If you are a homeowner, then you no doubt understand that a modern home is a complex piece of hardware with many moving parts. If you are planning to move out, such as to a new home or an apartment, you are most likely considering listing your home soon and putting it on the market. But before you reach out for local movers and head out, be sure that your home is a worthwhile investment for the next occupant. In between owners, it is a house, not a home, and it must look its best. When you are listing your home, you are essentially promising the next owner that the house will be worth living in, and there are many different ways to live up to that promise. Some home repair can be done as a DIY project, but for the most part, you are urged to hire professional contractors and repair experts who can fix or replace just about anything. When you are all done, you may end up marking this accomplishment with a glass of wine (over 55% of adults say that they have consumed alcohol within the last 30 days). But before you pop the cork, review your house’s outstanding needs.
Before listing your home, you’ll need to know exactly what you are dealing with, and this means doing a thorough inspection. There might be some parts of the house that are not easily visible, owing to how much spare stuff or furniture is found there. Some walls, patches of the floor, or entire rooms haven’t been seen for years by their owners, so try and hire a moving and storage company to help you clear out the house fast (or any other solution you like). This way, no issues escape your notice before listing your home. Neither the new owner nor you will want any surprises like exposed nails, damaged drywall, termite damage, or odd holes.
This includes the outside, too, and you should inspect everything from the foundation to the siding to the very roof. If you are physically able to, get a ladder and check out the roof with your own eyes, and be sure to check the house’s interior for any signs of water damage due to a leaking roof. Think of things from the new owner’s perspective: when you buy your first home, everything seems fine at first, but then you realize that rainwater is leaking in. Not all problems are apparent at first; be thorough.
Before Listing Your Home: Plumbing
Intruding rainwater isn’t the only potential source of water damage in your home. Many houses across the United States have one or more leaking pipes in them, and leaking water can add up shockingly fast. Some homes are wasting 90 gallons of water per day owing to leaks, and this adds up to an incredible one trillion wasted gallons of water per year when all leaking homes are combined. This leaking water certainly pads the water bill, but that is not even the worst part: leaking water can damage drywall, spur harmful mold growth, rot wood, and damage electrical components in the home. Meanwhile, some drains or pipes on the property may be clogged or not flowing very well.
Before listing your home, be sure that all water is flowing to and from the property correctly, and hire local plumbers for aid. Tightening a leaky faucet is easy, but a clogged sewer main or replacing an old toilet calls for professional hands. Plumbers can easily access any pipe for repairs or replacement, and they can diagnose problems with ease. They can even unearth your property’s sewer main, break it open, and remove huge masses of clogging material, and even remove intruding tree roots. And what about old water features in your home, such as bathtubs, showerheads, toilets, and sinks? Such old features are not only unsightly, but they weren’t built with modern water efficiency in mind, thus wasting water even if they are not leaking. Replacing them involves up-front costs, but this pays for itself in reduced water usage, and those new features help justify a slightly higher price when listing your home. Homebuyers will certainly like a shiny new toilet and showerhead.
Before you move on to listing your home, be sure that the roof is not compromised. You can not only check for existing water damage, but wait for the next rainfall, or wait for the snow to melt on the roof. This will help you determine if the roof is damaged. And, of course, you can hire professionals to come and inspect the roof and gutters with a trained eye. When you hire roofing experts, you can expect all damaged and loose tiles to be removed and replaced with new ones, which helps bolster the home’s insulation and protect it from trauma and leaks. Better yet, those roofing experts can pour liquid rubber that seals up even the smallest cracks and holes, a process that is sure to prevent future leaks.
Should you go ahead and replace the entire roof? If you can afford to, and if your roof is very old or badly damaged, this is probably worth paying for before listing your home. A shabby roof is ugly, impractical, and costly to deal with, and it’s cheaper for all parties, in the long run, to have such a shoddy, old roof swapped out for a new one. A new shingle roof can be fitted onto the house, or you might choose to have a metal roof installed instead. Metal roofs are very tough, insulate the house well, look nice (they come in many colors), and last a long time. They can even be recycled when they are finally retired, and such a tough roof may make your property very attractive to buyers when they see it. If you can handle the costs, this is a strong option, since no new residents want to pay for roof repairs just when they move in. Take care of that issue for them before listing your home.
This is a short and simple topic, but an important one. You will probably not take every feature with you; for example, you might leave behind your fridge, or the water heater and space heaters. These machines must be in good shape to help add to the property’s appeal, so before listing your home, be sure to replace any shabby old appliances. A new fridge makes the kitchen look much more appetizing, and new fridges have all kinds of features that new owners will like, including video cameras and screens on the doors. A new water heater can store a lot more hot water than an old tank that has sediment buildups inside, and new ceiling fans or lights will make any room look good.
