Home Selling in 94703>Question Details

KibKib, Both Buyer and Seller in Berkeley, CA

Having realtor manage deferred maintenance pre-sale? Pros and cons?

Asked by KibKib, Berkeley, CA Mon May 19, 2008

Has anyone had their selling-Realtor handle subcontracting of medium-level repair, renovation, and staging before a sale (e.g. major pest, sewer, kitchen, bath, staging)? I would like to sell my central Berkeley home this summer, and the speed and simplicity of this solution is attractive. They claim turnaround time of one month. However, I would like to get a sanity check on whether this approach has worked for anyone.
Are there pitfalls I should look out for?
I've already had one round of house inspections by independent service folks (facilitated by my Realtor), and I am inclined to get additional estimates on the pricey stuff (30k of pest) .

Also, what sale-condition is standard for a Central Berkeley home? (My house is located midway between North Berkeley and Downtown Bart). Does it need to be squeaky clean? Will 15k of outstanding pest deter buyers?
Thanks for any advice!

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Answers

9
KibKib -

I have worked for many a client in helping coordinate repairs, remodeling, inspections, staging etc in preparation for sale. If the seller understands the goal, I am ready, willing to work.

Extensive termite damage is a hard one because buyers can get very skiddish about how deep the issues go and how much it affects the over all integrity of the structure. In my opinion, curing the pest/damage can be the best investment in the sale process. Some lenders will not make a loan on a house that has active infestation. Obtaining a clearance can be key to completing a deal.

Many of us can recommend inspectors and contractors to complete work. With that said, it is you who has to be ultimately satisfied with the choices and work completed and therefore should not simply hire someone because the agent recommends them. Be comfortable with the choice and do not lower your expectation of how the work will be completed.

As far as the exact expectation of the Berkeley neighborhood buyer, I can not comment. Here in the South Bay, I see higher and higher expectations from buyers. The investors are not out in force, so many are buyers that will actually occupy the home. With lending requirements for down payments, credit, and ratios becoming stricter and stricter, many buyers can not afford to place another dime into the home. Having a "model" like home is very valuable in the South Bay market. Even if a buyer is not shy about remodeling/repairs, they may very well not have the flexibility in cash to complete improvements.

Good luck!

CJ
Web Reference: http://www.TalkToCJ.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Hi there!

**********Full Disclosure*******

I am a Realtor, but I do this all the time for clients. It makes a huge difference in the sale price. Realtors know what needs to be done and it is their best interests to take care of you through the selling process. Plus it's fun! 15K is not too much depending on what else is wrong with the property, (or right.)

Some buyers will deduct the pest from their offer, so you may want to consider it in your selling price.

Best regards,

Nicole
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
P.S. 15K definitely falls within the threshhold of what is considered to be a high pest report, but it depends on where the work is, how far progressed, and how it affects the livability of the house. Definitely get multiple bids.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
I'm glad you are getting clarification on having the agent handle the subcontracting. I flinched when I saw that language. Many good agents will provide assistance to clients in the form of helping get bids from various service providers, and make recommendations on which repairs or spruce up options will help you earn the highest value for your property. All options need to be considered in relationship to 1) the condition of your home 2) how much equity you have in the home 3) what you can afford to spend on market prep.

In today's market, buyers are often willing to pay a premium for homes that don't need a lot of work, because it may be easier for them to get a mortgage than have extra cash to fix up. Often, sadly, buyers will pay more for the cosmetic upgrades than for structural improvements, but certain structural issues may be important to address, or you will be selling at a fixer price. How you prep it really will make a huge difference in the price it may sell for.
Be advised though, that quality of work matters now more than ever. Permitted work done by licensed contractors is more expensive, but offers additional protection for you as a seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
I want to address the "squeak clean" issue. North Berkeley buyers are very discriminating in their purchases. The typical buyer that I work with in the area and that has come to see my most recent listing wanted everything "done". In the case of my particular listing it was impractical to do everything, and that might be the case for you as well. We chose to put our limited budget in to cosmetic issues (paint, plaster, staging, cleaning, etc.), health and safety issues (e.g. asbestos), and to shortening the list of projects by making all the minor plumbing and electrical repairs on the list.
-Art
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 20, 2008
Liz and KibKib-

Yes definitely, my role has been as facilitator and not Contractor. I make appointments, coordinate schedules, help align budgets, address "bang for the buck", and help keep a time line going. Licensed contractors are an absolute. Folks that want to cut corners take great risk with the transaction and that is not my cup of tea.

CJ
Web Reference: http://www.TalkToCJ.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 20, 2008
Thank you for the insights so far. Helpful to know that this is not uncommon role for Realtors. But, also a good reminder to confirm that there is a licensed insured job contractor overseeing everything. I may have mis-stated... perhaps they are acting as a facilitator - definitely something to investigate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Please be very careful having a Realtor who is not a licensed contractor do contracting work on your home. Contracting work includes managing subcontractors as well. If all goes smoothly, you may have gotten some free leg work from someone who may or may not know what they are doing, but if there are any difficulties after the close, or even with laborers or subcontractors, you are liable. I worry when licensees take on this role with homeowners in order to enhance their value proposition to the homeowner - it puts the homeowner in jeopardy. Be cautious, and even better, hire a licensed contractor with workman's comp and liability insurance. All the Best. Liz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
If your home is at or above Cedar Street, you are considered North Berkeley - Liz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
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