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Since You’re Gone

I’m no economist, but we seem to be doing much better financially right now than in seasons past. At least in the markets where I work. Spring has sprung early, and interest rates are incredibly low. There is some excellent inventory out there to choose from, and people are ready to make big changes.  

It’s going to be a very active season in the real estate market, and I am certain of this. I know because I am already getting up before dawn to get all my work done before I head out for the day, and that usually doesn’t start until late March.

BUT ABOUT YOU:

Your life has changed, and you have already moved from the home that you want to sell. Maybe your family has grown and you needed more square footage, so when you found the next place of your dreams you couldn’t pass it up. Or maybe your nest is empty and you grabbed that condo with views before you got your family home sold. Maybe you have met the love of your life and are getting married, already blending households. All this is great stuff! 

Bottom line is that you are now excitedly settled into your new place before you have sold your previous one. You have moved on, and we are putting the space you called home for years on the market. Excellent!

Selling homes vacant has advantages. No pets around to complicate showings, no schedules of the residents to work around. It makes it really easy for agents with the ready, willing, and able Buyers to show your place at a moment’s notice. The more convenient, the better.

But what are potential Purchasers seeing when they go over? Let’s think about that for a sec. 

You have bathrooms to clean in your new place. You have a lawn to mow and a walkway to sweep where you are now. All of the laundry moved with you, and weekends may be spent catching up on that – while your beloved former-abode gets little to no attention. Out of sight, out of mind.

This is a problem. It can also cost you money. Lots. 

It’s a problem because, even though you have moved on, the first impression that potential buyers get is a lasting one. Your former home, the largest investment that you are ever likely to make, still needs you! 

So if there has been a huge windstorm and there are sticks all over the yard that nobody has picked up, it raises the question of too many imposing trees, and what kind of shape they are in. Will they fall on the house? Scary!

If the toilets have not been cleaned lately and it shows, does that mean that the water from the well is “bad”?

How long have the gutters been that full? Does that mean that water is not getting properly directed and is ruining the foundation? 

These may sound like no big deal, but they are basic reasons why a qualified Buyer might not even consider making an offer. They are potential concerns. 

As Sellers, it is our job to remove these concerns from the Buyer’s mind so that all they see is how beautiful the space is, all of the things that you and your family loved about the home, and where they will put that antique buffet that they inherited from Grandma.

Lack of ongoing maintenance raises red flags, so don’t give up on the one that you left behind. Get on over there every week, two weeks at the longest. Sweep and dust as needed. Check out the yard. Does the mulch need to be touched up? How did the porch paint fare over winter? I will get you a full list when we talk. 

And above all, please keep the utilities connected. The minute that they are off the house feels like a dank and barren wholesale property, worth tens of thousands less because the impression is that nobody cares, and that there are not real humans on the other end of the transaction.

More than once I have had a Seller lose focus on the home that they have loved and left, and it has left money on the table. Lots of it. It is so disappointing for them when that lightbulb goes off as to what happened, even though we were talking about these factors the whole time. 

Life gets in the way if we let it. Let’s not let it! This is one of the greatest money-makers (or losers) of your life. We have to keep our eyes on the prize. I will help you, but I can’t do it alone. 

So if you are selling, please understand that it ain’t over till it’s over. If you are unable to make it over to check on things, enlist a trusted friend. Hire a cleaning service and landscaper. 

I can just about guarantee you that whatever you invest in making sure that things stay ready for showings will pay you back at the settlement table.

As always, get in touch if you want to chat. 540 294 5005 / shannon@shannonharrington.com

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