When it comes to selling a home, the two factors that most influence potential buyers are condition and price. They are interconnected.
A home’s asking price on the market is largely determined by external factors, such as what similar homes have recently sold for. This is mostly beyond a homeowner’s control. That leaves the condition of the home as the lone determining factor that a homeowner can control when it comes to a home’s value.
That means that in order to protect a home’s resale value, a homeowner must maintain the home’s condition. Here are some basic ways to do that, not all of which might immediately come to mind:
Keep it dry
Water damage, or lasting signs of it, has a direct effect on a home’s perceived condition and, therefore, home value. This means maintaining the roof so that there are no leaks as well as staying on top of a potentially leaky door and window areas. Also, water intrusion or even seemingly slight dampness in a basement is a big factor in determining a home’s condition. As a homeowner looking to protect an investment in a home, keeping it dry is imperative.
Keep it clean
Most surface coverings in a home have a shelf life. There will come a time, eventually, when floor coverings and wall paint need to be replaced or redone. But if for example, carpeting’s realistic lifespan is, say, 10 years and it looks terrible after five, it needs to be cleaned. Hardwood floors can be refinished rather than replaced. Wall paint can be washed or retouched. Solid-surface countertops might need reconditioning. These are all examples of surfaces that might have useful life left, but without caring for them can certainly bring down home value.
Keep it working
Brand-new mechanicals – furnace, air conditioning, hot water tank – don’t necessarily add to a home’s value just because those are things that are expected to work no matter what. But faulty mechanicals or old ones that will soon need to be replaced can certainly subtract from a home’s value. To maintain top value, everything must be working.
Keep it up to code
Some municipalities have point-of-sale inspections that can derail a sale because things aren’t up to code. If you think (correctly) that your home’s value is a competition with other comparable homes, and those other homes are up to code while yours is not, what do you think that does to its value?
Keep it functional
You might be a movie buff, and having a home theater could very well be a selling point. But if you turn a three-bedroom home into a two-bedroom home because you like to screen films in a dedicated theater space, you are probably sacrificing some functionality. The same would apply if you were to turn a dining room into a playroom, or your garage into a “man cave.” People expect spaces in homes to have the functionality that was originally intended. If all the homes in your area have dining rooms, for example, you might want to forego turning it into a scrapbooking shop or personal trophy case.
For many people, a home is the biggest investment they will make in their lifetime. Sure, they live in it – get to personalize it and enjoy it to the fullest on their terms – but protecting the value of that investment comes with certain caveats. To protect that investment, certain conditions apply.