Buying Bug Free
If your house is a typical one, there is probably some kind of small, leggy creature that makes its home with you. Whether they are termites, fleas, roaches, ants, or spiders, it is a good idea to serve them with an eviction notice before you put your home on the market. If home remedies like ionized boric acid don't work, paying a professional exterminator will be money well spent.
Most standard sales agreements require that a property be inspected before the closing and treated for termite infestation, if necessary. It is a good idea to check for insect problems as soon as you sign a listing agreement, so that they don't become an issue of contention in the sale. Some insects may not physically damage the house, but may reduce its chances of selling for top dollar. Constantly having to push back spider webs while touring the house could seriously undermine a prospective buyer's ability to fully appreciate your home.
A family pet often represents a major challenge when a house is being marketed. Your family may call your large dog "Fido"--but your real estate agent calls him "Fang"! This is a sensitive issue for a real estate agent to communicate to sellers.
Even though he is just doing "his job", a dog's bark will sound ferocious to anyone who is knocking at the door. This is usually a good thing, but when your home is on the market, real estate agents will be bringing a lot of strangers to the door. Most agents are concerned about the unpredictability of dogs they don't know. When they are greeted by a barking dog, they may not be willing to enter the house unless the owner is at home. If your dog is confined to part of the house, such as a basement, be sure to put up a sign informing people of that fact. Talk with your real estate agent about the best way to manage your pet while your house is being shown, and make sure that this information is included in the MLS listing.
What is "H.O."? You can probably guess--it means "home odors".
Be careful of odors in your home. If your family room smells stuffy and stale, or if your cat or dog has left a distinctive odor in the hallway, take action by eliminating the source of the odor rather than merely treating the effects. Smells have a powerful effect on the way people react to a house, and no amount of room freshener or vanilla on the light bulbs can mask a serious odor problem. In fact, such remedies may draw attention to the problem. We have seen homes with an odor problem languish unsold on the market for months or sell for significantly less than comparable homes in the neighborhood.
If you think that you may have a problem, talk candidly with your real estate agent. Your agent should be able to offer some constructive suggestions, and perhaps refer you to a professional who can help banish H.O. from your home!
House Odors and Selling
Do you have a dog or cat that lives indoors with the family? A pet can pose a problem when your property is listed for sale. Even if prospective buyers have pets of their own that smell just like yours, they may be repelled by animal odors as they tour your home. If you have a pet odor problem, you should hire a professional to clean and deodorize the furniture and/or carpets that have been affected. Check the cat box frequently and keep the kitty litter fresh.
Some people have allergies to pet hair or irrational fears of certain animals, so it is a good idea to put dogs or cats outside or confine them to one area when your house is being shown. It is hard for buyers to appreciate your home through puffy, watery eyes or in between sneezes! Even if the house is exactly what they want, your chances of selling it will be diminished if the buyers are afraid of being attacked by Fido.
Houses and Pets
Many real estate agents are animal lovers and have pets of our own, but we have all shared stories of having our fingers or ankles nipped by furry creatures during a showing. We have opened the front door to the home we are showing only to have a purebred Persian kitten scoot toward the nearest busy street.
If you have pets and are going to put your house on the market, be sure to work out the showing arrangements carefully. It is important for us to be able to communicate to our colleagues what to expect when they pass through your front door. It is rare for pets to pose significant problems, but big dogs can be menacing. Buyers or agents may be allergic or even a little phobic about dogs or cats.
It is difficult to get a buyer excited about your home if he or she is sneezing continuously or unwilling to cross the threshold because your dog is barking away intruders. If your agent knows there might be a problem, they can arrange ahead of time for you to walk the dog, vacuum the cat dander or do whatever is necessary to make sure that the showing goes smoothly.
Most home purchase agreements have clauses that deal with termites. After the agreement is ratified, a termite inspection is arranged. Before the closing can occur, the sellers must be able to produce papers signed by a licensed exterminator stating that the house is free of infestation and that any termite damage has been repaired.
Before you sign an agreement to buy or sell a home, you should read the termite clause and be sure that you understand it. Who selects the exterminator and pays for the inspection? If bugs are found, who pays for the treatment? Are the sellers obligated to repair any damage and have they placed a limit of the dollar amount they will spend on those repairs? If treatment is required, the buyers may want a chance to discuss the options with the pest control company, especially if someone in the family is sensitive to the chemicals used to control the termites. Ask about the exterminator's guarantees or service contract options.