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Housing Market Updates

Crawl Space Maintenance: Insulation, Ventilation, and Encapsulation

Crawl spaces are often out of sight and, consequently, out of mind, making them easy to neglect. But without proper maintenance your crawl space is susceptible to moisture, heat loss, pests, and a host of other complications. These common problems can damage your home’s foundation, cause sky-high energy bills, and introduce toxins into the air you breathe. With as much as 40 percent of the air in your home originating from your crawl space, keeping up on your crawl space maintenance plays a big role in the air you breathe and the long-term health of your home.

crawl space

What is a Crawl Space?

A crawl space is a small area, ranging from one to three feet in height, that resides between the bottom floor of your home and the ground. A crawl space provides extra room for your home’s electrical wiring, plumbing components, and HVAC equipment. The height of the crawl space is limited, and getting into the area must be done by crawling, either on your stomach or your hands and knees. If you’re a prospective buyer or own a home in close proximity to water or near a marsh, exploring the crawl space is a necessary part of a home inspection. So, if you’re considering moving to somewhere like Miami, FL, don’t overlook the crawl space when making an offer on a home.

What’s the Difference Between Crawl Space vs. Basement?

Crawl spaces are typically used in damp climates, where the ground is regularly too wet for basement construction. Supporting the home off of the ground keeps it away from moisture that could cause damage. In coastal areas where the soil is sandy, a crawl space can alleviate potential basement problems, like excessive water buildup that could put pressure on basement walls. Crawl spaces are also sometimes preferred in construction when a basement is too costly. Installing a crawl space is cheaper than installing a basement.

crawl space

A basement is a popular type of foundation that can add space and functionality to a home. Basements are often used as storage space, living areas, or both. A basement combines elements of a slab and crawl space. The floor in a basement is very similar to slab concrete, and the support system used under the basement floor is the same as what is used in a crawl space. Although basements can be a great addition to a home, they cannot be built in areas with high moisture levels or unsettled soil. They also happen to be the most expensive type of foundation to build.

Crawl Space Solutions for Common Problems

Problem: Moisture

Homes with poor ventilation are more susceptible to crawl space issues than others. Without regular evaluation and crawl space maintenance, you may not know there is a problem until it’s too late. Signs of excessive moisture throughout the home are often readily noticeable, but signs of moisture in your crawl space may be harder to detect. Unfortunately, moisture in a crawl space can be just as problematic, causing complications such as mildew, dust mites, mold, and wood rot. When there is nowhere left for moisture to go within a crawl space, it can then travel into your insulation, flooring, and walls to create even larger problems. Crawl spaces with exposed dirt most commonly have trouble with an excess of moisture.

Solution: Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is one of the best ways to protect your home against the encroachment of moisture. Essentially a large plastic sheet placed over the base of a crawl space, vapor barriers are intended to fully cover any exposed dirt. While this doesn’t completely eliminate moisture, it does slow the process significantly. At 50 to 70 cents per square foot, sheet plastic is a cost-effective barrier for moisture in your crawl space. A vapor barrier can be a DIY project if you’re willing to get down and dirty, but the labor that goes into covering the entire ground area can be challenging to accomplish on your own. You’ll need a friend to help you pass the rolls of sheet plastic back and forth through the crawl space, or if this sounds too labor-intensive, a professional contractor may be the way to go.

Solution: Encapsulation

If a vapor barrier alone isn’t enough to tame moisture and ventilation problems, encapsulation can be a great alternative. The first step in this process involves a vapor barrier coupled with sealing tape and coverage of walls and ceiling areas. A complete encapsulation includes drain tile, a sump pit and pump, concrete, insulation, and a dehumidifier to properly condition the air.

While placing a vapor barrier can be done independently, encapsulation is best handled by a professional. The installation process takes expertise, and installing a dehumidifier is best left to a trained technician. Hiring a contractor for this work costs about $5,500 on average

Problem: Energy Loss

A crawl space isn’t a livable part of the home, but insulation is still important to keep the heat in. Crawl spaces can be a major source of energy loss. If you find yourself running your furnace all winter long, driving up high energy bills, yet still feel cold on the ground floor of your home, your crawl space could be the issue. If your crawl space isn’t properly insulated from the cold, you could be wasting energy and driving up your utility bills. If you want to live more sustainably and save money on heating bills, you should consider insulating your crawl space.

