A question about marketing distressed properties

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Real Estate Services with Marte Cliff Copywriting

I have a question for you agents who deal with repossessions and other homes that have been trashed.

I'm wondering about "normal" procedures.

A friend of mine from out of state is interested in a home here that needs one heck of a lot of work. She hasn't seen it in person - only the photos on MLS, most of which are of the pasture or the exterior of the house.

The last occupants took everything with them, so it needs all new flooring, new upper cabinets in the kitchen, a new furnace, and new light fixtures. Those are the things I noticed when I walked through it a few months ago - but since I wasn't interested in buying, I didn't take notes. And there are no public notes on the MLS entry.

Was the water pump still there? How about the water heater? I don't remember.From this mass of wires I assume something else is missing, but what?

To help my friend, I wrote the agent who has been keeping us updated on the price reductions. I asked if anyone had done a rough estimate of repair/replacement costs. She said no. So I asked if there was at least a list of items that had to be replaced to make the house livable. No response.

What do you do when faced with a house in this condition?

Do you provide buyers with a list or let each buyer who comes through make their own list? Do you put estimates in the file or let each buyer search for contractors and get estimates on their own?

I suppose I'll have to go have a look for myself - but I'm sure the agent won't be anxious to show it to me, since she knows I'm not the buyer.

How do YOU handle a situation such as this?

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Ambassador
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Todd Clark
Broker - Beaverton, Oregon Real Estate Expert - (503) 524-9494
Keller Williams Realty

As an agent I wouldn't provide a list or an estimate. The chances of me missing something or being wrong on price then being sued would be way to great.

May 20, 2010 02:29 AM
Rainmaker
747,965
Marte Cliff
your real estate writer
Marte Cliff Copywriting

That's a good point Todd - No one wants to be sued for trying to help their buyers.

But couldn't it be done with a disclaimer? Something like "I know these things are missing, but until the power is on and the home is inspected..."

Thanks for your input. It's good to look at the other side of the question.

May 20, 2010 03:18 AM
Rainmaker
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Carra Riley
CRB, CRS, GRI
Author, Speaker, Consultant, Carra Riley Inc.

Marte...I think the buyer needs to go through the property and determine what things need to be installed/repaired as they deem fit.  I would be reluctant like Todd to provide any estimate or list of things needed.

cosmic cow

May 20, 2010 11:00 AM
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
your real estate writer
Marte Cliff Copywriting

Hi Cara - and thanks for stopping by. I do understand this reluctance - it just makes it very difficult for a buyer who can't view the home in person.

And, while no one knows the condition of the well because the power is off, I do think it would be easy to make a list of things that are obviously missing: The kitchen cabinets, the flooring, the furnace, the water heater, all the ceiling fixtures, etc.

Interestingly, the agent hasn't even bothered to reply to the question.

May 21, 2010 12:06 AM
Rainmaker
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Sandy Fenton
ABR, ASP, CDPE, GRI -Westchester NY - Condos to Luxury Homes
Keller Williams NY Realty * Licensed Associate Broker

I think that if the buyer is seriously interested, he/she should make the trip to see the property in person.  Is this the listing agent that you're waiting for a response from?  I would also find a good buyer's agent to represent the buyer and get answers to all those questions.

The either the buyer agent or you can find one or two reputable contractors and have the buyer speak with them on the phone to determine which one he/she likes best and ask them to come on the property showing.  I would also go just to tag along just cause I'm nosy.  But that's just me.  ;-)

June 28, 2010 05:59 PM
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Marte Cliff

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Author Bio: Marte Cliff is a freelance copywriter who specializes in writing for the real estate profession.

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