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It is still a buyers market in New Milford, CT. Listing your home for sale.

January 20, 2010

It is still a buyers market in New Milford, CT. Listing your home for sale.

For SaleThis is a buyers market in New Milford, CT, no doubt about it. As a result it is imperative that your home be ready to sell. Before you sell you should be aware of what issues may prevent the sale of your home, or prevent you from getting the best price possible. You see your home one way, a buyer sees it in another light, and you can take that to the bank… (or not).

With current market trends curb appeal is very important, clearing the clutter is mandatory and issues or potential issues should be addressed prior to placing your home on the market. Lenders are reading the disclosures and listings, they are also reading the inspectors reports. Have you done renovations yourself? Did you get the proper permits as needed?

You may have owned your home for a few years and not even realized there is an open building permit at the town hall for work started by the prior owner. This can really cause problems for you if you wait until you have a buyer for your home.

Your Realtor® should be checking for potential issues at the town hall. Don’t hold your breath and hope no one notices. Someone will notice and it will cost you in the end. Cost you $$, cost you the sale, cost you in many ways.

You may not have the money to hire an inspector, and with the economic climate this is understandable. But you can eyeball a few things and point them out to your Realtor® as they walk around your property with you getting ready to list your home. This will NOT replace a full inspection, but it may bring to light some obvious issues you need to think about. If you can hire an inspector pre-listing, even better!

What you see

Some very common issues that pop up today are:

  • No permits or CO’s for decks or additions.
  • No permit for roofing, etc.(Check your building department and see what is there, or not there that should be there!)
  • Decks improperly built. If you are able to walk under your deck, do so and LOOK UP. Are there joist hangers? Is the deck bolted to the house? Of course standards change, and your deck may have been built with older standards, but if there are apparent structural issues, if the wood is rotting, if the deck wobbles, if the railings are loose it will be a problem.
  • Electrical issues. I have an unnatural fear of electricity, looking inside a box gives me instant stomach churn. However I know enough that if I see exposed wires or a rusty box there may be bigger problems. And if you can’t turn on the hair dryer and the microwave without tripping the circuit breakers then you already know you have a problem. And if you don’t even have circuit breakers, this will be an issue too.
  • How about your roof? If there are 3 layers of shingle on your roof that is it, the next time all that has to come off and it will cost big bucks. Are the shingles loose? Are they looking old and worn? And more importantly, does your roof leak? If you can get upstairs to your attic, look up! Are there water stains on the underside of the roof?
  • Clogged gutters, missing gutters, loose gutters. This is not only unsightly but it can cause so many problems.
  • Is your basement wet? Does it get wet on a regular basis? Address the issue!
  • Check your home with your nose! Pet smells will deter buyers, a mildewy smell will raise a red flag. Mold is a big problem for homes. Find out what is going on. If you see a bit of mold on the outside of the wall you may have a far larger problem behind the walls. A note, please don’t try to attack this yourself, mold spores are very small and will spew into the air and travel all around the house!
  • If you are on well water, take a water sample down to be tested. There are many places that do this testing and they will tell you how to pull the water for the test.
  • On the well issue, look at your well head cover, if it is close to the ground that may not fly. Is the cover cracked? Broken?
  • When was the last time you had your septic pumped? In older systems I find a big problem is there is no riser installed, the opening is buried beneath current standards.  Since 2000, no matter how old your system is, access to the tank for clean-out cannot be more than 12 inches below the surface of the ground. If it is, risers must be installed.
  • How does your heating system function? Do you get your furnace/boiler cleaned regularly? Have it cleaned and checked. Buyers and agents check the side of the furnace/boiler for information telling how regularly it has been serviced. Something that looks like it came out of the dark ages will scare the pants off a buyer!
  • If you still have an in ground oil tank this will stop a sale dead in its tracks. This is something that must be addressed, speak to your Realtor® immediately for solutions to handle this issue if you don’t have the resources to pull the tank right away.
  • Check under your sinks for leaks. If the cabinets are moist, if there are stains on the wood get it addressed!

Remember, you are not a licensed home inspector, electrician, carpenter, plumber or septic installer. But you and your Realtor® certainly can look around for potential issues before you put the house on the market. And sometimes you just know there is something wrong. Face it head on, don’t put your head in the sand!

As I said, it is a buyers market in New Milford, CT. Not only does your home need to look good visually, it needs to be in good “working order”. And if you can’t address some of the issues you know about, make sure you price it accordingly and that you disclose issues up front.

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