Solution: Insulation

Insulating your crawl space depends on the general climate in your area. In warm or dry areas, insulation can be limited to just the area between the floor joists. However, in subfreezing temperatures, insulating the walls and sealing off the crawl space is most effective. A professional can evaluate the state of your crawl space, make a recommendation, and handle the insulation process.

Problem: Pests

Rodents and insects can be a problem anywhere in your home, and a crawl space is no exception. Crawl spaces can easily become a dwelling for pests if they are not properly maintained. Since most homeowners do not spend much time in their crawl space, it may be harder to determine if there is a pest problem. Pests such as mice, rats, termites, carpenter ants, spiders and more have the ability to damage insulation, crawl through vapor barriers, dig into wood, and even tunnel into your main living spaces.

Solution: Pest Control

Proper crawl space maintenance, including encapsulation, can keep your property safe from pests. When all entrances and exits are sealed, the possibility of rodents and insects gaining entry to your home is almost impossible. If you do see signs of pests, partnering with an exterminator can treat problems at the source.

Crawl Space Inspection Checklist

A crawl space inspection is typically included in a standard home inspection when buying or selling a house. This is an area where issues tend to arise and can throw a wrench in the home sale. Both home sellers and buyers should be aware of the state of the crawl space in order to mitigate any potential problems prior to the sale. Here are the red flags that professionals look for during a crawl space inspection:

  • Electrical wiring issues
  • Plumbing issues
  • Moisture (standing water, damp insulation, or warped building materials)
  • Pests (Bugs, termites, rats, mice)
  • Mold and mildew
  • Ventilation issues
  • Cracks in the foundation

As a seller, you may want to have your crawl space inspected prior to listing it on the housing market. That way you are aware of any issues and can have them fixed before the sale, or adjust the sale price accordingly

As a homeowner, maintaining your crawl space is critical to the health and longevity of your home. That means doing an annual inspection and attending to problems as they arise, as well as taking preventative measures to keep your house healthy. If crawling under your home doesn’t seem like fun, you can always partner with the pros and hire someone to ensure your crawl space is in good hands. With these tips and fixes, you can be sure the foundational part of your home is properly maintained for years to come.

The post Crawl Space Maintenance: Insulation, Ventilation, and Encapsulation appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.

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Housing Market Updates

What Hurts a Home Appraisal? And 7 Things You Can Do to Fix Them

The current housing market has many people considering buying or selling a home right now. Maybe you’ve checked to see how much you can afford, and you believe now might be a good time to list your house and upsize to a new one. Or maybe like so many others, your home is already under contract, and it’s time for an appraisal. Whichever the case, being aware of what hurts a home appraisal and how to increase the value of your home is always a great idea. 

There are many things you can do to ensure your home is worth top dollar. When you’re deciding which improvements to implement, remember some improvements are more costly than others, and all should be weighed against the amount of value you’ll receive in return.

To get started, look for any areas of your home that could be improved. The home appraiser will be at your home for about 30 to 60 minutes, so your goal is to make their job easy by shining the brightest light possible on your home’s finest features. You’ll especially want to focus on areas that can hurt your home appraisal, which we have listed 7 of the most common ones below and how to fix them.

Curb appeal is one of the biggest factors to consider when discussing what hurts a home appraisal.

1) Poor curb appeal

How to Fix It: Trim up bushes and trees so they are tidy and neat. Add annuals or perennials for a pop of color and interest in what can otherwise be a sea of green grass.

Having a fresh coat of paint applied to the exterior of your home, your front door and shutters painted in a complementary color, and adding flower boxes to match your new landscape will all set the right tone for your home’s appraisal.

Garage doors often comprise a good portion of the front of a house, and updating your garage doors with new ones is almost always a sure bet to increase value.  

Don’t forget to stage the front porch with a couple of casual chairs and a colorful throw pillow to match the flowers in the yard. 

2) Your home’s interior needs a lot of attention

How to Fix It: The first step toward having a showcase home is to thoroughly declutter and clean every room and closet. Because your goal is to show off your home’s best attributes, be sure to pack away personal items that can be distracting, like family photos and mementos. Hiring a professional organizer or declutterer can make this task a lot less daunting and make the project much quicker and easier.

