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Prepping To Sell in the Fall: Experts Weigh-In

While the spring is typically known as peak real estate season, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell your home (at a profit) during other times of the year – including Fall. As colder weather approaches, the fall is a perfect time for homeowners who are trying to sell to consider taking steps to prepare their homes for potential buyers. Unfortunately, sometimes homeowners overlook minor issues causing buyers to walk away due to a small flaw that could have been resolved had the seller known what to look for. That’s why we consulted the experts in home inspection/maintenance from New York to Sacramento to provide our audience with some tips for preparing a home for sale in the fall.

Pre-listing inspections help reduce stress by identifying issues upfront. Having your own professional home inspection report reduces your liability as a seller if issues come up during the buyer’s inspection. When waiting for the buyer’s inspection, you have much less time for negotiations, leaving you with limited options for having repairs done. Pre-listing gives you more time to make repairs or updates, which you can include as a selling point in the listing. Also, buyers can feel more comfortable knowing you already had an inspection, potentially leading them to make an offer more quickly. – Cornerstone Inspection Services

Consult with a professional home inspection prior to listing the home for sale.  Why not have a home expert inform the seller the things the buyer’s inspector is going to find.  Many real estate transactions are terminated post buyer inspection as the seller typically has no idea the overall general condition of the home and are often shocked by the findings.  It would make the whole home buying process much easier and take the anxiety out of the often-dreaded buyers’ inspection. – Gate City Home Inspections

At High Point Home Inspection we go up over and underneath the property with a fine-tooth comb, looking for problems, bearing the safety of your family first and your bank account second. Then we talk about possible solutions to any repairs or necessary replacements we may encounter. We do not want you walking away from your dream house over a water heater, but we don’t want you buying a money pit either. We want you to ask as many questions as you need to so that you can make an informed decision. – High Point Home Inspections

Common Deal Breakers

The 3 biggest ‘deal killers’ are mice, mold, and moisture.  Before listing your home, take a good close look around – or consider having an inspector take a look.  Mice and other pest issues deter new buyers.  Look in the back of cabinets, the top of foundation walls near service penetrations to the outside, and in the attic insulation (tunnels & trails).  Mold, and the moisture issues that feed it, should also be identified, corrected, and cleaned away before it scares away potential buyers. – Insight Property Services

Conducive Conditions

We often see bushes and shrubs too close to the exterior of the building as well as tree branches overhanging and in contact with the roof. We also recommend making sure that trees and other plants aren’t too close to the block fence around the house and that they are not being over-watered to prevent footing and fence damage due to root intrusion or moisture degraded blocks in the fence. – The Inspection People

Foundation Drainage Is Key To Avoiding Water Intrusion

A very important and usually overlooked easy maintenance tip, extend all of the roof drainage leaders away from the foundation as well as in-ground sprinklers to be aimed away to reduce water infiltration into the basement or crawl space, we, as inspectors always look for these items to help protect our clients and make it easier for the seller to remedy these situations so that we do not have to report on them at the time of the home inspection. – Long Island Expert Home Inspections

One of the most important and easiest tasks is to make sure that your downspouts are draining five feet away from the house and that you have a positive slope away from the foundation. This will prevent water intrusion in the basement or crawlspace which most likely will lead to mold. – Mejaro Inspection Services

One of the most important maintenance tips I would recommend would be to clean the gutters annually or even twice a year if needed. Make sure all downspout extensions are a minimal of 4 to 6 feet from the home to prevent water intrusions and water damage. – Reliable Solutions Home Inspection

Depending on your area, homeowners should all make sure their gutters are cleaned out and free-flowing.  It’s also vital they extend the downspouts several feet away from the foundation.  This does a couple of things.  First, it helps to ensure you don’t have leaks around the foundation, and second It helps prevent foundation movement that can occur if the soil around the house stays soupy/wet from the roof water draining next to the foundation. – ABI Home Services

