8 Repair Requests A Buyer Should Never Make

Don’t sabotage your home purchase by frustrating the seller with minor repairs.

Buying a home can be a precarious business. When money and emotions are involved, things can get dicey (and ugly). So when issues pop up during a home inspection or initial walk-through, it’s important to request some repairs — especially if they’re related to safety concerns or would cost a mint to fix once the property is yours. But when you’re bidding on a prime piece of real estate in a competitive market where multiple offers are the norm, choosing what repairs to ask for can become even more strategic. After all, requesting too many fix-ups could potentially tank the sale if there are less-high-maintenance offers waiting in the wings.

“There is no magic number of repairs, but if you are in a seller’s market or the property is in high demand, you probably want to ask for as little as possible and stick to four-point items such as roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC items,” explains Liane Jamason, a broker with Smith & Associates Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL http://www.trulia.com/fl/st_petersburg. When requesting additional repairs, make sure you have realistic expectations, you present your requests in an appealing way (read: not overwhelming), and you’re ready to prioritize and negotiate your requests.

From easy fixes to issues that might give you a reason to walk away, here are eight requests you should never make.

Sign Me Up 1. What you know you’ll renovate anyway

Every time you request a property repair, you walk a fine line with the seller, who is hoping for an easy, quick sale — and repairs only lengthen the process. If you know a kitchen renovation http://www.trulia.com/blog/hallmarks-luxury-kitchens-renovation/ is at the top of your to-do list, it may not be worth it to bring up the damaged baseboards in the kitchen hallway or the pantry’s warped door. Instead of asking for flat-out repairs, try to negotiate with the seller — they may be willing to give you a credit for these damages that you can use when you do renovate the kitchen. 2. Purely cosmetic issues

It’s tempting to ask a seller to repair a tile that’s cracked or add a fresh coat of paint to a fence, but do so at your own risk. “Most real estate agents recommend buyers overlook cosmetic repairs that they are able to afford fixing after the sale,” explains John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. “It’s important to weigh how much the buyer wants or needs a repair completed by the seller against how much they want the home, and how many other buyers are out there who also want the home.”

An added benefit to addressing cosmetic issues on your dime (and time) is that you can pick the contractor you want to use and repair the issue to your level of taste and quality. “Staining a deck, replacing a window, or similar little items might be better to address afterwards, so the new owners can choose their own company to do the work,” explains Rachel Hillman, founder of Hillman Homes, a real estate firm located in West Newton, MA http://www.trulia.com/ma/west_newton. 3. Missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Yes, you need them in most every room in your home, but if they’re missing, don’t bring it up. “Depending on where you live, it may be required [of] the seller to replace smoke or carbon monoxide detectors,” says Ross Anthony, a real estate agent with Willis Allen Real Estate in San Diego, CA http://www.trulia.com/ca/san_diego. But if they don’t, make a mental note to replace them yourself after closing. This is an easy, inexpensive update and in most cases, not worth risking the sale. 4. Termites

These little critters can wreak havoc on a home and even make a house uninhabitable. Plus, if you’re taking out a mortgage http://www.trulia.com/blog/how-to-get-a-mortgage, a termite infestation could put your loan at risk. If you encounter this problem, it might be better to walk away than request remediation. “Termites are a big issue,” says Jamason. “Some lenders or insurance companies will not write on a property that does not have a clean termite inspection report. This is one such item that most sellers are going to have to fix for any buyer who needs mortgage financing in most cases. But seek the advice of your real estate agent http://www.trulia.com/directory/ and lender, because if the property had multiple offers, the seller could easily just say no, put the property back on the market, and sell it to someone else who isn’t asking for repairs.” 5. The $10 repair list

No matter how badly you want that jammed window repaired, if the home inspector doesn’t flag it http://www.trulia.com/blog/termite-inspection-and8-other-home-inspections-that-save-buyers-money/ as a safety concern or code violation, it may not be worth bringing up to the seller. Remember, sellers have real estate agents on their side too. If a seller gets a huge punch list of minor repairs that have to be made in a short time span to meet a closing deadline, their agent may suggest that a better offer could potentially be down the road, with fewer repair requests and with a less-aggressive (read: more affordable) time frame. Keep calm, and remember: You can always hire a contractor or handyman to do some work after you close. 6. Minor electrical issues

