So you want to sell your property. All you need to do is hire a Realtor, keep your property clean at all times, and sort through the offers. Right? Wrong! Selling real estate is hard work. These days many homes are competing against yours, and you must use every opportunity to get a jump on the competition. Everything in your property must sparkle and work perfectly. This means no stained grout in the bathrooms, no scratched hardwood floors, and no worn-out carpeting. A person walking into your home should get a sense of grace and elegance, and the impression of a comfortable home in which to relax after a hard days work.
The following scenario demonstrates the importance of having your property in ship-shape condition prior to putting it on the market. Picture two identical, neighboring homes. The first has a beautifully manicured lawn with masses of flowering annuals and roses spilling over the trellis. As you walk into the house you smell fresh baked bread and hear the faint sounds of Mozart in the background. The property is spotless, the hardwood floors gleam, the bathrooms shines, and the sun pours through sparkling clean windows. You immediately experience a sense of well-being in this pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.
Now the neighboring property. As you walk up the sidewalk you notice there are the same masses of annual flowers and the same roses on the trellis, but the owners of this property have been to busy to weed the garden and the paint is peeling off the trellis. There are weeds pushing up between the cracks in the sidewalk. You try ringing the doorbell but it’s out of order. The Realtor had advised the owners that everything should be ship-shape and in working order, but their reply had been that people were buying a house worth $675,000 and a broken doorbell or a few weeds in the garden weren’t going to make or break the sale. Since the doorbell is out of order you pound on the door. Pandemonium breaks out as you hear the dog barking and the children fighting to answer the door. Inside, you find the living room is painted shocking pink. The owner explains she likes to stamp her own personality on a property, and it will not be a problem for the new owner to paint over the color. After picking your way through the children’s toys you tour the house, noticing the stains on the porcelain in the bathroom, the worn out living room carpet, and the darkness of the guest bedroom due to a burnt out light bulb that the owners neglected to replace.
Which property do you think these prospective purchasers will buy? While there are no major problems with the second house, and nothing a new paint job, minor repairs and a few hours on the weekend won’t fix, why bother? The first home is already perfect. Additionally, you felt relaxed in the first house, while in the second your senses were assaulted by shocking colors, noisy children, dogs and the general unkept atmosphere of the place. These home owners have let another prospective buyer slip through their fingers because they could not be bothered to put out the necessary effort to make their property competitive. These are the same people who will begin calling their Realtor in a few months, demanding to know why their home isn’t selling when other properties in the neighborhood are, and insisting that the Realtor change his marketing strategy.