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Maple Grove Voice

Ask the Realtor: David Garves (Sponsored)

Apr 25, 2016 06:20PM ● By David Garves, Broker/Realtor with

Broker/Realtor David Garves

“Ask the Realtor” is a monthly segment and sponsored by Broker/Realtor David Garves (

Q:  I'm thinking about selling my home. What are a few items I should fix/repair first to increase the value?


First things first, you want to make sure your home is available to all types of lender financing. Minor items such as chipping paint on window trim, missing handrails on stairs, no backflow preventers on outside faucets… (contact me for full list) can create problems with a variety of buyer financed purchases. Once those items are completed, the simplest and most inexpensive way to add value? Paint. In just one day, with just one gallon of paint, you can add a crisp new look to a front door, a fence gate, a kids room, a bathroom, several yards of trim, a window frame, a fireplace mantle—the possibilities are almost endless. Buyers standing on the front steps, waiting for their realtor to open the door will surely appreciate the work - and first impressions matter! For larger items, kitchens still rule!  Cabinets, counter tops, and appliances all help sell homes depending on the price bracket you're selling into.  

IMPORTANT NOTE - Before spending the money on any large project, contact your realtor to determine what percentage of the investment you can expect to get out of your fixes and repairs.  

Q:  What is the best way to know the value of my home before selling? Should I hire an appraiser?


Appraisers base their value determination off of recent “comparable” sales within the area. In general, they will use a defined set of criteria to find these home sales, however, very seldom would two appraisers choose the exact same “comparables” and come up with exactly the same value. Because of that, the value determined by a seller’s appraisal may not, and most likely WILL NOT, be the same when it comes time for the buyer to have an appraisal done. 

Additionally, they generally will not consider current market trends to determine price or to use demand to increase value. As realtors, we have access to use the exact same database of “comparable sales” and can predict more accurately what the market will determine a “fair value” would be, adding in current supply/demand trends. If your realtor can support the value by finding comparables, it could be helpful to share that information with the appraiser. Most important - it’s FREE to have a realtor pull the same information and perform a market analysis for you, while an appraiser will charge you hundreds of dollars.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Automated value tools found on the Internet, Facebook, or other places should be used for “entertainment value” only and never to accurately determine the value of a home you’re considering selling.       

Q:  If I'm buying a home, is it possible to find out why the past homeowners are moving? What do they have to disclose?


In most metro sales, a home being offered for sale will provide a “seller’s disclosure” for a prospective home buyer to review. Information in the disclosures will provide information pertaining to the condition of the home such as age of roof, existence of pets in the property, and if there has been water intrusion in areas like the basement. It will not include information regarding the seller specifically. While it is possible to ask the listing agent more personal questions like this, they are not required to provide an accurate response or any response.

 Additionally, if answering the question would indicate a sellers NEED to sell (job transfer, divorce, …) and limit a seller's ability to effectively negotiate terms of the sale, a good listing agent would refuse to answer with a complete response.   

IMPORTANT NOTE - In some sales, the owner will provide only a Seller Disclosure Alternative form, indicating the buyer’s willingness to waive their rights to disclosures. While valid in some situations (bank owned homes, some rental homes), a home buyer should question why the seller wouldn’t be willing to provide disclosures and proceed cautiously with inspections.  

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