You touched up the exterior paint, don’t forget that painting the interior is one of the easiest and least expensive improvements you can make. Neutral colors will appeal to more homebuyers and those same colors will help brighten any room.

What about your blinds and drapes? Are they dark or dated? You may want to invest in some new curtains that are trendy and colorful to bring a more modern look to your space. Are any of the slats in your blinds broken or dirty? Replace those that are damaged and clean any that need it.  

Mirrors add depth and interest to any living space, indoors or out, and they help redirect sunlight throughout your home. To create a sense of space and openness, consider adding a mirror at the end of a hallway, or on a large living room wall.

Does your home have any “hidden” features? Features that might otherwise go unnoticed, such as space above the kitchen and dining room that could be updated for added storage could also add value to your home. Make sure they are accessible and that the appraiser is aware of them. 

3) Your kitchen and bathrooms are outdated 

How to Fix It: Kitchens and bathrooms are oftentimes what hurts a home appraisal but are also great places where value can be added to a home. In the kitchen, you can freshen things up by refacing cabinets and replacing outdated pulls, light fixtures, and countertops. Swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient appliances and updating your sink and faucet with a more modern one could be just what your kitchen needs. You can even install recessed lighting under the cabinets which is not only functional but gives the kitchen a finished look. 

In your bathrooms, cabinets can be updated with paint. If you have a builder’s grade mirror, give it a new look by adding a wooden frame around it. The frame can also be painted to match the cabinets. Install a new faucet and light fixture and include a bright shower curtain to add a splash of color.

If you don't want your kitchen to be what hurts a home appraisal add a bit of color

4) Your bedrooms and laundry room are dark and small

How to Fix It: Bedrooms will look cleaner and brighter with clutter removed and a fresh coat of paint. Replace any curtains that are too dark and add a closet organization system to your bedroom closets to make the most of the space available. To open up small bedrooms, you can strategically place an appropriately sized mirror in a corner or forgo a headboard on the bed. Instead, hang two complementary pictures above the bed where the headboard would typically be.

Survey your laundry room. Because these rooms are often smaller than other rooms in the house, walls painted a bright, snow-white help add a sense of openness and airiness. Adding storage bins or shelves if there are none will help reduce the clutter, make the space more organized, and keep laundry detergents and fabric softeners out of sight.

5) Your basement is unfinished

How to Fix It: Too often basements are unfinished spaces used only for storage. To increase the value of your home, store items elsewhere, and turn the basement into usable living space which will add to your home’s total square footage. By adding walls, an acoustic drop tile ceiling, and flooring you’ve got the beginnings of a second living room, children’s play area, exercise area, or even a media room. You can also customize the space to fit your current needs. Adding square footage and livable space to your home is one of the easiest ways for increasing your home’s value.

6) You home systems need replacing

How to Fix It: Big-ticket items can be costly to update, but they often have a good return on investment. Examples of big-ticket items are replacing the roof, installing a new HVAC system, updating windows with new energy-efficient ones, and installing or replacing exterior siding, which eliminates the need to scrape and paint every few years.

If your home needs to have the electrical system updated, it would be beneficial to make the change before listing the house, since an inspection would likely point out the need for it, and you could delay, or worse, lose a sale as a result.

The same goes for any plumbing issues you may have been experiencing recently. If you’ve noticed a leak, make sure it’s repaired, and that stains are appropriately cleaned and concealed.

7) Your home has no outdoor living space

How to Fix It: Patios and decks create additional gathering spaces for grilling, relaxing, or entertaining. If you have a patio or deck that’s cracked or uneven, consider hiring a professional to replace or repair your outdoor living space.

Not having a large outdoor space can surely be what hurts a home appraisal

Value can also be added to your home by installing a deck if you don’t already have one. Maybe your deck is in good shape structurally but doesn’t look as good as it once did. In that case, consider refinishing it using either paint or stain. Both help to extend the life of the wood and look beautiful once the job is done. 

You want the appraisal process to go smoothly and provide the most value for your house. As you can see, making a few improvements here and there can go a long way toward adding value to your home.  

The post What Hurts a Home Appraisal? And 7 Things You Can Do to Fix Them appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.

