The most haunting memory of an open house that I have was this home for sale with hundreds of unusual figurines and multiple little shrines with candles and incense sticks in every room. All the walls and ceilings, including bathrooms, were covered with sprayed-on glitter in outrageous colors. Every door and window was open, and cats and dogs were wandering in and out at will.
Though many people came to see that house, they left just as quickly. I have always wondered if anyone ever bought that place. I vividly remember it because it was in a good neighborhood. It was also in an excellent school district and had good access to amenities. On paper, it was a dream house with everything going for it and should have ideally sold quickly. However reality was an entirely different story.
This drives home the point that the worth of any home is based on more than the usual four factors – the location, size, age of the property and access to amenities.
It is important to understand that while the value of the home is the main factor; many other factors could drive up the current market value of any Home for Sale. At the same time, there could be an equal number of reasons that bring it down.
Broadly speaking two reasons can drive down the value of your home. These are ‘External Factors’ and ‘Internal Factors’ – based on whether we have control over them or can take steps to correct them.
When you are looking for ways to sell your home fast, it is essential to understand these factors and ensure that they work in your favor.
As the name suggests, these factors are outside our locus of control.
Unsavory neighbors: They could be noisy, anti-social, hoarders or just too lazy to maintain their homes. All these add up to an unpleasant immediate neighborhood and often have prospective homeowners looking for other options.
Noise pollution: There could be pubs in the vicinity or an airport or even next-door neighbors that are noisy. Regardless of the source, it all adds up to a nuisance that buyers would want to avoid.
Bad schools: Whether the Buyers have children, or the family is made up of adults – this is a huge determinant of the value of your home as it affects the future value of their property.
Billboards: A surprising factor, but in your face billboards in the neighbourhood or close to the property spoil the aesthetics and turn off buyers.
Foreclosure graveyards: Multiple foreclosures in an area suggests that there is a systemic problem. We usually perceive foreclosed homes as being vacant for a long time and ill-maintained. The overall result is an unattractive neighborhood.
Factors within your Control
These are factors that you can eliminate and ensure that they do not eat into the vale of Home for Sale.
Ill-maintained property: The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated. It is sometimes the deciding factor for the sale of your property. Ultimately, the value of a home is what someone is willing to pay for it.
If a Buyer sees overgrown lawns, cluttered rooms, damage caused by mold or bug infestation, damage due to fire or weather, sewage problems, or structural problems, it would devalue the property and end up costing you in terms of sales price.
Over-improving: Renovations done properly can increase property value. However, we need to remember that buyers prefer the least expensive home in a good neighborhood. Most would prefer to modify it themselves to fit their needs.
Therefore, any niche home improvement such as stone cladding your exterior or having a swimming pool do not attract buyer interest. In fact, they are likely to alienate a significant number of potential home buyers who are looking for no-frills home for sale.
A matter of taste: Referring back to the story I told in the beginning, décor is a matter of personal taste. What would be appealing to one might offend the sensibilities of the other.
In this case, I am sure the owners loved their figurines and glitter, but they ended up alienating the buyers who could not imagine themselves in that home.
A perceived ‘bad’ choice of wall color, wallpaper or any component of the décor does the same. Homes that are neutrally decorated and furnished have limited potential to offend.
Pets: While we all love our pets, this love is not reciprocated by a prospective buyer. Pet odors, pet hair and their messes can be a put-off. In theory, deep cleaning can easily remove these. In reality, this negatively affects the sale price.
Unsavory history: Home with tales of residing ghosts or stories of gruesome death on the property often drives down the price for a home.
While you cannot change the history with the help of your realtor you can put a good spin on it. It is best to inform the buyers in advance. This would take the sting out of it and will make it harmless.
Working with experienced professionals is always advisable. The best real estate agents would give you a free and accurate home evaluation. They will list the problem areas and help you resolve them in the best manner. They can help you create a home for sale that prospective homeowners would be more likely buy. Creating a space they can picture themselves moving straight in would ultimately translate to a higher final sale price.
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