New Years Home Seller Resolutions
Straight Talk With Brad Rozansky
OK, it’s now mid-January and time to fess up. How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Have you cut back on how much time you spend on your phone, lost the weight and set up that savings account? According to experts, most people ditch theirs by January 12th, so don’t feel bad if you are among them. Given the business I’m in, I can’t help but wonder what resolutions a home would make every year, if it could. I know, it’s far-fetched, but so was the smart phone, the smart watch and Bluetooth. Humor me; it’s 2020, the start of a new decade…if cars can drive themselves why can’t houses think? We sold properties in all shapes, sizes and conditions in 2019, and based on those experiences, here are 5 resolutions every home should make in 2020 to stay happy, healthy and “smart”:
#1: Get rid of my radon problems – forever. This is the third year of Montgomery County’s law requiring me to undergo radon testing prior to the completion of my sale. Well, let me share with my fellow homes a little lesson learned: radon results can be erratic.
Yep, two of my closest “home boys” were listed with Brad, and he and their owners were preparing them for the market. They underwent preliminary radon testing in January, and passed with flying shingles. But when they sold and were tested again in August, both came back with unacceptable (over 4.0 pc/L) levels.
Hey – I’m a home. I’m entitled to be healthy, and so are the humans who live here. Put a radon remediation system in me (the cost is anywhere from $800-$1200) and never worry about radon again.
#2: Get any mold I might have professionally removed. Oh, our aching, moldy joists! More of my fellow ”homies” had mold issues in 2019 than in years past. Maybe it was the rainy weather the year before, or maybe it’s simply because there are parts of us where humans rarely venture. Check my cranium (humans call it “attic”). Check my trachea (they call that “crawl space”). If there’s mold, have it removed by a professional. My circulation is critical to my health and yours.
#3. This year I’m finally going to do something about my smoking! I’m just a house, but I’m a smart one. I was built before July 1975, and that means my owners can install 10-year non-removable battery smoke detectors. Those young whipper-snappers built after July 1, 1975 must have hard-wired alarms and a battery back-up to allow function during a power outage. To keep our people safe, these smoke detectors must be outside each sleeping area and on each of my levels, including my err… let’s just call it “basement!”.
For maximum protection, install alarms inside all sleeping rooms regardless of how old your home is. Here’s an added incentive: one rumor that is circulating is that insurance companies may refuse to pay claims in the event of fire in non-compliant properties.
#4. For heaven’s sake, make me look a bit better. Oh the woes I hear from my pals Marvin Mansion and Alice Palace! Even us houses know that some of us are more “popular” than others. The most popular are always those with the lower price tags, and there weren’t enough of them available last year for all the buyers who wanted them. But one surprise that caught all of us off-guard in 2019 was the surge in popularity of luxury homes. In just one example, Brad had one listed with over 8,000 square feet of livable but not renovated space, and when he hit the “sweet spot” in price there were 2 buyers suddenly vying for it. These buyers pulled out every stop to own a two-acre Potomac estate that had 10 original (1993) baths! Most of us with lots of land under us figure younger home buyers don’t want us: they like urban living. It turns out that once they start families they WILL buy bigger suburban properties…. but there are caveats. My acreage-ample friends don’t need an extensive, costly renovation, but put them in the game to win: neutral paint and finishes go a long way, accessorize them with some trendy, clean-lined furniture (it takes the focus off their dated features), and then price them recognizing the limited demand.
#5. One more thing: Before they even think about selling me, my owners need to attend the Home Seller Seminar on January 29 at Bethesda Country Club.
We houses try not to take it personally when our owners put us on the market, but don’t let us sit there week after week, month after month with a FOR SALE sign out front. I’ve only turned over 3 times, but things have changed with the sales process. Technology plays a much bigger role today, and sellers need to understand its impact. If your owners are thinking about selling you, encourage them to attend. Brad provides great information about accurate pricing, what a pre-listing inspection can mean, how absorption rates impact our value and a host of other topics. In the end, we want happy sellers and new buyers who will love us……even if we don’t really think, write real estate newsletters or otherwise have any human attributes!