Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Essential Spring Repairs Optimize Minnesota Home Values

Spring Repairs to Maintain Home Values in Minnesota

A few weeks ago, annual property tax notices reach the mailboxes of many Anoka County and Washington County homeowners. Assessors processed this information based on last year's sales and assessments so while the real estate market is picking up, many home assessed values continued to decrease. The county assessor will often review a home from the exterior and make a value determination. 

So as spring has sprung, it's time for Minnesota homeowners start thinking it's time for the "honey-do" list of spring projects. 

Keeping your home in tiptop shape is essential in optimizing your property’s assessed and market value. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home this summer, there are a few essential things to check, repair and or replace after ever Minnesota winter. As REALTOR® in the north and east Twin Cities metro, I see many properties that have not been properly cared for. Throughout Anoka County, Chisago County and northern Washington County, the areas where I work extensively, I have seen houses with interior ceiling damage from leaking roofs, potholed, cracked driveways and decks that are downright scary to walk on.
Surprisingly, these are not all foreclosure homes. It is frustrating to have to make repairs just prior to selling your home. Some traditional sellers who chose to sell in recovering real estate market and are frustrated as they often will have to make thousands of dollars in repairs in order to sell due to lack of maintenance--or make a drastic price concession to a buyer. Not making the repairs means pricing your home to compete directly with foreclosure homes. Offers on under-maintained homes come in at thousands less than expected--If they get offers at all. Neither choice is appealing to sellers when values are depressed.

I have often heard a seller wish they had chosen to keep the home in better condition over the last decade so they could have enjoyed the benefit of a well maintained home. It is much more beneficial and cost effective to assess your property on an annual basis and make repairs as necessary.

Here are 6 spring maintenance tips that will not only beautify your home, but also aid in retaining your home’s value for years to come:

  1. Roof—Walk around the exterior of your home with binoculars and check for any missing or curling shingles. Shingles on roofs can be blown off in severe winter weather. If any are missing or you see other concerns such as curling or partial shingles, bring in a contractor to assess the damage and make repairs before you have water damage on the interior of your home.
  2. Siding—Power wash debris buildup from vinyl or aluminum siding. Buildup can stain siding overtime. 
  3. Deck Settling—Check for any settling or worn boards on your deck especially if it is several feet off of the ground. If the supports of your deck appear to be pulling away from the home or if the boards are weather-worn, have it reviewed by a professional before that first summer barbeque. 
  4. Paint  & Stain—Did the harsh winter sleet, snow and ice cause the paint or stain on your siding, trim or deck to start to peel? Now is the time to assess the damage.
  5.  Gutters—Gutters filled with leaves? Take the time to clean out to prevent water backups. Keeping water away from the foundation is the best way to keep water out of your basement. If your gutters are clogged, they cannot do the job and the rains will pour right over the clogged-gutter’s edge near the walls of your home. Consider adding screens or guards to prevent leave buildup in the future. 
  6. Driveway—The winter’s freeze and thaw cycle can do damage to an asphalt driveway. Cracks need to be filled or they will get worse. It is recommended that blacktop driveways also be seal-coated every 2 years. If the driveway has long term exposure to extreme sunlight, seal coating might be recommended on an annual basis to extend the life of your driveway.

Copyright 2012 Teri Eckholm