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What to do, what to see? In Port Alberni, BC

Mike Holmes: A well-maintained house pays back in many ways

Posted on May 6, 2014 in Mortgage Market Updates and News

Mike Holmes
National Post

Homeowners frequently ask me what they should do to make their homes more valuable. But what does “valuable” mean? To me, making a home valuable means making it work for the family, making it durable so it lasts, and making it more energy efficient so the homeowner pays less each month. This might not always lead to a soaring selling price, but it will always lead to a happier homeowner. These kinds of fixes give you peace of mind — and to me and smart homebuyers, that’s priceless. Still, if you’re planning to sell, here are some other tips that can increase value the right way.

Don’t curb curb appeal

Look at your property. Does it look shabby? Unsafe? Does the exterior of your home look like it needs some TLC, things like tuck-pointing, or brick or stucco repairs? To a househunter, if the outside looks bad they will assume that the inside won’t be any better. The outside can usually tell you how much maintenance was put into the home overall.

Take care of entrances, including the garage and any side doors. Make sure entryways are safe, strong and secure — that also means properly lit. Make any repairs to walkways, steps, the driveway, as well as your home’s exterior. And don’t forget to clean up the yard. If water is pooling anywhere, you might need to contact a professional grader to regrade the property.

If there are overgrown trees and plants, hire a professional landscaper to trim them, or remove any shrubs that might be directing water to the foundation.

Fix roof problems

If your roof is leaking, get it fixed by a pro and show homebuyers the permits and warranties on the work. A good roofer will fix flashings, soffits, replace missing or sagging shingles — and let you know if your chimney needs repairs. Some of these fixes aren’t expensive; leaving them undone can scare away buyers.

Clean up indoors

You can’t sell square footage people can’t see. Buyers hate clutter, and, the truth is, it can affect indoor air quality. I once worked on a job where piles of stuff blocked the vents around the home, causing serious condensation issues. Get rid of everything you don’t need. Have a garage sale. It doesn’t have to cost you a dime, and you might even make a few bucks.

Do the repairs you’ve been putting off

If your home has electrical problems, fix those first. Once that’s done, repair the drywall with products that are free of, or decrease, volatile organic compounds (and make sure to mention that). Simple fixes like filling in holes, fixing baseboards, repairing trim and applying a fresh coat of paint go a long way. For not that much cash outlay, it can sweeten the deal.

Replace foggy windows

No homebuyer wants to see a foggy window; it’s a sure sign something is wrong. The seal between the panes could be broken, or maybe it’s a cheap window, or the framing around the window needs repairs. Any of these problems lead to heat loss. Or, maybe the home has ventilation issues.

Replacing windows can cost thousands of dollars, but it’s one investment that pays off. If you use a pro, get guarantees and warranties on the work. Also, use your energy bills to show potential home buyers just how much more energy-efficient your home is — their offer just might go up.

Remember, buyers will change the cosmetics of a home to suit their taste, but the structure and building envelope is what they are investing in. Granite countertops and hardwood flooring don’t matter when there’s a leak in the basement or a hole in the roof.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit


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