Whether it’s an investment property, primary residence, or vacation home, you always want to get the highest possible value on the sale of a property. But sometimes there are circumstances that make this nearly impossible. And if your property is subjected to one of these factors, you could face a long road ahead.
7 Issues and Circumstances That Will Halt Your Listing in its Tracks
No property is without its flaws. However, certain issues are seen as more serious and disqualifying than others. Recognizing them is the first step. Addressing and remediating the problems before you put the property on the market is the second step.
Here’s a look at some of the most common deal breakers on Houston properties. (Where you see data points and on buyer tendencies, note that data is pulled from a detailed 2020 survey of U.S. homebuyers conducted by CFP Matt Frankel on behalf of The Motley Fool.)
1. Structural Issues
The number one deal breaker for homebuyers is, without question structural issues – meaning problems with your foundation. Research shows that 60 percent of respondents will immediately cross a house off the list if it has foundation problems.
Signs of structural damage to a home include termites, sagging roofs, wall and ceiling cracks, uneven floors, damp or rotted sub floors, timber rot in framing, crumbling concrete in the crawlspace, warped ceilings, and ill-fitting windows and doors.
The good news is that most serious structural issues can be identified prior to listing your house. A good pre-listing inspection could help you identify these issues in advance.
2. No Air Conditioning
Not surprisingly, a lack of air conditioning is the number two turnoff. Approximately 46 percent of buyers say they would not buy a house that lacks functioning air conditioning. Aside from being a comfort issue, it comes down to cost.
You’ll find that the average AC unit costs about $5,500 – and buyers are aware of this. Plus, if the home needs a new furnace and duct work, it’s not uncommon to spend over $10,000 for a decent setup.
If your property lacks air conditioning or has a broken system, you’re better off going ahead and fixing it before the fact; otherwise you could turn half of would-be buyers away.
3. Old Roof
Roof in disrepair? Is it obvious to an inspector that the only option is to replace the roof altogether? If so, you’re going to scare off 40 percent of the Houston buyer’s market immediately. They know that the average cost of a new roof is somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,000 to $8,000 and won’t want to go through the trouble or expense of having one installed right after purchase.
If a new roof is something that a buyer is going to have to purchase, you’re going to pay for it one way or another. You might as well go ahead and fix it before listing. This lets you choose the contractor. More importantly, it opens you up to a much larger group of buyers.
4. Not Enough Bedrooms
When buying a house – either as a personal family residence or an income-producing rental property – bedrooms matter! If you’re trying to sell, for example, a two bedroom house in a neighborhood where most people are looking for three and four bedrooms, you’ll get dinged. Approximately 37 percent of buyers identify this as a dealbreaker.
On this note, it’s important to be conscious of what actually constitutes a bedroom. In the state of Texas, the International Residential Code (IRC) states a bedroom must have:
- A floor area that’s at least 70 square feet and not less than seven feet in any horizontal direction.
- A minimum ceiling height of seven feet. (If sloped, at least 50 percent of the ceiling must have a minimum height of seven feet.)
- At least one operable emergency escape/rescue opening.
If the property is older than the IRC codes and remains unchanged, it does not have to follow these rules. Otherwise, you can’t legally advertise a home as having a certain number of bedrooms unless they all meet the above requirements. Furthermore, local residential codes come into play. Depending on where the property is located, you might need a closet, heat source, and/or other elements.
5. No Garage
One in three buyers won’t purchase a house if it doesn’t have an existing garage. In many cases, these garages aren’t even used for parking cars. Instead, they come in handy as workshops, storage units, or even extra living space.
While it probably doesn’t make sense to add on a garage just to sell your house, this is something to be aware of. You’ll need to compensate in another area.
6. Title Issues
Title issues can be a nightmare. And while these don’t typically get uncovered until after an offer has been submitted and accepted, they can quickly derail a contract in the due diligence period.
You should have a pretty good idea of whether or not there are any title issues. If you’re confident that you’re in the clear, just leave it up to the buyer to run title searches during the due diligence process. However, if you’re aware of certain issues, you’ll need to go ahead and get them sorted out ahead of time.
7. Questionable Neighbors
Prospective buyers are looking at more than just your property. If they’re serious about buying a house, they’ll also be a little nosey – looking around at the neighbors to spot any warning flags or signs of potential issues.
Do you have questionable neighbors who are offensive, messy, or otherwise obtrusive? Be sure to deal with them in any way you can prior to listing the property for sale and welcoming in buyers.
Work With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we take immense pride in our ability to serve Houston homeowners, landlords, and real estate investors. Whether it’s buying, selling, or managing rental properties, we’re here to serve you in whatever capacity you need. Browse our website or contact us today and we’ll be happy to provide you with more details!