Most home sellers do not have the luxury of selling under optimal market conditions. When the time comes to sell, they list the house and make the best of it. It is not always easy. In a strong buyer's market, the seller rarely gets the upper hand -- unless knowledge and experience counter the natural purchaser advantages of high inventory and low demand. When facing a slew of requests from aggressive buyers, a "laundry list" as it were, savvy sellers can take approaches that satisfy the purchasers while fetching sales prices that are reasonably on par with the home values.
Dealing with Repairs
Repairs can be a dicey issue if the seller is financially distressed and needs to unload the property fast. At the same time, such an owner often sells to an investor who plans to renovate the home in any case. For the run of the mill sale -- if there is such a thing -- there are certain conventions sellers should observe. Repairs to correct structural weaknesses, code violations and safety vulnerabilities are buyer requests that should be honored by the current owner. Often, such problems are discovered during a home inspection in attics, chimneys and crawl spaces.
Other issues that the seller is somewhat obliged to address relate to the electrical and plumbing systems. Any detected malfunctioning in these areas is normally a seller responsibility. The laundry list may include petitions to make aesthetic improvements and refurbish places subject to wear and tear. These are entirely at the seller's discretion. If they move the process closer to closing without too high a financial hit, such repairs may well be worth it.
Dealing with Furniture
Sometimes potential purchasers desire something not for sale, namely furniture. Unlike repairs, furniture is strictly a judgment call for sellers. Sentimental value plays a big role in whether to leave furnishings with the house as part of the sale. Yet for those owners who are downsizing, letting go of a few desired articles can sweeten the deal for buyers while sparing the seller anxiety about storage, furniture sale or donation.
Dealing with Fixtures
When a house is sold, does that simply mean the land, walls and roof change hands? When a family lives in a dwelling for decades, it makes certain improvements. This might mean installing a new dishwasher or washing machine; replacing the furnace; or swapping out old cabinetry for new. These things are referred to as "fixtures," i.e. personal purchases that are affixed to the real property, e.g. a dining room chandelier, in addition to the examples given above. They are affixed by means of bolts, nails, screws or adhesive. In other words, they can not simply be carried out with the furniture -- they must be uninstalled.
A prospective buyer might find the landscaping an asset to the property. Sellers must remember that any trees and shrubs that have put down roots in the soil are also fixtures. These are part of the property and therefore part of the conveyance transaction. Here is where a problem arises: a seller who wishes to take the chandelier, say, to the next residence will make it clear to shoppers that it is not included in the sale. This becomes a bone of contention and the chandelier goes on the prospect's laundry list. Many seasoned realtors review the property with the seller and advise that any fixtures to be kept should be removed before showing the house. While this can have a detrimental effect on staging -- and affect home values -- it reduces laundry list items.