When house hunters walk into a home, they’re wanting to know if it’s been well maintained, and they’re carefully scrutinizing a home for clues of that.
“Corroded air conditioning vents, loose hinges on cabinets, and leaky faucets lead buyers to think, ‘If the seller can’t keep these things up, what big things are lurking behind the walls that haven’t been taken care of?’” Lynn Pineda, a real estate pro with eXp Realty in Southeast Florida, told realtor.com®.
“Sellers need to be careful not to put a lipstick on a pig,” cautions Frank Lesh, ambassador for the American Society of Home Inspectors. “Just do the right thing, fix the problem, and make the deal go through a lot smoother for everybody.”
Lesh and realtor.com® highlighted several red flags of potential problems when a home buyer is evaluating a home to buy, including:
Dehumidifier and air freshener
Could it be covering up a bad smell of mold or mildew in a damp room? “There’s typically a root cause for a room being damp, so you want to correct the cause, not put a Band-Aid on it,” Lesh told realtor.com®. “If there’s moisture getting in the house, that moisture is generally coming from outside. Figure out how to prevent water from getting in, not how to handle it after it gets in.”
Strategically placed planters or shrubs near the home’s foundation
Is water puddling near the foundation? Water should be draining away from the foundation and never collecting against the house. Is the land sloping toward the house? That could cause water to back into the lower level of the home. Are the gutters clogged so water is pouring over the top and landing along the foundation?
Freshly painted trim
Make sure the wooden window frames aren’t damaged. “A lot of times people paint over rotten wood and think nobody’s going to see that, but we can tell that it’s rotting,” Lesh told realtor.com®. “We just put our fingernail on the trim to see if it goes through the wood.” Rotted window frames need to be taken out and replaced, Lesh says.
Fresh coat of paint on the ceiling
Is the ceiling stained, possibly from a water leak? “When we inspectors see cans of new stain-killing primers in the garage, we know that something happened,” Lesh told realtor.com®. Painting over a water stain without taking care of an active leak can make the stain reappear within a month, he says.