3 Reasons to Keep your Home Market Ready

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You’re not thinking of selling — so why keep your home in market-ready shape? There are some excellent reasons for upgrading your home while you live there; keeping your house in good repair and in "ready to sell" condition benefits you in a variety of ways: 

Your own comfort: It’s just more comfortable to live in a home that is in great shape and that does not require a lot of extra work or repairs. When your HVAC system is in peak condition, you’ll save money on heating and cooling your home — and when you’ve already taken the time to unclutter and organize, home cleanup becomes a breeze. Get things ready for your own comfort and enjoyment and you’ll also be ready to sell in a hurry if you have to. 

Your life circumstances change: Getting married, having a baby, combining households or even becoming an empty-nester can lead to big changes in the way you live. If you suddenly need more (or less) space, those changes will be easier to deal with if you are not also burdened with getting your home ready for sale, too. You’ll be ready to go, and are sure to get a top offer, when your home is already in selling shape. 

The unexpected happens: A job loss or transfer could leave you stuck with a home you own but can no longer live in. If you are not prepared, you could end up becoming an unintentional landlord — and you’ll be responsible for a bundle of repairs and maintenance at once. Keep your home in market ready condition and you won’t have to scramble to get ready. This is also likely to be an incredibly stressful time, so having your home ready to sell if you need to can take a big burden from your shoulders, too. 

Company’s coming: It will be easier to host and entertain when you know your home is in show worthy shape. If chaos and clutter is keeping you from truly enjoying your space or delayed repairs and maintenance are preventing you from having company over, getting your home ready to show will remove this burden. In some cases, the changes you make will let you fall in love with your home all over again — and be able to proudly share it with others, too. 

Whether an unexpected job transfer pops up, the in-laws are coming or you simply want to enjoy your home in comfort, committing to keeping it in "show-ready" condition will give you peace of mind and ensure you are not inconvenienced by life’s little (or big) surprises. 

3 Home Improvement Tasks You May Want to Avoid

Did you know there are home upgrades that may wind up costing you more than they are worth? That’s right, and these are home improvement projects you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

Some of the most common high-cost, low-return home improvement projects for home sellers include:

1. Installing an in-ground swimming pool.

When it comes to installing swimming pools, the fantasy usually is better than the reality.

Ideally, you should be able to install an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard quickly and enjoy it for an extended period of time. But when it comes time to complete the project, you may end up committing thousands of dollars and dozens of man-hours to a project that may add minimal value to your home.

Consider the costs and timeline associated with an in-ground swimming pool installation before you commit to this project. By doing so, you can determine how much this project will impact your home’s value both now and in the future and decide whether the return on investment (ROI) meets your needs.

2. Adding a backup power generator.

Homeowners often try to err on the side of caution, and for good reason. However, a backup generator may prove to be costly, especially when there are viable, cost-effective alternatives at your disposal.

A power outage may seem like the end of the world when it happens, but in most cases, it is only temporary. And those who have flashlights, lanterns and other emergency supplies will be better equipped to stay safe during a power outage.

Remember, a backup generator may seem like a great idea at first, but you should consider its short- and long-term value. Those who explore the alternatives that are available, meanwhile, may find it is more cost-effective to invest in other home improvement projects.

3. Installing new windows.

The latest windows are incredibly energy-efficient, making them exceedingly valuable for homeowners who want to cut their energy bills for years to come.

Comparatively, home sellers may fail to reap the benefits of these windows, especially if they hope to find a buyer for their residence in the immediate future.

New windows may cost thousands of dollars to install, so you’ll want to look at the ROI of new windows before you find a contractor to complete the project. And if you discover the upfront costs outweigh the long-term savings of a home you’ll soon be selling, it may be better to avoid installing new windows for the time being.

As a home seller, you’ll want to do everything you can to highlight the true value of your home, and choosing a reliable real estate agent can help you do just that.

