You can ask, but you might not like the answers

Friday, July 12, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 28

As the years float by and trends come and go, the questions frequently asked by buyers and sellers of their agents remains fairly constant. In many cases, the answers are blowing in the wind, while in others, most Realtors agree on the responses.

What should I do to prepare my house for selling?

If it is a brick house, paint the house white, stark white, a whiter shade of pale. Then get a dumpster and fill it with things that you never want to touch again and have no value. After that, make a stack of nice things that you do not want to move and unpack and donate them to your favorite charity.

Then, put half of everything you own in storage. Paint a few walls, refinish floors where needed and remove everything that is attached by screws or nails that you want to take with you.

Yes, remove the chandelier and the bathroom mirrors. There is no disclaimer or disclosure that will save them. The buyer will want them. Is it worth losing the sale over the chandelier? No, take it down right now.

Then paint your house white. I know I already said it, but you already dismissed it. So, I said it again.

Why should I paint my house white? The bricks are beautiful.

No, they are not. Not to buyers. Your bricks scream old, rotten, outdated things like white refrigerators. They don’t like white refrigerators, only houses. These buyers want white houses, just like about 25 Democrats. So, paint it. And remove the chandelier while you are at it.

At this price, I’m not making any repairs.

Yes, you are. If you don’t, you will die from mold. After the termites finish dinner, your house will crumble into the earth, and your children will certainly be electrocuted with all the double-tapped breakers and lack of GFCIs.

Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. You might as well fire up a pack of filterless Camels while you stew about the inspector and his findings.

May I require 24-hour notice for showings?

Absolutely. Count on about 735 days on the market. If you let people show the house when the buyers want to see it, that period is reduced to 30 days. In many – if not most – cases, agents who book showings 24 hours out will learn the house is sold by the time they arrive.

Additionally, buyers feel like they are the customer. They want to buy when they want to buy. Impulses are real things. Make them sit on it 24 hours and they might decide not to buy a house at all, especially from the jerk that would not let them in when they wanted to see it.

Buyers think sellers who put their houses on the market actually want to sell their homes and should expect their houses to be shown. Weird concept, but true.

Will you provide feedback from all showings?

Yes, if you promise not to kill me.

You are not going to like the feedback. If a person likes the house, they buy it. That is positive feedback and that is what you really want.

If a person decides not to buy your home, it is because they did not like it and they will mince no words in telling you how much they did not like it. You will not like what they have to say, but I will tell you if you make me.

I recently added a new stove, a new HVAC, a new roof and new windows. Will I get my money back?

My guess is that you spent that money because the old stove didn’t work, the roof leaked, the HVAC was broken and the windows were faulty. As strange as it seems, buyers expect a functioning stove, a roof free of leaks, HVAC systems that cool and heat and windows that have sills that are not rotted and glass that protects the owner from the elements.

How long have you been in the business?

Long enough to answer these questions correctly.

Sale of the Week

Last week, the property at 304 Blackman Road in Crieve Hall sold for $410,000 after making some major upgrades, says Jay Lowenthal, the listing broker. During this heyday of Vanderbilt baseball, the basketball team, thanks to its dismal showing last year, has taken a back seat.

Lowenthal was a star of the Vanderbilt basketball team in the late 1970s and has carried that stardom into his real estate, where he is an agent with Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty.

He was the buyer’s agent when the owner purchased the house in 2002 and listed it for her in 2006 when it did not sell in 79 days on the market.

In the 2006 run, Lowenthal listed the house for $200,000 and, luckily for the owner, it did not sell. After waiting 13 years, she received $410,000 after having paid $110,000 for it in 2002. Lowenthal scored a slam dunk for her on that move.

With 2,068 square feet, the house brought $203 per square foot 17 years after the buyer paid $82 per square foot. Since the appliances were not working, the owner installed new windows, dishwasher, bathrooms, two HVAC units, an 80-gallon insulated water heater and a new roof.

Sarah Latch, who now resides in the mule capital of the world, Columbia, is with Benchmark Realty and delivered the buyer, who is now enjoying an almost-new home.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.