Selling Your Own Home: The Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
As a Realtor you see so many things that you just have to shake your head at. You wonder why they did that. Sure I've done things that I look back on and wish I would have thought that out first. Here are some of the worst mistakes homeowners can make that really cost when it comes time to sell their home.
(Bonus Sellers Hint) Where is the landscape? Curb appeal is a definite plus when you want to sell your home. It doesn't cost much to water your lawn and pull the weeds. In fact, I even help my sellers, if they don't mind, to spruce up their front yard. You can lose thousands off your sale price just because you didn't water and cut your lawn. Those pretty little lines and well weeded gardens draw the eyes. Envy can earn you money. Make them drool. If you don't have anything visual to draw them in you are losing potential buyers. A dirt lawn doesn't draw the buyers, it scares them away.
10) Bringing pets into the home. I know, we all have pets. I have more than you can imagine, that is why this one is number ten and not at the top of the list. Even though we love our pets the odors they leave are not loved so much. Having a well kept dog compared to a urinating cat is very different. But if you are ever interested in selling your home, count out the entire allergic crowd for potential buyers. Pet dander alone can stay in a home for years after you have moved on unless the carpets are completely removed and the floors have been disinfected along with the walls and even ceiling. Non-pet owners can walk by some ones front door and sense the animal has been there. Pet odor is a lot like a smoke odor; it doesn't just go away.
9) Prolonged moisture is a big problem. Many home owners don't realize that something as simple as turning on your bathroom fan can save so much money when it comes time to sell your home. When you have single paned windows water tends to collect near the window sill and can lead to mold growth. In the bathroom when you shower; if don't release the moisture, the water sits in a warm climate and mold begins to grow. The key to low moisture is plenty of dry, moving air. If you can see that there is excessive moisture somewhere in your home bring in the fans. A simple fan can help prevent mold growth. Another mistake home owners make is after shampooing their carpets, they forget to leave the windows cracked to dry out the air.
8 ) You've gone down to the local hardware store and picked up your fabulous, expressive paint. You've made it home with paint roller in hand, and you begin to express yourself. This is fine, just be ready to cover it up when you want to sell your home. I am not sure how many times I have shown a home with red walls. No, no, no don't do it! My buyers have never failed to make a spiteful comment like, “What were they thinking?" I'm not quite sure, is all I can say. If you are going to express yourself please have fun with it, but when you are ready to let someone else buy your home, freshen up the palette. Go down two weeks before you go on the market and get the slightly, off white blend and cover up your vibrant colors. Trust me I have yet to hear, "Oh wow! This person has style; I'd have chosen red also." White is just safer.
7) Pick up the trowel or, wait, put it down! Sheet rock is one of the most difficult arts of building a home. It looks so simple, smooth it out, add some texture and wallah. No...It is not that simple. Drywall artists, and they are artists, have a lot of practice and steady hands. They know where to cut the seams and have special tools for getting it all to line up and blend. They are so good at the job that they can drywall an entire 10X10 room in a few hours. If you knock a whole in your wall, depending on how much damage was done, call a dry wall repair company. They can give you back that flawless wall you had before the incident.
6) Do it yourself remodeling can go both ways. Some have the natural knack for that designer feel. While others, sorry to say, just need to put down the tools and hire a contractor. You dream of that big, beautiful, jetted tub and tile flooring with a gorgeous counter top and plenty of storage. Well, if you know it is too big of a job, for you alone, call in a contractor and get some price quotes. Chances are their cost is going to get you more money, when you sell your home, rather than the buyers touring your, make shift, bathroom and exiting quickly.
5) Gutters serve a great purpose. Your home needs to stay as dry as possible. Cleaning those gutters is so important. It is safe to hire a professional to clean them, but on occasion a home owner is pretty good on a ladder and can do it themselves. As long as the gutters and down spouts are up to par and leading the water away from the home you are good to go. But if the gutters are plugged and water is spilling everywhere when it rains your home can become damaged. Excessive water and no way to dry out can lead to rot. A simple mistake can lead to major expenses when you go to sell. Clean out those gutters, and while you’re up there get rid of that roof moss.
