Before you list your luxury home

When selling your luxury home filled with custom features, it’s easy to overlook the health of the systems that make them work. The best route to a smooth closing is to address these systems before you list. After recent inspections of multi-million dollar desert homes, I’ve compiled a list of things that sellers and buyers are battling over.

  • Updated pool equipment: you’ve completely renovated your kitchens and bathrooms, but you still have 15 year old pool equipment outside. Pool inspections should call out the age of the equipment and whether replacement parts are available. I’ve seen this a few times and it’s a big point of contention because buyers don’t want to get hit with a $15,000 pool equipment upgrade.
  • Pool deck cracks: it’s common to believe that pool deck cracks are an easy cosmetic fix. However, the cracks could be created by the pressure of the water in the pool or natural settlement of the backyard. If it’s natural settlement, that’s a cosmetic fix. If it’s a more complex issue created by the pressure of the water, there may be a crack in the pool and that’s a costly fix.
  • Casita maintenance and upgrades: remember that your casita may not be used that often but it’s a real selling point with buyers. Your casita needs the same regular maintenance and finish upgrades as the main house. Buyer’s start looking more closely at potential red flags in the main house if the casita needs work.
  • Remote controlled accordion doors, shades, and blinds: they must work! At a recent inspection the gorgeous doors did not open with the remote, so I had to list them as a defect. Make sure they’ve had a tune up, and that the operating instructions are available to anyone showing the home.
  • Garage concerns: if you have an AC unit the garage, have it serviced regularly so it’s in good working order. Also, it’s nice to see an ABC Fire extinguisher mounted the wall–especially if you have a golf cart. It’s a safety detail that reflects well on the the overall maintenance of the space.

Use this checklist to determine if you need a pre-sale inspection. I’d be happy to inspect before you list to help ease the way to a smoother negotiation.

Keeping up with home maintenance

Plant & soil debris around air conditioning unit

Not many people enjoy doing home maintenance tasks, but deferring those chores can add up when it comes to selling your home. Many of my inspection findings are directly related to deferred maintenance, and those findings create lots of tension for buyers, sellers, and realtors. In a recent transaction, a $300 kitchen appliance almost blew up the deal.  Keeping up with home maintenance leads to a smoother sales transaction, and it will enhance the enjoyment of your home while you live in it.

When doing an inspection, I work from the outside in, so here are my tips for keeping up with outside maintenance.

  • Repair cracks in concrete walkways and patios
  • Monitor places where water can get in like windows, electrical panels, or stucco cracks, and remember to point sprinkler heads away from your home
  • Service pool equipment regularly, and maintain all deck coatings
  • Conduct annual roof maintenance

Once inside the home, there are two categories of maintenance: MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) systems and general.

MEP systems maintenance:

  • Service HVAC regularly, change filters, replace refrigerant when required, clear plant and soil debris away from equipment; a tuned system runs more efficiently and saves on energy costs;
  • Know the age of your HVAC so that you understand when it’s coming to the end of its useful life and may need to be replaced
  • Monitor water heater for leaks and changes in temperature; remember to use the vacation setting when you’re away on short trips
  • Verify that electrical outlets located near water sources are GFCI protected, and replace cracked or missing electrical cover plates
Taking care of general home maintenance will make your life easier as you live in your home, and it shows pride of ownership at resale time.
  • Clean windows, screens, and slider door tracks
  • Repair running toilets and dripping faucets
  • Repair or update appliances when problems arise

If you’re curious about the state of your home prior to listing it, I recommend doing a pre-sale inspection to highlight needed repairs before you’re facing a deadline or are in the midst of negotiating a deal.