So, you’re planning on selling your home. As I previously mentioned, the Marquette County housing market is hotter than ever, with home values in Marquette alone jumping over 100% since 2000. But if you’re looking to cash in by selling real estate, there are a few considerations you need to make first.
This blog will share some of the top ways to prepare for putting your house on the market – it includes MUCH more than home staging.
A Home Maintenance Log: Selling Real Estate the Right Way
If you’ve ever bought a used vehicle, the first thing you probably asked the seller for is their maintenance log. A maintenance log lets you know how well a car was cared for, if it received regular oil changes, and much more. Well, home buyers are interested in the same kind of information when considering your property as their new home.
If you haven’t been keeping records of home maintenance, don’t worry. It’s never too late to dredge through your files and compile an account of updates and repairs.
Here’s what you should include in your home maintenance log to demonstrate to prospective buyers that you have taken proper care of your property:
- Maintenance log for HVAC servicing. HVAC systems should be serviced every 1-3 years. Some HVAC companies are helpful enough to affix a maintenance log right on the side of your furnace. If you don’t have your own records of furnace upkeep – check there for the information you need.
- Exterior finishing. When we think about selling real estate, many of us are focused on home staging – but don’t forget the power of curb appeal. For example, if you had new siding installed recently, that could be a great selling feature for home buyers. If you have flaking or crumbling paint on the outside of your home, buyers are going to view the rest of the property with a more judgmental eye, wondering, “if the homeowner didn’t keep up with maintaining the outside of the home, what surprises wait for me inside?”
- The Age of Your Roof. As you probably know, roofing is one of THE most expensive repairs a home will ever need. Make sure to pull any records you have regarding your roof’s age – buyers are hungry for this information. To learn more about common roofing issues in the UP, please read my blog, The Yooper’s Ultimate Guide to Roofing Maintenance.
- Gutters. Clogged or damaged gutters are a bigger problem than most people think. Wise buyers know that improperly installed drainage systems lead to foundation issues, water intrusion, and more.
- Septic Systems. If your home has a septic system, be sure to provide a record of the last time the system was pumped.
- Windows. Did you have new windows installed at any time? If so, be sure to include that information in your maintenance log. With our cold, long UP winters, buyers love to know their windows won’t be a heat drain.
- Electrical Updates. Vintage homes in the UP attract those with an ascetic eye, but they are also known to deter some buyers who fear fire hazards associated with out-of-date tube and knob electrical systems. Be sure to have your real estate agent disclose if your home has tube-and-knob wiring to potential buyers and highlight any updates that will make their life easier down the line.
Regarding a maintenance log – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple sheet of paper or Word document will suffice. If real estate professionals can present this information to prospective buyers right off the bat, your home will be much more attractive – which may (if you’re lucky) result in a bidding war.
Do a Maintenance Sweep: Dripping Faucets, Squeaky Doors, and More!
One thing everyone can do (beyond home staging) in preparation for selling real estate is a maintenance sweep of their home. It’s so easy to look over seemingly little things like a squeaky door or smoke detector batteries because life is busy – I get it. Still, buyers are most likely planning for a significant change in their life, and the last thing they want to do is tie up loose ends in the middle of a big move. That squeaky door could turn into a loose door hinge, and that dripping faucet could mean a larger than necessary water bill (or even water damage).
A big one I run into on my inspections is smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. You want to ensure they are all in their proper place, are in good working order, and have batteries. Here’s a shocking fact – 80% of the homes I inspect either have missing smoke detectors, missing batteries in their smoke detectors, or smoke detectors that are sitting on a shelf somewhere.
If you don’t do a simple maintenance sweep, it could negatively spin the entire home inspection report. Your buyer will see tons of issues, and many decide it’s too much of a headache and move on to other properties.
Cutting Down On Clutter Makes Selling Real Estate MUCH Easier For Everyone
Cutting down clutter is more of a home staging issue, but it also affects your home inspection. If you have towers of stuff stacked against your walls, I won’t be able to find outlets and other important home systems. In fact, I’m actually not allowed to move your property when conducting an inspection – so this step is imperative.
Talk with your realtor to get tips on home staging before selling your property. Ultimately, they will be your most valuable resource when it comes to the aesthetic aspect of selling real estate. But one thing I can tell you is this: getting rid of, moving, or storing away unnecessary possessions can allow the homebuyer to picture themselves in your space – which will help seal the deal.
So, in summary, home staging helps your realtor AND your home inspector get your house into the hands of a new buyer quicker, easier, and more efficiently.
Schedule Your Home Seller’s Inspection Today
With winter approaching, there’s a mad scramble in the UP real estate market. Make sure your property shines like a beacon against comparable properties in your area with home staging, a maintenance log, maintenance sweep, and a home seller’s inspection.