Can I Sell A House That Still Needs Repairs?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 7th, 2019

Can I Sell A House That Still Needs RepairsWhen you started thinking about putting your house up for sale, you probably made a list of repairs that need to be done ahead of time. If that list was long, you might be at a point where you’re asking if it’s all worth it. Will prospective buyers really notice the little things? And even if they do, will that affect how much you’re able to get for your home?

You Can Sell An Imperfect House

Your house doesn’t need to be perfect in order to sell it. Many older homes have some issues like outdated kitchens and bathrooms or wall-to-wall carpeting that needs to be replaced or gotten rid of.

But be aware that a house in need of repair or is different than a house that needs updating. Outstanding repairs are a red flag to buyers that you haven’t maintained the home as you should have over the years. Buyers may suspect that your home needs even more repairs than the obvious issues. So first off, you might have more buyers walk away from a house in need of repair and second, you will probably get less money for your home. 

Outstanding Repairs Give Buyers Leverage

When you try to sell a home that’s in need of repairs, you give buyers leverage to get a lower price out of you. For instance, if your house needs a new furnace, the buyers might say, “Well, we’ll make an offer but it’s lower by this amount because we know we’ll have to get a new HVAC system as soon as we move in”.

That amount for the HVAC system will usually be more than what you could have paid for a new furnace before listing your home. You can almost always sell your house for more by taking care of repairs first.

One thing that real estate agents advise is to get an independent home inspection report before you sell. This will give you an official list of all the repairs that need to be done. Then you can pick and choose among which repairs you should take care of.

This also helps to avoid unpleasant surprises later on. Even though finishing repairs can be costly and time-consuming, many home sellers find that it’s worth it to do as much as possible before listing. The final purchase price often ends up reimbursing you for your expenses, if not for your time.

Be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional to help you prioritize home improvement projects prior to listing.

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When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof Maintenance?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 2nd, 2019

When Is The Best Time To Do Your Roof MaintenancePerform roof maintenance on sunny days when there’s less chance of slipping. Blocking off a weekend twice a year gives you plenty of time to complete the items below without rushing or taking unnecessary risks. The beginning of spring and fall present the best opportunities to complete your maintenance before the weather turns too hot or too cold.

Loose Debris Removal

Remove leaves, branches and accumulated debris before winter sets in. Set up a ladder, preferably with another person holding the ladder steady, and clean off as much debris as possible without risking your safety.

General Inspection

Start in the attic or crawl space by looking for ceiling stains. This may indicate water seepage that can compromise your home. Examine the roof in those areas to find loose, lifted or missing shingles that you have to replace. Then, examine the rest of the shingles for mold, worn spots, peeling or cracks. Also, check for missing flashing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repairs yourself, this is still a valuable exercise. You’ll know what to expect and can avoid charges for unnecessary repairs.

Moss And Mold

You can buy roof moss remover at most home improvement stores. Follow the instructions for best results. After the solution has had time to set, gently brush away the mold and moss, using a soft-bristled broom or wide brush. Try to avoid spray-washing shingles to preserve the UV-blocking granules on their surface.

Facia, Downspouts And Gutters
Protect your hands with heavy rubber gloves and remove debris with a scoop to make the work go quickly. Then, gently scrub dirt and grime from the fascias. Spray each area with a garden hose so that you can check for peeling paint or missing caulk. Re-paint and caulk these areas as needed and note any damage you’d feel more comfortable leaving to a professional. 

Chimneys, Skylights And Vents

Start by closing off your fireplace and cleaning any creosote from the chimney with a hard-bristled brush. Inspect the chimney for missing or cracked bricks. If you do the repairs yourself, remember to treat the chimney afterward with a water-repellent sealant. Inspect and clean vent outlets and skylights using a roof safety harness for steep inclines.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding critical repairs due to negligence.

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9 Strategies to Handle Home Maintenance Costs

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 26th, 2019

9 Strategies to Handle Home Maintenance CostsMaintenance is an important part of home ownership. Improper care compromises the safety of your property and can result in big repair bills. Include these strategies in your maintenance plan to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Educate Yourself

It’s usually cheaper to do most home maintenance jobs yourself. Teach yourself some basic skills to save yourself from professional fees.

