During a home inspection, I see many of the same small defects over and over again. As a seller, you can correct most of these yourself for a few dollars. Save yourself the time and hassle negotiating with the buyer or fixing them before settlement.
- Hose bibs
Make sure they work, don’t leak and have a backflow preventer. A leaky hose bib is usually fixable by (with the inside valve shut off) loosening the packing nut, located under the valve handle. Pull the valve stem all the way out. You will see a rubber washer held to the end of the stem. Take the washer to the hardware store and get a new one. While you’re there, pick a backflow preventer like this. It’s made to screw onto the existing threads of the hose bib. Tighten down the set screw until it snaps off, this prevents the backflow preventer from being removed. Replace the washer and reinstall the valve stem. Done $5
- AC refrigerant line insulation
If the insulation on your AC compressor line looks like this:
It’s time to replace it. Pick up a piece at the big box store of your choice, it’ll be in the plumbing section. Strip off the old. Cut the new to length. It will have a slit on one side to allow you to slip it around the line. Some brands have a glue strip under a piece of cellophane, strip off the cellophane to allow the two sides to stick to each other. Now find the line on the inside and do the same thing if needed. $5/5 min.
- Change your furnace filter
You should be doing this anyway. A clean furnace filter tells the home inspection provider you maintain your property. $5
- Change/upgrade your smoke/CO detectors
See my blog entry on this one.
- Fix your screens
Here is a YouTube video that shows you how. Replace all those torn and ratty screens. Cost, about $30 including the tool. Bonus, now you know how to do it on your next house.
- Graspable handrails
Every stairway with 3 or more treads requires a graspable handrail. This means a railing no more 1½’ in cross section. Tighten up those existing handrails so they don’t shake when I grab them. Total cost: varies with the style and finish you choose.
- Gutter extensions
Make sure that every downspout has a 5-6 foot extension leading away from the house. Also a good time to check that your gutters and are clean, firmly attached and not leaking. $5/each
- Dryer vent
One of the most common problems I find during a home inspection. Replace that cheap plastic Mylar junk with a proper flexible metal vent. See my previous post on this one. $10
- Outlet/electrical box covers
Every electrical box needs a cover, check your basement and attic for open boxes. Cost $.10/each.
- Weather stripping
Strip out that old, brittle, cracked, painted weather stripping. It usually is just pressed into a slot in the door frame. Take a sample to the store to match the profile. Cut to length with a utility knife and press into place. Cost $10/door.
I hope this list gives you some ideas that make the home selling process easier. It doesn’t address the big issues a home inspection might find, but it keeps you from having a laundry list of small things to deal with before settlement and adds to the impression of a well-maintained home.