What Every Homebuyer Wants

it’s time to sell your house.

What every homebuyer really wants

Which means that it’s time to get it ready to sell. But what does that mean, “ready to sell”?

No matter what stage of life a person is in, I’ve seen that all homebuyers want two simple things when considering houses. If you’re thinking of selling your existing home, read on as we walk through the process with a couple of my early clients, Tim & Samm, to see what it is that homebuyers really want.

The Viewing

After spending most days hitting refresh on the online neighborhood search, Samm is excited to go see a few of the properties today after work. The house they like best on our walk-throughs is a fully renovated 1990’s home in Fife, and Tim especially loves it. 

The outside is a deep green, with rockery all around the landscape, and the front door is a warm rust red. There is freshly laid bark, and the lawn must have just been cut because we can smell the grass clippings right when we get out of the car. It is the picture of inviting curb appeal.

The inside is just as great. We walk in and everything is brand new. New oak floors with matching trim and cabinets, and the list just goes on from there. 

I can see my clients are excited, and I am pretty sure that I’ve  just found them their new house.

The Choosing

After viewing these potential homes in person, we sit down to discuss next steps. We first review their top 5 needs and wants. I am pretty sure that they want that freshly remodeled home that oozes curb appeal. To be sure, though, we flip through the houses that we have seen.

There are some great contenders, but I would bet money on that remodeled home. And I would lose.

To my surprise they quickly pass on the remodel! Instead, they go with another house that is less polished but is a great value. At the moment, I am caught off guard because they seemed to have loved the gorgeous remodel so much at the viewing.

sellers checklist
Have you been considering selling your Edgewood Washington real estate?
It may take less than you’d expect.

The Reasoning

It turns out that although they loved the shiny remodeled home, they are very nervous about the big price tag that goes along with the beautiful upgrades. I ask more questions, and as pretty is it all was, they don’t really like the brand new oak cabinets. Plus, upon reflection the home has only 2 of their top 5 needs and wants. The gorgeous brand new oak floor is also a problem for them because they prefer carpet. 

I then ask my client why her reaction had been so positive when we had toured the house, despite it not really meeting their needs. She says that she was taken in not just by all of the new finishes, but really by how clean and move-in ready the house was. She knew that those two factors meant they could move in right away.

At the end of the day, they choose to go with another clean and move-in ready property. It isn’t completely remodeled, and it didn’t give them that immediate awe-inspired reaction, but it did have 4 of their 5 needs and wants. They will go on to live happily in that home for about 7 years. 

The Lesson

I’ve seen this situation happen over and over in the years since that day. I’ve concluded that willing and able homebuyers who are approved to pay fair market value are always looking for these two thing:

1. Clean

2. Move-In Ready

Notice that I didn’t say freshly remodeled with a brand new kitchen and all new flooring. Nope. Most buyers will take “used” as long as it is clean and move-in ready. Of course, you can remodel your property and list it for a higher price…but what will your net return be? Will the headache of renovating be worth the return on investment

Generally, the answers to those two questions will be 1. Not enough, and 2. Probably not. On average, even the best kitchen renovation yields only a 54 to 77% return, and to get that you have to sell as soon as the remodel is complete when it’s brand spanking new.

 Learn what home buyers want when they're searching for a new home. Every person searching for a new home wants these two simple things when house hunting.

Bottom line: If a buyer wants brand new, they’ll buy new construction. If they’re looking at existing places, though, chances are they are willing and ready to take on some of the hassle to give the place a face lift after they purchase. They can pick out the finishes and personalize the home for themselves. That’s often part of the fun of buying an existing house!

So the lesson for sellers is this: Give your property a thorough cleaning and make sure that it is move-in ready. Do this and you’ll be posed for a quick sale because you’ll be offering exactly what homebuyers want. But don’t buy into the myth that you have to gut the place.

As far as cleaning, I love a good checklist! Don’t you?! Here is a simple cleaning checklist that should help you whether you’re planning on selling next month, or next year. 

Oh, and don’t forget to give me a call, too. I can give you an idea of how to prep your property to be listed. Work smarter, not harder! Before you do the heavy lifting, let me help you lighten your load! After years and years of doing this, I do know what home buyers want, and I can help you offer it to them.

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