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Three Essential Tips to Getting Your Historic Home Sold

As an owner of an historic home and a real estate broker who specializes in antique and historic home sales, I have been on both sides of a transaction in selling a home. As a homeowner getting ready to sell your home, it sometimes is hard to motivate yourself to make minor repairs to your home, especially when you have lived comfortably with things as they were. Along comes the real estate broker with a list of things that they would like to see tended to before putting your house up for sale. You feel at once threatened and perhaps overwhelmed at a to do list that appears looming on the horizon. Why spend time and money fixing things up when I’m trying to leave?

Before you answer this question, you must consider the implications of doing nothing.

  1. Lengthen the time it takes to sell your home.
  2. Sell for less money than you wanted.
  3. Renegotiating your sale after inspections.
  4. Simply not being able to sell.

So here is some straightforward advice- whether you are considering selling your home or it is already on the market.Easy as 123

Preparation of the Property-

Carefully inspect the property and look for the issues that if left unattended will become red flags for Buyers, home inspectors and bank appraisers. This list includes mechanical systems: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, well and septic, structural support and exterior paint. Repairs may be minor- like adding ground fault circuit interrupters outlets in kitchen and baths, eliminating the Inspectors anticipated findings addressing the electrical as Poor in his report because of the lack of these $10 items. Other easy remedies to insist on include stair rail handrails (safety issue) temporary support posts in basement (structural issue) By addressing these items proactively you are less likely to lose a sale or to have Seller concessions- which ultimately could impact your bottom line. Make sure you focus on the right list of fixes instead of spending money on items that will not improve salability. Check available Cost/Value Indices before undertaking major renovation projects to see if the project you have in mind will be cost effective. ( You may be surprised on reviewing the numbers.

Determining the Proper Pricing Strategy

Pricing and positioning the property correctly means understanding the special nature of the property and its desirability in your unique marketplace. It may take more work finding the right comparable sales for a unique antique vs. a subdivision of similar properties, however the benefits of this effort will allow you to correctly price the house ensuring the best opportunity to get it sold. Make sure you consult a real estate professional in your market that understands the product you are selling. If they don’t handle antique homes, they may not be the best match for your property. If you don’t get it right, you will face a lengthy market time or worse- having the bank appraisal of the property come in below the agreed upon sales price and blowing up the deal. Remember, bank appraisers have to compare apples to apples when they can, and in most instances, they hold the cards when it comes to loan approval.

threeAdvertising and Promotion

Today, more than at any other time previously, Buyers are utilizing interior and exterior images of homes as a screening process before making an appointment to see a particular home. Whether using print or on-line listings, you need to have high quality images of your listed property. Use seasonally appropriate images to avoid the impression that the property has been on the market through several other seasons.

Avoid the mistake of having too many images, especially if they do not add to the overall beneficial impression of the house or grounds. The benefit of using selective, high quality photographs far outweighs the risk of using too many so-so photos that give the Buyer a reason to cross a home off the list. Do take pictures of architectural details and to fully and correctly describe the interior and exterior of the house in a way that an antique homebuyer will relate to. After all, their interest in finding something unique is likely what has made them consider your antique in the first place. If you or your agent doesn’t have the skill set to take great photos, find someone in your area that does. It will pay for itself many times over. Remember, the purpose of advertising is to tell the marketplace about your home, and to get the customer to call you or to make an appointment to see the house- not to sell it from a photo. Use your advertising budget wisely by finding print and on-line resources that can reach the limited marketplace that your unique property will need to penetrate in order to be successful. Don’t forget to reach Buyer’s coming in to your market from outside by use of regional or national publications that can make the difference.

John Petraglia is the Principal Broker of Petraglia Real Estate Services and the Publisher of Antique Homes Magazine. His brokerage services, available in Massachusetts and Connecticut provide specialty services to both buyers and seller of older, antique and historic homes.