If you’re thinking about selling or refinancing your property, the importance of its maintenance can’t be overstated. Lenders will look at the condition of your house under a microscope, and will even decline an application if the property is deemed “fair.”
Why is property maintenance an important key in the deciding factor?
On a basic level, the “as is” condition of a home, can be problematic for potential buyers. A broken doorknob, a faulty doorbell, squeaky boards in the floor or a flickering light bulb can be a warning sign to them. If you’re willing to let these small matters slide, then buyers will think that your property must have bigger, more costly issues hiding under the surface.
It’s understandably tough for buyers to see past clutter and broken objects. Ironically, it’s even harder for them to “look” past a stinky odour. Don’t stress too much though, proper maintenance of your home, will keep all of these things under control. Staying on top of small issues as they pop up, can also lighten the blow to your bank account opposed to waiting until things get really bad and paying for it all at once. Think of it as having a property maintenance “flight path,” instead of trying to take control of the plane, the moment you realize it’s about to crash into a mountain.
Aside from the buyer’s perception, the way you maintain your property, plays a huge role in assessing its value. Even if your house is “vintage” it can still obtain a great appraisal, if it’s been steadily and properly maintained.
The formula is simple: maintenance issues = lower evaluations. As you may have guessed, the appraisal is an extremely important gear in the machine that determines the value of your potential home loan and more ominously… It determines if a loan should be given at all.
This is why you should identify problems before they become expensive emergencies. For example, servicing the air filter and the hot water heater are preventative maintenance items that if taken care of on a regular basis, can help prevent larger issues from occurring. Another helpful tip is to make sure that your roof is inspected annually, instead of waiting for a leak. In fact, hidden leaks can damage the structural integrity of your home without you even seeing the disrepair, so be sure to take a look at the roof from inside the attic during your inspection. If a faulty furnace or a foundation leak is found during an inspection, this is likely to ruin a sale. Your home may have problems that you aren’t even aware of, so don’t wait until it’s listed to keep up with the care it needs to stay marketable.
On the other side of the coin, your house may be in tip-top shape. However, even if you have kept it perfectly maintained for years, there are still things to do if you want to maximize the value of your property. One of the biggest items on a potential buyers checklist, is an open concept with a spacious feel. Spending a few dollars to knock down that wall and make a nice, open floor plan could bring you more return in the sale of your home than you may think. You could also install energy efficient windows, or even go green all together with a solar power source. Buyers love to save on energy, and you’ll benefit from the savings yourself in the meantime. Don’t go overboard with the landscaping as it gives you little return on your investment, but keep it tidy. No one wants to buy a house with poison ivy in the lawn, or having to dread a limb from an old tree, smashing through the ceiling during Christmas dinner. Speaking of dinner, look to your kitchen and bathrooms. That’s where the highest return on renovation investment is. It’s also a sure bet that buyers will most likely look at these areas first.
When it comes to evaluation, property maintenance and home improvements are extremely important to buyers, lenders and especially you. Be fair to your property, and take on the responsibility of proper upkeep, before you get overwhelmed and stuck in a financial rut full of those sticky problems, we tend to push aside.