Earlier today I read a blog my Anne Rains about a house she took a buyer to see... it was a mess. It had smells. It had clutter. They left.
It reminded me of a house.
I was six. And it was a cool house... in that 70s sort of way. That was only appropriate, since it was the 70s. it had a pretty big yard, a GIANT family room and a pool. I made friends pretty fast, and walked to school. It was a great five years in that house.
But the day we saw it for the first time, it was a disaster. Honestly, I don't think that any of the homes I have shown as an agent have been on the level of the one my parents bought when I was 6.
- the pool was green... and one could almost walk across it... NASTY
- there were several neat little piles of dog poop in the large family room. No dog... just poop.
- the kitchen looked like a school had prepared dinner... then left.
- there were people sleeping in the beds... during the showing...
- the remnants of the previous night's party were still all over the house... floors, counters... everywhere
Apparently the parent left the "kids" for the weekend. They knew there was a showing in the morning, but it wasn't nearly as important to them.
Obviously my parents bought the house anyway...
And they stole it. My Dad offered low, and stuck to his guns. Nothing else was happening for the sellers (any wonder?) so they pretty much had to play our game. By not prepping the house to sell, they limited their options.
Sure, they tried to blame it on the kids, but the pool took a LONG time to get where it was. The mess in the house was not a two day event... it was weeks in the making. The dog that was no longer on the scene had eaten a bedroom door... some carpet... and part of a wall.
Five years later we moved halfway across the country.
The house sold in 30 minutes. My dad called the agent that sold us the house. He was there five minutes later (he lived around the corner). They talked about price. We needed a quick sale for the job related move. The buyer was there about 15 minutes after the agent... he had made a call. Full price.
Could they have held out for more? Probably. But in the 5 years we had the house, my parent more than doubled their money. That would be including the deferred maintenance and upgrades. According to my dad, it also included the riding mower...
My mom deserves some credit...
The house was ready to show within minutes of the real estate agent getting the call. It was clean, free of smells and ready to host. My dad deserves a little, too. I will never forget the work he did on the pool... I think he swam in it twice, but he spent countless hours rebuilding every system he could.
Selling a home is a process that starts WAY before the listing contract is signed. And it is a process that continues AFTER the paperwork is signed. The house HAS to be kept up. To really make it rock, it needs to be maintained. Even now, with foreclosures grabbing all of the attention... for sellers to compete, they need to show that THEIR homes are ready to go and don't need the time, money and attention that the foreclosed and short sale homes need.
And it is WAY easier to just keep it up all along than it is to fight back the deferred maintenance. Right here in Lilburn, GA, there are some pretty good deals. There are some that are just amazingly cheap, but may need some love. There are others that appear to cost a little more, but they are in excellent condition and don't have the hidden pitfalls.
Don't forget that the REAL price is seldom on the contract.