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Housing Market Updates

7 Home Upgrades to Transform Your Space Without Remodeling

Home upgrades are always a great way to give your home a fresh new look and feel. They can introduce new functionality, make your home look newer, and improve your quality of life. While major remodeling can sometimes be expensive and time-consuming, making smaller upgrades can be much more cost-efficient. Consider these 8 home upgrades that can help breathe new life into your home.

1. Update your lighting

Replacing your existing lighting for something newer can make a huge difference in your home. They can reduce your electric bill, make your space look better, and potentially reduce heat-related risks that are common with old-fashioned light bulbs. 

LED lights

Replacing generic light bulbs with LED lights can improve the feeling and appearance of your home, inside and out. Switching from an incandescent to a high-quality LED light bulb will create a noticeable difference in your home lighting. This enhanced ambient lighting can give your home a more polished appearance instantly. Additionally, LED bulbs are more energy efficient and last longer than regular bulbs. 

Recessed fixtures

Recessed lighting is an excellent home upgrade that can improve the look of a room in many ways, and can also make your space more efficient and functional. Recessed lighting fixtures in your ceiling will help provide soft, uniform lighting throughout any room. These fixtures can also be outfitted with a dimming feature, giving you even more control over the indoor lighting levels.

2. Replace or refinish flooring

Years of use can fill your beautiful hardwood floors with dents, scratches, and other signs of wear. Restoring your flooring to its former glory can help improve the look of your interior. There are two options you can take when updating your flooring, one is to completely replace your hardwoods, and the other is to have them refinished. While replacing your floors can be more expensive, it offers an unbeatable look and greater longevity. 

If you choose to go the route of refinishing, you’ll save some money and still have your floors looking great. A good refinishing job followed up by routine maintenance can provide you with a beautiful floor for years to come. If you are thinking about replacing or finishing your floors, call in a professional to help with the project so you can avoid any DIY flooring mistakes

3. Add new cabinetry 

New cabinets are an excellent home upgrade whether you live in a condo in Miami or a mansion in Atlanta. If your existing cabinets are dated or don’t quite match the design of your home, this is the perfect opportunity to have new ones installed, or your old ones refaced. Updating your cabinets is a great way to spruce up your kitchen or give it a whole new look. 

If you intend to sell your home in the future, new cabinets can also increase your home value. Since the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, it can make an especially great impression on prospective buyers.

4. Apply new paint 

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your home. Whether you have a new design idea, or you simply want to make a room shine like it used to, new paint is the way to go. Opt for neutral colors on walls, trim, and baseboards. Colors such as light grey, cream, and other soft neutrals are ideal. If you have children and their rooms are all shades of bright green, blue, and pink consider painting those to match the rest of your home. Having this neutral base will make your home easy to design and give it that updated sophisticated look. Consider hiring a professional to help with this project. Painting can be difficult and hiring a professional will ensure it looks great when it’s finished.

5. Upgrade your bathroom with mini-renovations 

There are countless affordable bathroom renovation ideas that can make your bathroom feel new. While a major remodel can cost tens of thousands, small renovations to your bathroom can make all of the difference without the added costs. Simple bathroom upgrades such as replacing your flooring or tile, installing a new faucet, painting, purchasing a new bathroom vanity, or refreshing bathroom cabinets with new hardware can give your bathroom a completely upgraded look. 

6. Organize and clean

Home organization is a great way to make your living areas less cluttered and open up your space. After you’ve been living in your home for an extended period of time, your belongings will begin to add up and overtake areas they shouldn’t be. Go room by room and get rid of things you no longer use and add organizational storage to give those items you do use a proper home. Hiring a professional organizer or declutter can make this process much easier and more efficient. 

An old-fashioned deep cleaning is also one of the best home upgrades you can make. It’s ideal to have your home deep cleaned by a professional at least once a month, but if you haven’t had your home deep cleaned in a while it’s a must. Dirt, stains, and dust aren’t just eyesores, after all. Dust buildup can become noticeable to the point it reduces air quality in your home. Having all surfaces wiped down, getting underneath the couch, around the frames, and making your home shine is worthwhile – your home will look better and you’ll feel better living in it.

