No doubt about it, we have seen some tough years in the real estate market. With conditions improving, it is still a buyer’s market and there are homes that are still sitting, just begging for an offer. However, selling an undesirable home certainly poses it shares of challenges. What’s considered “undesirable” is left up to the buyer. For some, fixer uppers are a good buy as long as it is priced right. For others, location is not nearly as important if they are buying for a rental property. Yet, “undesirable” can even be a beautiful home, on a nice block, but it has been so overbuilt that agents consider it very difficult to sell at a price the seller thinks they deserve.
But there are all kinds of homes on the market that many would consider a difficult sell. Here are some tips to market such a home. And remember, if a home is priced right, that’s a step in the right direction.
Buyers today are looking for spacious and open floor plans. With kitchens that are connected to the family room and in a central location within the home, seem to be the preferences for most looking at homes. If you have a home that is dark, dated and smells like the seventies, then it’s important to make some changes to make your property more appealing.
1. If rooms are small, and the layout is odd, then make sure any oversized, outdated furniture is removed. Take away any heavy window coverings and replace with minimal treatments.
2. Paint! Make sure your dark rooms are painted a light, neutral color as this can freshen up a dingy looking home quickly and inexpensively. It’s amazing what a can of paint can do. Outdated brick fireplace? Consider painting it as well as dark, 70’s style wood paneling on the walls.
3. Shag carpeting? Get rid of it. If there are wood floors underneath, make them polish! If not, replace with affordable carpeting.
4. Get rid of clutter! This cannot be repeated enough. There should be no evidence of any personal accessories, such as family photos, too many knick-knacks or your shrine to your favorite sports team.
5. Kitchen: Chances are, if you have a dated home, you have a dated kitchen. Needless to say, it’s not expected that a full kitchen renovation is in the cards, but at the very least, it should be spotlessly clean. Get rid of any small appliances, like toasters or can openers, and clear all counters to give it a more spacious look. Take off all magnets and notes from the refrigerator, clean out the cupboards and organize them as well as storage is important for buyers. If you can’t have a modern kitchen, then make it clean and organized.
6. Go outside: Curb appeal on a dated home is even more important for less than desirable homes. Make sure your landscaping is well kept, seasonal flowers are planted, and overgrown trees and bushes are trimmed as well as a front door, mailbox and hardwood that have been updated. A couple of pots with flowers to greet visitors make this a home that looks well cared for. Buyers need to see good curb appeal if you want to get them in the front door.
There are some things a buyer just can’t do. It is virtually impossible to pick a house up and move it to a prime location. Well, okay, it could happen, but it would cost more than the house is worth. Bad locations are considered homes near these areas:
Lots of traffic
Waste, nuclear or electrical plant
Airports or freeways
Garbage, landfills and recycling
The best thing you can do, and I will repeat this, is to price your home reasonably. You may have the most amazing home, but if it is next door to a McDonalds, then you need to list your home at a price where buyers will at least look at your home.
If the price is right, then there are marketing steps that can target buyers to your property. For example, if you live near a cemetery, then chances are, the neighbourhood is quiet. For some people, living in a low-key area is exactly what they want. If commercial properties are nearby, chances are, so is public transportation, so that should be highlighted as many buyers depend on easy access to city buses and subways. Living near high traffic can mean lower crime rate, as break-ins don’t often happen on busy streets.
Again, pricing and good marketing are two very important steps a buyer must take to sell a property in an undesirable location.
There once was a client who refused to buy a home that he loved, because the nieghbour next door would not mow his lawn. When this happened, the seller hired landscapers to mow the yard and it wasn’t much longer until the home sold. Unfortunately, bad neighbours happen. When they decide to paint their house purple, or use their front yard has a parking lot, it is difficult and frustrating for sellers to promote their home that they have prepared to sell.
So if you live next door to a foreclosure, a party house or a barking dog, then there are certain steps you can take to see if this situation can be handled respectfully.
With foreclosures, talk to the bank that owns the property and insist that they protect the property from vandals and that it is properly maintained. Don’t attempt to clean up the mess yourself.
With a house that loves to throw parties day and night, try talking to your neighbours and let them know that you would appreciate their cooperation as you try and sell your home. Planting sound absorbing shrubs might be helpful Discuss with other neighbours on your block to see if they have any solutions. There may be city or town ordinances that could support your cause.
And of course, the barking dog. Buyers that walk through your Windsor home and outside will take note of the never ending barking. Again, a talk with your neighbour is in order. Maybe they are at work all day and not aware of the issue. Ask if they can take their dog to a doggie day care while they are gone. If this is not possible, or the owners are aware of the problem and refuse to do anything about it, then a call to animal control might be needed.