If you’re planning to list your home for sale this year, inevitably you’ll have to spend some time to fix your home for people to see, assess, and ultimately investigate if they are going to make an offer for purchase.
Those creeks and headaches that you’re used to living with in your home will not sit well with new buyers. And ultimately, buyers hate surprises.
But wait, you don’t have to fix your home? Think again and assess from a buyer’s perspective. Things that may not seem like a big deal can cause delays or worse, cancellation of contract, in some cases.
We once had a buyer that walked through a home and picked out every little thing he wanted fixed, even down to the small cracks in the concrete where the driveway met the sidewalk. While some of these requests can seem unreasonable to some people, there are common items to fix that will bode well for all buyers and are worth the time to fix before your home goes on the market.
Here is a list of 10 problems to fix your home:
Switches are meant to work, and especially the lights you think they’re meant to operate. A quick way to fix your home is to make sure a fan switch turns a fan on. A garbage disposal switch should turn on when you push the button; not every third time it’s pushed. Once a home inspection occurs, every switch will be tested in the home, and it’s easy to ensure the integrity of the electrical equipment is sound and safe. Also to note, make sure to install electrical switch plates where there aren’t any. It will be noted as a hazard in an inspection.
Do you have a toilet that runs, is stained, has a loose base, or is generally out of style? Typically, people want to move in – not fix a home – and definitely not question whether a toilet is usable. We often times suggest replacing the toilet seat at the very least. But fair warning, if there is something wrong with a toilet, it tends to leave a mark on someone’s memory.
3. Water stains
Wherever you have pipes, check for stains. Check under sinks, on ceilings, near hose bibs, on flooring, etc. Water stains are a major red flag. We once walked into a home during a home inspection that had puddles of water throughout the downstairs. While that’s not typical, any sort of water stain indicates an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
Living in Southern California means that our fireplaces aren’t used as much as they are in other parts of the country, but they are still important to buyers. Fireplaces can cut down on energy costs in the winter and are generally wanted by buyers. Make sure it’s in working condition, with properly operating doors, and the gas line is functional.
There’s nothing worse than taking a shower in standing water. Or does your sink fill up when you turn on your water to brush your teeth? Sure, it could be a hairball, but it’s best to get it properly assessed, and subsequently get the right resources or tools to fix your home.
Who can forget the scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold shook the stairs and ended up “fixing” the newel post with a chainsaw? OK, maybe I’m dating myself, but it’s probably one of my favorite movies. While we don’t advise taking a chainsaw to ANYTHING in your home, we do suggest that you fix all wiggles in stair railings or other areas of your home where something needs to be secured.
Do you worry about taking a shower at the same time as someone taking a bath in the other bathroom? Water pressure is important for buyers. If you answered yes, get it fixed.
8. Jury-rigged items
Does the AC panel have duct tape holding it up? Do windows open smoothly or to you have to “put some muscle” behind it to open? Do you have to tap on a panel, twist a knob, or close a drawer quickly so it doesn’t fall? If something in your house needs help to open, close, push, or pull, get it fixed.
9. Trip hazards
Need I say more? If you trip, someone else will too. Run those cords the right way, fix that uneven surface.
Many people purchasing a home will need some sort of financing in order to buy a home. Most lenders require the presence of vital items including smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, along with proper water heater straps (2-3 in CA, depending on the tank size).