If you are thinking of selling your home in Los Angeles it would be a good thing to understand what Los Angeles home buyers are looking for.
Much of my business comes from buyers so I am somewhat familiar with their wants and needs. Of course every buyer is different but there are some commonalities. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Location: This is obvious for several reasons:
- People like to be close to work. No one wants to drive too far in Los Angeles if they can help it.
- A good school district will be important if kids are involved.
- We all know that Los Angeles is not exactly a walking city so buyers may want to live in an area with a high Walk Score.
- There may be a particular area in which buyers want to live for social reasons.
There is absolutely nothing you can do about this. Your home is where it is. But knowing the pluses and minuses of your particular location is a good idea if you have selling points to put forward.
Style and features of the home: We all have different tastes:
- Some people may prefer an older home with character or a more modern home.
- A pool may be a plus or minus. Buyers with young children may not be comfortable with one.
- A good view is a desirable characteristic.
- Most buyers pay great attention to details inside:
- Have you made any upgrades, especially to the kitchen and bathrooms?
- How does the house flow? Some people like an open kitchen environment. Some don’t like to walk straight into the living room from the front door.
- The size of the bedrooms is always a much discussed item. Buyers tend to like larger secondary bedrooms, not just the master.
- How is the closet space? This is an important factor especially when the female buyer is trying to envision her vast wardrobe in the home.
- Is there good outdoor space?
- How is the parking situation?
Again, these are things you cannot change. The house is what it is.
Condition of the home:
This is completely under your control:
- Have you maintained the home over the years?
- Is the electrical system up to code?
- Do you have copper plumbing?
- Are the windows weather-proofed?
- Do you have air-conditioning, and if so has it been well maintained?
- How much more life is in the roof?
- Have you maintained the sewer line?
- In earthquake land does the foundation meet safety standards?
- If your home is on a hill is there adequate drainage?
- Was any work done on the home without permits?
- When was the last time you inspected for termite infestation and possibly had remediation done?
(If any damage occurred while living in your home you will need to disclose the fact even though it has been repaired. It really doesn’t matter if it happened a long time ago. You can never get into trouble for disclosing something.)
Neighborhood: This is aside from location.
- You may have noisy neighbors, or live on a particularly noisy street.
- Are you under a flight path?
- How busy is the street traffic? This is very important to buyers with young kids.
- How is street parking for guests?
(Anything negative you know about the neighborhood will have to be disclosed. Anything! You do not have to interpret it, just disclose it.)
First, and possibly last, impression:
You may only have one chance to impress a buyer and your home needs to be on its best behavior.
- If it needs a coat of paint that is money well spent. Both inside and out.
- Make sure the landscaping is in good condition. You want buyers to want to come into the home not have them drive past.
- Declutter. Remove as much of the too personal as possible. You want buyers to envision themselves in the home.
- Make sure the home is clean, smells good and feels welcoming.
As mentioned, many of the items you can do nothing about. They are what they are. However, the one thing you can do before selling your home is to have an inspection by a certified home inspector. The buyer is going to do so, so it would a good idea to know what to expect. It is up to you whether you make some repairs ahead of putting your home on the market, but at least you will have an idea of the request for repairs the buyer is likely to submit, and you can estimate the cost of those repairs in order to negotiate a credit to the buyer should it come to that.
I have only scratched the surface of what goes through buyers’ minds when touring homes. Hopefully it will help you look at yours from the other side of the table and help you understand how to get the best out of your sales process.
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