When people are getting a house ready to put on the market, it’s better to get problems taken care of first rather than waiting for an inspector to uncover them with a contract on the line, real estate agents say.
A seller who doesn’t get problems fixed ahead of time may make less money on a house, according to Scott Stremel, a real estate agent in Wichita, “because everybody thinks what they have to fix costs more than what it actually costs.”
Common problems Stremel sees are plumbing issues, windows or siding in need of repair, safety-related problems with the electricity, and problems with concrete sidewalks or the driveway.
Even a procession of little things uncovered in an inspection “adds up mentally to the buyer. It makes them wonder,” said Realtor Heather Stewart.
Realtor Tammy Schmidt recommends that sellers be aware of requirements of certain types of financing that a buyer might choose, such as VA or FHA loans. Such requirements could include good drainage, lack of peeling paint or handrails, she said.
While some home sellers can take care of cosmetic changes or small repairs themselves, others don’t have the time or talent and have to hire the work out. Most real estate agents have their own handyman and specialists to recommend to their clients, Schmidt said.
“I’ve got a plumber, an electrician, a concrete guy, a handyman, absolutely. There are ones that stay on my list, and those that go off. A lot of that has to do with reliability and price.”
Sarah Ruth Gilbert, owner of Ruth’s HomeWorks in Wichita, which recommends local mom-and-pop handymen and other contractors, said these are some of the jobs people like to get taken care of before putting their house on the market:
• Cleaning windows, either inside and outside or just outside.
• Having rugs cleaned and stretched rather than replaced.
• Concrete work to take care of sidewalk or driveway cracks. The drought of a couple of years ago caused the ground to pull back from many house foundations, driveways and walks, causing them to slope or crack, Gilbert said.
• Reinforcing an attic beam.
• Ceiling patching, especially from damage from hail storms, after the roof is replaced.
Some of the jobs can be handled by a handyman; others require more of a specialist, Gilbert said.
Once a person has moved into a new house, Gilbert said, a handyman can:
• Change locks.
• Add grab bars.
• Change out a ceiling fan or add a remote control to a ceiling fan.