A nonworking light switch or faulty electrical socket that pops up in an inspection may seem like a fix you should request — but if it’s truly a minor issue and not a sign of larger problems, skip it, advises Lazenby. “Minor electrical issues can easily be repaired postclosing,” he says. 7. Water damage

This is a tough issue to sort out during the homebuying process http://www.trulia.com/blog/tag/homeownership, as signs of previous water damage like a water spot on a ceiling could indicate a larger, chronic issue. But it could also simply equate to a spot that’s an unfortunate leftover from a repaired water issue. “With water damage, rely on the expertise of your home inspector,” advises Jamason. “If there is minimal cosmetic damage, that’s probably something that can be repaired postclosing. However, if the damage appears to be deep or is unknown, it may be something you wish to request be fixed prior to closing if you can’t tell how deep the damage goes or whether there is mold behind a wall. Again, some lenders may require that active water damage or wood rot be repaired prior to closing.” 8. Loose railings

The front porch of the home could look as if it’s straight out of the pages of a magazine, but if you take one step up the front stairs and realize the railing is wobbly and loose, it seems like a no-brainer to ask for a fix. But even if it’s not up to code per the inspection, think twice before asking for repairs, says Jamason.

“It may depend on your lender if they will allow closing to proceed with an issue like this,” she says. “If the items are minor, or if the buyer is particular about the way an item is being repaired, it may be advisable to just ask for a credit from the seller in lieu of repairs and do the repair themselves postclosing.”

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142

Toss Or Keep? How To Downsize Efficiently

Toss Or Keep? How To Downsize Efficiently

*Downsizing the detritus of life is not an overnight event, so give yourself plenty of time.*

Whether you’re moving into a smaller space, moving in with a significant other, or simply want to pare down as you look for a new place http://www.trulia.com, downsizing your home is not always an easy proposition. Rather than tackling the task blindly, it’s important to make a plan and execute it with intention. Use the following expert tips to learn how to downsize your belongings and declutter your home this summer.

1. Start early

Downsizing is not an overnight event. Getting rid of “stuff” is often an emotionally charged process and, if rushed, stress levels can rise like the mercury in July. Instead of trying to attack all your clutter in one weekend, plan your stuff-shedding process over the course of a few weeks. Tackle big projects room by room. As you get closer to your moving date, treat yourself to a tasty dinner out or listen to an entertaining podcast while you’re decluttering to keep up momentum. Factor in time to list and sell items of value that need a new home. But remember: Moving unwanted items to your new home is a no-no. Even if those items were expensive to acquire, holding on to them will cost you more in the long run.

2. Organize the chaos

It can be easy to drift from room to room aimlessly working on an area and flitting to the next when you hit a stumbling block. *Should I keep these cake pans? I don’t bake, but they were Grandma’s. I’ll work on the hall closet instead.*

Rather than creating several small messes, set goals and tackle your clutter room by room. Josh Becker, author of the New York Times best-seller The More of Less, suggests using the four-box method: trash, give away, keep, or relocate http://www.trulia.com/blog/12-storage-ideas-to-hide-ugly-but-necessary-everyday-stuff/. Each item in your home needs to classified in one of the four categories and be dealt with. Set ground rules upfront to keep yourself on task — once you touch an item, you must decide its fate. If you’re unsure, place it in the give-away pile for 24 hours. If the day passes and you haven’t thought about it, then toss it.

3. Let go of guilt

If you’ve inherited items you’re keeping out of guilt, now is the time to divest yourself of the burden. “Make a list of the things you’ve inherited. Consider each one and ask if you’re enjoying this thing in your life, or if it is best to let it go,” says Brooks Palmer, a decluttering expert and author of Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back. “For most people, if they knew that you don’t care for the inherited item, they would want you to let it go.” Define clear priorities for your new space and sell or donate items that no longer fit your narrative. You will have more breathing room, and hopefully make some decent cash to offset your moving costs.