7. Replace outdated window treatments 

If your window treatments are outdated, dirty, or old, consider replacing them as an easy home upgrade. Window treatments play an important role in the design of a room by adding softness to the hard edges of the room, managing light control, and much more. Window treatments can hide many problems a room may have, or emphasize the focal points. They can also block out an unattractive view or make up for a lack of privacy. There are so many stylish options when it comes to window treatments, find what works best for your space. 

Completing upgrades on your home every few years is great for keeping your home’s resale value high, as well as keeping your home looking its best. These upgrades can be simple and inexpensive and make all the difference in the look and feel of your home. 

The post 7 Home Upgrades to Transform Your Space Without Remodeling appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.

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Housing Market Updates

Buying a New Home? Here’s 8 People You Need on Your Team

Buying a new home is an exciting moment in anyone’s life — whether you’re finally ready to make the leap from renter to homeowner or you’re an experienced buyer. However, even if this isn’t your first rodeo, the homebuying process can be complex. From navigating the mortgage approval process to the possibility of a bidding war, it can be tricky to go at it alone.

The good news is, your homebuying journey can be smooth sailing if you have an experienced and talented “team” to guide you through the process. So, if you’re planning on buying a new home in the near future, make sure you have these 8 people on your side to make your homebuying experience quicker, simpler, and less stressful. 

buying a new home brick house

1. Real estate agent

Buying a new home can be confusing and overwhelming, regardless of whether it’s your first time purchasing a home or your second or third. However, the process will feel less daunting with an experienced real estate agent by your side. From finding the ideal home in your price range to knowing how much to offer on a house, your real estate agent is there to make your homebuying experience as smooth as possible. After all, this is what they do best. 

Because your real estate agent plays such an important role in your homebuying process, you should do your research and make sure you’re choosing an agent you trust. Make sure they’re knowledgeable about your local real estate market and the neighborhoods you’re looking to purchase a home in. 

2. Mortgage lender

Deciding on how to finance your home — and with whom — is an important decision. And with a handful of loan types and mortgage lenders out there, you’ll want to thoughtfully choose the company you work with. 

It’s recommended to begin looking for a mortgage lender before you submit an offer on a home. While an online mortgage calculator is a great way to get an estimate for your potential mortgage payment, a mortgage lender will let you know how much you can afford and the loan amount you qualify for. This way you can get pre-approved to show sellers that you’re a qualified and serious buyer, and you’ll know exactly how much you can afford.

The mortgage lender you choose to work with plays a critical role when buying a new home, so you should meet with multiple mortgage lenders before deciding who you’ll want on your team. 

finance typing on computer

3.  Financial advisor

Buying a new home is a huge financial decision and long-term obligation. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor prior to making such an important decision. While it’s likely that your real estate agent and mortgage lender have helped you determine how much house you can afford, a financial advisor will look at the bigger picture of your finances. They’ll assess your financial situation and help you determine if now is the right time for you to buy a new home. If it is, they can also help you budget for expenses that come with homeownership.

4. Home inspector 

A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process, so having a knowledgeable home inspector on your team is key. As a homebuyer, you’ll want to cover your bases and protect yourself from any future issues or expenses for major repairs. So before signing on the dotted line, you’ll want to hire a home inspector to thoroughly inspect the home — there may be hidden issues that only a professional home inspector can uncover such as structural issues. Depending on the age and condition of the home, consider also hiring inspectors that specifically inspect for radon, mold, lead paint, or asbestos.

Depending on the results of the home inspection report, you may have more negotiating power than before. If you’ve included an inspection contingency in your offer, you may be able to get the seller to cover the costs of certain repairs that come up in the inspection. 

large backyard

5. Home appraiser

A home appraisal is an unbiased and professional evaluation of a home’s value — and is required by lenders before issuing a mortgage. Typically, the appraisal occurs once the seller has accepted your offer. Factors like the size of the home, quality, condition, and presence or absence of key features impact the home’s value. Hiring an experienced and credible appraiser is important to know the accurate value of the home and to ensure you are not over-paying above the fair market value. 

6. Title officer

Your title company plays an important role in your homebuying process. The title officer will thoroughly examine public records to ensure the legality of the title. They will also make sure that there are not any outstanding mortgage payments, liens, etc. before ownership is transferred from the seller to you. After this, they’ll issue a title insurance policy to protect you as the buyer, as well as your lender. 

