LETS TALK REAL ESTATE
by James Sarles, President, Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty
IS IT THE TRUTH?
We all know that the last few years have been very rough in the real estate market—and that’s putting in mildly. There are fewer buyers, lower prices, fewer transactions, an oversupply of property, and the doom and gloom goes on. Even aggressive buyers have been cautious and were hesitant to take advantage of the great deals out there because of their fear of the world economy. Some “experts” believe that the market has finally bottomed out and 2012 will be a better year. Of course the only way you know you are at the bottom is when the market rises, and then it’s too late to catch the bottom. We do know that 2011 was better than 2010, so that is a good sign!
From our perspective sitting on one of the 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks) in the Atlantic Ocean, the needle seems to moving in the right direction and 2012 is shaping up to be a better year than 2011. Everything is relative and it doesn’t take much to do better than 2011, but the real estate market is coming back all around the world. If you are selling your home, you must remember that there is still a lot of competition out in the marketplace, so even though you want to sell your home badly, it is critical to DISCLOSE EVERYTHING about your property or risk losing the sale.
In 1930, Herbert Taylor coined the now famous Rotary 4-way test of the things we think, say, or do, and this series of honest questions apply to selling your house as well. Ask yourself:
• IS IT THE TRUTH?
• IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED?
• WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
• WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED?
Let’s say that you just listed your beautiful home in Bahamia, or Fortune Cay, for sale, and let’s say you withheld a few “little” problems from your real estate agent – the roof leaks, but only when it rains; the outlet in the back bedroom won’t spark unless something is plugged in; and there is a stain on the oak floor in the living room that is covered up by a rug. Will it be all right if you simply don’t mention these defects? Definitely not!
IS IT THE TRUTH?
It is a mistake to think that your home will sell more quickly if you conceal its little (or not so little) imperfections. I have seen these seemingly insignificant items escalate into major issues that have ruined sales. Buyers have a right—and must be informed about—not only about any structural problems, but also any limitations imposed by a homeowner’s association. These could range from the obligation to join the homeowner’s association to a restriction on parking a truck overnight in your driveway! Homeowner’s associations can impose restrictive covenants governing use and occupancy that can include prohibitions against guesthouses or multi-family residences, or the right to rent. You can see why failure to disclose could have disastrous consequences and even end up in court. Keep in mind that any home has its quirks. If something in your home is not working properly or needs to be repaired, fix it or make sure that your agent discloses it to the prospective buyers. Be absolutely candid with your agent and buyers about the condition of the property. It is unlikely that such defects will go undetected because more and more buyers are getting structural inspections, and after the hurricanes, are paying more attention themselves on the structural and mechanical aspects of your home. If they don’t see what you are trying to hide on the first visit they may pick it up on the second visit, and when buyers remorse sets in that spells trouble with a capital T.
So, instead of having sleepless nights before or after the sale, it’s better to disclose the major and minor problems upfront to save problems later. Think about the Rotary 4-way test when you are selling your house, get a good nights sleep, and Sell your house in 2012. Good Luck to buyers and sellers. Until next time ...