First time home sellers are faced with the challenge of how to make their property stand out amid all the options that this unique market offers. The public’s interest in real estate in general has spawned numerous TV shows, publications, and specialists to offer instruction as to how to make the most of your property. Amid all the hype, there are a few things that can help you maximize the appeal of your house.
Know thy Septic:
Unless you live in one of the few local areas with public sewer and/or water, your house most likely has its own septic system and well. As a homeowner, it’s easy to take these miracles of modern technology for granted on a daily basis, but when it comes time to put your property on the market, these are two of the most important elements to assess. If you don’t know the age, location and maintenance history of your systems, it’s well worth the effort to investigate the basics.
If you don’t know the history of the mechanicals, you might be able to contact the original installer(s) and obtain “as-built” plans, which usually define the capacity and design specs of these systems. If you don’t know who installed them, your local Board of Health office might have information in their files, depending on the history of the property. If the information isn’t readily available, a call to a local contractor who specializes in septic systems and wells might be in order.
Water and Houses Don’t Mix:
All of the structural components of your house, from windows to roof, siding and foundation are designed to repel water from above and below. When your house goes under contract and the buyer has a home inspector come to assess the property on their behalf, the lion’s share of the inspector’s attention is paid to how well the house sheds water, and the condition of the structural components the repel the elements.
Before you put your house on the market, and ultimately under the discerning eye of a buyer and inspector, it pays to do the following:
Assess the age and condition of your roof
- If your roof is more than 10 years old, it might be a good idea to have a licensed contractor inspect all the roof surfaces, valleys, chimney flashings, eaves, etc. for any signs of moisture penetration and/or decay.
Assess your basement
2. Invest the time and energy, and get help if needed, to clean this often neglected, sometimes dreaded collector of life’s detritus. After cleaning, make a thorough inspection to see if there are any signs of moisture penetration or staining, especially around windows, doorways and seams or cracks. Again, a licensed contractor should be able to make some practical and cost-effective suggestions as to how to deal with any problems. Investing in a high-quality dehumidifier is a good bet, and will improve the overall air quality of your home. Many models can be installed so that they drain directly into your plumbing and alleviate the strain and nuisance of constantly having to empty them.
Assess the grading around your house
3. One the first and most common observations of many inspectors is related to the grading around the exterior of the foundation. It is very common for the ground to have settled inwards, and quite often plantings become overgrown and trap moisture in and around the foundation.
Many basement-related moisture concerns can be alleviated simply by making sure that the ground slopes away from the foundation, plantings, especially shrubs and bushes, are trimmed back from the house, and all gutter downspouts are draining water at least five or six beyond the house and does not drain back towards the foundation.
While none of these fixes sound very glamorous, they represent some of the largest concerns and greatest potential expense to a buyer who has many choices to make and factors to weigh when choosing the house for them.