Today's competitive real estate market means that homeowners who want to sell their property should do as much as they can to make their homes attractive to prospective buyers. Many sellers, however, make the mistake of adding cosmetic improvements that they think will entice buyers while neglecting to take care of basics, and many of today's buyers are more concerned with issues such as structural integrity than with pretty paint of new carpeting. Following are five home improvements that you should consider making before putting your home on the market:
Leaky and Damp Basements
A well-maintained basement can add significantly to the value of any home, but a leaky basement that has substantial water damage and possible mold and mildew issues will cause many prospective buyers to keep looking. Waterproofing your basement by adding French drains, sump pumps, and exhaust fans will help create a more enticing picture for potential buyers. If mold and mildew exists, consider having the basement professionally cleaned in order to remove musty odors.
Environmental hazards present a huge red flag for prospective home buyers, making it extremely difficult for many sellers to find a purchaser. Conditions that most buyers steer clear of include:
- Radon -- fortunately, homeowners have affordable options for dealing with this problem. Inexpensive home testing kits are available that can tell you whether a radon problem exists. If radon is present, you can choose to seal it with special paint, installing a water aeration system, or using specialized plastic sheeting on basement walls designed to eliminate radon infiltration.
- Asbestos -- Although material containing asbestos should be left alone if the structure is in good conditions, any exposed material should be removed by professional asbestos removers.
- Insect infestations -- there should be no signs of insects in your home when you put it on the market. Nothing kills a potential deal faster than a cockroach or carpenter ant sighting during a showing.
Roofs are another area that can be a deal breaker in purchasing decisions. Making sure that your roof is free from debris as well as moss and lichen is a good start, but you should also check it out thoroughly checked for leaks, holes, and other disrepair. If a roof replacement is in order before you can sell your home, consider having a "cool roof" installed. A cool roof is made from reflective materials that deflect the heat from the sun's rays, resulting in significantly lower air conditioning bills during warm weather. Installing solar panels is another green roofing option that will be attractive to many consumers in the market for a new home.
Undersized Wiring System
If your home is over 30 years old, you may need to upgrade the electrical wiring system.Older homes that were built before electronics became a large part of everyday life may not have wiring that can accommodate the electricity needs of an average family. Older homes also may have been wired using fiberglass-insulated wires, and these are easily frayed as well as very attractive to gnawing rodents.
As home foundations settle, chimneys sometimes become separated by the main structure. you can have the chimney bolstered with iron or steel straps in the event that it has began to lean or separate from the est of the house. A home inspector will check the chimney as well as the wiring and basement as well as check for signs of possible environmental hazards.
The services of a qualified home inspector is a good investment if you are going to be putting your home on the market anytime soon. If you don't know of any inspectors, your listing agent should be able to provide you with a good recommendation.