Houses almost always look better when furnished than when empty. After all, it’s a known fact that staged homes sell for more in the real estate market. Many experts have compiled studies on the debate, and they almost all came to the same conclusion.
The truth of the matter is, every home has things that could use some sprucing up before it can be presentable to buyers. Some homes have bigger issues than others. Either way, you’ve got to do a little footwork if you want to get your home sold. The appearance of it is going to determine how much or how little they’ll offer you for it.
Buyers that mean business are going to pay for an inspection. Buyers that don’t probably aren’t that serious about buying. Or, they just assume your home is a fixer-upper so they don’t bother. They are expecting to have to put a lot of repairs and work into your home.
There aren’t many people that will purchase a home without getting an inspection, and seeing the appraisal. No smart people, anyway. Note that you are going to have to continue paying for utilities, taxes, and insurance while your home is on the market. This means that you shouldn’t play the game of listing your house too high to see if any one will pay it.
Here are times where it makes sense to fix up your home before selling it.
You should repair it before you list it if there is a large variance in the cost of the fix-up, and a potential buyer is likely to over-estimate the cost. The second and probably more compelling circumstance is where most potential buyers have the capacity to make only a small down payment, and are therefore not in a position to fund the cost of major repairs after purchase.
By making the repairs before sale while setting a correspondingly higher price, a buyer is in effect financing the improvement in the mortgage. If a buyer with limited cash had to make the improvements after purchase, the financing costs would be substantially higher.
If a house has significant defects, the smart seller will order her own inspection, and in some cases, solicit estimates of the cost of required fix-ups. This will help in deciding whether the best arrangement is pre-sale fix-up, sale as is, or some combination of the two.
In addition, a seller-ordered inspection will tend to equalize the negotiating power of the two parties. Buyer-ordered inspections are designed, consciously or unconsciously, to provide bargaining ammunition for the buyer by exposing everything that is wrong or might go wrong. See: How Much You Should Spend Before a Sale.