If you’re planning to list your home for sale, now is the perfect time to fix odds and ends.
Over the last 30 years, our inspectors have witnessed just about everything, whether representing buyers with our Home Inspection or sellers with our Pre-Listing Inspection.
We’ve learned that there are specific issues that must be fixed before listing because buyers not only will not like the problems, the house will be a heck of a lot harder to sell if the issues aren’t fixed.
Check out our “insider’s guide” below for 10 things you must fix before selling your home.
(While you’re perusing the list, try to identify the theme…see the last paragraph for the answer!)
01. Mystery switches.
Every switch should operate something, anything. A switch should not include warning labels (e.g., pull this cord at your own risk)! Make sure all fixtures have working light bulbs. It’s important not to leave any questions about the integrity of the electrical system.
02. Water stains.
Water stains are big fat red flags. Please – don’t try to hide water issues, the truth will always out. If you have any concern about water intrusion anywhere, you must resolve the issue and repair damage before listing. Our inspectors are Certified Real Estate Thermographers who use infrared cameras on every inspection, including our Pre-Listing Inspection. Ask us to help you to identify active water penetration issues.
03. Quirky thrones.
Over the millennia of human innovation, toilets were a pretty trick invention, possibly as nifty as the internal combustion engine. OK, not really, but toilets are pretty cool when you think about them. Our inspectors have seen lots of toilet weirdness, the most prevalent of which includes toilets that never stop running, or toilets that have loose bases, or toilets that require some special knowledge to operate. The beauty of toilets, other than the fact that they make stinky stuff disappear, is that they’re generally easy to fix before listing.
04. Fire in the hole!
Buyers love fireplaces. They’re cozy. They’re for cuddling. They’re romantic. And, as a side benefit, they help to reduce energy costs. But fireplaces can be a source of concern to buyers if there is any uncertainty about condition, especially for buyers who have never owned a house with a fireplace. Therefore, prior to listing, make sure all fireplaces are clean and functional.
05. Slow train drain.
If your sink or shower drains as slowly as a long-haul train takes to pass by, sure, the issue may be caused by a hairball. But there may be a more serious issue and because buyers are afraid of what they can’t see, they’ll imagine the worst possible scenario. Buy a drain snake clog remover at Amazon, Lowe’s or Home Depot to clean out the clogs and muck.
06. Musty basements.
What’s the first thing a buyer thinks about a musty basement? Musty basement (smell) = Wet basement (thought) = Buyer running away (sound). Follow your nose, assess your basement. Does it smell musty? If yes, why? Do you need a dehumidifier? Do walls need to be sealed? Is a professional required to address water penetration issues? Our inspectors are Certified Real Estate Thermographers who use infrared cameras on every inspection, including our Pre-Listing Inspection; we can help you to identify active water penetration issues.
07. Wiggles, shimmies, and shakes.
You may know how to grab a handrail so it doesn’t wiggle or shake. But buyer’s won’t know and their inspectors sure as heck will certainly notice; the inspection report will scream “Safety Issue.” Pretend that you’re the buyer – walk through the house and note items that need securing. Better yet, ask a friend to walk through the house for a second opinion. Fix all wiggles before listing.
08. Oh, oh, oh it’s magic, you know-oh-oh.
If there’s something in your home that requires a “magic touch” to operate, chances are it’s something that should be on your list of repairs. Buyers who walk through your house expect every item to work the way it’s supposed to – without banging, jerking, shoving, or secret combinations of lifting and turning. Fix your stuck windows and doors, you know what we’re talking about!
09. Trip hazards.
Loose carpet inside, uneven walk surfaces outside. Say “trip hazard” five times fast while your neighbor walks up the path for the first time with a baby in her arms. Every trip hazard is an accident waiting to happen. When you list your home, you’ll have lots of foot traffic – fix the trip hazards!
No, we’re not talking about the travails of daily life, we’re talking about water pressure. Is there low pressure at the shower? Does the shower lose pressure if anyone uses another water source in the house? This may seem like a minor nuisance to you, but your buyers and their inspectors won’t think so. Start by checking for a clogged shower head or a shower shut-off valve that has been inadvertently knocked partially closed. If that doesn’t work, retain a plumber to evaluate and fix the system.
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So, did you figure out the theme?
Buyers don’t like surprises.
We encourage you to work with your Realtor to identify issues before listing. We’d welcome an opportunity to deliver our Pre-Listing Inspection – we will help you to identify everything a buyer inspector is going to find anyway.
One closing thought from Hunter S. Thompson: “A person who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his/her choice made for him/her by circumstance.”