When it comes time for closing, your title officer will be there to make sure the new title, deed, and other necessary documents are correctly filled out and recorded. While your lender or real estate agent may have a title officer and company they’ve used in the past, it’s ultimately up to you. And since your title officer is such a crucial member on your real estate team, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one for you.

signing papers

7. Real estate lawyer 

For a smooth home purchase and to help mitigate risk, hiring a real estate attorney can be well worth it. Whether you legally need a lawyer depends on the property you’re purchasing and where you live. Some states require that a real estate lawyer is present at closing, while others do not. However, a real estate lawyer can be particularly important to help you navigate documents or resolve any disputes that arise. Let’s say the home you’re purchasing was a part of someone else’s estate or the property is owned by the bank. These situations can be complex and best dealt with by a knowledgeable real estate lawyer. But even if you’re not dealing with a tricky situation or a real estate lawyer isn’t required in your state, having an attorney on your team can ease your mind when it comes to buying a new home.

8. Home insurance company

Since buying a new home is likely one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, you’re going to want financial protection. Home insurance typically protects your home and personal property if it’s damaged by fire and other natural disasters, as well as theft. Most standard home insurance policies include four essential protections: structural coverage, personal belongings coverage, liability protection, and coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). The coverage you’ll need will depend on the location of your home, it’s age, and condition.

The post Buying a New Home? Here’s 8 People You Need on Your Team appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.

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Housing Market Updates

What Hurts Property Value? 8 Things to Address Now

Property values fluctuate as a result of many factors, and as a homeowner, it’s important to be aware of factors that can drive home value down. Some of these factors are out of your control, such as market conditions, interest rates, and the economy, while others are very much in your control. From unappealing renovations to neglecting maintenance on your home, some projects, or lack thereof, can negatively impact your property value. It’s best to be aware of what hurts property value so you can protect your home and get the most ROI when it comes time to sell.

white two story home with curb appeal

1) DIY projects gone wrong

Many homeowners take on home improvement projects to not only make their space more livable and enjoyable but to also add value to their greatest investment. Whether it be a bathroom addition, adding a deck, or purchasing a fixer-upper with the promise of profit for flipping it – most people start a project with the idea that it will increase the value of the home. As exciting as the projects may be, they can sometimes turn out not as expected and hurt your property value. 

Are you wanting to build a deck, extend the kitchen, or remodel the bathroom? Even if you’re an expert at smaller DIY projects, it’s better to leave the bigger remodels and renovations to a professional. If not executed properly, they can hurt your property value.

 2) Lack of curb appeal

First impressions make a difference when selling a home. So, your curb appeal should entice prospective buyers and help your home sell faster. If you’ve noticed the exterior paint is chipping off or your trees and shrubs have seen better days, chances are potential buyers will notice too. Luckily, you can achieve great curb appeal with some minor adjustments. 

  • Update the exterior paint. The color of your home is oftentimes one of the first things a buyer will notice. Faded, chipped, and flaking paint can dramatically decrease your curb appeal and hurt your property value. Hire a professional painter and try to stick with a neutral color for the exterior of your home. A fresh coat of paint will do wonders for your home’s appearance.
  • Update the exterior lighting. If the pathway leading to your front door is dimly lit or your fixtures are outdated, now is the time to update the exterior lighting. Exterior lighting helps your home feel more inviting and complements your landscaping. From post lights, LED lights, solar lights, and wall mounts, the options are endless.
  • Switch out your old fence. Worn fences are an eye-sore and can take the attention away from your home and hurt your property value. Replacing your fence for a new one can give your yard the boost it needs by enhancing the greenery, and showing prospective buyers that you care. Fencing comes in a variety of different options such as wood, vinyl, aluminum, wrought iron, and composite. Consult with professionals to determine what material is best for you.
  • Hire a professional landscaper. When selling your home, it’s best to go with an easy-to-care-for and clean landscape design to appeal to buyers, and increase the property value of your house. Simply edging the beds, mulching the garden, and pruning the trees and hedges can transform any landscape. Consider working with a professional landscaper to maximize your curb appeal.
  • Wash the windows and the siding. It doesn’t take long for your house and windows to form a layer of dust, dirt, fingerprints, or even algae. This can leave your house looking dingy and gray and hurting your property value. Hire a professional for regular cleaning to avoid paint stripping, splinters, and mold and mildew problems.
  • Replace your front door. It’s no surprise that front doors quickly begin to look worn and tired with daily use and harsh weather. Replacing your front door is a quick and cost-effective way to add curb appeal or add a pop of color to your home. Unsightly interior wall paint

