With new reports about the possibility of a turning market, many Americans have been left to wonder whether it is a good time to buy or to sell.
Regardless of the decision that your clients make in this market, it’s important to remind them to keep up with these three sneaky home details that are often left forgotten.
1. Roof condition
Many people feel home inspectors “cry wolf” with alarmist reports, and because of this, purchasers tend to discount the reports.
The reality is that roofs may look good from the outside at a distance, but leaks can occur with very small areas of damage. A small crack could lead to significant water damage to both the roof and the interior — and the worst part is that this kind of damage often stays hidden for some time, silently wreaking havoc on your client’s home.
When the damage finally makes itself known, the repair might cost your client thousands of dollars.
2. Water issues
Plumbing and water incursion present significant dangers to a house. Plumbing systems in older homes sometimes have buildup in pipes that leads to poor water flow or backups.
Furthermore, cracks in the foundation can lead to a “moist” basement or outright water incursion; sealant on the exterior of the walls deteriorates over time and can lead to the same issues.
This might not be a problem — or evident at all — at the time of purchase, but very few new owners can adequately anticipate when these issues are most likely to arise.
As real estate agents, it is important to be knowledgeable and make your clients aware of these issues.
3. HVAC and other appliances
These systems might be working at the time of purchase, but new owners usually fail to take into proper consideration the remaining lifetime of the systems or the costs of replacing them when they fail.
You must educate your clients on the current health of the systems and what future costs they should expect to incur if replacement is needed.
It is common for homeowners to get blinded by new renovations made to their old property. When this occurs, they miss significant problems that have either been hidden or improperly repaired by the contractor or investor.
These investors want to do minimal work to obtain the maximum return on their investment, and as a result, many problems could be intentionally hidden. In other cases, contractors do just just enough work for the home to pass an inspection.
Agents who work with clients who invest in these types of homes must be extra vigilant when examining the condition of the real estate. Even though things look “nice,” there could be significant deficiencies.
Prep your buyers
Buyers also fail to anticipate the overall cost and activities required to maintain a home. Simple things, such as regularly replacing the filters in the furnace, replacing batteries in thermostats, cleaning gutters and other general maintenance, could cause significant damage if ignored over time.
Buyers also generally fail to set aside funds for capital improvements. Owning a home is an investment that requires periodic maintenance. Appliances must be replaced; roofs, driveways and other structural items requiring significant capital need to be done from time to time.
Trees and other topiary must be maintained and inspected for possible incursion to the house. Changes in soil or topography (which might affect water flow) and the potential for diseased or otherwise dying trees that might cause a hazard to the property should also be monitored.
Although these responsibilities are held by the client, every real estate agent should make it a priority to make their clients — new homebuyers in particular — aware.
Kenneth N. Brown is the broker-owner of Quasar Property Management and Real Estate, Metropolitan Funding Group, which serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and has offices in Rockville and Baltimore, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook and connect with him on LinkedIn.