If you’re a seller, or thinking of selling, this is the post for you! I have had the pleasure to work with many buyers throughout my career – both first time buyers & experienced. I’ve compiled a list of pain points that I would say most buyers have when it comes to looking at, identifying, and purchasing property. I always believe that sellers should look at their property the way a buyer would, that way you can be sure you’ll be putting your best foot forward when looking to sell.
- Dirtiness: I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to keep your property clean. And I mean, really clean…not just Saturday morning because the in-laws are coming over clean. When I was listing my own place, I cleaned like I’ve never cleaned before BUT I totally forgot about the ceiling fan blades. I got a remark from an agent about how dirty and gross the one in the kitchen was – and it wasn’t even that bad. The buyers perception of the property dramatically changed because her Realtor emphasized the 1 dirty thing & harped on it. Needless to say, I got my butt home and scrubbed the sh*t out of those fan blades.
- Things that don’t open/work: There is nothing more discouraging to a buyer than going to open a door, window, cupboard etc only to find it’s stuck or broken. I know it seems so rudimentary, but honestly, we all forget it! We get used to that pantry door that squeaks and the door knob that falls off all the time, so we might not think about it from a buyers perspective.
- WATER: I made this one all caps because it is the hottest button issue right now for every buyer. In Chicagoland, since 2014 we’ve experienced so much more rain than usual. Houses that had never gotten water before were experiencing seepage problems in the basement, backed-up gutters, and sewage backups. It’s been a crazy 4 years since then, and the water has not slowed down. Not all homes have water systems, so if your’s doesn’t, I’d highly recommend looking into that now. Of course, not all homes will get water/flood – but I guarantee you EVERY buyer will be concerned about that.
- Roof: if you have a property where it’s difficult to access/see the roof, buyers are going to be extra concerned about its well being. Most inspectors bring ladders with them and climb around the roof; looking for loose/missing shingles, signs of age, cracks in the chimney and the shape of the gutters. BUT if they can’t access the roof for some reason (too steep, it’s a 3flat and their ladder isn’t that big etc) most buyers are going to ask for a roofer to come out and quote them. As we all know, the roof is the top of the house and the 1st line of defense against Mother Nature, so buyers (especially 1st timers) are always looking to make sure they’re covered…get it? If you’ve got a fairly healthy roof but know it might need to be replaced in 5ish years, I’d recommend giving the buyer’s 1 year of home warranty (that’s around $650).
- Taxes: we live in Illinois, there is no way to escape high property taxes. What we can do is make sure that all the exemptions you’re qualified for get applied onto your taxes. Almost everyone qualifies for the Homeowners Exemption (if you’ve lived there as your primary residence for 1yr+), but make sure you also apply for a seniors if that’s applicable. The nice thing about having these on your taxes prior to a buyer looking at your property, is that it rolls over for them and they won’t have a lapse in exemptions. The other pro tip is to constantly contest your taxes. Let me know if you need a great lawyer for this!
Here’s the thing – buyers are picky. They want the best property for the best price, and most of them don’t want to do any work once they move in. It’s important to remember to think like that when prepping your property to sell. If you have a critical eye, you’ll be setting yourself up for success!