Recently, I helped out of state clients sell their family home. The house was built in 1961 and has a two bedroom, one bathroom addition that was built in 1988. It hadn't been updated in many years, with older appliances and design features, but I loved it and was happy to help them sell it. I learned a lot from this house, too, and wanted to share my advice for selling or buying an older home.
Before putting the home on the market, I recommended that my clients have a pre-listing inspection performed. We set up an appointment and a home inspector did a thorough inspection and provided a report. The report called out some critical issues and a few minor issues that my clients took steps to repair. The inspection also helped my clients fill out their Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement, since they had not lived in the home for quite a while. The repairs they made helped to improve the home's value, too.
My clients made upgrades to improve the home's value as well. They had the floors replaced, painted inside and out, replaced appliances and light fixtures, and replaced the kitchen counters. A landscaping service came to clean up the yard, and the house was ready to list. The sellers decided on a price based on my recommendation, and I began the marketing part of the real estate agent role.
There were a lot of showings and great turn out for open houses, which I love! Visitors at the open houses asked questions like, "When was it built? Is this addition permitted? When was the roof replaced?" and so on, and because of the inspection and my pre-listing research, I had the information available to share. After a couple of open houses, we got an offer that made my clients happy, so they accepted and we started escrow.
During escrow, buyers should have the property inspected by a professional, even if the sellers have recently had one performed. It's part of the process of due diligence, and in my experience, some inspectors find things that other inspectors may not. With older properties, a home inspection is even more important, since some issues aren't so easy to see, like outdated wiring or a dent in the roof. You may also want to consider ordering a scope of the plumbing system if your home inspector does not perform this service. If you plan to make repairs or upgrades, reach out to contractors to provide estimates so you can plan for those costs. Your agent will have some trusted referrals, just ask!
Don't be afraid to negotiate. As the buyer, you have options to cancel the contract without risk when you are still in your J-1 contingency period, and your agent will be happy to help negotiate for credits, repairs, or even a reduction in price. The seller may not agree to your request, but you can't get what you want if you don’t ask!
When you're buying or selling any home, you want to learn as much as you can about it, and with older homes, this is even more important. If you're the seller, have a pre-sale inspection and consider repairs and upgrades. As a buyer, ask lots of questions and have the home inspected as thoroughly as your budget allows. Get estimates for work that you may like to have done on the home, and don't be afraid to negotiate! Working with a real estate agent makes the buying or selling process easier, we're happy to share recommendations and advice so that you can get the most out of your investment.
If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, I hope that you'll think of me. I love supporting people on the path to reaching their real estate goals. Reach out any time! Aloha!