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Are Home Buyers Getting Too Picky?

by Mark Brace

Many buyers are demanding perfection in home’s today.

A small stain on the carpet? Forget it. Distracting paint colors? They can’t look past it. No granite countertops? Onto the next house!

As home values drop, offering buyers some of the best bargains in years, more home buyers have realized they can get more choosy when home-shopping. And with inventories high in many areas, sellers realize their home needs to exude perfection if its going to stand out.

During the housing boom a few years ago, buyers were more willing to overlook flaws, or accept them, that is. They may have negotiated with the seller over repairs or upgrades, but some buyers were willing to even take the home “as-is” to win a bidding war or to get the home in the area they wanted.

Times have changed.

Even first-time buyers, who once were lured to the “starter home” (a.k.a. a fixer-upper), are getting choosier. A Coldwell Banker survey earlier this year found that 87 percent of first-time buyers say they want a “move-in” ready home over a fixer-upper–and they want it to be affordable too!

Buyers are “missing out on some excellent, older lived-in houses,” Holly Kirby Weatherwax, a real estate professional in Reston, Va., told the Toledo Blade. “It’s a shame, simply because they can’t overlook” flaws that wouldn’t have bothered most buyers in the previous two decades. Those flaws could be anything from minor imperfections like kitchen appliances by different manufacturers to the home’s color not matching the buyer’s furniture, Kirby notes.

“Anything that can be a distraction, you want to eliminate,” a Tennessee home seller noted in a recent news article. “A light bulb isn’t a big issue, but it can affect [buyers’] subconscious.”

So how did buyers get so picky anyway? Is it just the power of a buyer’s market? Some also blame the rising popularity of home design shows on TV for making buyers more selective when viewing homes. But in recent months, more home design TV programming is showing a slight shift to fixer-upper housing make-overs, showing how a home’s flaws can be overcome to still become a dream home. Will such TV shows eventually make more buyers give less-than-perfect homes a second chance?

Until then, before the for-sale sign goes up, more sellers are heeding the advice of their real estate agent to clean, paint, upgrade and stage to avoid lowball offers. Plus, with the huge glut of low-priced foreclosures, such finishing touches may help home owners rise above the competition.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Presentation is Everything!!

by Mark Brace

When the Sellers Aren't Selling
Remind Them: "Presentation is Everything!"

At times the sellers themselves thwart the efforts of the Real Estate Agent. Nothing can be quite as frustrating as trying to pull all the weight when someone else is adding to the burden by being uncooperative!

If you have a seller who is not making sure their home is presentable to a potential buyer, remind them that, in a competitive market with more inventory than we've seen in some time, presentation is everything! By eliminating points the potential buyer may find fault with and bringing out the positive amenities, they are more likely to sell the home and get the price they are asking for. Here are just a few tips that will help them support your efforts as their representative in the transaction:

Let There Be Light. Buy some 100-watt bulbs to brighten the rooms, and open curtains or blinds to let light in. Unless a window faces a brick wall or some type of eyesore, open the drapes!

Garage, Not Garbage. Have a garage sale to clean out the clutter and make the garage more spacious. Your clients are moving and will need to start organizing anyway, so why wait until the last minute? Clean up oil spots in the garage or carport with a good cleanser to remove that "lived-in" appearance. The home may not be brand new, but it's new to the potential buyer.

Make Scents. Get a nice potpourri air freshener, or keep some refrigerated cookie dough on hand to throw in the oven when a prospect is coming over. Make the house smell like a home.

Paint-relief. Consider re-painting any areas that need to be touched up, especially the front door and entryway, and any appliances that are showing their age.

Power Plants. Trim down any jungles outside, especially if they cover the house. Get rid of any half-dead houseplants. Water the lawns briefly before any visit, and keep the lawns mowed and edged.

The Price is Right. Price may be a sensitive issue, but with increased inventories and declining home values in many neighborhoods, remind your clients that every shopper in a buyers' market is determined to get the best deal possible. Let them know that now is a good time to compare their house with others on the market in the same area, because the right price is the one thing that will sell their house faster than anything else.

The World is Your Stage. Professional staging can help to showcase the best side of a home, create more interest, and get your clients top dollar. With increased inventories, staging could provide the competitive edge you need.

These tips were derived from 33 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast!, an info-marketing booklet.

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Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.