MARY ANN QUINN's Blog
Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that aren’t obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, it’s especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.
Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didn’t entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.
The small fixes
Let’s start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the home’s faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.
Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.
Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.
Sewer line and septic systems
Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if they’ve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.
When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.
Inspect the pipes
Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.
Hot water heater
Just like the septic system, you’ll want to ask about the history of the home’s hot water heater. If it’s over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.
You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. You’ll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.
A first-time home seller likely faces an uphill climb if he or she wants to stir up plenty of interest in a house. However, a home seller who plans ahead should have no trouble overcoming any potential hurdles along the home selling journey.
When it comes to selling a house, it is important to remember that a residence's interior can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers as well. If a home seller fails to allocate the necessary time and resources to improve a house's interior, he or she risks missing out on opportunities to stir up interest in a residence.
Lucky for you, we're here to help first-time home sellers find the best ways to transform an ordinary home interior into a stellar one.
Let's take a look at three tips to help first-time home sellers upgrade a house's interior.
1. Remove Clutter
Home clutter adds up over the course of many months or years. But a first-time home seller who understands the impact of clutter can take the necessary steps to remove it.
Ultimately, clutter is an eyesore that may make your home actually appear smaller. Clutter also may make it more expensive and time-consuming than ever before to relocate from one home to the next.
A first-time home seller who hosts a yard sale can sell unnecessary items. Or, a home seller may be able to donate excess items to charity. And if there is lots of junk that fills a house, a home seller should dispose of it as soon as possible.
2. Conduct Extensive Cleaning
A first-time home seller should clean a residence from top to bottom. That way, a home seller can give his or her house a fresh, pristine appearance that homebuyers are sure to appreciate.
Be sure to wipe down kitchen counters, mop the floors and vacuum rugs in each room of your house.
In addition, if you need extra help, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional cleaning company. With professional cleaners at your side, you can speed up the process of upgrading your house's interior.
3. Meet with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands what it takes to enhance a house's interior quickly and effortlessly. As such, he or she can help a first-time home seller get a house ready to add to the real estate market.
The right real estate agent will evaluate your home's interior and offer honest, unbiased home interior improvement recommendations. Also, he or she may be able to offer tips to help you differentiate your house from others that are currently available in your city or town.
Of course, a real estate agent is an expert resource who can guide you along the home selling journey too. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, this housing market professional will be happy to address them immediately.
Ready to improve your house's interior? Use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can boost a home's interior and increase the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.
Home insurance is something that every homeowner needs, but not necessarily something that everyone understands. It’s a great idea to have homeowner’s insurance because it protects your home and all of your possessions. Yet, this insurance is in fact a requirement. Mortgage companies require borrowers to have this protection when they buy a home. You’ll need protection for the amount of what is deemed the “fair value” of your home. This fair value is usually based on the price of purchase. Some renters are even required to have insurance for their property. As stated above, this type of protection is a smart idea.
What A Home Insurance Policy Covers
The terms of home insurance can be very confusing. Most policies will cover damage to the outside of your home. This will include vandalism, fire, lightning, hurricanes, or down trees that may hit the home. The insurance company will estimate the amount of damage and provide you with funds so that the damage can be repaired. In extreme cases, your home may need to be completely rebuilt. Home insurance does not typically cover floods, earthquakes and home maintenance issues. You may need separate policies or extended policies to get these items covered based on where you live. The interior of your home is covered by home insurance as well. This includes clothing, appliances, furniture and electronics if they are destroyed by something that affects your home.
Some home insurance policies have coverage that includes items that belong to you, no matter where you are when something happens. If you lose jewelry on a trip to Europe, for example, you can get a homeowner’s policy that will cover that. This type of coverage does have strict limits, however, so don’t expect your insurance company to give you 100% of the value of your gold necklace that you lost in Paris! This type of coverage is great for items like engagement rings.
Your homeowner’s insurance also includes a liability clause. This includes injuries that occur on your property that have been caused by you or your family. This will even include any problems caused by pets in the home. Beware that insurance companies can limit this type of coverage based on the type of dog breed that you own. Insurance companies may even decline to cover you based on the type of dog you own. If a dog bite does occur on your property and you have a breed that works within the insurance company’s limits, you’ll be covered. If anyone is hurt on your property and files a lawsuit, you’re protected.
