As we prepare our house or apartment for sale, most of us are interested in saving a dollar here and there. That’s why many people attempt do-it-yourself fixes for small blemishes that exist in seemingly unimportant places. A crack in the corner of the driveway that wants repair, a split piece of cladding at the back corner of the house that should be replaced, or a cracked window that the internet assures us can be repaired perfectly and for less money than a professional would charge. Unfortunately, as in staging property in general, some small visual errors stick out like sore thumbs and, instead of adding to the appeal of the property, make the buyer cringe.
As we’ve said a thousand, thousand times; the buyer doesn’t want to buy your to-do list. Nor does he want to invest in a piece of property with existing damage that has been “covered up” or concealed by the current owner. That breaks the mood in a big way and replaces it with a sense of mistrust that may not be legitimate, but is as real as your big toe.
Here is a short list of home repairs that are best left to professionals.
• Stucco repair: Stucco is an exterior finish that can add charm to your home. Some architectural designs practically demand the use of stucco in one finish or another, so if yours is damaged or cracked, call in a professional. No matter what the DIY videos and kits tell you, it is nearly impossible for an amateur to match the colour and the finish perfectly. A patch or obvious repair sends a red flag to buyers that there has been a structural failure that could require further attention.
• Cladding repair: Replacing cladding is not nearly as easy as it looks. Depending on the cladding material, you may be able to buy a piece that should, theoretically, just slide in and magically make the repair complete. If your home has timber cladding, it’s even more complicated. Even if the material does slide right in, there’s the matter of colour and degree of oxidation. If the repaired section is in an obvious place where it’s highly visible, a professional will know precisely where to find a piece of weatherboard on the house in a hidden spot that can be swapped around to avoid the sore-thumb syndrome.
• Roof and flashing issues: If you have a visible rust stain on your roof it could be a sign of flashing failure. Not only can a roofer fix the flashing, or waterproofing material, around windows and chimneys, they can take steps to remove the stain and eliminate any unhappy surprises for the potential buyer.
• Windows: Today’s high-tech glass window units are often made from two or more panes sealed together at the factory to promote thermal efficiency. Energy efficiency is a very popular asset to emphasise in staging property. Beware. You can find countless videos on the internet demonstrating the “quick” and “easy” repair of these units, thus eliminating the need for replacement. Don’t believe them for a minute. Go ahead. Experiment. Take shortcuts. Just do this on your own time with your own windows. These windows are meant for someone else. Don’t take a chance on spending money and time on a fix that will cheapen the look of your lovely home.
• Wasp nest removal. No additional commentary necessary.
• Driveways: Driveway cracks and blemishes look unsightly and immediately signal the need for intervention by the buyer. Instead of buying a bag of concrete and attempting to patch the cracks yourself, call in a pro. They can fix the cracks, or better yet, put on a thin coat of resurfacing material that will make the entire driveway look as inviting as it’s meant to.
The cost of resurfacing your entire driveway, like the other steps you take to prepare your home for sale, can make money for you in the end. Or, by taking stop-gap measures in the work of staging property, it can cost you the sale. Speak to your property stylist before you undertake any DIY projects in your soon-to-be-listed home or apartment. You’ll be ahead money-wise in the long run.