4. Eliminate multiples

Storing four huge soup pots in your 3,500-square-foot home wasn’t a big deal, but wedging just one into the kitchen of your new one-bedroom apartment is going to be a challenge. When it’s time to downsize, discarding multiples is a no-brainer. Turn a critical eye to your “keep” pile and question the necessity of each addition. Just because you’ve always had an overflowing linen closet doesn’t mean you need five sets of sheets at your new place. (Let’s be real: You probably wash and use the same set week after week anyway.) Clear out the clutter and create some space.

5. Fall in love

Invest in quality, not quantity. When you’re in downsizing mode, begin to think of your things in terms of love. Not the romantic kind, but the “if you don’t love it, then get rid of it” kind. Sell or donate those five black winter coats you bought on sale and invest in your dream coat. Not only will your closet feel roomier, but you’ll also have a smile on your face when you put on that new coat that you love.

6. Get help

When your car is sick, you take it to the mechanic; if your leg is broken, you see a doctor. If your home is overflowing with items and you’re apprehensively staring at a move-day calendar, it might be time to call in the professionals http://www.trulia.com/blog/declutter-your-home-secrets-from-professional-organizers/. The National Organization of Professional Organizers  (NAPO) offers a set of questions to ask potential organizers. NAPO also suggests choosing a professional organizer based on personality and skill set rather than price. An organizer with a skill set that best matches your needs is most likely to deliver the greatest value by helping you achieve the results you desire in the shortest amount of time.

If you’re short on cash, consider asking a trusted, well-organized friend to help you with the process. When Shirley and Dick Wilson downsized from their three-bedroom Pleasant Hill, CA http://www.trulia.com/CA/Pleasant_Hill/, rambler to a one-bedroom condo in San Francisco, CA http://www.trulia.com/CA/San_Francisco/, they asked their longtime friend and neighbor to help them with the process. To avoid conflict, they set some ground rules upfront. The Wilsons’ friend had absolute power to make decisions, except for three vetoes each from the Wilsons. The arrangement worked wonderfully. The couple learned how to downsize quickly — and they’re all still friends!

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142

3 Upgrades that Add Value to Your Home

YOUR NEXT MOVE One of the best things a seller can do to increase the value of their home is start on a few home improvement projects. The following are some of the least expected upgrades that pack a large return for your investment: 3 Upgrades That Add Value to Your Home

  1. Install a Steel Door Aside from safe communities, buyers also want safe homes. Steel doors offer a feeling of security and protection, and will give you an impressive ROI of 101.8 percent.*

  2. Add a Wooden Deck Wooden decks are ideal for outdoor spaces. They make the home feel larger and typically cost less than brick patios, with an ROI of 80.5 percent.*

  3. Improve Curb Appeal The first areas of a home that buyers see are the driveway, front yard and the front of the house. Add some shrubs or flowers, pressure wash the driveway and repaint the front door to make a lasting impression.

    *Source: Realtor.com®

    When you're ready for your next move, call me to discuss home improvements that will add value and make your home stand out among the competition.

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142

8 Reasons Your House May Not Be Selling

*If your home sits idle in a seller’s market, it’s time to get to the root of the problem.*

It’s a seller’s market http://www.trulia.com/blog/mistakes-buyers-make-in-sellers-market/ in many cities across the U.S. If your home is in one of those cities http://www.trulia.com/blog/10-hot-real-estate-markets-to-watch-in-2016/, say Charleston, SC http://www.trulia.com/SC/Charleston/, or *Colorado Springs, CO* http://www.trulia.com/CO/Colorado_Springs/, and isn’t getting offers, something could be wrong. The good news? Knowing there’s a problem is the first step toward resolving it. However, there could be many reasons your house isn’t selling. We’ve asked real estate professionals and agents from all over the country what those top reasons might be — and they’ve provided some sound advice on how to remedy each situation.