Your insurance rates will be determined by many factors including the neighborhood, crime rates and the climate of the area. Before you choose a place to live, you may want to investigate the insurance costs before you settle on a place to buy.
Once you start the process of buying a home, you may begin to feel as if you know everything there is to know about real estate. There’s so much house hunting, researching and negotiating that the process can be dizzying. Once you get into a contract and start the home inspection process, a whole new host of questions comes to the table. Now, you need to know the nitty gritty of what you’re about to buy.
Once you hire a home inspector, it could seem like they are speaking an entirely different language. These inspectors will be looking for any and all potential problems with your new dream home. In order to get the most out of your home inspection, you’ll want to ask smart questions.
How Much Of An Impact Does This Have?
Home inspectors cannot legally tell you whether a property is “good” or not. They can only tell you the things they find wrong with the property, or where they see a need for improvement. These inspectors will seem pretty even keeled when you meet them, so they can be hard to read. They’re all about facts. Asking them what kind of an impact a certain problem will have can help you to make a more informed decision.
Who Can Fix This?
In many states, home inspectors cannot legally make repair recommendations. They can however give you an idea of how easy or how complicated it may be to fix something. You may find that you’ll be able to make simple repairs on your own rather than hire someone for a big price. The only drawback is that home inspectors cannot actually “fix” anything for you. They can only give advice.
What’s A Priority?
Your home inspector can give you an idea of what issues in the home you are about to buy need to be fixed first. Since the inspector's job is to point out absolutely everything- both big and small- you’ll want to know what has the biggest priority so that you can plan accordingly. If things are at the “end of their lifetime” rather than in need of a simple repair, you’ll understand as a homebuyer how much money you’ll need to shell out for repairs sooner rather than later.
Where Is That?
Many times as home inspectors as heading through the property, mentioning things that need repairs and attention, you may have no idea what they are referring to. It’s a good idea to have a notepad and and a camera so that you can refer back to what the inspector was talking about. Some inspectors even insert digital pictures into their reports, so you can ask about that when you’re hiring an inspector.
How Does That Work?
Inspectors can often give you an idea of how different moving parts of the home operate. If you’re new to homeownership, or come across something that you have never seen before, your inspector will be happy to help you figure it all out. It can be a lifesaver once you move in since you’ll already know how much of the house operates.
Once you have bought a new house, you may feel lost as to where to start. There’s a long checklist of things that you should do to get yourself established in a new space. Here, you'll find a plan on what to do next.
Get Recommendations On Local People You Can Work With
Your realtor is a good place to start in asking who they recommend for many types of workers including plumbers, electricians, contractors, and more. You may even want to talk to your next door neighbors and see who they have used in the past for these types of handy work jobs. Even if you don’t need any kind of work done immediately, it’s a good idea to have some names and numbers on hand for future reference.
Don’t Paint Right Away
Although it seems much more practical to paint an empty house, once you live in your new home for awhile, you’ll get a sense of where the light hits and what colors will complement your furniture. When you pick colors in a rush, you run the risk of choosing shades that you may not love in the long term. Focus on properly lighting your rooms before you even start to paint.
Don’t Forget The Housewarming Party!
If you plan a housewarming party for a date that’s not too far after you move in, it will give you motivation to get things done in the house. The housewarming party is your accountability partner to get you to unpack those boxes and get decorating. Try to plan the party somewhere between one and two months after your planned move-in date. This will give you time to get things done, just not too much time!
Meet The Neighbors
You should take some time very soon after you move in to meet your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for you as to what happens in your new neighborhood. Find out if any of your new neighbors have dogs that your own dog could meet for a friendly walk. Your new friends will even give you information about a neighborhood watch or important community activities as well.
You’ll want to check all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm systems. Be sure that they work. Then, change the batteries in each system to start fresh. You should also equip your house with a fire extinguisher or two. You can never be too prepared for an emergency.
Next, you should check all of the door and window locks. Replace anything that used a key. You never know who had keys to the home before it was sold.
When you start small in a new home, things will begin to come together slowly but surely just like puzzle pieces.