December 30, 2012

Selling your home? Details matter

A seemingly minor issue can break a real estate deal.

By KATHLEEN LYNN McClatchy Newspapers

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Some things that might affect how fast your home sells include the posted speed limit on your street ...

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While many buyers are turned off by wallpaper, Freed has seen it help close a deal. Real estate agents usually tell sellers to remove wallpaper and paint the room a neutral color, and that's Freed's typical advice.

"If you've ever tried taking it down, it's really disgusting," Freed said. "People do not want to do it, and they think it costs a fortune to (pay someone to) do it."

But when she and her husband sold their own house years ago, they left up the ballerina wallpaper in their daughter's room. The buyers' daughter loved it, and Freed thinks that was a factor in the family's decision to purchase.

She saw that happen another time with a listing that had been on the market for nine months.

"A buyer came in and saw the same wallpaper she had just put up in her current house," Freed said. "She saw it as a sign from above that this house was meant for her. They bought the house."

Often, small issues will squelch a deal rather than seal it. New Jersey real estate agent Angele Ekert was involved in a sale where everything was fine until the home inspection. The buyers spotted mice in the attic, and that was the end of that.

"That turned the buyers off completely, even though mice can easily be remedied," she said.

Another one of her deals fell through years ago, when the buyer discovered that someone had died in the house.

Ruby Kaplan of Vera & Nechama Real Estate in Teaneck, N.J., says a sale in that town almost fell apart over a backyard swing set. The buyer thought the swings should be included in the sale, but the sellers wanted to take the swings to their new home. Kaplan says she persuaded the seller to leave the swing set behind, since moving it would cost money and antagonize the buyers.

Freed recalls a $1 million sale that almost collapsed because the buyer and seller couldn't agree on who would pay $500 to remove a tree that the home inspector said was dying.

"That was fun," she said. In the end, she said, the buyer paid.


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... the address ...

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... that "stunning" wallpaper ...

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... and little critters in your attic.

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