Real Estate: Simple Home Maintenance Affects Price, Speed of Sale

We’ve all read articles on what we need to do to prepare our homes for sale.  Anyone who is
putting their home on the market may know what the phrase “curb appeal” means.  It is rather
self-explanatory.  When driving up to a home for sale, it is always in the homeowners’ best
interest to have the property cleaned up, lawn mowed, and hedges trimmed. 

The internet is flooded with articles advising us on the importance of de-cluttering, planting flowers, fresh coat of paint, new trends in kitchens and baths, and more.  An equally, if not more important selling feature, is the upkeep of the general maintenance of one’s home.  Trends in fashion and home decor come and go, but a well maintained home never goes out of fashion.  Obviously there
are budgetary concerns in the upkeep and maintenance of a home. However, there are ways
to stay within a budget and still make the home presentable to put onto the market.
Let us begin with the front stoop. Many times a homeowner will overlook some loose bricks or
pavers on the front stoop. No need to redo the entire stoop, but repointing the bricks or pavers,
securing them so that they do not wobble upon entering is helpful.  How many of us have seen
gutters with weeds growing out of them?

 Taking a garden hose and a stiff brush and flushing out the gutters will make a big difference in the general appearance. The new vinyl sidings for both homes and fences have become very popular over the years, because they are so maintenance friendly. However, if they do not get a lot of air circulation or sunlight, they tend to collect green mold. Driving up to a home with green staining on the fencing and or siding is unattractive and may give the home an appearance of being unkempt.

 There are companies that will power wash both fencing and siding. However, with a little ingenuity and elbow grease, a bucket, a garden hose and mold removal solution, the fencing and siding can be easily cleaned without the expense of hiring a company.  Many times I have entered a home with a screen door that has ripped screens or hinges that are not properly set, are loose or squeak.
Replacing a screen or having the frame re-screened is not a big money output.  Adding a bit of
oil and retightening the hinges, in order to stop a squeak, is a simple yet worthwhile task. 
Another simple maintenance chore that many homeowners overlook is the replacement of
heating and or air conditioning filters.  If the home is equipped with a hot air heating system
and /or central air cooling system, the intake filters should be replaced at a basic minimum of
twice a year. Filters can be purchased in bulk, online or in local home improvement stores.  It
is also important to keep the shower and bath tiles clear of any mold growth, and to remove
molded caulk and replace it.  If there is wall to wall carpeting in the home, any stains should be
removed if possible and carpeting refreshed.  Homeowners can rent do-it-yourself carpet
cleaners or research an affordable company to clean the carpets.  This holds true for tile floors as well. Over the years grout can become stained and dirty. There are companies that have
professional tile floor cleaners, making a big difference in the appearance of an older tile
flooring, giving both tile and grout a fresh, cleaner look. Cleaning the appliances is always a
good thing to do.  If a potential buyer shows interest in a home, it is not unusual for them to ask
permission to open the refrigerator and/or oven.
So to sum it up, de-cluttering is always a positive, as well as a fresh coat of paint, but the
appearance of a well maintained home is so important in the sale of the home. Not everyone
can afford a new and updated kitchen or bath, but a well maintained, older kitchen or bath is a
helpful selling feature as well.  A good real estate agent, along with a homeowner who wants
good advice, can work together on preparing a home for sale while keeping expenses
down. The goal is to maximize the selling price and to minimize the expenditures.
Noreen M. Sweeney, CBR
Real Estate Salesperson 
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
77 Main Street, Northport, NY 11768
c 631.327.2844 
o 631.754.3400

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