Whether you are beginning the listing process in an aggressive Spring market, preparing for an upcoming property inspection, or just continuing to follow some basic home maintenance routines, read on for some helpful tips. In case you’re just joining us, we’ve been discussing property inspections and some hot buttons of what to expect.
When showing houses to prospective buyers, I have an ongoing internal observation of buyer’s habits. Once we complete the walk through on the main level, I gauge what kind of buyer they are based on if they want to check out the cosmetic finishes of the primary suite and the sizes of the closets of the additional bedrooms. Or do they want to descend into the most revealing area of the home where they can learn how the entire structure works… the basement.
The basement can offer some telltale clues as to how well the home has been cared for and maintained. It often houses major appliances like the water heater and furnace/air conditioning unit. These appliances typically do not get replaced until they either die or operate so inefficiently, it costs more to operate or repair than replace. Sellers’ property disclosures should offer some insight to the age of these appliances. I strongly recommend periodic inspections and service to HVAC systems to keep the appliance working at top function.
While in the basement, check walls and floors for signs of water penetration. Look for dampness, water stains, rusted metal hardware, warped wood, or loose floor tiles. Oftentimes you can also smell moisture in the basement/crawl space air. Check for ventilation or ventilation options and/or run a dehumidifier. You can also inspect leaky service or waste lines to ensure larger problems don’t ensue down the road. Observe the condition of the exterior foundation walls. Check for bulging or cracks. If there is significant bulging in a foundation wall, you may want to consult with a structural engineer to rule out structural damage that may scare off potential buyers and yield costly repairs. Hairline stress cracks in the seam of foundation blocks can be very common and can develop with climate changes and/or house settling. Monitor the cracks for future change to make sure they don’t worsen significantly over time.
Switching gears to the electrical component, be sure to have GFCI outlets in all bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, garage, and exterior. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter and works as a fast acting circuit breaker and should be used in all damp areas where outlets are present. GFCI outlets have test buttons as they should be tested annually.
Smoke detectors should be installed in each bedroom and on every level of the home (including the basement). They should be replaced as per the manufacturer’s recommendation and batteries should be replaced periodically. As a rule of thumb, change your smoke detector batteries when you adjust the clocks for Daylight Savings Time change.
Until next week, love where you live. And if you don’t … contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President