Tag Archives: selling your home

Home Inspection…Duck and Cover!

UnknownAnother Home Inspection this week. Another reminder just how risky daily life is. Begs the question: Will any of us even survive the night in the unprotective-custody of our not-so-safe-houses?

They used to say most accidents occured up to five miles away from home. But after reading this 60page tome of a Home Inspection Report, I don’t see how anyone makes it out the front door in one piece – let alone down the driveway.

Nothing like a Home Inspection Report to make you feel incredibly insecure about all the insidious dangers that lurk in every room, closet and corner of the one place that’s supposed to keep us all safe.

I call it the 60 Minute Syndrome. Goes something like this. Morley Safer (fictitious name?) does a riveting expose on the dangers of automatic garage doors pinning unsuspecting children or small pets underneath. By the following week, consumer protection advocates are up in arms calling for installation of retroactive auto-reverse safety mechanisms.

On the front line of the Center for Dis-Ease Patrol are the Code Talkers. They are the Home Inspectors that cite chapter and verse of all the new codes we should live by. They’ve come to understand, after a lawsuit or two, that if they don’t warn everyone about every possible thing that could potentially harm anyone, their own butts are in grave danger. CYA rules. Absolute CYA rules absolutely.

And so the real estate process has moved into strange territory where the Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) of old has become the Caveat Venditor of today – which means Seller Beware of all those things that will scare you about your own home and also scare the heck out of any potential home buyers too.

Here are just a few of the things you probably never knew you had to worry about – until now.

– Does your oven have an anti-tip device? Ever see an oven fall over on someone? Not pretty.

– That naked light bulb in your closet? Stack those sweaters high enough and they’re a fire waiting to happen.

– That dryer vent? Filling up with combustible layers of lint even as we speak.

– How many dyslexic plumbers have installed hot and cold water lines backwards?

– Is every stairway a potential stairway to heaven? Risers too high? Too wide? Treds uneven? Handrails too hard to grip?

– Deck rails more than 4 inches apart? Wide enough for small heads to get stuck? My own baby crib had bars wider than that. You are all witness to the results.

– GFCI’s? Carbon Monoxide Detectors? Smoke Alarms? Pool Alarms? A ban on all extension cords? Tempered glass? Clamps to hold open the damper on your gasfireplace?

When I was growing up we nursed a healthy fear of the atomic bomb. But as long as we listened to Bert the Turtle – ducked, covered and didn’t stare directly into the blast, we were ok. Everything else was gravy. Well, except for remembering not to run with sharp pencils in hand or put those plastic dry cleaning bags over our heads. But that was a different day and age. Long before fear came home to rule the roost.

To List or Not To List?

Unknown-2Here we are, heading into the fall. The season is shifting. Days are growing shorter, The year is beginning to wind down. And for some, the real estate market is rapidly approaching one of those existential moments of truth. To List or Not to List… that is the question.

Yep, it’s that time all you Sellers. Or at least all you would-be Sellers who are wrestling with the age-old questions that would-be Sellers always torture themselves with this time of year – when it feels like the market is running out of time.

Is it too late to list? Has your window of opportunity already closed? Are there any Buyers left out there? Is it foolish to put your house on the market now? Will it just sit and gather days on market while the weather and Buyers continue to cool? The market won’t get any better as November approaches, will it? Won’t Buyers get even more distracted by all the holiday hoopla?

Should you just stop worrying about it and get your house on the market as fast as you can? Even if it isn’t completely ready? Maybe you’ll get lucky and catch the last big wave before things die down? Some homes are still selling aren’t they? With so few listings your property might be worth even more. There must be Buyers out there who lost out in multiple-offer contests this summer. They’re probably anxious to get in when there’s less competition. Are those the kind of Buyers who will pay more or less for your house?

Or should you just put things on hold and dial everything back? Take time to reset and plan for a better launch date in 2016? And if that’s the case – what time frame should you shoot for? Is January too early? Is May too late? Should you wait until the flowers bloom and things are green again? What if we have that Godzilla El Nino they’re talking about? How will that affect the market? Are we in a bubble now? Will it burst before you put your house on?

