If you’re considering putting your home on the market, you must prepare your property before opening it up for showings. Home maintenance and repairs can be time-consuming and energy-draining, but they ensure your home looks as appealing as possible. Taking time to inspect your home may also present signs of long-standing issues that you can remedy before negotiation.
How Hidden Home Problems Affect a Sale
Sellers should remedy any issues with their property to ensure they can sell at or above their asking price. Buyers will likely submit an offer with a home inspection contingency, which can protect them from purchasing the home as-is. The home inspection could highlight an unknown problem with the home, and the sellers may end up footing the bill for a significant repair. The buyers could walk away without any financial repercussions if the issue is severe.
Proper home maintenance helps to maintain your home in the years leading up to a resale. Additionally, scheduling recommended inspections and home checkups can help to prevent small problems from escalating into dealbreakers.
Some hidden home problems to check on before you list your home include the following:
Asbestos is a heat-resistant, fibrous silicate mineral that can aggravate lung tissue when inhaled and lead to cancer. Houses built before 1978 might have asbestos in popcorn ceilings, window caulk, attic insulation, or thermal insulation in basements. Although asbestos only poses a hazard when it begins to crumble, a trained inspector can identify asbestos in your home. They can also recommend a plan for removal if needed. If you need to remove asbestos, start this process before selling, not only for your safety but for future residents’ safety.
For homes built before 1978, sellers must provide a buyer with a lead paint disclosure. Lead paint can chip off surfaces and turn into dust that causes harmful health effects, especially in small children. Pinpointing the age of your home will tell you if you should hire a certified lead abatement contractor to test high-contact surfaces such as walls or window sills.
Roof Repair or Aging Exterior
Before determining a list price, sellers of homes with older roofs may want to have their roofs inspected by a professional. If the roofer finds any issues, ask for a price estimate on the recommended repairs or replacement.
Sellers will also want to look closely at the siding or stucco on the home’s exterior. Loose or faded siding or cracks in the stucco could grab the attention of a buyer or home inspector and warrant further investigation. Before listing your home, take a look at your exterior. You may want to pressure wash the house to remove dirt and grime, increasing curb appeal. You’ll also want to address any concerns with your home’s exterior and ensure you’ve maintained the recommended maintenance.
Generally caused by unseen leaks or lingering dampness in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens, mold can lead to several issues affecting the structural integrity of your home. Elevated levels can aggravate susceptible individuals’ health conditions, such as asthma and allergies. Before selling your home, learn how to identify mold issues. If you see patches of what looks like mold or detect a musty odor in your home, hire a professional inspector before listing your home for sale. They will perform tests and search for signs of water damage.
You may not easily spot damage caused by termites. The pest eats wood from the inside out, damaging a home’s structural integrity. An exterminator or termite inspector can identify signs of rodent or insect activity. The inspector will check visible spaces and other less accessible areas in your home, such as your crawl space, attic, basement, and backyard.
Electrical codes can change over time and require upgrades before selling an older home. Review local requirements to ensure your home’s wiring meets safety standards. For example, you may need to install GFCI outlets in bathrooms or kitchens before selling your home. Even if your home meets the current codes, you should know the signs of electrical issues, such as flickering lights or circuit breakers that trip frequently. If you suspect you need electrical repairs, ask an electrician to check for faulty wiring or potential code violations.
When touring your home, savvy buyers look for major problems, including signs of structural issues with your walls, ceiling, and floors. Weak foundations can cause supporting beams to snap, prevent your cabinets and doors from closing, and result in a poor home appraisal which can affect your ability to sell your home. If you have concerns about your foundation, a structural engineer will look for signs such as cracked walls, twisted window frames, or horizontal cracks in the foundation itself to determine any weaknesses. The engineer can also recommend a course of action for repairs.
Sewer backups caused by cracked pipes can cause significant damage to a home and result in a costly repair. As more cities and towns require a sewer scope inspection before a home sale, you may want to avoid any potential issues by asking a plumber to run a scope, or small camera, through your main sewer line. You may also want to investigate potential sewer issues if you notice a foul odor, gurgling pipes, or other signs of a sewer backup in your home.
Regular maintenance and chimney servicing will help to keep your fireplace in good condition. Before listing your home, review your maintenance records and consider cleaning and inspecting the chimney. Ask the inspector to check the condition of the flue liners and inside bricks. They should also ensure that any smoke from your fireplace will exit the house properly.
Soil and Trees
Understanding more about the soil surrounding your home can give you an idea of environmental issues, such as soil contamination. Your soil can also tell you whether or not the ground in your yard will impact the home’s foundation in the long run.
Additionally, towering trees that appear unstable can scare away buyers who may want to avoid dealing with an expensive removal or possible home damage in the future. As a homeowner, you should trim trees growing close to the house regularly and take care when planting anything new. You’ll want to understand how large a tree can grow and choose the proper placement to avoid falling into your home during a bad storm.
Some items can get overlooked when sellers get caught up in cleaning, packing, and moving out of a home. To avoid last-minute surprises during the resale process, commit to following a proper maintenance and repair schedule every year. Letting minor issues pile up can pose a challenge when selling your home quickly.
Before listing your home, prioritize your repair budget and address any problems preventing a buyer from making an offer. Start your inspections before your intended sale date rather than spending a lot of cash at the last minute to fix up your home. You can use any contractor reports or estimates for support if you need to negotiate repair costs with your buyer. Having the information on hand will help to streamline the process and show the buyer that you’ve done your research and know the actual value of your home.