Eileen Saunders, Realtor~Tommy Morgan Inc Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655~662-234-5344 or 662-404-0816~Equal housing
Sometimes we plan ahead of time to put our house on the market. Other times, a sudden job transfer puts us in sales mode. Regardless, regular general maintenance of your house will prevent you, as the seller, from having a long check list of to-do items for the buyers.
I’m talking about the home inspection report that tells the buyer every little detail that is “wrong” with your house. And, some buyers want everything corrected before they hand over the money.
To avoid this time-consuming pitfall, take some time on a regular basis to keep up with your house’s needs. There are common problems that surface with each home inspection so take care of them now. These are:
- Electrical: GFCI outlets, burned out lights, missing connectors in the electrical panel and open electrical splices can all cause problems. Have someone go slab-to-roof to check out the electrical and make sure it is in working order.
- Plumbing: leaks, loose faucets, worn plugs, high-loop in the dishwasher drain, loose exterior faucets.
- HVAC: changing your filter will have a positive impact on the home inspection. A dirty filter will usually throw up a red flag and the inspector will suggest a professional look at the system. A $3 filter vs a $90 service call? I know what I’d do.
- Caulking: windows, tubs, showers, kitchen countertop.
- Smoke detectors: make sure they work
- Gutters and roof: look for loose or missing roof tiles, clean out gutters because they can back up and cause damage
- Weathered exterior wood and cracks in the bricks. This is part of curb appeal upkeep. Since buyers form opinions of the house almost immediately, you should want for them to desire to look inside. A worn exterior may hint at a worn interior and some buyers will turn away. (I’ve had a buyer do that at a house I was showing). Cracked mortar can be a sign of a foundation issue or just a weathering and the bricks may need repointing. When in doubt ask a professional.
- Screened porches: screens don’t last forever. If you have holes in your screen consider rescreening before the buyer asks you to.
If you are short on time, consider providing a repair credit to the buyer at closing. You can negotiate the amount but be sure to get more than one estimate. I’ve seen outrageously priced estimates given by repairmen that had only seen a photo of the problem. If you have a home warranty your cost will be much lower, too, with the one-low-service-call price. I highly recommend them.
Inspections are not just for the buyer to order. If you’ve lived in your house for many years and want to know what you need to do, you can order an inspection. Otherwise, look around and take a close assessment of how your house looks and operates. Then make your to-do list and get to work.