "as-is", here is one prior response to that question, but it was keyed to a divorce situation so not quite the same situation as a normal house sale:

Generally, significant fixups other than to fix things that will raise red flags during inspection are NOT recommended before sale - you rarely recover the value, and the chance the you choose will match a buyer's choices are poor. In addition, significant fixups mean more time off the market, unless this will be done curing your final occupancy because you are not moving for quite some time. Many people do fixups not realizing they are losing $1000-2000+ per month in mortgage interest, utilities, property taxes, etc. Also, time of year makes a big difference - this is the slow season in most areas so better time for that than in spring or summer when demand is high and you should be concentrating on getting the house listed and moving.

Also - the prime house selling time is the first week to 10 days after it goes on the market - so any fixups should be completed BEFORE listing, because that is when the most showings will occur and when the Caravan of Realtors occurs. It is not uncommon for a new listing to have 20-40 showings in the first week after listing, and then take a year or even more to get that many more showings - so you want it to look right immediately upon listing.

Generally, realtors recommend fixing things that will be "walk-away" items - those that turn a buyer off and make them walk out before a full viewing. Fixing leaking pipes, cleaning up obviously trashy or dirty appearance inside or out, at least touching up paint that is ugly, sprucing up yard, and maybe repainting doors and/or window trim if needed, sealing worn or weathered asphalt, replacing badly worn carpet - the things that cheaply but dramatically improve curb appeal or first appearance on walk-in.

Also - repairing or replacing (as appropriate) non-functioning plumbing or light fixtures and switches and built-in appliances that will pop up on the inspection report as defects.

Of course, if you are able to DIY on some items the economics changes, especially with putting down laminate or snap-together flooring, repainting, etc.

The local market makes a big difference too - if it is a "tight" or Seller's market obviously buyers will be more willing to buy a house that they feel needs some work than if it is a depressed real estate market and the buyers are in control. And if listing periods in your area are real long, you might be able to improve its saleability (and reduce on-the-market duration) with a few more spruce-ups - ditto if you are in a forced move (say job relocation) and need to turn the house over quickly tobe able to buy a new one in your new location.

Selling a home "as-is" is commonly only done with tear-downs or severe fixer-uppers, and with estate sales where the estate wants a quick sale and no hassles from having to fix a house up. Otherwise, for normal livable residences, obvious repairs, just do minor touchups for curb and first-glance appeal, clean it, and see what buyers come back with. If they see things that seriously bother them and they consider "sub-standard", they will come back with them as contingency items to be fixed before closing. (If you don't know what post-inspection contingency items are, talk to your realtor).

My experience - clean and neat appearance counts for more than new paint or flooring, as long as the existing is not so worn as to look trashy. Also, an empty house shows flooring and paint issue a lot more than one being shown while occupied, so that makes a difference too. Also, for a quick sale, proper "staging" (google "home staging" if you don't know what it is) can move a house quicker than say a new paint job or new flooring as long as the existing is servicable and not visually objectionable.

You can also offer a "credit" or deduct from the listing price for repainting or flooring replacement by the buyer after closing if some are worn but not terrible looking - which gives the buyer the option of getting the finishes they want rather than what you choose - some buyers like that, some do not, depending on whether they are looking for a move-in ready house or not and on how they feel about having contractors in to their new house. Of course, how much equity you have in the house or whether it is mortgaged to the hilt affects your ability to give credits - and certainly affects your return-on-investment for DIY touchups.

You can find a number of articles at real estate sites like at the National Association of Realtors on this subject and on what things you can economically do to improve the appeal of your house by googling search phrases like "house sale appeal" and "pre-sale improvements" and "return on investment on home improvements". There are also pre-sale checklists galore forthings uyou can do yourself to improve saleability - mostly in the trimming, cleaning, minor touchup painting categories.

Oh - one other thing. Realtors of course like to get the contract signed and the house on the market - to increase their number of listings, and in the hopes of a quick turnaround with little effort on their part. However, especially with a house that needs some loving care to be saleable, it is more advantageous to hold off on the listing contract, or sign it but with a contingency that it does not actually get "listed" or advertised until it is really ready to go on the market - and the realtor should be required to have all the marketing (real estate magazine ad, any newspaper advertising, for-sale sign and flyers, MLS listing, etc all in effect on the day the listing does into effect, and make sure the house is included in that week's Caravan of Realtors. All too many houses are listed on the MLS but do not have the advertising and for sale sign and flyers and such out for a week or too - wasting much of the "new listing" exposure that is so critical to a rapid sale. Get your act together, have all the fixups done and all the prep work ready to release on listing day and you can commonly get a month-to-few period to receipt of first acceptable offer down to a week or less, as has been the case on several houses I have had sold.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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