Avoid explanations to sell a home

Blog Post Image

It’s harder to sell a home when you have to explain things.


I just showed a home in North Tampa to a prospective buyer. They liked the area and before they looked around, they liked the price. The buyers started to get cold feet when certain items came up that needed to be explained.  There was something in the guest bath, a screen up against the tub, that had been added by a previous owner. The buyer asked “what the heck is this for”?  I had a very hard time explaining that. There were also sandbags outside and by the screen porch. This really got the buyer but still did not completely turn them off of purchasing. They just stated they would need to consider this in the price and were concerned about the drainage everywhere. They wanted to know if there were any pictures during a heavy rain. I mentioned that I would go out this week when it is supposed to rain very hard and take some shots to see how bad it might get.


I am not sure if these customers will ever make an offer on this property. Things that an owner has lived with all of the time they lived there and seem normal to them, can become big obstacles when selling to someone who has never seen the property. It does not mean a buyer will not purchase the home, it does mean that the price will be less for it, no matter what the market conditions are. Buyers can put up with normal updating of a home. People look at dated kitchens and baths and can have some reasonable idea as to what it might cost to put them in. Usually the house is priced based on the condition of the property.  A problem in selling a home arises when something out of the ordinary has to be explained. Buyers start wondering about a home. They start to wonder what else is wrong with this house.


Some of the homes that I have shown that needed explanations to included ones with drainage issues that look like they might come in the house, like the one I mentioned above. They also include pool decks that are cracked, lanai porch ceilings that have drywall seams falling down. Garage ceilings without drywall or areas where someone has stepped through them. If a ceiling inside has been repaired because of a previous leak, that starts the buyers wondering what the issue really is. If there are extension cords running all over the place, this is an issue too. Extra air conditioning units in an office or bedroom, is a big warning sign for someone buying.


Many of these items can be taken care of before the home is sold. Some, like drainage or settling issues, cannot. For these it helps to have a written explanation as to why the items are this way and what you as a seller have experienced while living there. Some may really not be a big deal if explained correctly. I had one family explain there sinkhole issue with a three paragraph explanation. The house sold. Before we had talked, all they had was the engineering reports. The detail in the reports scared every past buyer away.


If you can easily fix the issues, I recommend you do it. If  you don’t know what the issues may be, can someone experienced to look at your property. If you cannot afford the cash out of pocket for some of these, talk to a professional to see what can be done to make the sale continue, in as-is condition.