Homeowners: Know Your Enemies Insights into preparing your home for a successful sale

Posted: February 26, 2018 by Sue-Ann DiVito

Many homeowners think the time to prepare a home for sale is shortly before or after making the decision to sell. However, the reality of getting a home "show ready" rests with the care and upkeep that has taken place throughout one's time as a homeowner. To maximize a home's resale value, the fundamentals of that home need to have already been addressed.

One of the major issues for may Bucks County homeowners, particularly those n Solebury Township, is septic. Homeowners who have maintained their septic systems throughout the ownership of the home should not have concerns. But a septic system that has operated without regular testing can be the single largest threat to a successful home sale With repair and replacement costs for septic systems ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on type and size- and because you cannot sell a home without a functioning system- septic should be the first item of consideration prior to a sale. Periodic testing, perhaps every five years depending on usage, is a smart way to stay ahead of any maintenance concerns with septic systems.

For older homes, particularly those built prior to 2000, another area of focus is stucco. During the sale of a home with stucco, real estate agents will advise their buyers to have the stucco inspected. Compromised stucco can allow moisture to slip between the stucco and the walls, creating mold and deteriorating the envelope of the home. While expensive, and somewhat invasive, a stucco test is well worth the peace of mind it provides to buyers and sellers.

Age is also a factor in a home sale. Although Bucks County is famous for its sought-after historic properties and old stone farmhouses, the age of vital systems that run these homes is always a factor.  If a home is 20 years old or more, real estate agents will always advise their buyers to look to the same issues: the roof, HVAC, fuel tanks, water heater, siding, etc. Whether due to poor maintenance or their natural end of life, the need to replace these critical home systems will have a major impact on the pricing of a home. Replacement costs can range from $3.000 to $15,000 (or more) depending on the size of the home. The inability of a roof or HVAC system to perform properly will drastically reduce the marketability of a home. Homeowners need to know their enemies such as poor maintenance and older home systems. Knowing these enemies will allow homeowners to price their homes properly to attract interested buyers.

However, the best advice for homeowners-whether considering a future sale or not- is to ensure their home is under appropriate, ongoing maintenance. From pest control and regular water testing, to gutter cleaning and annual HVAC service, regularly scheduled maintenance of key home systems is the best way to keep a home's enemies at bay.

And while a fresh coat of paint on your trim or a new front door will increase a home's curb appeal, it is the underlying maintenance that will make the difference in a sale.

Savvy homeowners who already know their current home isn't their forever home will save every maintenance and repair record. This collection will demonstrate to potential homebuyers that the home has been well cared for and maintained. In fact, there's no better gift for homebuyers at or before the closing than providing a binder filled with home maintenance records. It's a wonderful way to pass along the home you've lovingly maintained to those who will come after you.

Written by Nick Esser

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