Staten Island Realtor Q & A

Q. My husband and I are separated. Our children are grown, and I’ve been living alone in our big family home. Since I don’t have a lot of cash or time to spare, I have not been able to keep it up very well. Now I’d like to sell it, but I know that it isn’t worth as much as other homes nearby because of the maintenance problems. I think I should get an appraisal and home inspection before I put it on the market, but my friends say that’s a waste of money. What do you think?

–McLean, Va.

A. I think your friends are partly right. Getting an appraisal is a waste of money since you don’t need it to list your home. There are many other free ways to get a general sense of what your house is worth, including various web-based automated home-price estimators that rely on recent sales. You should study the pictures of these sold homes to see how well-kept they were compared with yours.

Real-estate agents who have sold properties in your area are another good source of information on home prices. Invite at least three of them to prepare competitive market analyses and to visit your home. Ask them to be brutally honest about what needs to be fixed, and to estimate the cost of repairs. To keep from hurting your feelings and losing the listing, some agents may say that they leave those suggestions to their stager. I’d eliminate those agents. Since you are operating on a tight budget, it’s best to hire someone who won’t sugarcoat the truth or suggest that you price your home too high, given its issues. Such flattery may win the listing but won’t be in your best interests. The longer your house sits on the market, the more it will lose its luster in the eyes of home shoppers, while you’re still on the hook for the mortgage, utilities and other expenses.

A home inspection is also unnecessary for a seller, but something you might want to consider if you don’t have a good handle on what needs to be repaired. Typically, the inspector will uncover many items that you can easily fix yourself, like a broken window latch or a clogged bathroom drain. You may not be able to fix everything on the deferred maintenance list, but you’ll net much more if you can pare it down before the buyers’ home inspector arrives. The buyers will insist that any repairs their inspector finds be fixed by a professional, or will ask for a credit at closing to have the repairs done themselves.

Spend any money you were planning to spend on an appraisal on contractors to make the most important fixes. And don’t forget the eye candy: If you can’t afford to have painters do your whole house, just have them freshen the rooms that get the hardest wear (usually the kitchen and baths), as well as the front door.

For more information visit


About mortgagelendingstatenisland

I am a mortgage banking veteran with over 15 years of experience at every level of the mortgage arena. I am known as the "closer" because of my troubleshooting skils and ability to explain in detail to my clients and business partners "What Makes A Mortgage Approvable".

Posted on April 26, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: