You can tell it’s spring because all the signs are there: daffodils, baseball, allergies -- and “For Sale” signs popping up on front lawns. As we continue to struggle with economic recovery, selling a home is a tough job in most parts of the country. Homeowners are facing lower prices, pickier buyers and glutted markets so it makes sense to eliminate any potential stumbling blocks to selling a home, right?
One of the quickest ways to kill a home sale is to show a potential buyer a damp, leaky basement or crawl space. Even if the leak is minor and happens only when there’s a torrential downpour, most buyers will make a fast exit and head for one of the many similar homes for sale that have dry basements. Of course, in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana sellers are required by law to disclose any significant problems with their homes; foundation and seepage issues are mentioned specifically on these states’ real estate disclosure forms.
Do you have Seepage Problems? In the current buyers market, most buyers will avoid a home with a seepage problem, so why not address the issue before showing the home? Most basement waterproofing warranties are transferable to a new owner, so you can offer prospective buyers the security of knowing that any future repairs will be done without cost to them.
Also, real estate professionals have told me about the “rule of five” -- when a home inspector identifies a problem, the buyer will seek five times the actual cost of repairs as a credit at closing. FIVE TIMES! Why give away the farm when the actual repair might be as simple as repairing a foundation wall crack for a few hundred dollars?
Is your sump pump on its last legs? Imagine being days away from closing on your home and your sump pump fails during a storm! A soaking wet carpet, or worse yet, a foot of water on the basement floor, are generally deal-breakers. A new primary sump pump or battery back-up sump system may save the day.
Are your downspout extensions an eyesore? Take a look at your home from the street. Those extensions you got for your downspouts at the big box store don’t look so good laying all over the flowerbeds and the lawn, do they? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea to get the water away from your foundation to help prevent seepage, but underground downspout extensions will add a lot to curb appeal when your home is on the market and make it easier to keep your lawn and landscaping tidy.
Are your Window Wells in Good Shape? Speaking of curb appeal, consider the impact well-maintained window wells can have on the value of a property. Anything on the outside of your home that looks worn, broken or messy will detract from the value of your property; ugly window wells are right out there for buyers to see. A missing window well cover can be quickly and inexpensively replaced, a rusty liner that is pulling away from the house is a pretty quick fix and a replacement for a failed drain can be easily installed.
Is Your Crawl Space a Scary Place? A dark, damp, dreary crawl space strikes fear in the hearts of the bravest buyers. If your crawl space has a dirt or gravel floor, installing a crawl space encapsulation system will turn it into a bright, dry, usable space. Several real estate agents have told me that sellers who installed a liner system before listing the home for sale were able to increase their asking price by more than the cost of the work. And, the home sold more quickly than expected!
I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you when the housing market will get friendlier to sellers, but the last one I saw was being used by the Wicked Witch to keep track of Dorothy and Toto. I can predicate with certainty, though that a few simple repairs and improvements can add value and help expedite the sale of your home.
Ask your Realtor if a walk-through by a basement waterproofing company will help sell your home. We’ve done literally thousands of these at U.S. Waterproofing and our advice is free!
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