Showing properties to prospective buyers is great fun. I get to listen to all sorts of ideas a dreams about how each address might serve the prospective home buyer’s family. One of the things home buyers can miss is what their experience will be like when they decide to sell the house later. For example, I’ve had single buyers tell me they only need a two bedroom house (they still exist) since they’re the only one who will be living there. I always suggest they buy a three bedroom house even if they don’t need it. If they don’t, they’ll be looking for another single buyer like themselves, which will cut down the prospective buyer pool immensely. Mary McIntosh, a Realtor in Arizona, explains a few other things that could make a property difficult to sell when you’re ready to move.
In 2002, when I first got my real estate license, I took a class at my brokerage about how to show properties. Seems silly, right? How hard is it to unlock the door? But this class was about practical ways to make sure the buyer focuses on the most important factors of a home. I still follow some of the tips from this class today. One of them was to advocate caution to a buyer considering a house with an “adverse situation.”
What’s that? It’s a condition that will affect the resale of the property. I remember the instructor saying, “When my past clients call me up and ask me to sell the house I helped them buy, I don’t want to then explain to them the fact that they back to a major road will affect their value.” That hit me. No, it’s not the agent’s job to choose the home for the buyer, but they do deserve to know that if they purchase a home with an unchangeable adverse situation, it will always sell for less than similar homes and may stay on the market longer.
Selling is stressful no matter what the market is like, but in a flat or down market, it is 100 times worse. So since we can’t predict the future, I prefer to talk to buyers up front about adverse situations — deal killers, I call them — so they know what they’re getting into. And what might those deal killers be? These are the six I run into most often in my business.
Power lines: I hadn’t considered this one a deal killer until one of my first buyers backed out of a sale contract because she feared the power lines behind the home would give her cancer. Then I learned just how popular this myth is, as buyer after buyer has brought up a similar concern ever since. Just like fears about cell phone radiation, people have come to worry that the low-level radiation from high-voltage power lines will make them sick — even though governmental studies have not found such a link. But perception is everything in the pursuit of a sale. Many people also find power lines aesthetically displeasing, which could cause trouble at resale.
New subdivisions: Brand-new homes are a big draw for many buyers, but if you are looking in a subdivision that will be under construction for years to come, resale could be difficult for the foreseeable future. They’ll be competing with brand-new construction for however long developers are building in the area, and that will make their lives difficult for many reasons. Beyond the appeal of new homes, builders also have deep pockets and can offer many incentives to buyers that traditional sellers can’t.
Neighboring a business: I once had a neighbor whose home backed up to the rear of a grocery store. Guess when grocery stores get their deliveries? All night long. Those delivery people didn’t care who was sleeping at 4 a.m. or whether they were being too loud for the new mom next door with a baby she was trying to put to sleep. Now, not every business is going to be this disruptive all night long, but if their neighbors aren’t home owners just like them, they may have issues to deal with.
Environmental concerns: In my area in Arizona, the west-facing backyard is an immediate deal killer. During summer sunsets — a time of day when many people are home — the back of the house heats up even hotter than it usually is around this neck of the woods. Not an enjoyable experience when you’re trying to relax after a long day. It also makes barbecuing on the back patio unbearable. Your location may have different adverse situations depending on the environment in your state. In Washington, where my brother sells, he tries to avoid homes in forested areas that might be in danger of burning down.
Subtle noises: When buyers tour homes, they’re listening for noise from nearby airports, train tracks, or highways and major roads. They’re probably a little more oblivious to the barking dog next door or the neighbor with parrots and a full aviary in their yard — or a chicken coop. Sometimes these noises are only passing aggravations and aren’t permanent, but if they hear it now, they’ll probably hear it in the future. And that can affect the next buyer’s opinion when they’re ready to sell.
Peculiar ideas of privacy: Speaking of noise, highways and major roads are an obvious problem at resale, but some buyers prefer backing to a busy road rather than another home for privacy reasons. They’re a rare breed. For most people, the privacy benefit won’t outweigh the disturbance of the noise.
Mary McIntosh, GRI, AHWD, is associate broker at ProSmart Realty in Gilbert, Ariz., and has been selling real estate since 2002. Her motto is: “Always look for ways to better serve your clients and keep them laughing throughout the process.”
If you are currently in the market to buy or sell a home in Tulsa or the surrounding areas, give me a call at 918-809-5199. I have twelve years experience in this market and I can make the process as easy as possible for you. I look forward to meeting you soon!