Is Your Home Physically Fit?
To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, but it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection. According to home inspection experts approximately half of the homes on the market today have at least one significant defect. Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent major, costly problems from developing in the first place. Take a look at the tips below and schedule a seller inspection before listing your home to be certain you know about potential problems. Early correction of these problems can increase a home’s appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale.
1. SCHEDULE A SELLER INSPECTION TO CHECK MAJOR SYSTEMS
After size, style, and location, a home buyer’s primary concern is the condition of the home’s basic structure and major mechanical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas.
A seller inspection or pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most problems with the following areas:
- Roof structure and covering
- Foundation and/or crawl space
- Central heating and air conditioning systems
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
2. MAKE MAINTENANCE IMPROVEMENTS
A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home’s appearance, efficiency, and comfort. A professional home inspector may make helpful maintenance suggestions, such as:
- Trim trees and shrubs which touch or overhang the house
- Apply new caulking and weather stripping as needed around windows and doors
- Clean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainage
- Replace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance
- Ventilate closed basements and crawl spaces, or install a dehumidifier, to prevent excessive moisture build-up
- Re grade soil around the foundation as needed to keep water away from the house
- Replace dirty filters in the heating and air conditioning systems
- Have the heating and air conditioning systems professionally serviced
- Have chimneys professionally cleaned, and install chimney hoods or caps as needed
3. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of our home. Here are some typical improvements which might be suggested by the home inspector’s findings:
- Repair leaky faucets
- Tighten loose doorknobs
- Replace damaged screens
- Replace broken panes of glass
- Replace burned-out light bulbs
- Secure loose railings
- Repair and coat driveway
- Patch holes or cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaint
- Repair peeling wallpaper
4. TAKE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Home inspectors also pay attention to items relating to protecting the home and its occupants from danger. They can alert you to important safety precautions which home buyers will appreciate, such as:
- Installing smoke/ Carbon Monoxide detectors in each bedroom, hallways outside bedrooms, living area, garage and attic
- Installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) in wet areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry room, exterior outlets and garage
- Keeping flammable products away from heaters, water heaters, and fireplaces
5. MAKE COSMETIC IMPROVEMENTS
An attractive, clean, and neat home will appeal to a buyer’s emotions. In addition to making repairs such as those listed above, remember to:
- Keep the lawn mowed and the house neat (have 4 inches of slab showing around home)
- Clean the exterior walls and trim; repaint if necessary
- Open windows shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphere (make sure all screens are in place)
- Keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, since buyers scrutinize these areas
- It’s a good idea to assemble in advance various house records that can be used to answer questions from buyers and home inspectors. The seller inspection report may also be included. The Home Buyer Checklist identifies some of the important factors to consider when choosing a home. In addition to an affordable sales price, they will also want to be sure that the neighborhood and house meet the needs of their family.
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