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What Repairs Should I Complete Prior to Selling My Home?

In getting ready to put your home on the market, you know there are some repairs that your home is going to need. But which repairs should you focus on? And which will help your home sell faster? Here are a few fixes that you should take a look at first.

  • Flooring: If you have carpet, you should consider getting it replaced, and if there are hardwood floors underneath, you should consider removing the carpet entirely.
  • Walls: You want to paint the walls warm and neutral colors, somewhere on the gray-brown scale. If you’ve had kids, there’s a chance that you painted their bedroom a fun, poppy color. You have to paint over those walls as well, even if the buyer has kids. If you have wallpaper on your walls, pull it down. Wallpaper isn’t for everyone, but even people who do like wallpaper might not like your wallpaper.
  • Ceiling: If you have a textured ceiling, get rid of it. This is inexpensive but time-consuming. Before you start scraping, however, check with a professional to make sure you’re not releasing any asbestos.
  • The Kitchen: New cabinet doors, new appliances, and new faucets can impress potential buyers. Kitchen renovation can get expensive fast, so talk to your agent about how far to go in your kitchen without going overboard. The main point is to avoid dripping faucets, or an old, outdated look.
  • The Bathroom: They say that when it comes to renovating the bathroom, home sellers recoup 100% on their investment. The important thing is to avoid drips from faucets and shower heads and to replace tile and glass that has lime buildup. As for painting, using a lighter color in the bathroom than the rest of the house will give it a larger feel.
  • The Roof: Homes that need a new roof are often the bright red line in the sand for many home buyers. If you need a new roof, don’t wait. Getting the roof re-shingled can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks.
  • Exterior: Like the interior of the home, give the exterior a new polish, too. Fresh paint for the fence, fill cracks in the driveway. New paint for the new frames, and new knobs and locks for the front door.

What to Be Looking For

Unless you already know of a serious structural problem plaguing your home, your home-selling fixes should be focused on that first impression. While many of these fixes may seem surface level, they can go a long way to attracting a home buyer, and add genuine value for them and for you.

What are Some Potential “Gotchas” to Look Out For?

It can be a nerve-wracking time for the homeowner, during the period of open contract when the buyer hires the home inspector and everyone is waiting to see the report come back on the home. Even for the homeowner that has been diligent in the upkeep of their home, the home inspector is often able to come back with something that needs attention. These are the most common problems that a good home inspector will find when evaluating a home, and that the home seller should be looking to fix prior.

  • Faulty Wiring: This could be problems with junction boxes, open or broken; a problem with amperage; stripped wires or lack of wire nuts. Most of these can be solved by upkeep from an electrician.
  • Poor Grading: Uneven yards or yards with a sink in them can cause water to pool and damage the foundation underneath. Proper grading will improve drainage to make sure water moves towards the street, so it doesn’t gather underground to put pressure on the foundation.
  • Faulty Gutters: Clogged or bent gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to similar problems as poor grading.
  • Damp Basement: All basements are a little damp, but the overly damp basement can lead to problems that are much, much worse. Accumulation of moisture can lead to mold problems that can corrupt floors, walls, and studs. A savvy homeowner will purchase a moisture counter, and address ventilation issues in those areas.
  • Roof Problems: The condition of the roof is very much present in the mind of home buyers and home inspectors alike. The problem many inspectors find is missing flashing around chimneys and other protrusions. Replacing those could avoid you having to replace the whole roof.
  • Foundation Flaws: Cracks in foundation sloping foundation walls. Before the inspector arrives, fill any cracks in the foundation with silicone caulking, and add a waterproof finish to the exterior.
  • Faulty Plumbing: Make sure your drains are clean and replace rubber rings on toilets and faucets.
  • Poor Ventilation: Ventilation in attics or crawl spaces is important to combat the buildup of moisture, once again, to avoid mold.

Tip: Get It Done Before the Inspection

Many of the fixes can be done on your own, before the inspection. Some of them may require the help of professionals. When doing big fixes or remodels on the home, makes sure they all have the proper permits.

You are going to want to determine what needs to be done as soon as possible – cleaning, painting, landscaping or repairing. Make sure heating, air conditioning, and any appliances you’re leaving behind are in good working condition. Consider hiring professionals to clean carpets, refinish wood floors, or to do any major painting, tile, or grout work.

The real estate agent can help you decide what needs to be done. If there’s something you’re not going to do, such as repainting interior or exterior, get an estimate for the buyer.

When A Home Seller Should Get a Pre-Inspection

In the course of the home-selling process, the buyer will hire an inspector to do a top-to-bottom evaluation of the house, looking for structural damage, electrical or plumbing problems, and any fixes or repairs that need to be made in order to safely occupy the home and/or justify its selling price. This inspection occurs on almost every home sale, and in most cases, the buyer’s financing from their lender is dependent upon it.

Sometimes, the homeowner has a good idea of what the inspection will turn up; other times, the inspection causes the homeowner to panic, unsure of what an inspector might find. To assuage their fears, some homeowners get an inspection before they put their home on the market. What are the advantages of this? Here are the pros and cons of the pre-inspection.

  • Pro: Homebuyers see that the home has nothing to hide
    A pre-done inspection can show potential homeowners that your home is just as good of a buy as it looks. It can jump-start potential offers, and get the sale going faster. The less time a home spends on the market usually means more money for the seller.
  • Con: Homebuyer gets their own inspection anyway
    With the pre-inspection, there’s the chance that the buyer insists on getting their own inspection, and you end up paying for both. The best-case scenario with this is that the second inspection comes up with the exact same results as the first, and there are no additional fixes.
  • Pro: Getting ahead of fixes
    Even if your home is fairly new, the inspector finds something that needs to be worked on. By finding these problems early, they never become points for the homebuyer to negotiate the home’s sale price down.
  • Con: You know exactly what’s wrong and that’s part of the point
    Is your home a fixer-upper and you plan on trying to market it that way? Depending on the type of property you are selling, and who you plan to sell it to, the pre-inspection may be an unnecessary cost. If you’re aware of the property’s problems and are trying to sell it at a depressed price point, you should probably skip the pre-inspection.

Get Ready for Your Home to Be Poked and Prodded Again and Again

In the course of your home-buying journey, your home will be assessed, inspected, staged, evaluated, and judged. Be prepared for people to poke and prod your home inside and out. Besides the standard inspection, your buyer’s loan company will most likely insist on termite inspection, mold inspection, and depending on the municipality, a lead paint and asbestos inspection. The point is, your home will undergo a lot of different types of inspection, and it will be up to you to take control of as many of them as possible.

Back to: How to prepare your home for sale

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