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Tips for making your home more attractive to sellers to help you close the deal quickly.
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Kevin McCormally: I am Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger's and I am here Pat Esswein, the Housing Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine to talk about selling a house in a buyer's market.
Pat, what a difference a couple of years make. It used to be -- it was a sellers market, you could put anything on the market, it would sell like this, buyers were scrambling, bidding. Things have just turned around completely. How do you sell your house in a buyer's market?
Pat Esswein: Well, probably, the first thing you need to remember as a seller now is that your house, when you put it on the market is no longer your home, it is a product; you have to prepare it for sale, and market it as such. So the three things that anyone, any real estate agent will tell you, you need to do is to clean it, de-clutter it and present it in good condition.
Kevin McCormally: Okay let us take the first of the three C's. Cleaning; what do you mean by that, I try to keep my house clean, now?
Pat Esswein: We all do, but we all probably live with more mess and dirt than most buyers would like to see in a home. So now is the time to clean your home within and inch of its life.
Kevin McCormally: What about de-cluttering the house? What do you mean by that?
Pat Esswein: You know, you are going to have to pack up everything when you move anyway so why not do it now? Pack it up, if you do not want to hire a storage facility, then line the boxes up neatly in your garage and that is also an indication to prospective buyers that you are a serious seller.
Kevin McCormally: Can you talk about putting a house in good condition. I assume that means repairs. What kind of repairs are you talking about, minor repairs?
Pat Esswein: We want to start with minor repairs, lots of us live with little imperfections that we just do not get around to fixing. Those do not take a lot of money or effort to fix. You and I can --
Kevin McCormally: What you are talking about?
Pat Esswein: Well, if you have had a cracked window, may be you have a squeaky front door, there is a poor first impression, or maybe a leaky water faucet.
Kevin McCormally: What about bigger repairs, more major repairs? Should you tackle them before you sell your house?
Pat Esswein: You may have to. In this market if they are other houses to look at, buyers may walk away from yours if it has a major repair that needs doing, say the roof needs fixing. If money is an issue at this point, you may want to ask contractors if they are willing to accept payment at closing. That is one way to handle that.
Kevin McCormally: So you might have to put a new roof on. What about renovating the kitchen? Is that something you do at this point?
Pat Esswein: No, definitely not. You can do minor cosmetic updates like maybe changing out a faucet or replacing a counter top. But this is definitely not the time to put lot of money into renovating a kitchen or bathroom. In a slower market like this, you may not recoup the cost at sale.