Blog by Tomasz Wdowczyk

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Repairs to Your Home

If you really want to attract serious home buyers, keep your sales contract from falling through, and get the best possible price, you need to swallow hard and fix that house.

You may be in luck, the only fixes you may need to make are to give your walls a fresh coat of paint, unstick a tight hinge on your window frame and put some oil on a creaky door. Or, you may have to do more extensive, expensive work — such as fixing your roof or replacing an old furnace.

In either case, the cost of making repairs can easily outweigh the price of digging in your heels and yelling, “No! I don’t want to!” The cost of your refusal can mean more money lost or spent while waiting for a sale, the possibility of additional home problems cropping up, and months wasted on unsuccessful home selling — instead of enjoying the next chapter in your life.

Here’s what you should do:

Fixing the small things matters. Buyers often think small problems are telltale signs of bigger ones, in the same way that a stain on someone’s shirt may provide a glimpse into their deeper flaws. So, if you want to prevent someone from thinking your wobbly door knob represents more serious underlying issues, tighten that door knob today.

Many buyers will also use your home’s flaws as an excuse to offer you a lower price. They interpret these flaws as a lack pride in your home, or that you lack the money to fix them and are desperate and willing to sell for less.

When it comes to making major repairs, get several estimates on the price of the work. If you can, have the work performed before or while your home is on the market. If you can’t afford the repairs, the estimates you receive will indicate how much money you’ll need to deduct from your home price. If you don’t know the cost of the repairs in advance, you may end up taking more money off than is necessary to close a deal.

I’ve heard of many a home seller who refused to spend $5,000 in repairs, only to knock off more than $15,000 to reel in a buyer. If these sellers had gone out and got estimates in advance,  they could have at least offered the buyers a credit for that amount — instead of selling the home at a much lower price.