  • Take some classes. Community colleges and hardware stores often host community courses that help you plan projects, get familiar with new tools, or gain more value from property assessments.
  • Invest in beginner books on carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing. These will be invaluable references throughout your home ownership journey. Online versions allow searchable access to necessary information.
  • Experience is the best teacher. Start with small, decorative projects to hone your hand skills. As confidence increases, you can try more difficult builds and repairs.

The right combination of knowledge and skills means you realize minimal maintenance costs.

Make Maintenance A Routine

Preventive maintenance catches small problems before they become big, expensive ones. Schedule essential tasks to ensure all the important parts of your property are monitored consistently.

  • Perform a perimeter check when the seasons change. Walk around the outside of your home. Examine the grounds and exterior for signs of wear-and-tear or degradation. Take pictures and make a plan to address the damage.
  • Have your HVAC system professionally serviced once a year. For those with allergies or other adverse respiratory conditions, have your ducts, vents, and filters cleaned every six months.
  • Practice good property hygiene. Keep your landscaping, exterior, and storage spaces clean and uncluttered. If a problem does occur, an unkempt environment can complicate repair efforts.

Incorporate maintenance into your regular routine to circumvent emergencies.

Prepare Financially

Make sure you’ll always have enough money to fix your home with these tips.

  • Decrease the deductible on your home insurance policy. You pay slightly higher premiums. However, the extra funds could come in handy if a big claim occurs.
  • Start a home repair fund. Aim for an amount equal to 10% of the value of your property.
  • Establish a relationship with a local contractor. Your friendly relationship and loyal patronage could earn you some valuable discounts in times of need.

The cost of maintaining your home doesn’t have to be a mystery. With these tips, you can keep a safe and healthy home without draining your bank account.

Your trusted real estate professional is a reliable source when it comes to helping you find a new home. If you are in the market for a new property, be sure to make contact today!

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Why A Buyer Needs An Independent Inspection At Closing

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 4th, 2019

Why a Buyer Needs An Independent Inspection at ClosingMany sellers hire inspectors and appraisers to value their home prior to placing it on the market. It’s important for buyers to hire their own inspector to get an independent opinion. If a buyer orders an inspection before the sale goes through, the seller may have to resolve any issues that arise. If you forego the inspection, you inherit any problems that come with the house.

Importance Of Inspections

Homes aren’t always well cared for and it’s relatively easy for an unethical owner to paint over a water stain rather than fix a leaky faucet. Clunky furnaces and loud A/C units are symptoms of equipment the owner hasn’t maintained, but it isn’t the only issue that can arise. From hidden mold to lead pipes, there are hundreds of things that could be wrong that a layman wouldn’t notice in a walk-through. 

Buyers should include a clause in the written offer that makes the sale conditional on an inspection. This gives you the freedom to walk away if the report comes back negative. Alternately, you can lower the offer price or ask the seller to pay for repairs.

Inspection Process

There’s no uniform process for conducting an inspection. Generally, it includes a report of the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical system, flooring, ceilings, roofing, drainage, foundation and basement, where applicable.

Most states don’t offer a licensing process for inspectors. This means that you might not get a comprehensive opinion on other issues, including termites, lead, rodents, asbestos or methane gas. You can ask for the inspector’s opinion, then hire someone who specializes in the areas of concern.

For example, if the inspector suspects a rodent issue, you can ask a pest control company to inspect the property and provide an estimate to resolve any issue.

What’s Not Covered

The inspector is looking for serious issues, so don’t expect every scratch and ding to appear on the report. If you’d like a greater deal of control over the process, you may be to request to walk through the property during the inspection. However, most sellers are reluctant to allow this for a variety of reasons and it may increase your inspection fee.

Ordering an independent inspection gives buyers important insight into defects in the home they are about to purchase. Foregoing an inspection to save a few hundred dollars could end up costing you a lot more if issues come up after you move in.

Your trusted real estate professional works with inspectors and appraisers on a regular basis. When the time comes to schedule an inspection, be sure to ask for a referral.

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4 House “Flaws” You Can Safely Disregard

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 28th, 2018

4 House Flaws You Can Safely DisregardWhen you walk through a house with your real estate agent, you’re seeing if you and your family would be happy living there. But you’re also probably looking for signs of trouble that might spell big expenses later on. Be careful, though. It’s important to see the “bones” of the house rather than focusing on minor issues.

Here are four flaws you can safely disregard.

