Sigh...I'm about to put my lovely northern New Jersey house on the market. I've lived in my Hawthorne home for over 17 years. We’ve raised our family, celebrated many life events and have had a wonderful experience living in our home.
When you're selling your home there is a list of items that one may need to take a look at before a realtor or perspective buyer walks in the door. There are many articles, posts and blogs giving advice about home staging, but for this blog, we're going to do a deeper dive on some hard-water-related fixes you may not have even considered.
First Things First
Of course, when we first decided to sell, we sat down and took a look at the basic to-do list. For instance, our list included taking a hard look at the paint and flooring. How have they faired over the years? Is the paint too dark? Is it fresh and clean? Did we need to brighten up any of the rooms? How about the floors? Do they need to be sanded and refinished? While these were some of the cosmetic things to consider, we knew these items are fairly simple and common enough to address and they would be fairly inexpensive.
When the realtor came by to talk about the comps, pricing the house, and what not, she began to ask about the more 'important' items in the house. She didn’t seem as concerned with paint color and the condition of the floors. Her focus was on the big-ticket items; namely, the hot water heater, boiler, washing machine and dishwasher, to name a few. She inquired about the ages of the items and when the most recent service was performed. It was apparent that folks were willing to change paint colors when they buy a new home but not necessarily want to begin replacing those critical mechanical items.
As my husband and I tried to pull together the records and information, we really began to take a look around the entire house to see what may need some attention. We made a punch list and began working. Every day we are taking a little time to fix this and tweak that.
Do We Have Fine Steel Wool?
One day my husband called and asked, "Do we have any fine steel wool?”
With a typical wife response, I replied, "Yes. What are you doing?"
"I'm about to polish the granite in the kitchen and the marble in the bath."
He went on to point out that in almost every room of our home hard water had made a mess by leaving rough sediment deposits on many surfaces of our home. These, certainly, required our attention before we put that "For Sale" sign on the front lawn. His list looked something like this:
The cost of tweaking the things on his list was minimal, but the time required certainly wasn't ideal. Considering that we had a long list of other pressing things to take care of fine steel-wooling the granite wasn't one of them.
Big-Ticket Items and Hard Water
The bigger picture here was the big-ticket items. When the realtor sat with us, she suggested we consider paying for and offering a homeowner's warranty to the prospective buyers. We sat pensively looking at each other not sure which answer we should give and then the answer was clear as a bell. Yes. We needed and wanted it. After the realtor left, I asked my husband why he wanted to purchase the extended warranty and his response was simple.
"What if something breaks before we close? Like the boiler or hot water heater?"
My reply, "That's exactly what I was thinking."
We talked more about it and realized that the hard water had compromised most of our major and minor appliances over the years, our fine-stone tops, and some of the inner workings of our plumbing. They all had evidence of hard water deposits i.e., calcium and magnesium.
After the consideration of the cost and time for these extra chores, I suddenly had an 'a-ha moment' and realized we would have been able to avoid most, if not all of the problems created by the hard water in our town, had we installed a water softening system.
It was at that moment I declared "If we were staying, I'd be installing a water softening system tomorrow."
My husband just looked up from his steel-wooling and smirked.
~ Cindy Dittfield, writer for Passaic Bergen Water Softening