What’s the Value in Spring Cleaning and Renovations for Homeowners?

Keep These 3 Key Areas Well-Maintained to Maximize Your Home’s Worth

 

“Don’t make a potential buyer try to envision what the house could look like. Let them see what it does look like,” says IncredibleMortgage Home Lending Officer Kristen Derocha.

Whether you’re buying a home or you’re a homeowner who may want to sell someday, know that there’s tangible value in keeping your home and property well-maintained.

Consider this …

“A clean house can sometimes sell for $3,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the price point, than a dirty, cluttered house,” says Derocha. “If you’re planning to sell your home, spring cleaning is probably the most important thing.”

Equally important in keeping your home pristine is ensuring it’s fully functional. After all, who wants to move into a place without working air conditioning in the summer?

Derocha, an experienced home lender of over 16 years, suggests homeowners keep these three key areas well-kept in order to maximize their home’s value.


1. Kitchen

“I think the kitchen needs the most attention,” says Derocha. “Everywhere you turn in a kitchen – your pantry, your cupboards, behind your stove and refrigerator – some nasty things can get collected. You should always work to keep them clean – that can segue into getting your home ready for sale.”

Consider the cleanliness of your oven. If someone looks inside, will they find a trail of burnt pizza crust crumblings and cheese at the bottom? How about your stovetop – is there splattered egg yolk settled in the crevices?

Regularly cleaning these areas will help prevent hard-to-remove stains from forming.

Next, be sure to pull your stove out occasionally to sweep up dust bunnies and crumbs. Do the same with your refrigerator.

Finally, don’t forget to keep your pantry and cupboards tidy!


2. Appliances

“The big things that could devalue a house would be the mechanical items, things that you don’t even realize could be deteriorating,” Derocha said. “Routine maintenance helps prevent future problems and could save you money.”

Changing the filters and cleaning the vents regularly to prevent dust and debris buildup is a great start. We suggest reaching out to your trusted HVAC servicing company to get a recommendation on how often you should change the filter in your home. Changing the filter also helps purify the air in your house. Before you start, make sure your furnace is powered off.

The same goes for your AC unit. Always power off before removing and cleaning the filter. Let the filter dry and then place it back in, ensuring it’s clean and dry.

As for your water heater, consider flushing the tank, testing the temperature and pressure, ensuring ventilation works properly, and checking the thermostat settings annually.

Lastly, when it comes to maintaining your washer and dryer, inspect the hoses for signs of damage (leaking, cracking) and clean the:

  • Washer (consider using hot water and vinegar)
  • Lint filter
  • Dryer vent

3. Outdoor Areas

Love at first sight applies to your home, too.

“If I drive by your house one day, what will I notice?” Derocha asked. “The curb appeal is huge. It’s the first thing people see and they’ll always go back to what they remember seeing first.”

To make sure your home has great curb appeal, put yourself in the shoes of a potential homeowner and ask yourself:

  • Is the lawn neatly mowed, and is the grass healthy?
  • Is the yard clean and free of leaves?
  • Is the deck or patio freshly painted or stained?
  • What’s the condition of the siding? Are there any chips or damages?
  • How about the roof? Are all shingles in place?
  • Are the gutters clean?
  • Are the windows clean?
  • How’s the landscaping? Are there any unsightly weeds?

“Look at your house from the outside. Is there anything that could use some sprucing up —  maybe a new paint job or new shutters?” Derocha asked. “Sometimes it can be just the most simple, subtle thing that can make a big difference.”


Why is it essential to have these areas of your house in order?

Inspectors see all!

While you may be able to impress a potential buyer who’s enamored with certain features (e.g., a spacious all-season room or a beautiful kitchen backsplash), you won’t be able to sneak any “red flags” past a professional home inspector.

“When you put your house up for sale and you have an offer on it, the buyer has the right for an inspection,” Derocha said. “Inspectors take pictures of everything. You cannot believe what they find – cracks in the foundation, mold in the bathroom, leaks in your roof.”

Derocha recommends getting your house pre-inspected before putting it on the market. Doing this will tell you what to fix before selling to maximize your home’s value.

“You don’t want any surprises, things you don’t notice when it comes time to sell,” Derocha said. “And if you have something wrong, don’t brush it off because it can come back to haunt you.”


Bonus Tips

Derocha’s advice doesn’t stop there. Here are three final “pro tips” for you:

  1. Don’t clean your windows on a sunny day – make sure you clean them on a cloudy day so you can see all the streaks. (While you’re at it, clean your blinds.)
  2. Don’t be afraid to purge some belongings, particularly from your closet and garage.
  3. Ensure your flooring and carpet are clean, especially if you have pets.


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Now that you know how to keep your home in pristine condition, are you ready to own one?

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