1. Stained Carpet

Stained carpet is more an indication of the owner’s poor cleaning habits than of any real problems with the house. It’s so easy to replace carpeting that it’s not worth even paying attention to when you’re viewing a house for sale. In fact, once you pull up that carpeting, you could discover beautiful hardwood flooring!

2. Funky Paint Colors

They say that there’s no accounting for bad taste. If you’ve seen enough houses with your real estate agent, you’re bound to encounter some less than traditional paint colors. However, paint can easily be painted over. You can safely ignore the flamingo pink bathroom walls or the putrid brown bedroom color.

3. Lack Of Curb Appeal

Every homebuyer wants to pull up to a house for sale and think, “How charming!” Unfortunately, a lack of curb appeal gives a sour first impression. However, don’t let that deter you from see the house for its true value. The inside might be magnificent. You can always add your own curb appeal later with pretty landscaping, shutters or window boxes.

4. Outdated Kitchen

If the kitchen is a little dated but the rest of the house meets your expectations, it’s okay to overlook this “flaw.” It’s fairly easy to update a kitchen with new or refinished cabinets, new appliances and a fresh coat of paint. Yes, it will cost a bit, but the outdated kitchen might be reflected in a lower selling price. Ask your real estate agent for their recommendation in this regard.

Sometimes it’s challenging to find the right house in the right location. When you do find one that checks all the boxes, don’t let any of these minor “flaws” deter you from making an offer. The little things won’t keep you from enjoying your new home, and you’ll be glad you focused on the things that really matter!

 

 

 

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Complete These Repairs Before You List Your Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 11th, 2018

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your HomeThere are several things to do when you prepare to list your home for sale. One of the projects you’ll need to do is complete certain repairs. Your home should be in the best possible condition before your real estate agent shows it to potential buyers.

While your home doesn’t need to be perfect, here is a list of repairs you should strive to get done before you open your home to showings.

Front Steps And Deck Issues

The front entrance and back deck should be in good shape for curb appeal and safety. Replace or repair wooden steps that pose a danger or feel unstable. Hammer down any nails on the deck that have popped up over the years. Reinforce loose railings and hand rails. Refinish decking that has dried, cracked or peeling paint.

Sticking Or Noisy Hinges and Sliders

Buyers will likely be opening doors, drawers, windows and cupboards. Don’t let them be disappointed. Go through your home and identify doors, windows and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly. Lubricate hinges, drawer sliders or window sashes as necessary. Tighten loose screws on door hinges to ensure the door swings easily.

Cracked Or Broken Window Panes

Windows in disrepair often signal that the home hasn’t been well-maintained. Replace or repair cracked or broken windows or window glass that’s clouded over from loss of insulation.

Stained Carpets

Buyers’ eyes may be instantly be drawn visible stains on your carpet. Have carpets professionally cleaned with added stain removal services. Camouflage any stains that won’t come out with an area rug or a piece of furniture. Alternatively, consider replacing carpets that are in extremely poor condition.

Broken Tiles And Peeling Flooring

Flooring in poor condition often ruins the look of the room and is a safety hazard. Replace chipped or cracked floor tiles. Repair any corners where the flooring has begun to peel up.

Electrical Issues

Go through your home and make sure all the sockets, outlets and wall switches are in proper working order. Have a certified electrical technician do the work; otherwise the work may not be approved on home inspection report.

First impressions are extremely important when it comes to selling your home. Don’t assume that buyers will be able to look past needed repairs. Instead, take care of these issues before your agent shows your home.

Your trusted real estate agent can help you prioritize the home repairs that really matter to buyers. Schedule a consultation today!

 

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How To Handle Common Homeowner Challenges

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 14th, 2018

How To Handle Common Homeowner ChallengesIt takes hard work to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Everyday people work to save for a down payment and build a good credit score. When you turn the key to your first home or dream home, the sweat equity feels well worth it.

But the hard work of buying a home continues long after hanging family photos and hooking up a big-screen TV. There are challenges that property owners are unprepared to handle. These are three of the more common ones you may want to be ready to manage.

Leaking Pipes

Plumbing does not last forever and at some point, it will begin to leak. For people who have wells on their property, copper pipes can wear thin faster. That’s because the pH of well water can tend to be on the more acidic side and corrode pipes quicker.

