Real estate tip: Deferred maintenance

Midtown Kansas City real estate marketsponsored post by Lauren Hruby and Scott DeVouton

Listing your home is a lot of work.  It’s a seller’s market, and prices are moving up.  More people are buying, and it’s a good time to sell.  Don’t let deferred maintenance cost you at closing.

Deferred maintenance is regular attention that’s not given to your home.  Routine home maintenance keeps your house or condo healthy.  It can make things last longer, save energy and help you enjoy your home more while you’re living in it.

Deferred maintenance carries ongoing costs like higher energy bills, and sudden costs like fixing a leak in the roof.  It can also affect the sale price of your home.  While the market is good, the “average” price always includes homes in pristine condition and those in less than pristine condition.  Deferred maintenance can put you on the bottom rung of market value.

Deferred maintenance can affect home value in a handful of areas.  If you pay attention now and until you sell, you’ll be able to command more in a future market.

Safety and Codes.  Attend to any unsafe or non-compliant conditions immediately.  This is fairly obvious for your present well-being, but an unsafe home can also stop offers in their tracks.

Paint and Wood Rot.  Paint and wood rot are very common dings on home value.  It can be an easy fix early on, but can be expensive if left alone.  It is also a common financing condition, which means you don’t have a deal until you fix it.

HVAC.  Outdated or faltering heating and cooling systems really stand out.  If you can’t afford to replace an old system, take care of routine maintenance and save to replace if you can.

Roof and Chimneys.  Rooftops are often just math problems.  A 15-year roof on its 14th year is generally considered a repair to be purchased with the home.  At least know where you are with your roof, to set your expectations at listing.  Repair or replace if you can.  Non-functioning chimneys aren’t necessarily a huge knock on purchase price, but ones that work and have been maintained can be a great perk.

Windows.  Fix any obvious damage, such as wood rot and windows painted shut.  Both are dings on purchase price.  Well-maintained windows also have the added benefit of fresh air and natural light while you’re living in your home.

Lawn and Landscape.  Take care of the basics.  Regular mowing and semi-annual brush clearing will save a lot of time and work when it’s time to list.  Clean up old landscaping, decks and patios, and keep fences in good repair.

Fix-Its.  Most home maintenance is easy.  If you have a basic tool set, you can attend to the little things right away.  This maintenance doesn’t take a lot of time, but as deferred maintenance can consume the weekends leading to listing.

Listing your home is a big enough deal without having to fix 10 years’ worth of items in a month.  Attend to regular maintenance, and deferred maintenance won’t cost you at closing.

Lauren and Scott are with Lauren Hruby Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC.  They work with people looking to sell or buy a home in the Kansas City area.  For more information, visit or call 816-529-6174.

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