Home sellers need to understand that buyers today have access to more information and are more educated and savvy than ever before.
As a result, today’s buyers tend to be more cautious. Seeing one small issue with the condition of the home could raise red flags about potential major problems lurking behind the walls. They may second-guess their interest in the home, asking themselves: what is my assurance this won’t reoccur in the future?
Ultimately, they may talk themselves out of purchasing the home.
It’s best to take extra-special care of your home long before you even consider putting it on the market. Here’s how to see your home with a buyer’s eye so you can avoid problems that may scuttle a sale in the future:
When you are addressing a home repair issue as an owner, anticipate questions in the future and try to resolve the issue in a manner that would give comfort to a prospective buyer. For example, if you are fixing a small crack in your foundation, consult the original builder to see if you can find out what happened and why.
When you have the repair corrected, make sure to have the contractor doing the work prepare a detailed (and legible) invoice that explains the issue and the work done to correct it.
Buyers walking through a home are trying to determine if the property has been well-maintained. Even if the buyer doesn’t "catch" a potential issue, their home inspector almost certainly will.
One thing we’ve found over the years is that buyers tend to "horribilize" issues. In other words, the buyer will imagine the worst-case scenario.
For example, let’s say the HVAC filter hasn’t been changed in a while and is dirty. From the seller’s perspective, the cost to replace the filter is only a few dollars. Buyers, however, might think the clogged filter has strained the HVAC system, which will shorten its life, and wonder what other routine maintenance issues have been neglected in the home.
In preparing to list a home for sale, one of the things we ask from our seller clients is a copy of the plat (a.k.a. survey). This is a document that they likely received at the time they purchased the property and is with their original closing papers.
Anytime you or your neighbour put in a fence, driveway or other landscaping/hardscaping feature, make sure it is on the correct property. If there is an encroachment, you will want to consult a lawyer. There is often a simple legal solution at the time the encroachment occurs.
Whether a particular job needs a permit seems to have different interpretations. It’s best to err on the side of caution and get a permit. Certainly, if you are going to advertise something as a feature of your home, the work should have been permitted.
Water issues can result in a whole host of problems, including foundation issues, mould and roof problems. The good news is that water issues can be avoided relatively inexpensively if you are vigilant and proactive.
Keep your gutters clean and make sure your downspouts empty away from your foundation.
Make sure the ground around the perimeter of your home slopes away from the foundation.
Make sure your caulking and roof flashing are in good shape.
Make sure your air conditioning condensate drain lines are clean.
Make sure your dryer vent is clean and blows the hot, moist air outside and not into your attic or between walls.
Make sure all tree limbs, bushes and other foliage are not touching the house.
As you acquire paperwork related to your home, ask yourself: "Is this something a future owner might want/need?"
Whether it be a manual, architectural drawing, copies of contractor invoices and permits — it’s best to keep it.
— Washington Post