Windows and Doors
It may be easy to take the windows and doors for granted, but that is not a good idea. Before listing your home, be sure to include these features on your inspection list, since old, shoddy windows and doors present unique problems. For one thing, they are a security hazard, since they are worn out and don’t fit well in their frames, so burglars can easily force their way in with basic tools (or even their bare hands and feet). Meanwhile, these poor-fitting features are probably drafty, and no homeowner wants that, especially since drafts disrupt the home’s climate control, forcing the HVAC utility to work overtime. That, in turn, drives up the electric bill in a hurry. Third, old windows and doors simply look bad, owing to stained or cracked glass, termite damage, chipped paint, or scratches. That makes a poor impression.
This is when you call for local window and door replacement crews (this is not a DIY project) and have new features fit into the holes in your house. These professionals will remove the old doors and windows, then consult you about which models should replace them. Once you decide on some models, they will be test-fitted, then properly installed. These new windows and doors resist forced entry, prevent air drafts, and look great, and new, double-paned windows also do a good job keeping warm air inside the home during cold seasons. That, in turn, will ease the strain on the heater and lower the house’s electricity use.
Bear in mind that drapes, window blinds, and motorized screens are a good way to put the finishing touches on these windows, and any buyer who tours your home will be happy to see them. Such window dressings look good, ensure total privacy, and even contribute to the climate control efforts. Blinds keep out hot sunlight in summer, and drapes trap warm air during winter.
Remodeling The Rooms
This is another big topic, and it is certainly worth considering when you are planning on listing your home. Like roof replacement, this can be costly, but the payoff is significant in more ways than one. Since a remodeled home will have a much higher value, this means a remodeling job can result in an ROI (return on investment) as high as 70-80%, especially when the kitchen or master bathroom is involved. Remodeled rooms like these make a great impression on buyers, and this may help your home sell faster and for a better price. That is certainly to be desired.
The remodeling industry is a big one, and it is popular among older homeowners who can afford it (and who don’t move very often). In your case, you are doing this as an investment to make the property more attractive to buyers, and your options range from remodeling one or two rooms to remolding the entire structure. About 30% of all remodeling jobs involve every single room in the house, and if you can afford it, you might take that route. If not, you are urged to at least remodel the kitchen and master bathroom, two very popular rooms in the home. They typically offer the highest ROI after remodeling work is done.
In the kitchen, nearly anything can be touched up, fixed, or replaced entirely. You can ask the remodeling professionals to install granite countertops, for example, which are tough and attractive and can make any kitchen look classy. Flooring experts can remove old tiles or linoleum and put down new flooring for a fresh look, and painters can give the walls a new and lighter color (white or off-white is a safe bet). In addition, you may ask the remodeling experts to sand down, refinish, and repaint the cabinet doors, which may be stained with oil or scratches by now, and if you invest more cash, the cabinets can be entirely replaced with new models. Kitchen remodeling may extend to the installation of a new stove and fridge, as well as putting in or removing an island counter or new lighting fixtures. The new homeowners will want a clean, practical place for cooking, and a remodeled kitchen will be just the ticket for that.
Is a bathroom really worth remodeling? It certainly is; it’s more than just a private toilet space. For many homeowners, a master bathroom is a place for relaxing baths, brushing teeth, styling or dyeing hair, applying makeup, and more, and clean and modern space is perfect for that. Even if your bathroom doesn’t look unpleasant, some remodeling may be in order, and here again, flooring experts can remove old tiles or linoleum and put down fresh materials. The walls can be repainted or have new wallpaper put up, lighting fixtures can be replaced, and doorknobs can be changed, too.
Plumbers can do a lot of good in here since they can fix a leaky toilet or put in a new shower system. If the master bathroom has fresh, new plumbing features, then the room will look great and save on water for years to come. If you are expecting elderly homeowners to move in, or anyone with physical needs, you can have a special sort of tub installed for their convenience. Some tubs have a hatch on the side, so the user can open that hatch and walk in and out of the tub without stepping over the side. A new shower system can feature a shower head with alternate spray methods, or perhaps you will install a ceiling-mounted, wide head with a rain effect, complete with lights. Homebuyers are bound to be impressed.
Before listing your home, you may end up spending quite a bit of money on repairs and remodeling work, but the good news is that you will recuperate these losses to a degree when you can justify raising your property’s asking price. That, and you will enjoy having your property sold relatively quickly after it is put on the market. A home with remodeled rooms and eye-catching features is likely to attract some eager buyers sooner than later.