4) The freelance electrician. You have a bit of knowledge about electrical and feel up to the job of adding in a few outlets that are desired around the house. Well do you know that if you didn't follow all the rules with wiring that you will pay for your mistakes when you have your inspection? Most buyers don't like the idea of their future house burning down because of some handy work. They are going to ask for the repairs by a professional electrician. Well, you should have called in the electrician in the first place. A couple hundred dollars spent, compared to lowering your home value by a couple thousand. Buyers don't look at mistakes and see hundreds coming off the sale price. Most buyers automatically see thousands peeling off.
3) Wait! Don't knock that wall down just yet! Have you ever walked into a home and the ceiling is sagging in a certain spot? You see one pillar in the center of a room and wonder what the builder was thinking when they put in one post in the center of a room. Chances are it wasn't the builder. Chances are the home owner got happy hands and knocked down a wall to open up the house a bit. By the time the wall was gone they may have walked outside and saw that the roof was sagging exactly where they knocked down the wall. Being a bit slow to punch, and now in a panic, the owner calls in the contractor to fix their mistake. At this point in time, all the contractor can do is install a support post and drywall it to make it look pretty. The damage is done and unless you tear all the layers back and restructure everything, it is going to be ugly forever. The home will be structurally safe after the contractor installs the pillar, but as for pretty, you are out of luck.
2) The garage addition, good idea, or unfortunate mistake? Okay, we have all thought about it, an extra room, and more living space. No! Most of the time a big garage is worth more to a buyer; than an extra room taking up their garage space. You may think you really added value to your home by giving it 100 or so more square feet, but you most likely just decreased your value, by possibly $20,000 or more, because of stigma. A converted garage is a non permitted renovation and an inspector will let you know how many things can go wrong. First of all, fire hazard, your garage has a fire barrier built in, to slow a fire from over taking the rest of the house in case a fire begins in your garage. The garage usually holds many flammable items, things you would never bring in your home. Putting a room out there is dangerous. I bet you didn't install a fire resistant door on the room or install fire resistant sheet rock on the walls either. Most likely you don't have a window in the room either, or a source of built in heat. Without a closet or a window you can't consider it living space. If it is not accessible from within the house it is not considered part of your living space. There are too many problems with garage additions. If you have one, before you sell it, it is better to just convert it back and offer buyers the garage space. To build it properly you would need to bring in a professional contractor. There is a possibility that you may run into a buyer that is interested in the extra space, but the chances that you won't need to put more money into the garage addition to make them feel safer about it are slim.
1) You decide you want a little extra space and choose to add on to the preexisting home. Well, this is a great idea accept; are you hiring a professional or doing it yourself? If you are hiring a professional then go for it. Everyone wants a bigger home. If you are doing it yourself, stop! Unless you are a contractor working on your own home, this is not going to go well. There are so many restrictions and rules to building a home and if you don't have your contracting license you don't have access to current rules that are so important to the safety of others and building a lasting home. I know I can't do it. I freely admit I have no idea where to begin. From proper drainage to correctly placed supporting walls; along with electrical, plumbing, and roofing; things can go wrong so quickly. Not to mention, years down the road, something you forgot when you added on could really cause damage to your existing home or someone’s life.
From ten to one if you listen and learn from others you can make a pretty fair profit on your home. It is the happy hand home owners that wonder in then end why their home is worth less now then when they bought it. They are also the ones that are left clueless when they receive an offer extremely lower then selling price. It is worth it to invest in professionals and let them increase the value of your home. It is also worth it to take care of what you purchase. Keep up your investment and treat it with love and care. Don't let it fall apart over time from neglect. The easiest way to learn how to take care of your home is to go down to your local hardware store and take advantage of the free 'how to' seminars they offer.