Many homeowners are ill prepared to deal with pipes that spring a leak. If a leak goes unchecked, the water can cause other damage or hazardous mold growth behind walls and under floorboards. While one solution is often having a plumber make an expensive emergency call, there are other simple solutions.

Take a piece of an old bicycle tire tube and fasten it tight over the leak using a pair of hosepipe screw clamps. These clamps wrap around the pipe and can be closed over the rubber and leak using a screwdriver. If you do not have these items handy, it may be in your best interest to spend less the $5 and get them sooner rather than later.

Moisture In The Bathroom

The single most destructive force to any home is not rodents or termite infestations. Water can do more damage than the average homeowner might imagine. A poorly ventilated bathroom can create one of the most hazardous problems.

When moisture seeps behind walls or under the floor, it can spur on dangerous mold growth. These health hazards often go undetected and sick family members may not know the root cause is hidden behind the walls.

Overly moist bathroom walls from hot showers are a telltale sign that you need improved ventilation. Start immediately by opening a window when showering and enlist the help of a professional to properly vent the bathroom. The difference could be thousands of dollars in ripping out walls and rebuilding, not to mention your health.

Power Outages

There are two types of power outages that homeowners would be wise to prepare for — short ones and long ones. If your power is interrupted for a few hours or half of a day, keep the refrigerator shut and enjoy the time without television noise. A few inexpensive battery-operated lanterns or candles will provide enough light.

But if you are hit by a long-term outage, there are things you can do ahead of time to be prepared. Many homeowners in areas that suffer annual severe weather incidents purchase generators. Small ones can be set outside and run electricity to important items. Even a modest generator can help a homeowner through a week-long outage.

If you don’t have a backup generator, the time is now to prepare. They will fly off the shelves when the lights go out.

The joy of homeownership is coupled with ongoing challenges. Planning ahead can save time, money and help keep your dream home in tip-top shape.

Your trusted real estate professionals has tons of tips for homeowners and will likely be able to make sound referrals for home improvement professionals if the need presents itself. 

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Home Buying: Repair Requests After A Home Inspection

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 10th, 2018

Home Buying Repair Requests After A Home InspectionThe perfect home has been found, the one in the right neighborhood with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. The home inspection is complete, but a few issues have been found. At this point, a home buyer has decisions to make. 

What Repair Requests Can Be Made After a Home Inspection?

Structural defects found during a home inspection are the responsibility of the seller and must be fixed. In addition, Realtor.com states that the following must also be repaired by the seller:

  • Water penetration such as mold or wet basement/crawlspace
  • Any code and safety violations like unstable decking or missing handrails

Cosmetic issues like bold paint choices or peeling paint, nail holes, and other normal wear-and-tear are the responsibility of the buyer, not seller.

Additional Repairs to Request 

Home buyers do have the option of requesting repairs they believe are the seller’s responsibility. These often go beyond obvious structural issues like a sinking foundation or mold in the basement.

Additional repairs that home buyers may request include but are not limited to:

  • Replacing pipes with leaks
  • Replacing galvanized pipes due to lead contaminant, low water pressure, and leaks
  • Upgrading electrical wiring in a home built before 1960
  • Fixing cracked window(s)
  • Installing new HVAC and/or water heater

Sellers may be willing to replace old sewer lines known as “tar paper” pipes. These “tar paper” pipes are called Orangeburg sewer pipes and often found in older homes. On average, this older type of sewer pipe has a 50-year life span. However, as it ages, it can begin to disintegrate with tree roots penetrating the material. A home buyer can hire a plumbing professional who specializes in sewer pipes to inspect the system as part of the overall home inspection.

There may be additional issues that the seller is not required to fix, but that leave the buyer unhappy. When this happens, it can be possible for the buyer to request a repair credit be added to the final contract. Typically, this works best when the repair or issue has a potential cost of more than $500. 

Qualified Home Inspection

Repair requests made by the home buyer, whether major or minor, usually are more credible when done in conjunction with a qualified home inspection. Not every state requires home inspectors to have specific certifications or even licensing, so it’s essential to work with real estate agent to select a qualified professional. A qualified and independent home inspector is the buyer’s responsibility. This inspector should have established credentials and belong to trade association, versus a friend or family member that “knows houses”. 

Home buying can be an overwhelming experience, but knowing which repairs to request the seller to fix after the home inspection, is one less item to worry about. Your trusted real estate agent is available to discuss these issues and more to ensure a smooth home buying or selling experience.

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