When prepping your home to sell during the fall, it is vital to ensure proper drainage around foundations. As monsoon season winds down at the end of summer, heavy rainfall can saturate the ground, causing possible structural damage and water intrusion into your basement. Make sure to avoid plants or grass next to the foundation that need watering. Instead, consider covering the area with concrete pavers and use pots for plants. Also, check downspouts and gutter systems to divert water away from the structure, and cover egress windows to protect from water intrusion and damage to the basement. A wet basement is a perfect environment for mold growth and water damage, which can create serious health issues caused by breathing poor-quality air. – Envirocore

Tidy Up

You want your home to look like it has been well maintained.  Have the HVAC serviced, the ducts cleaned, get the chimney inspected, replace old smoke detectors, no peeling paint or rotten wood, and trim the bushes.  Have the paperwork showing that appliances have been serviced and maintained. There are plenty of ways to show that you have been keeping up with the maintenance and not letting things run down. – Hurlbert Home Inspection

General Fall Maintenance

The fall is a great time to clean your gutters and close your crawl space foundation vents for the winter. You should wait until most if not all the leaves fall off the trees around your house. This usually occurs when the night time temperatures start to get pretty chilly. This would be the precise time to close those foundation vents and prevent any freezing pipes under your home. (Don’t forget to open them again in the spring.) In addition to those items, the sprinkler system should be blown out with an air compressor so that when the ground freezes the water in the pipes does not destroy all your fittings and sprinkler heads. Most homeowners do not have an air compressor large enough to adequately remove the water. Paying someone with a dedicated mobile air compressor is usually the best solution. If you order your sprinkler blow out in October or early November it’s usually cheaper than if you wait until December. I have found that if you wait until the end when it’s really cold they charge double so it pays not to wait until the last minute. – Guardian Home Inspection

We always recommend sellers prepare their listings for the fall season by having their pool and irrigation systems closed up by a professional who can provide a letter of “good working order”. Additionally, service the AC and have the same paperwork. A buyer will have more confidence in their purchase. Beyond those seasonal tips, we recommend a Seller Preparation Inspection so a seller knows the facts and is in control of the information. Sellers have options on what to do with the information: repair items, disclose conditions and get price quotes prior to listing. Remember, the property conditions will be revealed eventually so get ahead in the process for a smoother transaction. – Tiger Inspection

Ensure Detectors Are Functional

Fall around here means dropping leaves and possibly getting another cord of wood for your fireplace when the temperatures fall. Even if you have a gas fireplace, any home that has a natural fuel-burning appliance should have a Smoke AND a Carbon Monoxide detector installed. As you get ready to fire up those appliances consider having them serviced by a qualified professional to ensure they are going to operate safely and efficiently this winter and ensure your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are in good working order.- Gold Star Home Inspections

Inspect For Mold

Mold removal can be very costly and is a major deterrent for potential buyers. We are seeing an uptick in pre-sale mold inspections so sellers can address any and all issues prior to putting the home on the market. One of the most commonly overlooked areas in the home is attics, particularly in the Northeast and colder states, mold in attics is a big problem because of improper ventilation. Most of my clients have had a roof replaced or recently insulated and then come to find they have mold that comes up during a home inspection. Mold is also commonly overlooked in AC units, on the vents, in the ductwork and in the air handler. – HNST Mold Inspections

Recover From the Harsh Summer Weather

Preparing your home to sell in the fall is often about recovering from summer! Summer storms and high heat are hard on your home. Check for soil erosion around the foundation; clear leaves and debris from your gutters, drain spouts, and roof surfaces; cut back tree branches from roof edges and electrical wires, and check chimney flashing and roof/attic seals. – Green Scene Home Inspections

Show Pride in Ownership

Showing some pride in ownership goes a long way for both buyers and inspectors. So keep the house clean, take care of those minor issues. You’ll be surprised if the difference it will make in selling your home. – Healthy Home Inspections

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