1. You’re overconfident

Being in a seller’s market might mean that your home will get snapped up for premium price, no matter its condition. But that isn’t always the best strategy to count on. “Sometimes homeowners and agents get overconfident in a seller’s market and get lazy about ‘Home Selling 101,’” says Sep Niakan http://www.trulia.com/profile/sep-niakan-agent-miami-fl-zgb9sm0l/overview, broker and owner of HB Roswell Realty in Miami, FL http://www.trulia.com/FL/Miami/.

Solution: Be realistic from day one. Although you may love your house, brace yourself for it to potentially sit on the market for quite some time. And no matter the market, it’s still important to “position your home http://www.trulia.com/blog/21-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-selling/ to sell well,” says Niakan. “What does that mean? Staging http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-staging-projects-that-buyers-love-3-2/, staging http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-smart-staging-tips/, and more staging http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-staging-projects-that-buyers-love-3/.

2. The house is priced too high

Classic supply and demand conditions come into play in a seller’s market: There’s high demand, yet low supply. Therefore, you can usually expect to get more money for your home. But that doesn’t mean the sky’s the limit when it comes to your listing price. “In a seller’s market, a seller may feel comfortable pushing the asking price a bit higher, and this can be a huge mistake,” says Chase Michels of Brush Hill Realtors http://www.trulia.com/directory/-agent-brush+hill+realtors/ in*Downers Grove, IL* http://www.trulia.com/IL/Downers_Grove/. “Determining the *best asking price* http://www.trulia.com/blog/can-you-afford-to-buy-a-house-right-now/ for a home is one of the most important aspects of selling a home. If your home is listed at a price that is above market value, you will miss out on prospective buyers.”

Solution: Make sure that you and your agent are certain of the value of your home in your market and price it right. “Get an *analysis of the local market* http://www.trulia.com/local-info/cities with a professional agent, solid comparables, and specific market trend data,” says *Jill Olivarez* http://www.trulia.com/profile/jill-olivarez-agent-miramar-beach-fl-zgxj0nkf/overview, a Miramar Beach, FL http://www.trulia.com/fl/miramar_beach, real estate agent.

3. The home needs some TLC

It can be a bitter pill to swallow to pay for home improvements that you may not enjoy for long. But if you want to sell for full asking price, you might need to get your house in a condition that warrants it — and not base this number only on price per square foot. “Retail buyers understandably still want the most house for their money,” says Barbara Grassey https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Your-House-Fast-Market-ebook/dp/B005CZ3280, author of How to Sell Your House Fast in a Slow Market and founder of the *West Florida Real Estate Investors Association* http://www.trulia.com/directory/-agent-West+Florida+Real+Estate+Investors+Association/ .

Solution: “The seller should have amenities comparable to other properties for sale in that price range and should really upgrade certain amenities,” says Grassey. Some upgrade examples http://www.trulia.com/blog/6-upgrades-that-give-you-the-best-bang-for-your-buck/, she says, include a pull-down gooseneck faucet, an upgraded ceiling fan, a double-bar towel rack, or upgraded door handles. They sound simple, but a few small changes can make a big impact.

4. There’s a problem with the title

“Title” in this case doesn’t mean the cute name you might have given your place (“The Laurels,” “The Conners’ Corner Cottage,” etc.). Rather, it’s the document that shows ownership. “One reason a house won’t sell is because there is a problem with the title to the house that spooks buyers,” says David Reiss https://www.brooklaw.edu/faculty/directory/facultymember/biography.aspx?id=david.reiss, law professor at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, NY http://www.trulia.com/NY/Brooklyn/. Here are some examples he gives of title problems:

· Conveyance without a recorded deed (can sometimes happen in transfers between family members).

· A paid-off mortgage that is still showing up as a valid lien on the house.

· A mechanic’s lien that was filed for work done on the house by a subcontractor.

