Home Selling in 91104>Question Details

annie, Home Buyer in Port Townsend, WA

Is it better to disclose home issues or fix them before listing?

Asked by annie, Port Townsend, WA Thu Aug 1, 2013

We have a 1932 bungalow with original knob and tube wiring, gravity flow heat with probable asbestos wrapped ducts, and cracks in our fireplace. House is 1400 sq. ft. in a landmark district.

Help the community by answering this question:


The DISCLOSURES also ask if any work has been done recently; so doing the work does not preclude telling about it.

The important consideration for you, is that most buyers, particularly for "affordable" homes, need to have a turn-key; because they have little or no money by the time the Escrow closes.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hi Ron, I'm not sure this would be called affordable...most similar homes in our neighborhood are going for $650-800,000. We're not worried about disclosing, just want to do the necessary work to get the best return. Thanks.
Flag Thu Aug 1, 2013
You will get a better return on investment if you fix them than if buyers are deducting form your price so they can fix them
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 3, 2013
Unfortunately. through recent experience, we've found out the hard way. It's far better to remedy as many problems as possible. Otherwise, prospective buyers have a field day asking for huge credits. Just remember, the highest offers are not always the best. Oftentimes, those are the ones that are meant to blow off the lower ones; once in negotiation, they start the game of credits after credits after credits.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 3, 2013
Annie, I would encourage you to analyze what you are trying to achieve with your sale, your reasons for selling, and your financial situation.

If you have to sell quickly or don't have the financial resources to invest in some improvements, then you should just sell the house in "as is" condition. If you choose this route, I would have a home inspector do an up-front inspection and have the report available to potential buyers. I would also make sure that the price reflects the necessary improvements needed. In this situation, you want potential buyers to understand the condition of the house before they make their offer. This will save you a lot of difficulty when it comes to home inspection time.

Ideally, I would have you spend some time and money to get the basic systems up to current standards. Copper plumbing and updated electrical are a priority to most buyers. Asbestos ducts tend to come up in a home inspection. It would be best to have the ducts removed and a new forced air system installed. I would also encourage you to have an inspector look at your fireplace to determine whether it is dangerous.

I love older homes and understand your situation. I have bought and sold homes myself that had the old wiring and old plumbing. As we progress into the 21st century, these original systems are getting older and older. With my current home, I decided to take care of all those issues (I do have a crack in my firebox though) and feel good about this decision.

Good luck as you figure it all out!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hi Annie,

I think it really depends on the home and how much you can afford to spend on fixing it. Homes often show better and sell faster when fixed up, but you would need to disclose any problems you recently fixed anyway. It sounds like there are some safety issues and buyers may request to have these fixed, but you can always try to sell as is.

I would be happy to provide a free professional estimate of your home value at the time with no obligation and help you evaluate the situation.

Feel free to contact me directly at (310) 717-1321 or JamieTian@RodeoRE.com.


Jamie Tian
Rodeo Realty
(310) 717-1321
DRE #01920120
Web Reference: http://www.jamietian.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
It is usually better to fix these types of issues before listing and also disclose the recent work during the sale process. Many times if you list a home in need of major work, you will build the needed working into the price as compared to a already renovated home, but during the negotiation and inspection process a buyer may want to deduct the cost of repairs on top of the already lower price. This can be a double edged sword so you want consult with a local pro!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 6, 2013
When in doubt disclose ... sellers have virtually no legal protection for failure to disclose a material defect and what you consider material and what the buyer considers material can be two very diffetent things.
Web Reference: http://expiredtosoldaz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 2, 2013
Disclose. Most people know old houses have these issues. Most of the time they are "non-issues" because they are not and "unsafe" condition.
Asbestos is not a health issue unless you have airborne fibers.
Knob and tube wiring still works, may be issue if wires peeled or loose. or if overloading circuits.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 2, 2013
both! You disclose what issues you've had during ownership and any repairs you have done!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
It depends on your financial situation and how fast you need to sell the house. There are a lot of investors/developers who will buy it AS IS and do the repairs themselves. I'd be happy to take a look at your property and discuss your options.

Please contact me at lenasrealtor@yahoo.com or (310)625-9005
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
I think it is better to fix before listing. If you can not afford to fix the issues, then get someone in to get an estimate of the cost to make repairs, disclose and be prepared to adjust the price accordingly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
It's always best to disclose and if you decide to fix and correct the issues provide the information that you did so. Any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Edward Uriarte
42 S. Pasadena Ave
Pasadena CA 91105
(626) 204-7127 Office Direct
(626) 817-3238 Voice Mail
Realtor BRE# 01102702
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
You should consult with your agent before taking on any projects, Annie.

The stuff that you really should do is to make sure that the place is so clean that if a child dropped their gum on the bathroom floor, it wouldn't gross anyone out if they put it back in their mouth! Clean what's dirty, paint what needs painting, and fix what's broken.

Here in Seattle, I would not advise you to rewire, re-duct, tuckpoint the fireplace, none of that. You don't know what the next buyer's plans are - they may want to remodel, so they'll probably be adding wiring anyway. Or they may not want a fireplace, they'll take down the chimney rather than repoint it. The remodel may include heated floors, no need for a furnace.

I would absolutely recaulk the tub and sinks, wash the windows and the gutters, pick the moss off the roof, weed the garden and paint the trim! But that's for here in Seattle. Local conditions may vary!

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
It wouldn't be a bad idea to fix those issues before listing it. Most lenders won't sign off on a mortgage if there are any health or safety hazards present on the home. If you don't make these repairs then you risk alienating a large percentage of potential buyers for your home.

Cash buyers typically want a sizeable discount because they are purchasing with no contingencies.

Not making the repairs now could cost you dollars down the road
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 1, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer