roof

Ask Agnes: Selling and Buying on Cape Cod - Part 3

In this series we examine the process of selling on Cape Cod - and don't worry, we'll get to the buying soon.  This installment includes getting from negotiation to closing.

"Hey Agnes, I finally have a good offer?  What now?"

"Congratulations!  You have been putting up with the inconveniences of showings and open houses and it has finally paid off (for an idea of the process up to this point, check out part 1 and part 2).  Now is when we work with both parties to agree on a contract for the sale.  The truth is that price is only part of what can be negotiated when selling a home.  Other items that we frequently see involved in negotiations are deferred repairs (like aging roofs, windows etc...), septics, and personal property."

"Wait, a buyer can ask me to repair my roof before they buy my house?"

Well they can certainly ask - but the outcome is negotiable.  Let me use an example: your house is on the market for $350,000 and has an aging roof.  A buyer offers $350,000 if a new roof is installed.  After some back and forth both parties agree to $340,000 without a new roof.  In this case the cost of the roof is the negotiating point and the seller will not need to install a new roof before the sale.  We can imagine that this negotiation may have started with a buyer offer of $335,000 (from a quote of $15,000 for a new roof) but the savvy seller found another quote for only $5,000.  The two parties decided to split the difference.  A main point to keep in mind as the seller is how your pricing strategy reflects the 'listing price'.  If your home has a lot of wear and tear, an aging roof, and old windows, but it was priced accordingly, then items like the roof may not be negotiated at all.  You may have seen this in homes listed in 'As Is' condition, meaning the seller isn't willing to negotiate on items related to the condition of the home.  Employing a qualified real estate agent is a great way to worry less about the details of the negotiation (that's our job).  If you are interested in a home that doesn't need anything except to put your feet up and enjoy the water view, check out this property at 13 Beachwood Rd, South Yarmouth."

"That sounds great, but what do you mean 'personal property'"

"Well, often homes are sold empty, but sometimes they are sold furnished or a few items (pianos, pool tables and kids play areas are good examples), can be a part of the negotiation and sale as well.  Negotiations that don't involve furniture or other items of personal property are often smoother.  Believe it or not negotiating several $200 items in a $350,000 sale can literally make a deal fall apart, so it helps to keep the big picture in mind. This is always a sticky situation and we recommend to our clients that the family heirloom french armoire be explicitly excluded from a sale in the listing descriptions."

"OK, we finished negotiating and agreed on terms, what next?"

"Well done.  Negotiating to this point is a challenge, but there is still a lot that needs to happen.  The most important thing to a seller is the home inspection contingency.  In this case the buyer is allowed supervised access to the home where they can have a knowledgeable professional(s) look the house over from joist to rafter.  Sometimes, buyers will pull out of a transaction based on this assessment, or they will attempt to negotiate repairs or a lower price.  Having a real estate agent on your side can help with further negotiation or identify if a contract should be terminated."

"And that's it?"

 "Not yet.  Buyers will often require financing (a mortgage) to buy a home which can take a long time to acquire (45 days or more).  Also appraisals may need to be done, along with inspections, final bills and certificates of compliance from a variety of governmental agencies.  On the seller side most of this time is spent setting up your own move while your agent works to keep everything plugging along smoothly. Finally the house will 'close' when paperwork is signed and the deed is recorded at the registry of deeds."

Thank you Agnes.  As usual we rely on your years of expertise and insight.  Our next installment will involve getting from negotiation to closing.  Feel free to contact us with questions.

DIY Cape Cod Homeowner Tips to Sell Your House For More - Keep Your Roof Clean!

For this blog we delve into the wealth of knowledge accumulated by Ed over his (undisclosed) years spent working in the yard on Cape Cod.  With the cold wetness this spring in particular we wanted to share some pro-tips to keep lichens from taking over your roof and improve the curb appeal of your home.

Lichens and mosses hold water on your roof shortening its lifespan, lichens slowly dissolve the asphalt and other components in your roof shingles and tiles, and a roof that looks like a garden is unsightly and can turn off potential buyers - so managing these species is a worthwhile endeavor.

One very simple thing is to remove overhanging branches that shade your roof.  Sunlight is your best friend when it comes to keeping a roof clean, so trim those extra branches and try to keep organic material off of the roof (like pine needles and leaves) as this creates more opportunity for lichens and mosses to get a foothold.  In the photo below the roof has a mostly north facing aspect so shade is the reality no matter what.  In this case, products exist that use chemicals and herbicides to kill living things on your roof and specialty companies use high-pressure washers that blast these organisms off of your roof.  Since Ed isn't a fan of damage from power-washing and, with kids and dogs running around, tries to stay away from nasty chemicals, we asked for his safe and easy lichen-removing recipe.  Here it is with some photographic proof of its effectiveness

 

1 gallon white vinegar

1 cup epsom salt

1 squirt of dish soap or laundry detergent

 

This roof was a test case two years ago.  Notice the section on the left is significantly cleaner that the section on the right (there is a fairly obvious square on the left which was the only spot sprayed).  Ed used this mixture on the roof once when the forecast showed a stretch of hot dry days. He used a hand atomizer while standing on the ladder and got this much of the roof without a lot of trouble.  If you are doing this yourself we would recommend using a larger pump sprayer to maximize the surface you can reach from one spot. An added benefit of this mixture is that it can also be used for weeding in shell driveways, gravel walkways, and on patios.

For more pro-tips give Chatelain Real Estate a call to put two generations of tradition (and yard work) and three decades of experience in your pocket.  And to see a few houses that don't need this treatment take a look at some of our listings here.  Or for some more tips for homeowners check out our blogs tagged here.

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