Fixing It Before Selling It.

REALTOR® Outlook

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

November 20, 2005

Thanks to my husband’s graphics business, we are considered a “home office family.” Fortunately, he is a routine kind of guy so I don’t have to worry about him in his pajamas at noon.

However, home offices do present challenges when it comes to “company coming”.  When I realized that a particularly fastidious client of his would be meeting him at “our house” the next morning, I took a quick look around the house and thought “oh, no.”

There were projects piled here and there, stacks of reams of paper, job envelopes, and the dog’s bed was pretty scruffy. This house is not fit for guests.

This is how sellers should feel when they know a potential buyer is coming to see the home.

After years of living in a home, it’s easy to forget how to see your home through other eyes, and fall into a habit of overlooking home maintenance chores.

We all know that small problems are fixed faster and less expensively when they are small. However, we often overlook them when they are in that stage.

Most buyers want to buy homes they can move right into without having to make a lot of repairs, particularly when they are paying high prices.

Move-in condition is a term we all understand and a home like this appeals to a broad audience of prospective homebuyers. First-time homebuyers or busy families often won’t consider buying a home that needs a lot of work due to lack of funds and time constraints.

Sellers who don’t make needed repairs before putting their homes on the market may have difficulty selling, depending on how much work is needed.

Generally, owners spend a lot less money fixing things than they lose in price negotiation. It generally accepted that the longer a listing remains on the market the lower the final selling price.

Lenders can require work be completed before they will fund the loan. This happened recently on a patio cover that had never been completed.  In fact, the current owner bought it that way.

Some lenders require that termite work be completed prior to closing. In inclement weather or if the work is extensive, delays are almost certain.

A knowledgeable REALTOR® can be very helpful. Even a new agent with a strong office and experienced broker can be just what you need. Present a list of things that you, as the owner, feel should be done whether you sell or not, and evaluate the list in terms of time available and resources.

Tackle the short list first. The remaining items can be measured against the remainder of energy and dollars.


Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Ojai Valley and CENTURY 21 Buena Vista. She can be reached at 805.340.5025.



About Kay Wilson-Boltonhttp://www.kaywilsonbolton.netWith a full-time career in real estate, I can add to your bank of knowledge, not only in real estate but in many areas of life that deal with people and relationships and choices. My real estate career has taught me many lessons about planning ahead and looking forward. I believe in helping along the way so that they can be the best they can be in any situation. I serve as a Fire Department Chaplain and Coordinator for the Many Meals Project which serves homeless and hungry families in my community. The event is far more than many meals. As a result of my work with the homeless population in my community, I received the Good Neighbor Award 2017 from the National Association of Realtors and named as a Champion of Homes in 2015 by the California Association of Realtors. I make pastoral visits to the inmates in the County Jail System and offer them what God says about "all things being new" and His remarkable plan for our lives. I have served my community as Mayor and in many volunteer capacities. I serve others by serving God first. My husband is involved in prison ministry and is a graphic artist. We live a simple life in Santa Paula with an office cat named Scout, three rescued poodles and a cat named Tony Diane at home.

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