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 Your Basement Smells (Part II)
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Mon, Feb 14th, 2005 11:32 pm

This subject came about after touring homes in St Charles Sunday. See yesterdays blog for part one.

The basement, particularly an unfinished one, can often be the kiss of death to a home sale. Because it may be the least used or lived in space in the home, it is often overlooked by sellers when they prepare their home for sale.

Yet nervous buyers will often times scrutinize over any tiny problem they may see- and an unfinished basement is the ideal place to find those problems. If your basement has cracks, water damage, mold, or other major issues, repair them before listing your home for sale.

No one except an investor looking to buy a home at 20-50% below value wants to deal with major problems.  The question is, do you want to take 20-50% less than your home is really worth?

If your basement was originally a finished basement prior to suffering water damage or other problems, make sure to restore it to a finished condition again.

I recently saw a fantastic home that set unsold for over six months because of this very reason. Despite the fact that the home’s basement had been structurally repaired by experts, the drywall and flooring had never been restored- leaving a lasting reminder to the home’s former problems—problems which scared off dozens of potential buyers.

Realize that basements that show signs of past damage will make a buyer conclude that it’s prone to future damage.

On the other side of this subject, I recently toured a small 1950’s Webster Groves home that had just been professionally rehabbed by an investor.  Because the home was small even by Webster Groves standards, the investor spent a few hundred dollars on carpeting, paint and cheap ceiling tiles to take an unused and unfinished basement and make it a large family or game room.

What had been an ugly, unfinished and unused basement was now a highlight of the home. From a resale perspective, the “perceived” living space was significantly increased to make the small home seem significantly larger.

As I watched potential buyers tour the home, it was money well spent. The few hundred dollars spent on converting the basement to livable space will bring back this savvy investor thousands upon resale.

More on pets, smells, and other problems tomorrow…

For advice on preparing your home for sale, contact Kimberly at 314-267-2691.

[ Next Article: Your Basement Smells (Part 3); Things to Consider when Selling a Home ]
[ Previous Article: Hey, Your Basement Smells Like Urine! ]


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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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