Miguel Avila - 571-233-0581 
Realtor, Long & Foster 

Ten things to fix before selling

According to home inspection experts, these are the top 10 items you should have working properly if you are planning to put your home up for sale.

1. Defective Plumbing
Defective plumbing can be manifested in two different ways: leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bath-room and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.

2. Damp or Wet Basement
An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it. It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you over $1,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could amount to $5,000-$15,000. You need to consider this into what price you want to net on your home.

3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical
Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard. A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost over a thousand dollars to replace your circuit panel.

4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems
Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning system, are the most common causes of poor heating & cooling. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged, they can not be repaired.

5. Roofing Problems
Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g. curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.

6. Damp Attic Spaces
Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run in the thousands.

7. Rotting Wood
This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). The inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood has been freshly painted.

8. Masonry Work
Re-bricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney which falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repainted.

9. Adequate Security Features
More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.

10. Structural/Foundation Problems
An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.

To eliminate unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home, it is best to fix before selling or putting up for sale.