Problems you shouldn’t ignore when buying or selling a house
Smell and Odours
Yes, very powerful memory sense. So any funky aromas potential buyers detect in your home will linger for a long time. And remember this: 41 percent of the real estate pros surveyed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center put dirt, smells, and clutter on their list of costliest home-selling mistakes.
Musty odors are the biggest concern because they could be a sign of mildew or even mold. It’s important to eliminate the source of the smell, be it a damp carpet, mildew in the bathroom walls behind tiles, or wet ceiling. Call in a professional for mold outbreaks that are more than 3-4 square feet. Smaller outbreaks can be scrubbed with water and detergent. Be sure to put on gloves, goggles, and an N95 respirator, available at most hardware stores and home centers.
It’s also a good idea to air out damp parts of the home with a dehumidifier. The Danby DDR60A3GP topped our recommended list of large-capacity dehumidifiers and should handle the toughest situations, including a wet basement. For smaller, less dark areas, consider the Frigidaire FAD504DWD or the Sunpentown SD-31E, both of which aced on tough tests.
Smelly pets can be another deal breaker. If possible, get them out of the home while it’s on the market and offered for sale. “We recently worked with a client who did this with her cats. They went to summer camp at the in-laws. If that’s not an option, we strongly recommend regular professional cleaning for as long as the home is on the market. If the issue and odor runs deeper than a good clean, you may need to remove the carpeting, treat the sub-floor with a product that will seal the sub-flooring. Then replace with new flooring. We have had homes for sale with odor from pets and the home simply will not sell. The home then attracts the wrong buyer profile, buyers looking to fix and flip. The amount of a discount this buyer needs to make a profit, just does not work. An investment of a few thousand, some DIY will solve the issue.
Certain types of cuisine, including those with heavy spices, leave a lingering smell, so try to keep them off the menu while your house is on the market. And forget the Friday-night fish fry prior to weekend open houses. If your home is showing during nice weather, open the windows before hand to bring in fresh air. Baking bread or cookies before the open house is an old trick that can be effective, but don’t overdo it with air fresheners and deodorizers. Buyers with allergies could react, plus they get the impression you’re trying to hide an underlying problem.
Here are some other issues that can kill a sale.
Cracks in the foundation
Although hairline cracks in a foundation wall are usually harmless, the key difference is hairline! Those wider than 3/16 of an inch can be serious trouble, especially if you notice they’re getting worse over time. Also be on the lookout for bulging or buckling in the foundation wall. It can be serious and be (expensive or minor) an easy fix. As Mike Holmes, gets to the bottom of a crack and offers advise. Along with expanding cracks, those conditions may require the attention of a structural engineer. The longer the problem goes unchecked, the more costly it is likely to be.
So many people are frightened to call in the professional. They are fearful of it being very costly and many take the approach: “if I don’t identify and know about it, it will not hurt me!
The problem is, it will only get worse and more costly if left unchecked and not dealt with. Remember, call in several professionals known to specialize with foundation issues.
Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms. Many wood structures, when originally constructed, sub-flooring was attached to the structural joists using flat head nails. Over time, these nails in high traffic areas give-way and the sub-flooring starts to bounce and squeak. Whether the source is weak nails, a leaky shower pan or a running toilet, excess squeaks, bouncing and moisture can cause the floor to become a little squeaky and spongy over time—something astute buyers, and certainly their home inspector, will pick up on.
Even if it costs $1,000 -$2,000.00 (more if there’s structural damage), correcting the problem can be a smart investment. When doing the fixes, make sure you use the proper wood screws, follow the existing nail heads and drive the screws into the joist, every 6-8 inches. To invest in flooring or new fixtures without replacing rotting wood or fixing leaks and squeaks, will be discovered in the home inspection, and cost you more in the end when the buyer asks for price adjustments based on the home inspection findings. At this point, sellers are just to emotionally discounted and give away thousands, just to avoid having to re-visit the repairs. Remember, any good agent will not accept a seller fixing the issues, if they missed it in the first place!
Signs of an infestation
While you’re inspecting your home’s paint job, take a close look at the baseboard and around windows. That’s often where signs of pest infestations can be found. For example, termites often shed wings along windowsills, walls, and other entry points in a home’s exterior. Carpenter ants leave behind piles of sawdust along baseboards. Holes as small as a dime can provide entry for mice. By removing the baseboard, using an effective treatment, then seal the perimeter with a caulking or spray foam will seal the access points and cut down on drafts in the cooler months. When you fasten the baseboard, use Lepages PL series premium adhesives to install and tack the baseboard back into place. Follow the same procedure around windows and doors. If you are painting the room, paint the baseboard while they are removed. Then paint the walls before attaching. This will save time and avoid painful back issues and sore muscles.
There are so many different ways and strategies to finding additional dollars in the sale and or purchase of a home. Knowing what to look for and where to look are what top agents do for their buyers and sellers. If this information has value to you, download our Buyer and Seller guides, powerful insights to more in-depth details you will find in our workbooks, that ensure you are getting the most for your investment dollars.