Going to a haunted house can be a lot of fun. I personally love getting the bejeezus scared out of me. Tombstones that moan, creepy peeps popping out of dark spaces, and my favorite scare, the classic ugly goon with a chainsaw. I always know what’s coming but I still get anxious to the point where I am hesitant to finish walking through the best of haunted houses. So far, I always seem to muster up just enough fortitude to make that journey through the darkest dungeons of the unknown.
Not everyone is a connoisseur of haunted houses. Especially, potential homebuyers. Show a homebuyer a house with a crack in the foundation as big as a snake and they are slithering out the door. Put them into a dark, musty basement with puddles in the corner and they will immediately scurry straight to the light of day. If your house has windows that rattle and scream when the wind blows from the north those home buyers will bundle up and head directly to the next warm and inviting open house.
Yes, of course, I am exaggerating when it comes to potential homebuyers having such dramatic reactions to flaws in your house. But, it is a common issue for a lot of home sellers. Do you spend the money to fix these too common flaws or do you just disclose it to the buyer and negotiate prior to closing? That, as they say, is the $64 million dollar question or, at least a few thousand.
What do the pros say?
- Cracked Foundation – The good news is a crack in that big slab won’t totally ruin your home selling success. According to the pros who know, repairing a foundation can actually make the slab stronger. And, with modern repair techniques, in the less extreme cases, there is minimal amount of disruption and disarray to the home owner. The key decision is not just choosing the right priced repair contractor but one that is experienced with your type of slab and will certify and warranty their work.
- Leaky Basement – A leaky basement in itself is not as extreme of an issue as a crack in your floor but, over time that wet basement can lead to other major issues such as mold. If the moisture is seeping from your basement walls and those block walls are not finished then your solution may be just a good concrete sealer. Before you seal, buy a high quality dehumidifier (or two), put it in your basement and run it 24/7 to wick as much moisture out of air as possible.
- Moldy Basement – Remember that leaky basement? Well, wet walls and concrete floors create moisture in the air which if left alone, will eventually cause mold to accumulate up the walls and often times into the overhead. Fortunately, most mold can be eradicated with common household items (vinegar, bleach, hydrogen peroxide). Unfortunately, if your moisture problem creates the dreaded black mold then you have an even bigger problem. Black mold gives off mycotoxins that are hazardous to humans. Black mold usually requires a professional to fully eradicate and is more costly due to the extent of cleanup and environmental controls. Additionally, black mold is a required home seller disclosure.
- Drafty Windows – Windows that shake, rattle and whimper can put a strain on your heating system to keep the inside of your house warm and comfy. Fortunately, drafty windows or windows that are not double-paned are not usually a disqualifier for home buyers. But, any home inspector who made it through Home Inspection 101 will certainly point out to the home buyer (and lender) the lack of energy saving double-paned windows. Expect windows to be a focal point of discussion with all buyers prior to closing.
Being ranked in the top ten of the who’s who of haunted houses is certainly an impressive feat. Not, however, if you are a home seller looking for a quick and no hassle sale. But keeping prospective buyers calm and reassured should be only part of your plan for success. Negotiating the lowest sales commission possible is something all home sellers think about but usually act like scaredy cats when it comes time to have the talk. Fortunately, if you use a professional local real estate agent with Great Percent, you can actually handle the negotiations anonymously from the comfort of your couch via the Great Percent seller’s dashboard. All the best agents in your area will bid for the right to sell your home and you make more money at closing! And that will give you more time to venture through all the best haunted houses.