Stuck at Home: How to Use This Time to Fix Up Your Property Before Selling

Tim Allen

The coronavirus outbreak has forced us into indefinite isolation. As a result, we’re all going to be spending a lot more time at home — This is a difficult situation for all of us, but for those who are considering selling their homes at some point in the near future, there’s an opportunity to be had. Now is a good time to assess and fix up your property as much as you can.

When we looked at ‘Questions Before Selling Your Home’ we spoke first about the importance of determining how much a home is worth. As it was stated in that piece, knowing how much your home is worth helps you decide if selling is really the right choice. Even before you determine the value of your property though, it can be a good idea to address obvious needs and make upgrades where you can. That way, your home will more closely approach its maximum value when the time comes.

So, with that in mind, we thought we’d present a few ideas for how to fix things up while you’re stuck at home.

Paint a Fresh Coat

If there’s a part of your home, inside or out, that is in need of a fresh paint job, now may be the perfect time to do it. Granted, you probably don’t have the supplies readily available unless this is something you were already in the middle of. However, you might be able to safely order those supplies online so that you can get to work and give yourself a bit of a stay-at-home project.

A fresh coat of paint can give your home a new, fresh feel that will be appreciated — even if only subconsciously — when it comes time to determine the property’s value. Furthermore, an old or deteriorating paint job may well detract from that value. Now, it’s not as simple as just ordering paint and getting started. But you can teach yourself fairly quickly how to do a professional-caliber paint job. There are innumerable online guides and demonstrations from reliable sources.

Make the Smart Thermostat Switch

If you’re not familiar with smart thermostats, they appear more and more likely to represent the future of home temperature control. While different brands have different precise features and capabilities, they are essentially made to learn homeowners’ temperature preferences and then bring them about in the most efficient manner possible.

As to why making the switch to a smart thermostat might help to boost the value of your home, we can look to Canada for an indication that this might be the case. Way back in 2010, New In Homes wrote about Canadians’ preference for green homes. Even at that time — when sustainability was not even close to being as hot a topic as it is now — 72% of Canadians surveyed said they would pay more for a house with environmentally friendly features.

More recently there are indications that Canadian homeowners have slowly but surely gotten the message. In 2018, a CTA report on Canadians’ embrace of emerging technologies revealed the numbers behind the adoption of various modern devices and systems. Within those numbers, the report indicated that Canada saw a 13% spike in smart thermostat ownership in a single year. This appears to be an example of Canadian homeowners meeting the demand for greener homes, and indicates how this fairly simple adjustment could boost your own home value.

Plus, it’s a pretty easy change to make while you’re stuck at home! The leading brands in this category make it fairly straightforward to install a smart thermostat on your own.

Check on Pipes & Plumbing

Pipes and plumbing don’t always come to mind when you think about general repair. However, these are aspects of a home that can almost imperceptibly fall into disrepair over the years, which can in turn hurt the value of your home if and when you have an in-depth assessment.

For starters, you should check under sinks and toilets for even the smallest of drips, leaks, or visual deterioration; you should also listen to make sure sinks and toilets don’t seem to be running or refilling when they don’t need to be. And once you’ve done these checks and any ensuing maintenance you can manage, you might consider looking into more professional monitoring.

In this case, it may be wise to follow the example of UK homeowners, who place huge importance on pipe and plumbing coverage more than the typical American. This is in part because a lot of homes in the UK have fairly old systems requiring occasional upkeep or replacement. Recently in fact, a report from The Independent indicated that some popular heating systems will need to be replaced entirely by 2025, simply because they’re old and less efficient than they need to be.

In the meantime, UK homeowners are used to having older systems monitored, updated, and replaced. An overview of heating services by HomeServe outlines how regular monitoring (for central heating, pipes, and plumbing alike) is one aspect of insuring these aspects of a home. If you notice any deterioration or have cause for concern as you set about checking your own systems, it may be time to look for a similar type of coverage, so that you can be sure your value isn’t hurt by the state of your pipes and plumbing.

Tie The Home To Nature

This is not as permanent an idea. That is to say, it has more to do with décor than the actual structure, design, or features of the home. Nevertheless, it’s something you can work on while stuck at home, and it’s a great way to make the home almost inexplicably more appealing for showings.

The idea comes in part from Australia, where nature-inspired décor and designs have taken center stage of late. Elle’s look at worldwide design trends began with Australia, in fact, noting a “back to nature’ tendency among the country’s interior designer. Sometimes this idea can be reflected in things like pillow patterns, the shapes and themes of random design trinkets, or even wallpaper. However, if you take a look through News Australia’s architecture profiles, you’ll notice one nearly universal element: green. From the smallest houses to the most impressive mansions, there's a persistent element of greenery.

Following the Australian example, you might use this time to do as much as you can to make your home greener. Bring in houseplants, plot out a new garden, and rearrange things however you need to in order to invite nature into the living space.

Beyond these suggestions, there are all sorts of additional home improvement projects you might consider during your isolation. Maybe it’s time to power wash your deck and sand it down, or climb out (safely) to clear your gutters. If you have some carpentry know-how, perhaps it’s a good time to redo some kitchen cabinets or touch up some dents and chips in walls and doors.

The list could go on and on. The point, however, is that you can use your isolation to make some changes that will ultimately improve your home’s value. The ones we’ve suggested here might make for a good start in the average home.

* Article specially written for timallenproperties.com by Evelyn Smith

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