5 Things a Realtor Looks for When Listing a Home for Sale After having toured thousandsof homes over 10 years of selling real estate, there are certain things realtors look forimmediately when assessing a property. In general, they are looking forqualities that will help the home sell quickly — or warning signs it may be atough sell.
Whether the property is in New York, New Haven or Philippines,here are 5 things they look for when evaluating a property. Keep in mind thatthese days, first impressions — a real estate agent‘s as well as those of investors and sellers— are often formed online.1. Location
Whennew listing hit the market, the first thing to consider is its location. Weknow that if the property is on a prime block in a good neighborhood, it willautomatically get a lot of credibility and attention from potential buyers.Conversely, if it’s on a bad block, or even a so-so, or good block in anundesirable neighborhood, it’s going to be a tough sell.
2. Period charm
The next thing to consider is, if the property was built duringa historic or earlier time period and if so, if it evokes the charm and styleof its era. In San Francisco, for instance, you’ve got lots of peaked roofVictorians. In Los Angeles, there are mid-century modern-style homes. And in New York City, brownstones continue to be desirable.
Many buyers will pay more for a propertywith Old World charm and a type of construction that isn’t done anymore. It’sjust not possible to rebuild in, say, the Art Deco or Victorian style, andexpect the rebuild to have the same desirability as the original. Bottom line;If you own a piece of history, it will always hold more value than anotherproperty that lacks period character or charm, even if the historic propertyisn’t in the best condition.
3. Curb appeal andfirst impressions
Curb appeal, in the form of landscaping,the front door, and a front-yard flower garden, used to be the first impressionmost people had of a home for sale. Nowadays, many people get their firstimpressions of a home through a property listing or an email from their realestate agent. They may take a virtual tour of every room in the house, look upthe sales or permit history or even Google the seller before setting footinside the home. And so, curb appeal has gone online, in a sense.
However,many times real estate agents will list a property online before they takephotographs or without taking photographs. Or the agent may take pictures ofthe property with their phone’s camera — which often produces low-resolutionimages — and post these photos online. And so, prospective buyers get theirfirst impressions of the property by looking at old pictures or low-qualityphotos. That’s why it’s so important to have sharp, high-resolution,professional photographs of your home taken before it’s listed. Those picturesare, in essence, the new curb appeal, and if done improperly, you may discourageprospective buyers from even driving by your home.
4. Fixtures andfinishes
Let’s say you’ve got an attractive propertyin a desirable location. Excellent; you’re way ahead of the game. The nextthing I look for is how up-to-date (or not) the fixtures and finishes are.
Many buyers tell me they can’t imaginerenovating. They want a house that’s already “done done done.” Or they mightsay they’re OK with a small renovation over time, but that they want a propertyin move-in condition. Maybe they want to add value to the property by makingmore substantial upgrades on their own. I factor all of this in as I lookclosely at a property’s fixtures and finishes.
Do the bathrooms have high-end or cheapfixtures? Is the kitchen outfitted with modern Caesar stone countertops orolder granite? Is the stove electric, the refrigerator a relic of the 70s? Forkitchens and baths, I look to see if this property is move-in ready, if there’sroom for a buyer to add value by updating or if the property needs a gut renovation.
The worst-case scenario is when I see aproperty that’s been recently renovated, but the fixtures, finishes or style ofrenovation aren’t appropriate to their particular market, or that obviouscorners were cut to save money. A buyer isn’t going to pay top dollar for arenovated property if they have to re-do the second-rate renovations.
How the property is laid out makes a bigdifference to buyers. You can have an awesome renovated home in the bestlocation. But if the layout of the house doesn’t fit the profile of buyers inyour area, that can be a problem.
For example, many families in San Franciscolook for homes with all bedrooms on one floor. This makes it easy to check onthe kids or to have everyone nearby. A small mid-century home, in which theprevious owners added a basement bedroom and bathroom, would therefore be atougher sale in a San Francisco neighborhood popular with families.
Anotherexample: Many people today like to entertain at home (a trend that’s likely tocontinue, especially during tough economic times), with guests hanging out inthe kitchen together as the host cooks. As a result, a floor plan with an openliving/kitchen/dining area will be more attractive than one in which thekitchen is tucked away at the end of a hallway, far from the living orentertaining areas.
Adding it all up
Of course, every market is different andevery buyer has different needs, wants and requirements. There may be buyersout there who want to be in a less-desirable, but up-and-coming neighborhood.That buyer may also hate older homes and only wants something new and modern.Regardless of the buyer’s particular interests or needs, these five qualitieswill always be among the first things a realtor looks for when reviewingproperties.
A seller can’t physically move his house to a betterneighborhood or transform a 1980s home into a 1880s Victorian. Even so, themore you can do to make your property as attractive as possible in these fivecategories, the easier it will be to sell your home.