Real Estate Corner with Blaine Staat: Ready, . . . Set, . . . Not So Fast

Real Estate Corner with Blaine Staat
Blaine Staat

On the back of my business card is my working motto: “Preparation, Execution, Follow Through”. Just off the top of your head, which of those three directives would you say is the most important?

We are an impatient lot. We want to get to where the action is, and we want to get there now. Yet we know that you don’t send soldiers into battle without training them or hold a play without rehearsals or stage a banquet without planning.

The entire length of any average “event” – be it a play or a party or even a battle – is usually only a few hours. The “cleanup” following may be a day or two, if that.

But the preparation required to make that event really rock? Now you’re talking serious time, the lion’s share of the whole thing; hours upon hours upon days upon weeks of work and meetings and practice and more work, all before you actually get to the thing that you actually want to happen.

It can be exhausting, monotonous, and, for the most part, entirely unexciting. No wonder we want to skip it. Yet I would argue that for every successful “event” that occurs, more than 90% of the effort was put in before it ever happened.

In real estate, there are many reasons why people sell their homes, but very few of them require a house to be sold with little or no warning. We can usually see it coming, and usually from a pretty long way away.

It’s amazing then, to see so many homes on the market that are, quite frankly, not ready to be there. Don’t get me wrong; any property can be sold, in any condition, if it’s priced correctly. But why would anyone leave thousands – or even tens of thousands – of dollars on the table if they can avoid it simply by putting some time, effort, and attention into their home in the weeks or months leading up to putting it on the market?

And yet time and again I take clients into prospective homes that aren’t ready for us, with issues ranging from stained or damaged carpets, holes in the wall, water stains, missing shingles, dead trees & bushes, rotted trim, foundation cracks , clutter, junk, overgrown yards, mildew, faded paint, animal smells, and burned countertops, just to name a few.

Obviously, the best way to combat this is to keep your home “move-in ready” all of the time even as you’re living in it, but for most of us the hustle & bustle of our daily lives keeps that from being a realistic option.

So as soon as you know that a move is coming, or even if you just suspect a move, do a visual home inspection. Grab a clipboard & pen and do a slow, systematic walk-through of your entire property.

Start outside looking at your home from the street. Just stand there for a while and look at your home as if you are seeing it for the very first time, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen when a prospective buyer comes by. What will they see, and what impression will it make on them?

Write down everything that you see that needs to be fixed, painted, dug up, planted, thrown away, replaced – you get the idea. If it makes a negative impression on you write it down. Do it even for those things you have no intention of correcting; you may change your mind later. Just get it on paper.

Do this for the entire exterior of your property. Then go inside and do the same thing in every single room in your home, taking inventory of every single chip, defect, stain, smell, scratch, dent, bounce, tear, etc.

Now set a date & make a plan to fix as many of these things as you can prior to listing your home. If you can knock out one or two every day it will make quick work of even the longest of lists. I can tell you from personal experience it feels really good to scratch those items off as you watch the appeal – and the dollar value – of your home go up.

Please let me know if you have any questions by calling 252-876-8267 or sending an email.

By Contribution Author, Blaine Staat, Weichert Realtors At Rivers Edge, 220 Front St., Suite A, New Bern