In the best economy, selling your house can be something of a challenge. Our current economic conditions are making it easy for buyers to counter with lower bids — so in that sense, it’s actually a bit easier to sell your home now. But for sellers, that means potentially losing money.
However, we don’t always have a choice regarding when it’s time to sell a home. Perhaps you’re one of the 43 million Americans moving every year, due to a job change, a need to upgrade or downsize their homes, or simply need a change of pace. Eventually, you’ll need to cut to the chase and put your home on the market.
But no matter why you’re moving, you can only benefit yourself by making your home as appealing and ready-to-sell as possible. Part of this will involve compiling a list of home repairs to make before selling. While some homeowners don’t necessarily understand the point of spending money on home repairs right before putting their home up for sale, there are several reasons why you should do so.
For one thing, you cannot simply ignore issues with your home and skip over making repairs. Even if the repairs needed are not the types that a buyer would pick up on with the naked eye, they’ll be discovered sooner or later. A home inspection is required before the sale is closed and the inspector will discover any damage you attempt to ignore. This would potentially jeopardize the sale, as between the damage and the bad taste it could leave in a buyer’s mouth they may decide against working with you. But even if the sale does go through, you’ll probably end up paying more for repairs than you would have had you taken care of them before the buyer became aware of the issue. At times, a buyer may even negotiate that; rather than having you repair the home yourself, you’ll take the cost of repairs out of the house’s price. This will likely cut into your profit far more than simply paying for the repairs through companies that you can trust. With that being said, let’s look into some of the home repairs to make before selling — and what you should at the very minimum have on a list to ensure that your house is ready to hit the market.
In the United States, it’s difficult for a home to sell without a working heating and cooling system. While air conditioning isn’t necessarily considered a “must” in every part of the country, with some states in the Pacific Northwest lacking them in large part, heating is much more crucial. This nation is known for somewhat extreme weather and it’s easy for residents to get uncomfortable if their home’s heating and cooling units aren’t working as they should be.
One of the major reasons why heating and air systems are often out of whack is that they haven’t been given the consistent maintenance they need. Oftentimes, we buy houses without even fully being aware of how old their HVAC units are, never mind how much work needs to be done to maintain them. This means that by the time you’re ready to sell your home, your unit could very well be on the list of home repairs to make before selling.
It’s important to consider the value of repairs versus replacements when it comes to heating and cooling systems. A lot of the time, homeowners balk at the idea of replacing their units entirely, especially if they’re on the brink of moving to a new home. Why would you want to spend more on something that you’re going to “get rid of” anyway? Well, for homeowners who don’t plan on an immediate sale, a replacement can often cost less than multiple repairs. Some HVAC units are so old and outdated that you might as well buy a new one rather than investing in costly repairs. And if your sale is going to take place sooner rather than later, you’ll probably be better off simply replacing the unit. As we said, a faulty unit will probably end up being flagged by a home inspector. This way, you can a replacement on your own terms and hopefully find a better deal than you would if you searched for one at the last minute. Of course, even if you suspect that your HVAC unit needs to be replaced, that might not be the case. You won’t know until you have it inspected.
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a plumbing issue, especially if you’ve just bought a home. This is why your house’s buyer will probably insist on your home inspector paying particular attention to your home’s plumbing system. There are a lot of problems that can crop up over time. One of the most common issues is that of eroding pipes. Pipes tend to erode over time, due to the fact that they’re under constant use and are often made of metal that, while sturdy, is not immune to corrosion. The pipes will gradually grow thinner and more brittle, which will in turn lead to them being more susceptible to cracking or even bursting down the road. At the minimum, you’ll be dealing with leaks, which will end up costing quite a bit of money in the long term.
