Small Defects Become Big Turnoff for Home Buyers

One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is listing a home with obvious, although small, problems.

Any house — even a brand-new house — needs fixing from time to time. It’s just that buyers don’t want to be reminded of this obvious truth when it comes time to plunk down their cash.

Most buyers would rather believe that their home is going to be fine, and for the money they’re paying, they’d prefer to have a problem-free house.

As a seller, your top priority is to overcome any real or imagined obstacles buyers have. Fixing stuff that’s broken and selling a home that looks like it’s been impeccably maintained over the years is a good start.

Grab a pen and pad of paper and start by touring your home looking for things that need to be done. Perhaps your walls or trim need touching up with a fresh coat of paint. Or maybe you have a crack in a floor tile. Or, your wall clock needs a fresh set of batteries in order to display the correct time.

Check the bathrooms: cleaning or regrouting bathroom tile and fixtures will help make that room seem fresh and clean. Cracked window panes and ripped shades should be replaced before any agent or buyer walks through the door.

Not fixing broken items — especially those that can be easily fixed — sends a not-so-subtle message to the buyer that you don’t care enough to get these things done.

A prospective buyer may be opening up every drawer and door. How well these items work communicates a lot about how you’ve taken care of the property. Making a good impression here will go a long way toward getting your home sold quickly — and for more money.

If you can’t manage to get your home in selling shape yourself, check the Web for local handyman- or handywoman-type businesses to help you out. Typically, you can hire these folks for an hourly or flat fee to take care of your “to do” list.

While you may spend a couple of hundred dollars having someone install a new light fixture, fixing creaky doors or changing light bulbs, the results should make the expenditure worthwhile.

By Ilyce Glink

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