Solution: “Some [title] problems just require a little time to resolve,” says Reiss. Contact the title company http://www.trulia.com/blog/beyond-closing-costs-the-6-things-a-good-closing-agent-should-do/ to find out what you need to do to prepare for selling — then do it.

5. Advertising photos are subpar

It’s said that you have seven seconds to make a first impression — and the same goes for your house: 90% of buyers http://www.trulia.com/blog/tips-to-create-a-great-online-listing/ start their search online and make a decision about whether to come see your house based on a quick skim of your listing photos. If there are few or no photos, or if the photos look bad http://www.trulia.com/blog/tips-for-better-real-estate-photography/ because they weren’t professionally taken or because the house is cluttered (which shows in the photos), many buyers will move on to the next listing. “When there are a lack of pictures … buyers often assume the worst,” says *Amber Dolle* http://www.trulia.com/profile/amber-dolle-agent-sherman-oaks-ca-zg09k7b7/overview, a Los Angeles, CA http://www.trulia.com/CA/Los_Angeles/, agent.

Solution: Get your home staged and photographed by pros. You may think it’s an unnecessary expense, but according to IMOTO photography http://www.imotophoto.com/blog/entry/should-realtors-use-professional-real-estate-photography.html, professional real estate photos have the ability to generate 118% more online views and sell listings 50% faster — at 39% closer to list price. They’re worth it.

6. Your agent doesn’t seem to care

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with your house at all: It’s priced right and is well-maintained. But your agent could be turning people off. “The agent is your front-line representative,” says David Kean http://www.trulia.com/profile/david-kean-agent-beverly-hills-ca-zg8fvt6k/overview, a Beverly Hills, CA http://www.trulia.com/CA/Beverly_Hills/, agent with Douglas Elliman. He notes, however: “Some agents have little to no personality, some are burnt-out, some don’t care, and others have no social skills.”

Solution:Hire an agent http://www.trulia.com/directory/ you would invite to a dinner party. If you don’t find [an agent who’s] interesting and pleasurable to deal with, who will?” You may need to *break up with your current agent* http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-signs-its-time-to-think-about-changing-real-estate-agents/ before moving on to greener pastures.

7. The house smells bad

There’s a saying in real estate: “If I can smell it, I can’t sell it,” says *Joshua Spotts* http://www.trulia.com/profile/joshua-spotts-agent-memphis-tn-zg96pbxw/overview, a Memphis, TN http://www.trulia.com/TN/Memphis/, agent. If you’re immune to the smell of your home, get a friend’s honest opinion. “There is nothing like entering a house and smelling a refreshing scent,” says Spotts.

Solution: Sometimes the remedy is a scented candle or freshly baked cookies. But if your house’s odor is persistent, it’s a good idea to determine what’s causing it and address it. Take care of mold and mildew buildup, pet urine on the carpet, or set-in smoke odor.

8. Your appliances are old

Stainless steel is in, and old, yellowing-white refrigerators are out, says *Seth Lejeune* http://www.trulia.com/profile/seth-lejeune-agent-collegeville-pa-zgs6l8g2/overview, a Collegeville, PA http://www.trulia.com/PA/Collegeville/, agent. Although potential buyers realize they can replace a refrigerator, if your appliances look as if they belong on That ’70s Show, buyers might wonder what else might need replacing. “As for HVAC, heaters, and boilers, those are less noticed by prospective buyers during initial walk-throughs but are almost never overlooked at inspection,” notes Lejeune.

Solution: “Update your appliances so they don’t look like they’re on their last legs,” Lejeune says. This advice goes for the unseen too — if your HVAC has a problem, you’re going to have to pay to fix it, or at least come down in your asking price.

