Move-in ready

24Dec09

For some odd reason, I’ve picked up a new guilty pleasure: watching a ridiculous show on HGTV called “House Hunters.” No, I’m not in the market for a house. But with so little in the way of new programming available in December, it’s hard to resist watching the generally clueless people choosing between houses that you couldn’t pay me to live in.

There’s one common theme that just cracks me up every time. A ton of these houses and condos are being sold without appliances. Many lack a washer and dryer, and a surprising number of them don’t even have a refrigerator or stove. Apparently, the previous owners took the appliances with them.

Maybe this is standard practice, but it’s still quite stupid. Instead of the property being move-in ready, the prospective buyer will have to purchase and install the appliances before they can live there. That’s an obvious obstacle. All else equal, I bet properties that include a full set of appliances sell faster — and for a higher price.

Nobody would try to sell a car without the tires. You probably couldn’t sell an iPod without the charger. A cell phone is a tough sell without a battery. So why do people rip out critical elements from homes before putting them on the market? Whatever the seller saves from taking the appliances with them is surely dwarfed by the cost of keeping the property on the market longer, and the lower offers they’re likely to get for a property that isn’t move-in ready.



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