Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Much Should You Fix Up Your Mobile Home Before You List It For Sale?

This is a very good question, and it’s a question I am not asked often enough. 

Although homes may fall into many categories, ranging from “So-Perfect-You-Can –Eat-Off-The-Floors” to “Pull Out” (which means it is beyond fixing up and must be removed from the Park), from the Buyer’s perspective, there are only TWO types of mobile homes for sale --- “Move-In-Ready” and “Complete Fixer.”  So, when listing your home, and thinking about staging your home, this is the perspective you will be facing at this time, in this market.

A Move-In-Ready home means that no walls need to be painted; other than professional carpet-cleaning, the floors need no work; anything that has been broken in the time you have lived there (from a chipped floor tile to a missing cabinet handle) has been repaired or replaced; the walls are a neutral color; there are no roof leaks, and no spots you forgot to paint over from an old roof leak; and everything in the home is in working order.  The minute a Potential Buyer spots something that doesn’t work --- a leaky dishwasher, a shed door that is stuck part way open, a big chip out of the edge of your tub, your old garbage disposal that sounds like it’s grinding cans instead of food --- the home becomes a “Fixer-Upper” in the Buyer’s mind.

If you are not sure which category your mobile home falls into, or if you think it’s move-in ready “except for…,” then best to hire a professional to fix all that can be fixed.  Most Buyers do not like homes that appear to have been fixed up/ repaired by a do-it-yourself-er --- to them, it goes right back into the Fixer-Upper category.  So, that cord hanging down the wall that doesn’t bother you (“because the fan works perfectly”), or that doggie stain in the hallway that you covered with an area rug… all these things will be super-noticeable in this depressed housing market.

NOTHING shows worse than a mobile home that is in-between Move-In-Ready and Fixer.  Your brand new carpet will not get you a better offer if your walls are old and stained, or if you still have the old wood-paneled walls.  And vice versa – your beautiful paint job will not go far if it is accompanied by the original 1970s carpet.  When a Buyer sees a home that needs any kind of fixing, upgrading, etc., in that Buyer’s mind the home is a Fixer Upper.  So, if your home needs any fixing at all, especially if you can’t afford to do it, best to resign yourself to the idea that you are selling a Fixer-Upper and adjust your price downward.  You cannot predict the market, especially now --- even those of us who do this every day can’t foresee what will happen next --- so don’t try to second-guess what kind of upgrades a Buyer may want to pay more for.  I have seen Sellers install gorgeous carpet and a Buyer walks in and the first thing they say under their breath is, “That carpet has got to go.”

Here is what I usually tell Sellers:  If your home is not quite move-in ready, do the extra steps it takes to make it that way.  That may mean hiring a one-time cleaning service to make your tubs and showers spotless and sparkling; removing some of your collectibles (or clutter); removing some of the pictures/ decorations from the walls; maybe even putting a few pieces of your furniture in storage, for now, so the home looks ready to move into.

If you have any question in your mind about whether to spend money fixing up the mobile home you want to sell in this economic climate --- DON’T DO IT.  The only things you really need to focus on are making sure that the plumbing,  electrical and HVAC work, that there are no roof leaks, and anything else that falls under the Health & Safety Code.

If you are interested in selling or buying a mobile home in the East San Gabriel Valley area, please give me a call:  Elena Smith  626-710-0791

I handle homes in 55+ and all-age parks.

©  Elena E. Smith, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

My New Home

So, how sad is it when you buy a 1970 mobile home with the original moss green carpet... and it matches all your stuff?

And how great is it when you cobble together your small amount of remaining funds to have an expert paint your kitchen the perfect eggshell white (Thank you Michael Calabrese and Mary Chatterjee!)

And you find the PERFECT cabinet knobs at Lowe's, marked down to just under $4 each... and then they get marked down further, to less than $1 each !!!


©  Elena E. Smith, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Should you use a “friend” to list your mobile home for sale?

I come across many people who want to list their mobile home with a “friend,” a relative, or someone they know from a local networking group.  They believe that because they “know” this person, this person will do a great job for them.  Will they?  Well, it has nothing to do with how well they “know” the person, and everything to do with that person’s skill, ability and track record.

If you are thinking of listing your mobile home for sale, find out about the agent’s track record.  How many homes have they sold in your community, or comparable communities, and how recently?  It is not easy to be a top-producing agent in this economic climate, yet there are still people who are buying and selling homes.  It is most important to list your mobile home with someone who has demonstrated their success in the business.

(The mobile home pictured above is not for sale)
For more information about mobile homes for sale, call me at 626-710-0791

©  Elena E. Smith, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

“What is my mobile home worth?”

The first question people ask me when they are thinking of putting their mobile home (or manufactured home) up for sale is, “What is my home worth?”  Today, even more people are asking, “What is my home worth --- in this market?”

The answer to that question is always a matter of economics, and the bottom line is, “Your home is worth whatever someone will pay for it” (and that answer is not meant to sound snotty). 

Mobile home sales specialists look at comparable market sales (“comps”) just like realtors do.  We look at our own sales records and other dealers' sales reports, then analyze sales trends by reviewing the year of home manufacture, the size of the home in square footage, and also the home’s location.  For instance, at Charter Oak, the rent is significantly lower than it is at Cienega Valley.  However, the lot sizes at Charter Oak are much smaller.  Buyers must weigh all their options before making their decision.

Often times, the motivation of the Seller will determine the asking price – motivated Sellers want to price their home to the market so they can be assured of a quicker sale.  In this current economic climate, where there are fewer Buyers than usual, the asking price can be lower than expected.  A home that is priced to the market is more likely to entice the Buyers who are out there to come forward with an offer.

(The manufactured home pictured above is not for sale)

For more information about mobile homes for sale, call me at 626-710-0791

©  Elena E. Smith, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Job Description

Anyone who is self-employed or works as an agent for someone else (as I do) knows what our job description is: it’s whatever needs to be done.  The kinds of things I do as a mobile home sales specialist may seem obvious on the surface – list peoples’ homes for sale; hold Open House; stage homes; talk people up in a down market; follow-up.  But I’ve done a few other things, as well.  Today, for instance, I found that someone had been sleeping in the shed behind one of our mobile homes.  I brought out my garden gloves so I wouldn’t have to touch anything nasty --- removed a blanket, an empty bottle of medical marijuana, a soft drink cup that had been used as a urinal… and then I found a stack of stolen ID’s and credit cards.  All in a day’s work.  The names on the stolen IDs were of some neighbors several doors down. 
So if you’re wondering how smart the local thief is --- or if you had any delusions that medical marijuana enhances brain fuinction --- well, I don't think these young adults were smarted than a fifth-grader.

©  Elena E. Smith, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Light & Airy

Sometimes you don’t really know what a place has to offer until you get into it. 

I recently moved from a 1967 mobile home (#20, above) to a 1970 mobile home in another park.  I would describe #20 as the most beautiful place I have ever lived.  It had 8-foot ceilings, and was probably the top-of-the-line when it was installed.  A huge porch/ deck.  A 3-story high walnut tree on the property behind me, full of squirrels playing chase.  Owls, at times.  And a brambly thing crawling over my wall that ended up yielding boysenberries.

It was hard to leave #20, but I did it primarily for financial reasons.  And now I am unpacking in my new home which --- if I was to use the term “shabby chic” --- well, it would be far more shabby than chic.  But I have noticed that it has excellent lighting, and the insulation is great, which will keep my cooling and heating  costs down.

Besides the new neighbors, who are great, I am finding all the good little things about my place to tide me over until I can start the remodeling.  

©  Elena E. Smith, 2011