Property Maintenance & Your Home’s Value

This post if for home owners and investment property owners alike. You need to be keenly aware of how your home is perceived by others when it is on the market. I’m going to give a couple of stories to illustrate my point.

The “Regular” Home Owner

I was out over the weekend looking at some single family homes for sale here in Olathe, Kansas. The first time home buyers I was working with ended up selecting a very nice home that had obviously been cared for over the years. Fresh paint, updated appliances and lighting fixtures were just a few of the items that had been improved over the years. The landscaping is well maintained and there was little if any wood rot on the exterior (a very common happening here in the heartland).

The funny thing is the other houses we saw weren’t horrible. They were clean and pretty well kept. But they were asking the same sales price as this home. And they didn’t have all the updates. They did have some wood rot. There just weren’t quite up to snuff.

The Investment Property Owner
Listen carefully Mr. Landlord. You are probably more likely to let your rental house go because “I’m not living in it.” Well, yes. But your tenants, real live human beings, are. And here is where you are supremely short-sighted. The more run down your property becomes the more expensive it will be to bring it up to “sales standard.”

Unless you just plan on discounting the house upon it’s sale. But I have met few (any?) real estate investors who will actually sell a long term rental home under market, even if that’s where it deserves to be sold.

I’m showing a duplex I have for sale right now and the seller requires me to be at all the showings. (He has had some bad real estate agent experiences before.) The comments from the buyers are consistently “this is one of the nicest properties we’ve seen.” Now they may or may not buy. But they recognize the value of the property because it has been kept clean, in good repair and up to date.

Both the “regular” house owner and the income property owner need to know that most buyers are looking for a “turn-key” home to either live in or invest in. So for your own benefit spend a little money each year doing necessary repairs and having the house inspected for termites. Get the wood rot fixed as you recognize it rather than putting it off year after year.

Every once in a while change out a light fixture or two. Paint a room. Change the kitchen cabinet pulls to reflect today’s tastes. These sound like little things. But consciously or unconsciously, buyers recognize the care.

1 Comment

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One response to “Property Maintenance & Your Home’s Value

  1. Chris Lengquist

    By the way, I practice what I preach. After I got home from writing this post I had to write out a $383 check for wood rot repairs. Oy.

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