A qualified real estate agent possesses the experience and understanding of the real estate market. As such, this professional can help you decide which home improvement projects are priorities and which tasks can be put on the backburner.

Find a top-rated real estate professional to help you sell your home, and you can benefit from the support of a real estate expert who can guide you along the home selling process.

How to Maintain Your Home The Easy Way

In order for your home to maintain value and to remain in great condition, you must consistently keep up with home repairs. There are several choices you, as a homeowner, will face in regard to these tasks. While small repairs or jobs may not require extensive knowledge and know-how, be sure to use a professional when it comes to more complex home-maintenance work.

Whether your priorities are focused on the interior or exterior, siding your house, roof repair, or leaking faucets in the kitchen, yhough it may seem costly, hiring professionals ensures the job will only need to be done once and done the right way. Ask for references and take the time to find a reputable professional so that you can feel comfortable putting your money in the hands of someone with experience and service-specific knowledge.

Paying a professional to fix a leak may save you money in the long run when you won’t be facing water damage during those rainy seasons. Another great example of spending money in order to save money can be relayed to replacing your windows. Updating your windows keeps your home insulated from the heat and cold, which in turn can save you a lot of money on energy bills down the road.

Repairs negate the possibility of future damage-related bills and also can add value to your home, which, in today’s housing market, is important. Set goals for yourself, as well as a fixed budget. Focus on fixing up one room at a time or completing one project each year and be sure to consider all of the benefits of not only maintaining your home, but utilizing trained professionals.

Home Maintenance Checklist

We think of the spring and fall as home clean up time but taking advantage of the warmer weather and time off from work makes summer the perfect time to do a home maintenance checkup.

Get Ready for Cooler Weather

Do an Energy Audit
Take a walk around your home and take an inventory of gaps and cracks. Plugging leaks can save you 20% on heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps under switch plates. If you find gaps install foam inserts. Make sure to turn off the electricity at the circuit box before doing this.

Don’t forget to check where windows meet walls, walls meet floors and pipes and wires enter the home. Plug all gaps with caulk. Other places to find leaks are fireplace dampers, mail slots, air conditioners, attic doors, baseboards and the weather stripping surrounding doors. Look for daylight, feel for drafts and listen for rattles; all clues to escaping heat.

Now look outside the house. Look for gaps or damage where pipes, vents or wiring enter. Also check siding for gaps or damage, pay attention to corners where the material joins and where it meets other materials, like chimneys, windows or the foundation.

Save Money on Heat and Hot Water
Save on heating costs next winter by insulating the hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space. Insulating pipes is easy; all you need to do is snap foam jackets (called sleeves) around the pipes. Make sure you know the pipe’s diameter to get the correct fit.

Get the Outside in Tip-Top Shape

Pretty the Patio
There is nothing more uninviting than dirty patio furniture. Mix up a bucketful of soapy bleach solution to keep your patio furniture squeaky clean. Mix 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1/3 cup laundry soap powder, a quart of bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a rag and soft-bristle brush to remove embedded dirt on synthetic coverings, metal and wood furniture. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.

Don’t destroy the deck
Don’t let your pretty deck flowers rot your wood deck. Make drainage room in your potted plants by setting pots on pot “feet”. For a frugal solution; just prop bricks under the pots.

Look out for tree trouble
Trees that hang over your roof, rub against gutters or dropping loads of leaves and sticks onto the roof should be pruned. Overhanging branches can provide a ladder for rats and squirrels, and diseased or damaged trees may fall on your home in a storm.

Fix the fence
Look for damage along the fence line. Mow the grass next to the fence low so you can get good visibility. Keep your fence in tip-top shape by make prompt repairs. Check fence posts for signs of rot (poke soft spots in the wood for crumbling or decay). Remove and replace the damaged areas. Keep fences painted or stained to protect the wood. If dogs or other animals are tunneling under the fence attach a 2-foot-wide apron of wire mesh around the inside perimeter of the fence.