You love your job. Every property is a new adventure. Every sale is a dream you’ve fulfilled for buyers and sellers alike.
Best of all, every property presents its own unique set of opportunities, as well as challenges. However, if you’re selling an older home, you might need to work a little harder and do a little bit more to help prospective buyers see in it all that you, and your sellers, see.
This article discusses some of the most important considerations you will need to factor into the process of selling an older home.
Be Honest and Objective
When you’ve dealt with lots of properties, it can be difficult to look at the house as a buyer might. Your perspective is always going to be clouded by your professional experience, your comparisons with properties you’ve sold in the past, or your hopes for the revenue the property may generate for you and your client.
However, when it comes to selling any home, especially an older one, you have to work hard to see it not as a realtor, but as a prospective buyer.
This means, for example, being particularly attuned to potential negatives that a buyer will spot like a neon sign.
Peeling paint, dead electrical outlets and light switches, watermarks on the ceiling, and sloping floors can signal far more than a cosmetic issue. In older homes, especially, they may indicate the need for costly repairs to the roof, the foundation, or the electrical system. Homes built before the 1970s may even present a risk of toxic lead exposure in painted surfaces.
These are critical issues that the seller will likely need to address before you list the home.
Tackle Projects in Order of Priority
Preparing an older home for sale can be a daunting task, which is why it’s important to focus on priorities first. If you want to move the home quickly, then you might encourage the seller to repair, upgrade, or replace major systems, such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), since these can be a dealbreaker for most buyers.
It’s also important to ensure that the roof and foundation are in good condition and that you underscore any upgrades or repairs in the property listing.
If the home’s major systems are already in prime working order, or your sellers simply don’t have the time or budget for such ambitious projects, then you can always focus on more modest improvements. Some quick and easy projects that can give sellers the most bang for their buck include giving the interiors a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color or swapping out tired and outdated knobs and fixtures with something more clean and modern.
No matter what kind of projects your sellers decide to undertake before listing the property, and regardless of how numerous or ambitious they may be, preparing any home for sale is an arduous and exhausting process. This is why caring for your clients is particularly important at this time. Encourage them to prioritize their health. Staying hydrated and eating nutritious and energy-rich foods can help them retain their stamina throughout the day as they work with you to get the house market-ready.
Accentuate the Positives
Though there can be some challenges associated with selling, and buying, an older home, there are also lots of positives. That’s why older homes continue to be so coveted. After all, older homes have character that you can rarely duplicate in new construction.
So one of the best things you can do when you’re selling an older home is to heavily promote the unique features of the property. Does it have carved, hardwood finishes? Stained or etched glass windows? A veritable forest of mature trees in the front and back yard? A great location in a classic neighborhood?
Place these rare and coveted amenities centerstage in your property listing. Above all, and in the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words, enhance your listing with marketing videos featuring these prized amenities. A thoughtful, well-edited video of the property and the surrounding community can do more to entire buyers than a rich description ever could.
Selling an older home can be both immensely challenging and deeply rewarding. Several important considerations should inform your strategy. For example, deficiencies with major systems, such as electrical, plumbing, or HVAC, can quickly repel prospective buyers. Likewise, failing to address needed repairs with the roof or foundation may slash the final sale price. On the other hand, older homes often offer amenities that more modern homes cannot compete with. From original hardwood floors to antique fireplaces to historic locations, older homes have a lot to commend them. Highlighting these unique attributes with detailed listings and well-planned marketing videos can help prospective buyers recognize the diamond hiding in plain sight in your community.
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