The Real Estate Browser Volume 10, Issue 5 - Page 19 Volume 10 Number 5 – Say you saw it in The Real Estate Browser of Lynchburg — 19 • Electric water heater: 14 years • Gutters: 30 years 2. Do your own walk-through Channel Sherlock Holmes and go through your home, room by room. Look for signs of damage that might drag down its value. Chandler Crouch, broker for Chandler Crouch Realtors in Fort Worth, TX, suggests looking for these common problem spots: • Wood rot around outside door frames, window ledges, and garage doors. Condensation and rain can cause these areas to weaken and rot. • Water stains on the ceiling or near doors and windows. This can indicate a leaky roof or rain seeping in from outside. • Leaks under sinks or around toilets. • Bulges under carpet or discoloration on hard- wood floors, which can indicate flooding prob- lems or an uneven foundation. Next, test what’s called the “functionality” in every room. For example, “Cracks visible in the walls and floor, doors that don’t shut right, bro- ken handles on cabinetry, basically anything that doesn’t work perfectly should be repaired,” Crouch says. And don’t forget to inspect the outside. While the cost varies, people pay $300 to $500 for a home inspection. Go to the National Association of Home Inspectors to find an inspec- tor in your area. It may cost a bit, but it will buy you the peace of mind of knowing you’re not in for any surprises down the road. In fact, having a home inspection report handy to show buyers can inspire confidence that they (and you by associa- tion) aren’t in for any nasty surprises as you move toward a deal. 4. Decide what needs renovating Once you know what in your house could stand for repairs or upgrades, it’s time to decide where to infuse some cash. Don’t worry, not everything needs to be done before your home is ready to sell. And while you’re probably not jumping at the idea of renovating a property you’re going to sell, cer- tain fixes will give you an edge over the competi- tion, which means more/better offers. Remember, real estate is an investment! 3. Bring in the pros But don’t just obsess over the obvious—e.g., your kitchen could stand for new cabinets. After all, many buyers will want to tweak cosmetic details to their own tastes, so you could be throw- ing money down the drain. Instead, focus on fix- its that are less susceptible to personal preferences that buyers like to know are in good shape. Once you’ve done your own walk-through, you may want to have a pro take a second look before you decide you’re ready to sell. These people can spot flaws you overlooked, because either you’re used to them or you didn’t realize they could cause trouble. You can enlist a Realtor or hire a home inspector to do an inspection (or pre-inspection) to pinpoint problems from bad wiring to outdated plumbing. For example, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors® found that upgrad- ing hardwood floors reaps an estimated 100% return on investment, essentially paying for itself. Upgrading your insulation can net you a 95% ROI, a new roof a whopping 105%! Because what buy- ers don’t like to know they’ve got a solid roof over their heads? “A lot of sellers skip the outside, but it is so important. That is where buyers will make their first impression,” says Darbi McGlone, a Realtor® with Jim Talbot Real Estate in Baton Rouge, LA. Click on the Listing for photo tours and additional information for each property.