Shannon Stiger - REALTOR
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142

8 Sneaky Ways To Take Your New Place For A Test-Drive

*From testing the shower to scoping out how a home’s storage measures up, here’s how to sleuth out some really important features that you can’t judge from a listing.*

While that newly renovated condo looks great in photos, what’s really behind the rapturous Chicago, IL, real estate listing http://www.trulia.com/IL/Chicago/? When it comes to assessing a potential new home, the savvy buyer knows to go full True Detective (first season, at least) and relentlessly sleuth. That waterfall showerhead is beautiful, but how’s the water pressure? If the laundry area is near the living room, can you still hear the TV when the dryer is going? Do the neighbors http://www.trulia.com/blog/neighbor-notes-neighbor-disputes-ways-to-keep-the-peace/ frequently enjoy late-night soirees? Make like a crime-scene detective and put your potential home to the test — before you submit an offer.

1. Play the private-eye

Before you step foot in a potential new place, play the role of private investigator and do a few drive-bys. What’s the foot traffic like in the neighborhood? Do the strolling neighbors http://www.trulia.com/blog/long-distance-moving-and-relocation-tips/look more like young professionals or marrieds with children? How much noise do the neighbors make? (Sneak in a Saturday night visit to get the full taste.) If you drive to work, test your morning and evening commutes and time how long it takes you.

2. Head out on a walking tour

Once you’ve stalked the place by vehicle, it’s time to repeat on foot. See how long it takes you to get to the nearest coffee shop or restaurant, and make sure you love the local cuisine or cup of joe. (A walkability score considers only quantity, not quality, of amenities.) Scope out the nearest public transportation stations while gauging the condition of sidewalks and public plantings — a well-manicured neighborhood usually suggests stronger civic engagement.

3. Test-drive the plumbing

Don’t get seduced by the stand-up shower with the exposed copper pipes and wraparound glass doors — try it out yourself. (Really, it’s not that weird.) How hard is the pressure? How quickly does the water heat up? Test the bathroom and kitchen sinks while you’re at it. Water pressure shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but low pressure could indicate a damaging leak and more water problems (and expenses) down the road.

4. Test the windows

Even if it’s chilly, open a few windows, especially in the room that may be your future master bedroom. Can you hear a lot of traffic or neighborly noise? Do your windows seem to bring in a lot of cross breezes, or do neighboring buildings block the airflow? When the windows are closed, can you feel drafts around the edge of the frames? Windows are crucial for the look and feel of your home.

5. Go into the light

If the open house http://www.trulia.com/blog/open-house-ideas/ happens on a cloudy day, schedule a follow-up visit when the sun is out. See how the natural light flows through each room, especially high-traffic areas. If a room seems especially dark, consider whether the paint color http://www.trulia.com/blog/color-feng-shui-enhance-your-home/ is causing the problem. On the same note, you’ll want to see how dark the bedrooms can get. Close all the shades in all the bedrooms and see if the light still filters through; you might want to throw room-darkening shades onto your shopping list.

6. Listen up

This is a biggie — condo sounds http://www.trulia.com/blog/6-ways-condo-inspections-are-unique/ in particular can drive homeowners insane. Make multiple visits to a unit to catch surrounding neighbors when they’re home and making noise. If there are multiple condos for sale in the building, bring a friend and have her walk around upstairs or in the adjacent unit to see how noise travels. And be sure to ask if children live in the building; the pitter-patter of little feet is far less charming to those who live below them.

Once you’ve assessed noise levels, you should determine how sound travels within the home. Turn on the dryer to hear how loud it is. March around in the guest bedroom to determine how thick the walls are. If you’ll need to invest in sound insulation and throw rugs, it’s better to know now.

7. Scope out storage

Some sellers clear their homes of all clutter http://www.trulia.com/blog/organizing-your-home-tackle-clutter-areas/, but many don’t. Rather than turn up your nose at an overstuffed bedroom closet, take out the tape measure and record some dimensions. The space may be larger than it seems; you can also take those measurements home and plan out a closet scheme online http://www.containerstore.com/tcsclosets/index.htm to see how much stuff it can really handle.

8. Don’t forget your marbles

Are those newly stained hardwood floors level? Bring a marble to find out. Discreetly place the marble on the hardwood floors: Does it stay put or start rolling? If the slope is especially steep, there might be a structural problem at play, but even a slightly uneven floor can become a bargaining chip.

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142