Selling A House

The Current Kitchen: What Montclair Home Buyers Want

Heard this weekend while showing some Montclair houses for sale: "disappointed by the kitchens in the current inventory of Montclair real estate - even some of those that have been renovated"

It seems today's Montclair home buyers expect more out of the kitchen than they did in years past. The dream kitchen of today is not just equipped with Sub-Zero and Viking appliances; it is also centrally located within the house and versatile. Susan Serra, a home designer on Long Island, explains in this month's issue of Realtor magazine that "Living room and family room activities are merging into the kitchen, and it's changing how kitchens look." The kitchen has become the nerve center of the house, where party guests congregate and kids do their homework.

Homeowners are knocking down the walls separating the kitchen from the dining room and even the living room, creating a more open, inviting space. For sellers not looking to do such a drastic overhaul, there are a number of smaller steps that will create the same feel. Serra suggests using sconces and small lamps rather than overhead lighting, for a softer effect. Buyers love extra storage space, so adding a cabinet or wall shelving will add appeal. And most important, don't skip the basics: make sure the countertops, flooring, etc. are in good condition.

Before you renovate or sell your Montclair home, give me a call or send me an email and I'd be happy to discuss what many of my buyer clients are looking for in the "current kitchen".

How Not to Sell Your Montclair Home

For all homeowners tired of advice  from realtors on how to sell your home, here is something different--a list on how not to do so.

Ten Things Not to Do When Selling Your Montclair Home

1. Price your home with "room to negotiate." Sellers think that the more they ask for, the more they will get; study after study has shown that this is not the case. It is ultimately the buyer, not the seller, who decides the price. Pricing your home "slightly higher than what it's worth" will only serve to keep potential buyers from even looking at your house.

2. Take too long to respond to an offer. Potential buyers read a lot into your actions; they will think you are not interested in their offer and thus turn their attention to other prospects.

3. Refuse to counter a low-ball offer. You can't take it personally; this is a business transaction. Come down a little bit in your asking price just to keep a dialogue going. And if another offer happens to come in, you now have some leverage on both ends.

4. Follow buyers around, pointing out your house's charms. Buyers need to be able to visualize themselves and their belongings in your house. They need to make an emotional connection first; your chatter is a distraction.

5. Contact buyers directly. There are too many opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstanding if you do so. This is what real estate agents and lawyers are for.

6. Convince yourself that it's not worth painting the house because the buyers will want their own colors. This is a classic case of being penny-wise, pound-foolish. If your goal is to sell your house, remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. A neutral color and a fresh coat of paint are always best.

7. Refuse to address home inspection issues because your house is "as-is." If  problems such as mold, asbestos or termites are discovered during an inspection, the buyers will expect you to fix them; In this market, with so much inventory to choose from, buyers do not have to accept a house with major a safety issue. Moreover, once a problem is discovered, you are legally required to disclose it to all potential buyers in the future.

8. List your house as an "office exclusive." Unscrupulous agents may try to convince you that only the agents in their particular office are trustworthy; this is an attempt to keep other agents from getting the sale (and the commission). Obviously, the more agents trying to sell your house, the better - go with an agent who will "multiple list" your house.

9. Make your house difficult to show. Many homeowners are conflicted about selling, so they limit the days/hours that agents can get into their home. If agents can't show your house, they can't sell it.  Your house must be competitive not only in price and condition but also in ease of showing.

10. Try to conceal problems you know exist. First of all, this is fraud. Secondly, whatever the problem is, it will ultimately be found. A freshly-painted basement, for example, immediately suggests to a home inspector an attempt to cover up water damage.