Answers to the 7 Most Embarrassing Real Estate Questions

You’ll often hear it said that when it comes to real estate, there are no stupid questions.  After all, one of the most important roles your real estate broker plays is to be there to answer all your questions.  Nevertheless, there are certain questions that our clients are embarrassed to ask us about.  So in this article, we provide the answers for you.

1.  Can I sell “as is”?

Let’s face it, selling a house involves a lot of hard work.  It may seem pointless to put a lot of time, effort and money into something that you’re anxious to get rid of, but the truth is, buyers are much more inclined to purchase a property that is clean and has obviously been well-maintained.  The moment you put the words “as is” on a listing, buyers will look a lot harder to find hidden defects, and for every defect they find, they will try that much harder to bargain down the selling price.  In order to successfully sell a house “as is,” you may need to price it a lot lower than it is actually worth, and you may end up losing more money than you would have spent renovating your home to begin with.

2.  Should I remove my old carpeting before I try to sell the house?

If you have to ask the question, chances are it is probably better to remove it.  But let me ask you a few questions about your carpet first: Does it smell?  Is it stained?  Is it old, worn and shabby?  Is it a strange color or design that most people would not want?  If your answer to any of these questions is yes, take my advice and remove the carpet.  Don’t forget that nowadays, the trend is for hardwood floors rather than carpets, and carpeting can devalue a property.

3.  Can I exclude my antique crystal chandelier from the sale?

Clients often ask if they can exclude certain items from a sale.  The answer is yes, of course – you can exclude anything you like.  Just be sure that it is noted in the listing description, or even better, remove the item before your house is listed.

4.  Does the smell of smoke really deter buyers?

Yes.  The same is true for pet smells.  Cigarette smoke especially has a way of getting into the walls, the furniture and the carpets, and not only leaves a strong smell behind, it can also stain everything a dull yellow.  If you are a smoker, make it a point to smoke outside at least one month prior to listing your house for sale.  Sprinkle baking soda onto your carpets, bed linens and furniture, leave on for at least an hour, then vacuum.  Wash the walls with a baking soda and vinegar paste, and if the smell isn’t completely gone, you might want to seriously consider repainting.  These two steps should take care of most of the smell, but if necessary you can call in a professional cleaner.

5.  Do I have to clean the outside of the house?

Yes, if you want potential buyers to look past the outside and get inside.  If people are driving by and the yard is unkempt, they will likely keep right on driving, since they will assume that the inside is just as bad as the outside.  If they are looking online, they will not ask for a visit if the outside is not appealing. 

6.  Can I stay while visitors are viewing my home?

We know that having strangers inside your home is inconvenient, and we know how hard it is to trust that nothing will be broken, lost or stolen while you are away.  We would ask you to keep these two things in mind when we ask you to leave your home during visits.  First, a potential buyer needs to be able to freely discuss his concerns with his realtor during a visit, and he needs to feel free to open all the closet doors, run the water, flush the toilet and lift up the corners of the carpets.  He will not do that if you are looking over his shoulder and watching his every move, and if he is not free to examine everything, he will not place an offer on your home.  Second, if you are present during visits, potential buyers will spend more time questioning you than they will actually examining the home itself.  They will pick your brain about everything from asking what your neighbors are like, to finding out how much time you spend maintaining your home, to the noise levels outside, and everything else in between.  Better to go enjoy a nice relaxing cup of coffee somewhere, and leave all the details to your friendly neighbourhood realtor, who will respond to all inquiries calmly and realistically.

7.  Do you have to take pictures of everything?

Yes, if you are serious about selling.  We do understand that you don’t want others to know your private business.  We also understand that taking pictures feels like an invasion of your privacy.  But it is our job to showcase your home and to highlight its best features, and we also know that potential buyers will be looking at pictures of your home online from the comfort of their own home, before ever deciding to book an appointment to visit.

Hopefully, we’ve answered your most embarrassing real estate questions.  If you have any questions that haven’t been addressed here, send us an inquiry at excel@century21.ca,  and we’ll answer them in a future blog post.

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