As summer approaches and the U.S. real estate market heats up, prospective sellers might be anxious to list and rush to market. Although timing is important, there are some things sellers should check into before they put their home on the market if they hope to sell fast and for top dollar.
You’ll want to take care of things like servicing your heating or cooling systems, checking the smoke detectors and doing a deep clean and decluttering of the home. But there are other issues you might not think to check.
Most conditions that may pose problems during a sale can be fixed. The question is: how big of a repair is needed to resolve them. Buyers are more likely to walk away from homes that have major repairs awaiting them. With that in mind, here are some common conditions sellers need to investigate and address prior to having any deal on the line.
Extension cords everywhere
While this may sound small, this could be a sign of an outdated electrical system. Modern electrical needs have grown significantly and, as a result, the home could require an entire electrical upgrade to meet these new demands. A licensed electrician can assess whether a new panel and wiring is needed, or additional receptacles should be installed.
Low water pressure or gurgling
If you turn on a faucet in the home and the pressure is low, this can point to issues with older galvanized piping or inadequate piping. A licensed plumber can identify the type of piping and estimated age to determine whether it merits a significant repair (or if it’s something less severe). In many cases, sections of piping can be replaced on an as-needed basis to correct any problems.
Horizontal foundational cracking
Vertical cracks are to be expected, and they are typically within normal settlement tolerances. The issue is with horizontal ones. That’s because horizontal cracks are generally a result of hydrostatic pressure against a home’s foundation.
Correcting the cracks can be expensive and involve excavation, drainage and provisions and even repairs to the wall itself. If horizontal cracking exists, consult with several structural engineers so those experts can ascertain the extent of movement as well as prescribe corrective measures.
Opinions can vary — and you don’t want to be wrong about structural elements — so getting several opinions is best practice.
Musty basement smells
Musty basements don’t leave a very good first impression. While homeowners may get used to storage in the basement raised off the floor to prevent it from falling victim to wet basements, buyers are going to be leery of that setup. The same goes for stains or efflorescence on the walls of the basement.
Wet basements or stains on the wall are going to raise concerns of mold. The solution to fixing the issue may be as simple as improving the property grading or draining downspouts further away from the foundation.
Wall or ceiling stains
Speaking of water intrusion, any visible stain needs to be further evaluated to determine the cause and extent of any possible hidden damage. If the stain is active, it is imperative to address the source of the leak. If the stain is no longer active, remove the stain.
Waiting until a buyer comes along to find out your home needs significant repairs can be a costly mistake for a seller. As a Realtor, making your client aware of issues like these can help smooth out the process in the long run.
Ideally, sellers should make needed repairs and eliminate the issues altogether. But if that’s not feasible, having the listing professionally inspected and disclosing the condition up front to a serious buyer should help minimize last minute surprises and renegotiations. No party benefits from surprises in a real estate transaction.