Home ownership can be a wild ride, especially for first-time buyers. Between the mountains of paperwork, endless inspections and the shear headache of trying to get a loan, buying a home can be a stressful yet ultimately rewarding process.

Considering the legwork that goes into buying a home, it’s no surprise that the average American remains in their single-family home for approximately twelve years. While this statistic may not seem like much, it’s rather notable for both skeptic buyers searching for a home and those considering putting their houses on the market. How so?

  • For potential buyers, twelve years is long time for wear and tear to accumulate upon a property; likewise, taking proper care of your home quickly becomes a lifelong commitment, not simply another chore.
  • For potential sellers, there may be wear and tear that you’ve become aloof to over the course of twelve years: even seemingly minor damages can have a significant impact on your ability to sell your home.

Buying a home with hidden down-sides represents the ultimate nightmare for first-time buyers: on the flip side, trying to sell a home that’s suffered damage can be equally frustrating. Whether you’re looking to buy a home or sell the one you’re in, consider the two nightmare messes that could haunt your home;s long-term value and how to  avoid them. These tips could be especially useful to those interested in a FSBO house where damage can be masked.

Be Careful with Carpet

The amount of dirt and grime absorbed by carpet over the course of a decade can be staggering, even if you vacuum consistently. This is especially true if you’re a pet-owner, as the ammonia in urine stains is seemingly impossible to remove if it’s been allowed to linger. Buyers may naturally want to rip up any existing carpet and replace it with hardwood flooring or tile: regardless, you should inquire about pets and the history of the home for additional insight on the condition of the carpet.

For sellers, it’s imperative that you regularly clean your carpet every 12 to 18 months, ideally with the help of a professional. If you already have pets, consider investing in a personal steam cleaner to take care of emergency messes.

Keep in mind that not all damage to carpet may be on the surface; for example, urine stains can penetrate carpet and soak into the carpet pads underneath, which therefore would need to be replaced upon sale.

Beware of Bad Plumbing and Mold

Poor plumbing may be difficult to notice at a glance; however, the byproducts of water damage, such as mold, can completely wreck a home’s overall value. If you’re skeptical about the condition of a house’s plumbing, be vigilant and look out for the following:

  • Stains on the walls or floor: even the most minor stains could signal big trouble
  • Any signs of cracks, such as in drywall, or areas of the wall or floor which appear swollen
  • Take a good look at the pipes in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms; likewise, make sure that there are no signs of mold or loose caulk

Remember that water damage and mold can’t always be detected by the naked eye: for example, mold spores can circulate through the air conditioning and cause illness to those within the home with actually being seen. While an appraiser should be able to spot mold, those selling their homes should be aware of potential infestations before putting their house on the market.

Whether you’re interested in buying or looking to sell, keeping your home spotless is perhaps the best way to protect its long-term value. By understanding the two messes that could result in major hassles for your home down the road, you’ll know exactly what to look for and take action sooner rather than later.

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