And… finally, if you do decide to sit back between now and next year, do you just wait and do nothing? Become a passive observer on the sidelines? Or are there more things you could be doing to prepare your home for sale and get better results? What steps should I take? What should you be aware of ? Who should you talk to?

Sound familiar? Did I cover most of those nagging fears and what-ifs that are competing for attention in your heads? What’s it going to be? Door number one? Door number two? Or door number three? Hold off or get it on? Put it off till next year and work to get it really ready?

It’s become fashionable lately to see Realtors using the tech-inspired buzz-phrase – hyper-local.Hyper-local hype is all over the internet. But I think we should chuck out hyper-local and replace it with hyper-personal – because the answers people are seeking are sublimely personal. Each person’s life is unique. Everyone’s situation is different. Write or give me a call if you want some hyper-personal advice.

Circling Birds: Part Deux

GirlBirdsThis goes out to all you circling birds. You don’t mind if I call you circling birds do you? Ok. It might help if I told you what circling birds are…You can decide for yourself if the flight pattern fits.

Whenever I sit down with Sellers thinking about putting their home on the market, the conversation inevitably turns to a kind of “active imagining” of who the buyer for their place might be.

Everyone wonders. What does the profile look like? That mysterious Buyer X who is going to emerge from the shadows of the great undefined “marketplace” – made up of a constantly shifting mix of people. All different ages, demographics, life circumstances, future goals, agendas, motivations, desires, needs.

Sometime, somehow, someone is going to decide on this one right place, out of all the other possible places lined up like addresses on the lottery board. A buyer that’s going to pull it together. Summon up courage, and resources. Proactively take the steps necessary to make it home.

My answer to most Sellers is that the person most likely to step up sooner rather than later isn’t someone who just started looking or is just getting around to thinking about looking for a home.

Rather, it’s most likely going to be one of those circling birds out there. And by that I mean one of those anxiously active, very frustrated buyers who has already been flying around for months – without arriving at their destination.

Yep. Circling birds have been at it for a while. Applying themselves. Doing their homework. Making the rounds. Trying to define what they want as they go.

Circling birds are tracking the market. They are hooked up to an intravenous fiber optic line that’s feeding them search engine e mails and a steady dose of new listings and price reductions hourly, daily and weekly.

They are remarkably knowledgeable about what has sold. What’s gone into escrow. What prices used to be. They know their own little market niche better than most Agents because that’s all they are looking at. They see the tree. Not the forest.

Circling birds have tromped through those atrocious bank-owned properties that give us all the creeps. And other tired old places that could only be classified as “the dregs” of the market. Some have already made offers awhile back on a short sale or two. Exhausted their patience while waiting for a response. A few have lost out in multiple offer bids for a really great place. Felt bitter pangs of disappointment. Dragged their hearts up and gone back into the trenches to look.

Each of these experiences and every house hones their focus and desire. Brings them closer to home. Narrows the parameters surrounding their future landing pad. They’ve looked high and low. At everything on the radar. Good, bad and ugly. They’ve grown more sure of what they want – through the process of elimination.

And that’s the whole thing Sellers. Circling birds are ready to go. And the inventory is exhausted. There’s nothing else to look at except that next best thing that comes on the market – your place!

When your house goes on, all those ready, willing and able buyers are going to sit up and take notice. They are going to bug their Agents to show it to them. They’ll be doing virtual drive-bys on google earth on their lunch hour. They’ll be doing drive-bys coming home from work. If it looks right and priced right, they’ll swoop in on the first day or for that first open house.

Make sense? So…what’s the big take away? The $64,000 answer to the $64,000 question? Ponder this: What happens when you put your house up for sale in this kind of market and nothing happens? Birds descend but they don’t stick around to roost? You accumulate enough weeks on market without an offer that you begin to feel like road kill that even the buzzards won’t touch?

What was that old Real Estate Mantra again? At the right price everything sells. At the right price all objections disappear. Hmmm. Might be that extra $64,000 you tried to add on to your $640,000 list price…. Just sayin’ Sellers…