Specialized Buyers Agent Answers Real Estate Questions
Q. We are thinking of downsizing when our last child goes off to college in a few years. Any advice for us now? A. and S. Tobias, Strafford, PA
A.Probably the most important thing to do over the next year or so is routine maintenance, believe it or not. Don’t tear out that old bathroom yet!
- During the beautiful Spring season, start by checking that any sump pump is working by pouring water in the pit. Next, schedule your annual termite inspection and keep that warranty current for when you sell—don’t let it lapse. It will be a huge asset to buyers. Call your heating and air-conditioning company in to turn off the humidifier, clean or replace air filters and tune up the AC. Spend a few hours one weekend trimming trees away from roof surface and electrical wires and pruning overgrown shrubs to keep windows clear. This keeps the home looking fresh, tended, and lived in for future buyers to admire as they drive by.
- Clean any cobwebs out before you start the grill and enjoy the entire summer.
- Then in the fall, schedule your furnace inspection and be sure the tech person checks all of your units, inside and out, including any humidifier. They should clean or replace the filters and have them note all that they do on a chart attached to the furnace.
- Drain and shut off outside water faucets and bring any hoses inside. Then, cover outside air conditioning units to keep out leaves and snow. Rusty HVAC units may be perfectly functional but they look bad and make buyers concerned. Next, inspect your roof for any signs of cracked, mossy or missing shingles. Until recently some shingles were made with composites that allow the growth of black algae. If you have this, you should contact the manufacturer to see if they offer a cleaner. Some do.
- The next step is maybe the most important thing you can do to maintain the value of your home. Clear all gutters, downspouts, and drains regularly!!! Pay someone to do this twice a year if you can’t manage it safely. Clogged gutters and downspouts are the leading cause of roof leaks and water damage to homes.
- Next, check and replace damaged caulking and weather stripping around all windows and doors. Look for any signs of animals entering through attic vents, chimneys or garage openings. Fill driveway cracks with petroleum- based sealer found at most home centers.
If you do these things routinely your home will not only be in better shape but it will be obvious to potential buyers and their agents that it is. This can mean real dollars when you sell.
The second thing to do now is to start to de-clutter. There are many good businesses out there specializing in making that process stress-free. They can help you decide which pieces to keep and find places to donate the items you cannot use. I highly recommend these services.