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

1 comment:

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