3) Unsightly interior wall paint

Just like exterior house paint, streaky, chipped, or low-quality paint could discourage potential homebuyers and hurt your property value. A fresh coat of neutral paint on the cabinets, walls, and trim can make all the difference. Consider leaving the painting to the professionals. This way, you’ll avoid the chances of buying the wrong brush or roller, using too much, or not enough paint, or any other common painting mistakes homeowners can make. 

Busy and bright wallpaper, tiles, or flooring can also divert the attention of the buyers away from your home. The best rule of thumb is to always choose neutral options for permanent items. Then incorporate color with your decor and furnishings.

4) Lack of upkeep

It’s important and necessary to keep your home in great condition and regularly perform general home maintenance chores. Letting your home fall into disarray and neglecting it will hurt your property value and could have dire consequences on your list price. Buyers will want to negotiate repairs to avoid any major expenses following the sale. This is why most buyers require an inspection contingency in their contract. 

If something breaks, be sure to fix it. And if you don’t know how to fix it, hire someone who does. This will prevent any issues from getting out of hand. It’s often more expensive to remedy any problems the longer you wait. Keep an eye out for any problems with your roof, foundation, HVAC system, gutters, and if a rodent or pest infestation emerges. If you develop any of these issues it’s important to hire a professional immediately. 

modern living room

5) Wall to wall carpeting

Your carpet will be in great condition during the first few years of owning your home, but will quickly begin to show signs of use, start retaining odors, and can be difficult to keep clean. Not only will buyers be wary of wall to wall carpeting because it can be expensive to replace, but it can also collect indoor allergens. If possible, it’s best to stray away from carpet and opt for hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring. 

If your home does have carpet, be sure to get it professionally cleaned periodically to prolong the life of it. It’s also a good idea to have it deep cleaned before listing your home for sale.

6) Excessive clutter can hurt property value

Every home manages to accumulate belongings throughout the years, and you usually don’t realize just how much clutter you’ve collected until you’re about to list your home. Just as dirt and grime build-up, so can clutter. If your room is overcrowded with stuff, it’s a good idea to clear some of your belongings out. Donate items you no longer need or want, and find hidden, permanent homes for the items you use just once in a while. 

Decluttering is an inexpensive way to add value. It can, however, be a big job for just one person. Consider hiring a professional organizer and tackle the project together. After you’ve donated what you can, research a local junk removal and hauling service to collect the rest of your stuff – anything from mattresses and old appliances to electronics and unwanted furniture.

7) Unpleasant smells

Not only do offensive smells leave a bad and lasting impression, but they can also hurt your property value. Whether the lingering odor is cigarette smoke, pet odor, or mold, it’s best to identify the root of the smell and eliminate it. Avoid masking the smell with a strong perfume or fragrance. 

To avoid unpleasant smells altogether, it’s best to keep your home clean. Routine cleaning includes vacuuming and dusting regularly, wiping down countertops and surfaces, and cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. Consider having your home professionally cleaned as you see fit. Most services allow you to choose the frequency of visits to suit your needs.

8) Unnecessary upgrades

Most of the time, home renovations and projects will increase the property value of a home. However, there are certain upgrades that can actually make your home less attractive at resale and can backfire. For example, if you live somewhere where the climate is generally cooler, perhaps Portland, OR or Twin Cities, MN, adding a backyard pool could make your home less desirable and hurt the property value. Or, ripping out a closet or bathroom to create a larger bedroom is generally unappealing to a lot of buyers and could be a costly mistake.

Other updates such as installing a new roof, adding insulation, and replacing windows will generally increase property value because you’re improving the efficiency and safety of the home. Updating your home’s electrical and refinishing hardwood floors can also add to your home appraisal value.

As a homeowner, keeping your home in optimal condition and making necessary updates over the years is key to getting top dollar when it comes time to sell.

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