Why won't anyone buy our house?
When a perfect plan falls apart...
This has been a great year for me and for the area real estate. I love this business and I love what I do. However, it is not all butterflies and rainbows. There are times when transactions fall apart. I've written previously about some of the things that can kill a deal.
I have recently encountered a troubled listing and want to open up about it, so that potential seller's can benefit. These sellers encountered a series of unfortunate events. One could write a book about as long as the original one with that title about issues that crop up when selling a home. Sadly, most of the problems on this particular home sale could have been prevented.
Root Cause Analysis...
There is a method of problem-solving in software development called root cause analysis. It is where the team examines the errors in a program to determine how they originated and how to prevent the problems from repeating. This same method can be applied to a home sale.
Examining this particular troubled listing, shows that it fell apart because of negligence - plain and simple negligence. The owners did not routinely maintain the home. Inspections repeatedly showed issues from simple and basic, to complex and costly. Buyers, having seen the lengthy inspection report, got worried and moved on to a different home.
A Tarnished Reputation...
Once a listing goes under contract, then goes back on the market, then goes under contract, then back on the market, and on and on, it begins to develop a reputation. Many buyers get anxious and leery about it. A buyer begins to wonder why no one else wanted the home time and time again. They are more apt to back out at the slightest hint of a problem – even if it is solvable.
Now, with a tarnished reputation, the home sells for less than it should.
Another tool I learned from my project management experience is to take a step back at the end of a project and record the lessons learned. This is done for the benefit of the next project and published for other teams so they can prevent mistakes. In that same way, I want to publish my client's experience so that other homeowners can benefit from it.
If you are thinking about selling your home, you will focus a lot on the presentation of what a buyer initially sees. That is extremely important to do, but it is only the cover of the book. The judging comes later. Buyers are going to have the home inspected. You won't be able to hide the condition of your home behind a curtain or rug.
Make sure that you keep your reputation clean from start to finish. Perform routine maintenance on your home. Make repairs and updates as necessary. Don't wait until it is too late.
Help is Here...
I have mentioned my software background a few time in this article. It is fitting that I end it with some software tools that help you get the job done. There are some great websites and smartphone apps out there that can assist you in successful home ownership. Check them out – and then use them. You will have a better living experience both now while you are living in the place, and later when you are ready to sell.
Bright Nest is a nifty app for your smart phone. You install it, set up a few items and let the app do the rest. It brings you tips and how-to information, gives you a schedule of when to do certain things. My current item is to clean out my refrigerator. That is why I am here writing this blog post - it is called avoidance. Yeah, they are not fun tasks. That is why they are called "tasks" and not "delights". It is necessary though. Trust me, when you are ready to sell your home, you will be glad you followed a plan.
If smartphone apps are not your thing, then look at some of these articles on home maintenance. This one from Texas A&M offers some great advice on home repair and lists out how long you should expect household items to last. It will help you budget for the inevitable.
I also found this awesome calendar checklist. It gives you a maintenance schedule that you should follow on a monthly basis. The company is based in Michigan so ignore the basement talk.
Finally, Homespot takes it a step further by getting you signed up on the web and sending you regular reminders on home maintenance. This is great for busy homeowners who won't always remember to check the app or a checklist on their own. It puts the request right in your inbox!
Ready To Sell...
When you are ready to sell contact me. I can give you a professional assessment of your home's value in today's market. Together we will work to make your home sale a complete success!