Preparing Your Home For Spring Market – Part II Maintenance Before Upgrades

Sellers often fret over what home improvements to invest in in order to get the biggest bang for their buck. The saying "beauty is only skin deep" goes a long way in Real Estate. Before thinking about an exciting kitchen remodel, take care of the mechanicals, structure and energy efficiency of your home FIRST. Without a doubt, updated kitchens and baths sell a home quickly and for a higher value. However, if the roof is leaking, your deal may fall apart despite the lovely granite counter tops. Most buyers in today’s market want what I call the big-ticket items taken care of. These items include: roof, windows, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, and dry basements. Buyers want to take the basics for granted and spend their discretionary funds on fun remodeling projects to reflect their personality and make the home theirs. Even a hint that there could be a problem will be reflected in their purchase offer.

Where to start?

Your first smart investment as a seller is to have your own home inspection to discover the unknown, latent defects. According to local Home Inspector, Bob Beverage, with All American Home Inspections, “It's always a wise investment to have your home inspected prior to listing it for sale. Many times sales fall apart after the inspection process is completed. Having your own inspection gives you the opportunity to correct issues before the Buyer's Inspector discovers any. Typical findings on older homes usually include lack of grounding or outdated federal pacific panels, ungrounded 3-prong outlets, or lack of ground fault outlets in all wet areas.” Make sure to address all findings on your inspection. Use your report to your advantage – list improvements in your homes description and display inspection report and repair receipts during showings.

Efficiency Counts

Let’s face it; utility bills for our beloved Lakewood homes can be let’s say, a bit high. Energy efficiency goes a long way with the majority of today’s savvy buyers. This is money well spent and typically pays for itself on resale. Consider replacing your roof and windows if they are older than 20 years. Replace your furnace with a 90+- efficiency model or make sure your boiler is fine-tuned. If you have forced air for heating but no central air, add the air. A unit will typically cost about $1-2,000 installed. Insulate as much as your budget allows. Dominion East Ohio’s Home Performance program is worth looking into for assistance on where to save energy in your home as well as rebates on improvements.


Here’s an area where there can be red flags galore! Federal Pacific brand main lugs (main breaker box in your home), or sub panels will have to go. Over the past years they have been linked to multiple house fires, and inspectors look for them. Open junction boxes (where wires connect to each other), switches and outlets all need covers. Some areas need wire in conduit, which is wire in either plastic or metal pipes. Attention to these items now could save you from scrambling to complete them later.


If you have old, rusty pipes and have possibly consumed enough metal in your water to set off metal detectors, you may want to invest in replacing the plumbing. Appraisers take plumbing into heavy consideration when determining the value of a home. Nowadays, re-piping is usually done with PEX (plastic tubing) that is reliable and can run through walls like an extension cord, which means less holes and mess. It also means less money on labor and materials but a major selling point.


Tackle those musty smells. It’s not difficult or expensive to find products that help. During warmer weather, run a dehumidifier. A lot of Lakewood homes have older clay foundation blocks, which naturally leach moisture, producing odors. If there is active water intrusion, bite the bullet and have a professional evaluation.

Do it right and contact the Lakewood Building Department to get necessary permits for any home improvement project. As a seller, be pro-active and make sure these fixes are taken care of before putting a sign in your yard. Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only moneywise; it could be crucial to your sale. Homes in tip-top shape can see a return by a few thousand dollars and lets buyers know they are getting a well maintained home.

Michelle Mehaffey Taylor is a Lakewood resident and licensed Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams EZ Sales Team –

Michelle Mehaffey Taylor

Michelle Mehaffey Taylor is a Lakewood resident and licensed Real Estate Agent with The EZ Sales Team at Keller Williams Realty -;

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 4:49 PM, 02.17.2015