Fix It or Forget It? The Home Seller's Repair Guide

Seller's Home Inspection When selling a home, one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the process is the inevitable home inspection. At this point, it can feel like things are out of your hands. What will the inspector look for? What will they find?

Luckily, there are small projects you can do ahead of time, and before placing your Jupiter area home on the market, to help any future home inspection go smoothly. Some repairs are worth taking care in advance of the inspection, while others are best handled with a "wait and see" approach. Here's how to scan your home for potential issues — and what to do about them.

Projects to Complete Before Your Home Goes on the Market

Assuming you've already taken care of "paint and wallpaper" projects before putting your house on the market, you can now focus that pre-inspection nervous energy on inexpensive fixes that will improve your home's overall condition. In general, if there's something you can do yourself, and if the fix costs less than $100 at the hardware store, then pave the way for a smoother home inspection by taking care of it ahead of time.

Here are some common projects that may address some items that home inspectors may look for:

  • Add Bright Light Bulbs: A burnt-out light bulb can lead an inspector to question your electrical system and the homes ongoing maintenance. It's also a safety issue to have dark hallways, rooms or closets. Replace burned-out lightbulbs inside and out with the brightest ones your fixture will support.
  • Replace Air Filters: Clean or replace the filters in your furnace, air conditioner, clothes dryer and range vent hood. This shows you pay attention to details in the infrastructure of your home and properly care for appliances.
  • Add or Replace Weatherstripping: Cracked or missing weatherstripping will highlight the weaknesses of outdated windows and doors. This is a simple fix that won't cost much money but will help make your home more energy efficient — and may be a plus in the inspector's notes.
  • Add Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: All inspectors look for these basic safety features. You should have at least one of each on every level. Note that many local and state jurisdictions now require working smoke alarms and/or CO2 monitors in homes that go on the market for sale.

Projects to Put on the Back Burner

Often, especially in an older home, there are items that might be nearing the end of their useful life - such as a roof or an older furnace. However, instead of replacing these types of things, it might be best to wait and see if the buyer considers them to be important to the overall value of the Abacoa home. However, there may be some items that need to be repaired as the result of an inspection or the type of financing a buyer obtains.

For example:

  • Adding Handrails to a Stairwell or Staircase: Depending on the type of financing a buyer is getting, such as a Fannie Mae, FHA or VA loan, there are many safety features the inspector will need to sign off on. If your basement or porch stairs is missing a handrail, you'll likely be asked to add one.
  • Gutters and Downspouts: Though you may consider cleaning them ahead of time, consider not completing any major repairs or replacements unless buyers ask. If they do request some repair work, then it's usually a fairly small investment to make in trade for finalizing the sale.
  • Basic Waterproofing: Inspectors will definitely note signs of water in a basement. If it's a minor issue, you can offer to paint the basement with a waterproofing sealer before the sale to mitigate these issues and put the buyer at ease.

Possible Home Improvement Projects for Price Negotiation

Some buyers are looking for a completely turn-key home, and may ask that you make substantial repairs or upgrades before agreeing to a contract. It's best to get advice from your real estate agent about market conditions to know whether it's worth investing in big-ticket home improvement projects before listing a home. Sometimes, a major repair or home improvement, such as new flooring, carpet or kitchen cabinets can be used as a negotiating tool with the price of the home.

Here are a few examples of projects that may be worth negotiating:

  • Roof Repair or Replacement: If your home does need a new roof, remember that this is an expensive and time-consuming project that could delay the home sale. Get an estimate and use it as a basis for a price reduction instead.
  • Furnace and HVAC Replacement: If these systems are old but are functioning properly, consider not replacing them. However, if they become an issue in price negotiations, consider offering a credit or price reduction to the buyer to take care of it after the sale.

Home repairs can be tricky, and it can be hard to see which repairs or upgrades will be worth your time and money. With expert advice from your real estate agent and a clear idea of your budget and time limits, you can make smart decisions about repairs both before and after your home inspection.

Dylan Snyder is a seasoned real estate professional serving the Jupiter real estate market, Palm Beach real estate market, Palm Beach Gardens real estate market, North Palm Beach real estate market, and the surrouding Palm Beach County area. Along with being a top producer in Jupiter real estate, Dylan's professionalism and expertise in luxury and waterfront real estate sets him and his team of real estate experts apart from the competition. For more information on Jupiter and Palm Beach real estate for sale, contact Dylan at (561) 951-9301.

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