Ask Sandra: Your Real Estate Questions Answered
There’s a lot to know when it comes to buyingand selling a property. So, we put the call to find out what you wanted to know. Real Estate expert Sandra Rinomato answers your questions.
Q: If I sell my 100-year-old house, am I responsible for hidden defects the buyer may uncover?
A: A home owner is required to disclose all latent and patent deficiencies. If you know of an issue you are advised to disclose it to a potential buyer. Chances are anyone interested in buying a 100-year-old home will expect a few issues anyway and won't be expecting modern technology. Most houses have a few issues and as long as it is not beyond what the buyer is willing or able to fix you can usually still get a decent deal. Most houses with major problems still manage to sell.
Q: I live on a street in a desirable part of town. All of the homes, except for one, are well maintained. The house is really unsightly. The porch roof is falling down and the windows are broken and covered with cardboard. We share a driveway… so it's impossible to ignore the property. If we were to put our house on the market, would the neighbour's home bring down the selling price of our house?
A: An unsightly property next door may deter some buyers, it's true, but since the rest of the street seems to show pride of ownership you should be OK. If it is a demand area, most buyers may be so eager to get into the neighbourhood that they will overlook the neighbouring property. They will think that the value can only go up when the neighbour sells to a contractor! In cases where a semi-detached is unkempt you may want to offer to repair some of the cosmetic issues that are shared, like a wall separating the two front porches. Just be sure to get approval in writing before you do anything.
Keep in mind, if it looks like illegal things are going on in there, it could drive people away due to safety concerns for their family.
Q: We have a two bedroom house and we will be renovating our bathroom. Should we keep our only bathtub for resale purposes? I wanted to replace the tub with a shower.
In most cases I would advise you to keep the tub, because a two-bedroom home is appropriate for a family and people with small children will want a tub. Is your home in an area where single people live? Then it may be fine to do a nice seamless glass shower that is all the rage. I know that having the tub and shower combination can be a pain to clean especially if you only use the shower and never use the tub, and many people prefer cleaning just a shower. There is a time and formula for renovating for profit. If you plan on staying in the home for a long while then go ahead and make the home comfortable for yourself!
Q: Should I sell my house now, or would I get more money if I waited until spring?
A: Real estate follows the principals of supply and demand, so ideally you want to sell when demand is high. In many markets spring is when more homes sell per month and for the most money. It's also the time of year when we see the highest number of listings, which means there is more competition out there and more choice for buyers. Is that the best time for you to list your home? I have seen homes sell for lots of money during the holidays, during August and even in frosty February. People buy and sell real estate for a many reasons: job transfer, blending families, divorce, death and so on and those things can a happen at any time. Properties sell every day of the year so don't be worried about not finding a buyer just because it's not April!
Q: On average, how many hours of work would most realtors spend on selling a home?
A: One of the biggest mistakes a good realtor makes is to forgetting to tell a seller just how hard we are working for them! Just like a pilot who has a checklist he uses each time he flies, a smart realtor does the same every time he lists a home for sale. I have a laundry list of things I need to do long before the home ever hits the market. The list includes things that protect the seller legally, marketing activities, preparing the home for sale, spreading the word about the listing, counselling the seller, and so much more. Then there is another long list of things to do while the home is on the market. A busy realtor does not track the number of hours we spend selling a property and we can't really estimate how many hours we spend on average, but if you are ever concerned and want to know what actions your realtor is taking to sell your home, just ask them. You should know exactly how they work and how they plan to sell your home before you sign the listing.