Are you experiencing the winter doldrums?  After the holiday spirit subsides, the short days and long nights can reek havoc on the moods of many people.  But as the sun comes up earlier and sets later and with hopes that the groundhog doesn't see his shadow and hibernates for six more weeks, we can see that spring will be here soon.  With that, we all get antsy to put a spring cleaning list together. 

Spring cleaning can be anything from wiping down the exterior of windows to cleaning up landscaping.  Not only do homeowners need to do routine maintenance on their property each year, but some particular items should be noted in order to upkeep a property for future sale.

Following the housing bubble effect in 2006 with prices peaking then falling dramatically thereafter, the loaning process has changed tremendously.  Prior to the burst, most buyers purchased a home with a conventional loan or even cash.  Getting a loan was less stringent.  Buyers found a house that met their needs and they bought it.  Home inspections were rarely done. 

As the government stepped in to help rescue the housing crisis new, federally insured loans were implemented through Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  These loans are set up to allow for a lower down payment or 100% financing and possibly a lower interest rate.  The more strict appraisal process requires the appraiser to not only find the market value of the property, but also make an inspection of minimum standards for health and safety.  These loans are used approximately 75% of the time in this area.  The following are some of the minimum standards required for this type of loan that you may want to add to your spring cleaning list:

*Peeling paint - scrape and repaint any chipping or peeling paint inside and out.  This includes inside the window seals.

*Hand rails - All steps and stairways with three or more risers must have a hand rail.

*Exterior grading - The lot should have a negative grade away from the house to prevent moisture from entering the basement and/or foundation.  Make sure your down spouts are always on so water does not permeate the ground next to the foundation.

*The heating unit must be sufficient.  Don't forget to replace your filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

*The roof should be in a good state of repair and no leaks.  Must not be at the end of its useful life.

*The foundation should be in good repair.  No movement, collapse, bowing, cracks.

*Windows should be working properly.  Broken windows repaired.

*If appliances will stay with the home, they must be in working condition. 

*All electrical outlets and junction boxes must be covered.

By adding these items to your annual spring cleaning list and keeping in touch with your real estate agent (ME!!!) for new rules and regulations, your property will be ready to sell when you are ready to sell it.  Call me with any questions you might have - Lynn Wilhelm, 402-269-7468.