Of course, this isn’t the only plumbing-related problem that could crop up on your list of home repairs to make before selling. Rust can cause a lot of damage to plumbing fixtures over time, and even porcelain tubs and toilets can eventually crack and give way to not only water but harmful mold. All of this, however, can easily be caught by a residential plumber. A good plumber can give your home’s plumbing system the inspection it needs and at the same time apply repairs. However, you may have to look elsewhere if they discover damage related to the problems in your plumbing system. Leaks can build up over time and cause water damage without you even realizing it. Residential water damage repair can be taken care of by some, but not all, plumbers. It depends on what kinds of services they’re trained in. The water damage can severely decrease your home’s value, as it can affect everything from your ceilings to your floors (and even the walls in between). If you’re not ready to repair the damage, then you should be prepared to cut the price of your home in order to ensure that it moves off the market.
Speaking of water damage, perhaps one of the most common sites for that type of damage (and the most common locations for home repairs to make before selling) is your roof. Think about the beating a typical roof will take over the years. Your roof a potential pressure point for your home, regularly sheltering you from the sun’s heat and the winter’s chill. It’s also what protects residents from severe weather. Your home will likely be exposed to heavy rain and winter, perhaps even hail. Depending on where you live, your house may also be exposed to snow. All of this can result in small degrees of damage over time, which will gradually grow and become more severe over time.
Before you make the potentially dangerous mistake of attempting to fix your roof’s damage on your own, you should consider working with professional roofing specialists. The issue that you can run into if you try to handle these matters on your own is that you will likely gradually cause more damage. For that matter, you may find that the repairs you did were incorrect or inefficient and thus decreased the value of your home. Another advantage of working with professionals when working on these home repairs to make before selling is that they can actually advise you on adding value to your house. If you do end up needing to replace your roof entirely before selling your house, you may be better off replacing your current roof with a more energy-efficient roof. This will save the buyer money on their energy bills over time and will incentivize them to recognize the value of your home and pay a higher price. You shouldn’t look at home repairs in terms of what you’re paying in the moment, but in terms of what kind of value they’ll add later.
You may not think much of landscaping yourself, but chances are that it will mean something to your buyers. Landscaping is a part of your home’s exterior and therefore will be one of the first things that any buyer notices about your house. With that being said, you need to consider exactly what kinds of changes you can make to your landscape without going overboard. There’s no need to add a water feature to your home, or for that matter to plant a ton of flowers or make a vegetable garden. First, you should focus on home repairs to make before selling in terms of your exterior. If your yard has any holes in the ground or pest problems, this would fall under those repairs. You should also take the time to employ a debris removal service if you have any stray items lying around the area.
Otherwise, a lot of the changes you make to your landscape will probably be more aesthetic improvements, rather than major repairs. Even if your yard is dry and yellowed without a great deal of vegetation, there’s plenty of opportunities to brighten it up in different ways. You may want to think about getting in touch with a mulch service, as colorful mulch is a common substitute for plants and grass in hotter states like Florida. You may also want to consider adding a couple of inexpensive potted plants. These could also be temporary measures simply meant to attract attention to your home; afterward, you can take them with you to your new house.
Part of the process of selling your house will involve making it appealing for buyers on an aesthetic level. This doesn’t just apply to home repairs to make before selling. People will want to envision themselves living in your home, and they’ll be better able to do so if your interior is in good shape, clean and well-staged. This could very well involve employing professional house cleaning services if you want. One of the reasons why this may be a better option than simply cleaning your house yourself is that cleaning on your house is time-consuming and labor-intensive, and even then you may not be happy with the final results. You should also consider junk removal to declutter common areas of your home to ensure your property is shown at its best.
Of course, you’ll want to do more than simply clean your home if you want people to be drawn to it. You may also want to work with a staging professional, who can use things a fine art print or two and some various knick-knacks in order to create a comfortable feeling that will make it easier for buyers to picture their futures as the new owners of the home. Creating this sense is just as important as home repairs to make before selling.
There’s no doubt that preparing your home for the market can be stressful. You will have so many things to balance at the same time, and you should be prepared for an overwhelming moment. However, if you plan carefully and work with the right professionals, you should be able to prioritize home repairs to make before selling and at the same time create the kind of appearance and essence that will have buyers fighting over your home in no time. Don’t forget: as much as you know about your own house, you should also take those expert opinions and keep them in mind. When your house sells, you’ll be glad that you did!