Many buyers prefer the charm and character of older houses, but they have understandable concerns about the condition of the property. These include the possibility of large, unexpected expenses if a major component or system should fail, or the need to invest a significant amount of money to bring the house up to date. Fortunately, there are many steps sellers can take when preparing an older house for sale, to create buyer confidence and make the house more appealing.
Sellers must prove that the house is in good condition, so the first step is to have a home inspection. If the inspector finds any problems, have the repairs made before the house is listed. Never plan to sell “as is”. Include the inspection report and repair receipts in your marketing materials. Provide a one year home warranty to reduce concerns about unexpected expenses. Other issues that can affect buyer confidence include the presence of radon, lead-based paint, or materials that contain asbestos. If you’re aware of these hazards, you must disclose them, but remember that these hazards can be mitigated.
It’s essential to have no signs of deferred maintenance, inside or outside. Landscaping and hardscaping should be well-designed and in good condition. Trees and shrubs should not be so overgrown they’re no longer in scale with the house, or block light from entering the interior. If you don’t know how to create better curb appeal, have a consultation with a landscape professional. If you have a septic system or a well, you need to prove that they’ve been maintained and are in good condition.
Even when your budget doesn’t allow major updates, there are many things you can do to make your house more appealing and photogenic. A good first step is to edit your belongings down to the essentials so that you can see if the paint looks tired, or if cosmetic repairs are needed. With fewer belongings, buyers can see the features that make older houses so appealing. If you don’t know where to begin, consulting a professional stager is inexpensive and will generate creative ideas to set priorities and make the best use of your budget.
Smart Selling Tip:
Prepare an older home for sale by taking steps to create buyer confidence that the house is in sound condition. Consult with a professional stager for guidance on creating cosmetic appeal within your budget.
©2010 Sandy LeRoy and Mary Stephens