LA Times – First-time Home Buyers Turn Fussy
Today’s Los Angeles Times had an article written by Kenneth R. Harney titled First-time Home Buyers Turn Fussy:
Picky, picky, picky. Are today’s first-time home buyers passing up great deals because they insist on flawless “move-in ready” houses requiring little or no changes — even at the starter-home price levels at which shoppers traditionally have been willing to factor future fix-ups and renovations into their offers?
Or are they simply reflecting market realities? They see record inventories of houses sitting unsold, they have plenty to choose from, and they may not have the money, time or inclination to do fix-ups after making the purchase.
According to the article, a Coldwell Banker survey of 300 first-time home buyers, “87% said finding a move-in ready house is important”. 87%! That’s a significant number of potential buyers.
I often tell my home staging clients “When you put your home on the market, you are entering it in a beauty contest. The best looking homes, in the best condition sell faster and usually for a higher price.” Home buyers today are more sophisticated about what to expect in homes on the market, in part thanks to shows on HGTV and other lifestyle cable channels. They’re more selective. The market is full of homes at all price points. They have lots to choose from.
In addition, home buyers don’t want an “allowance” to make repairs. They will look at the adjusted lower price as the starting point for negotiating a price that reflects the condition of the home. Are you pricing your home $5,000 lower to make up for the fact that the roof needs to be replaced. They’ll take that $5,000 and offer another $5,000 less. Most home buyers are scraping together every penny, to meet the new down-payment rules. They don’t have the money to do repairs or the inclination to buy a home that needs repairs or is not in top condition. Why should they – they’ve got plenty to choose from.
Smart home sellers are making needed repairs, painting, replacing worn carpet and updating what needs updating to make their homes competitive. An experienced home stager can perform a comprehensive home staging consultation and create a list of what needs to be done to get your home in top selling condition. In addition, if you have any structural, mechanical or maintenance issues you should consider hiring a professional building inspector for a pre-listing inspection. That way you are less likely to have the sale of your home torpedoed when the buyers building inspector finds something you should have fixed but didn’t