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Crofton Real Estate Q&A: What Are Buyers Looking For?

Q.  What are Crofton home buyers looking for in a house?  I’d like to start preparing now to sell my home this summer.

A.  Crofton MD home buyers aren’t much different from buyers everywhere… they want it all! 

Welcome MatToday’s home buyers are looking for…

1. A Great Deal– Home buyers want the most bang for their buck.  You have to price your home aggressively and offer incentives such as closing help, a warranty, or even pre-paid HOA fees in this competitive buyer’s market.

2.  Now – If they’re shopping for a home now, they probably want an answer to their offer now, and they want to move in now.  They don’t want to wait weeks or months for an answer from a 3rd party.  If you’re underwater, begin the HAP or short sale process now and don’t wait for an offer on your home.

3.  Clean – No one wants to clean other people’s dirt.  You need to de-clutter and then clean and polish everything in sight.

4.  No Repairs – The last thing home buyers want to do is move into their new home and start spending more money to fix a leak, patch a wall, or replace a roof.  If you’re not much of a do-it-yourselfer, hire a licensed home improvement contractor.

5.  Beige – Most home buyers prefer a neutral palette so they can add their own decorating taste to their new home.  They’ll cringe at the sight of wallpaper, so start stripping.

6.  Updates – From light fixtures in the bathroom to a high-efficiency furnace, they want 2011 features in that 1970’s house. Many updates are inexpensive and easy to do.

7.  Upgrades – Granite, not laminate counters; stainless steel, not white kitchen appliances; hardwood flooring, not carpet; a deck or patio, not a concrete slab. 

8.  A Garage –  NOT a storage locker and NOT a converted garage now used as a hobby room.  They want to park their car in the garage.  Rent a storage unit for your stuff so prospective buyers can imagine their car in the garage.

9.  Safe – Why not order a radon test, well and septic tests (if applicable), and even a home inspection in advance, and make any recommended safety repairs to give your home a competitive edge.

10. Easy – Like you, home buyers want a smooth and pleasant real estate transaction with minimal hassles. That’s the primary reason most home buyers prefer to work with a buyer’s agent rather than purchase “by owner.”

Some home sellers are limited by time and/or financial resources and can’t offer all of these “wants” to potential home buyers.  That’s okay… very few homes can. (Any that do will probably sell more quickly and for more money.)

Just do what you can and understand that #1 is the most important item on the list.  Buyers will forgive the absence of items #2–10 if you adjust your price accordingly.

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