You know those infographics like “10 tips to sell your house fast”, and “5 cheap ways to boost curb appeal”…well, they are assuming that your roof doesn’t leak and your toilet flushes. Nobody would suggest you install granite countertops - or even a new mailbox, if they knew your 1957 fuse box was going snap, crackle, and pop all night long. There is such a thing as priorities! It makes no difference if you are thinking about selling your home in the near future or plan to leave feet first, these are 3 things every homeowner
1. Your roof will not last forever.
In fact, it won’t last 20 years. I know I will hear from you frugal readers who have extended the life of your shingles with some hi-tech roof goop but insurance companies don’t care about that - they will drop you and your rotting roof deck before you can say “hurricane season” and they won’t write a new policy for a buyer unless a certification says the roof has 5-7 more years of life left, and even then the premium will be sky-high. Start planning to replace your home’s single most important system now - this is not an upgrade it’s maintenance. You will be rewarded by a quicker sale at a higher price and peace of mind when it rains. Isn’t that better than that new car lease you were thinking about?
2. Electrickery is not a laughing matter.
If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, you might have a Federal Pacific Electric breaker panel, or even an old timey fuse box. These do not need to be inspected - they need to be replaced NOW as they carry a significant risk of malfunction. Don’t wait for the buyer’s home inspection to require it to be done before closing, do it now so that your family doesn’t burn to death in a fire. I don’t mean to sound harsh, it’s just that I care about you. Have the electrician check for aluminum wiring while he’s at it - another deal breaker.
3. Don’t remodel the kitchen if your toilet doesn’t flush.
If you live in Melbourne Village, FL or any other community with septic systems this is numero uno…well, numero tres….but really super important anyway. The reason I put it third is because a crappy septic system will not hold up a real estate closing because the insurance company doesn’t care about it, but the buyer does. You can pump the tank every year if it makes you feel better, but a savvy buyer will have a full-on septic system inspection including a pump out to check the tank for cracks, followed by forcing water into the drain field to measure how much it can take per minute. If it fails, the buyer will either push for a credit or walk away. A new system can cost anywhere from $8000-$12,000…maybe more expensive than a new roof. If your system is working as far as you can tell, thank your lucky stars and treat it with tender love and care, avoid harsh chemicals, and flush a box of Rid-Ex each month.
Check, check, and check? Well then by all means, go on over to to the garden center and buy some flowers and mulch and have fun! Paint your front door and get some shiny new numbers for your house. Curb appeal is very important but please remember your priorities.