3 Things to Fix Before You Sell Your House

Preparing your home for sale can be quite strenuous. What can you do to increase your home’s value? And what repairs/additions will give you a good return on the value? The entire real estate market is crazy and difficult to navigate. That’s why, as experienced Maryland home inspectors, we wanted to put together this little guide offering suggestions for how to get the best value for your home.

Inspect Home Before Sale

Fix Any Structural Issues

Most people neglect the structure of their home when they’re thinking about selling. While that scented candle you placed out is nice and acts as the cherry on top, that’s just it. It’s just a cherry. The structure of your home is the ice cream itself, and without it you don’t have a sundae, just some whipped cream and a cherry (which isn’t half as good!).

Many home-buyers take a home’s structure into serious consideration. Things like the roof, HVAC, the water heater, and pipes are all integral parts of your home, and if not functioning properly, make the home less appealing. If any of your home’s structural components are old or are in need of repair, you should seriously consider either repairing or replacing them. If anything is in too bad of shape, your home may not be approved by a Maryland home inspector.

Make Sure Your Landscaping is Top-Notch

One of the first things a potential home-buyer sees as they approach your home is not your house, but your yard. You want to make this first impression a good one. Many sellers think only about the house itself and neglect the yard, leaving it cluttered and unkempt. This is a big mistake.

Make sure your yard is cleaned up, with no junk or clutter laying around. Then spruce it up a bit! Cut the grass, trim the hedges, plant some new trees and flowers, put new mulch in the planting bed. You get the idea. You may even want to consider hiring a professional landscaping company. Whatever you do, just have your yard looking its best!

Update and Modernize Your Kitchen

One of the most important rooms in your house when it comes to selling it is your kitchen. Today’s buyers want a kitchen that could rival that of Gordon Ramsey’s. There are a couple of things you can do to renovate or revamp your kitchen. You could conduct a full-blown overhaul, redoing and replacing everything, though this is time-consuming and costly. Many sellers choose to update and upgrade kitchen appliances like the refrigerator and the oven. This is the best way to go, it’s cost-effective, and most buyers put a lot of stock into what appliances come with the home.

How Do I Know Which Things I Should Fix and Which Ones to Leave Alone?

If you’re having trouble deciding which components of your home should be fixed before you sell, don’t worry. This is a big decision and one that’s difficult to make. Take some of this stress off yourself by contacting a professional Maryland home inspector. Highland Home Inspections has served Maryland for years and we’ve learned the ins and outs of the real estate business. Give us a call today, we’d love to help you in any way we can.

Worried About Mold Problems in Your Home?

Mold in your house can be caused by any multitude of reasons, most of which are related to water damage. You can take preventative measures like keeping your pipes up to date, drying out wet areas around the house, and using an air purifier. However, if you’re worried mold is already there, it’s best to get someone who performs home inspections locally to check out your mold and see how to get rid of it. In the mean time, it’s best to get informed on what mold is and what it could do to your house.

Mold in a house

Different Types of Mold

Most people wouldn’t normally be able to pick out one type of mold from another, but there are different kinds that can lead to various different health risks for your household. Aureobasidium is a mold that is commonly found on wooden furniture or surface, painted walls, wall paper, around windows, and in caulk. This mold is pink and black. It’s so common that most people are allergic to it, and it’s known to cause more severe reactions than other molds.

Cladosporium is a type of mold found in cool and warm areas around the house, like carpet, wood floorboards, wooden cabinets, and older fabrics. This mold is known to give homeowners breathing problems and respiratory issues.

Stachybotrys Chartarum is also known as “black mold,” or “toxic mold.” This mold is typically found in areas that stay damp and can be recognized by its musty smell. Black mold creates toxic compounds that are known as mycotoxins, and they cause the people who breathe in the mold to get breathing issues, sinus infections, depression, fatigue, asthma and more.

There are more types of mold, like tricoderma, ulocladium, and alternaria, that cause various issues for homeowners typically involving breathing issues and allergic reactions, so always keep an eye out for mold as to avoid the issues that come along with it.

What Does Mold Mean For My House?

If mold damage goes too far, it might mean bad news for the future of your home. If mold damages dry wall, you may have to cut out and dispose of that part of the wall. In some cases, you may have to completely replace the fixture or surface the mold is on, and that can get costly.

If you’re selling your house, you are legally required to inform interested parties about the mold in your home, which could make it harder to sell. Mold litigation is getting tougher and tougher, so it’s best to get your home looked at by a home inspector if you think you’ve found mold, so you can best determine how to get rid of it, and more easily sell your home.

How Can I Solve My Mold Problem?

Mold can generally be treated by giving it a good scrub with the right cleaner. Moldy surfaces should be washed with a solution that contains detergent and warm water, then, when the surface dries, use a bleach solution on the surface and clean it. Do this three times. Secure the room the mold is in until the mold is gone so it does not harm anyone in the process of trying to get rid of it. Once you get rid of the mold, be sure to keep up with cleaning and keeping your surfaces dry so it doesn’t come back.

If you’re unsure about what kind of mold you have, or if you have mold, call Highland Home Inspections today to get it checked out. We can help you identify the mold you have, and help you fight against it.

Focus on Fire Safety in Your Home

When you’re buying a new home, you don’t typically think about all the things that can start a fire. However, you should have that in the back of your mind. Not all homes come completely fire-hazard-free, and it’s important to know what to look at in a potential new home to determine if there is, in fact, a fire hazard. It’s always a good idea to hire someone who does home inspections in Maryland to determine if your home is a fire hazard or not. In the mean time, we’re going to look at different fire hazards around the house and signs that something might just be ready to catch fire.

A fire extinguisher in an apartment

Safety First

When you’re looking at a house for the first time, you might just be looking at the space and layout of the house. What you should really be looking for, are potential fire hazards that could endanger you and your family. For starters, make sure the wiring in the house isn’t out of date. If an electrical socket cannot easily hold a plug or is loose, it’s time to replace it before it bursts in to flames. On the same note, faulty wiring can cause a fire, even if it’s new. Check every electrical outlet in the house to make sure there is no charring or discoloration that may have been an electrical socket fire.

Older appliances that are still installed in the house, like an old dryer or oven, are also a fire hazard. If an appliance is too old, it may not function properly, and using it may result in flames which could ruin your house.

Asbestos and the fuse box are two of the most obvious things people looking for a house think about. Asbestos was used in older houses to prevent fires, but if it does catch fire, the chemicals it releases in to the air can put you and your family in physical danger. A faulty fuse box is also a huge fire hazard, hitting one wrong switch could result in flames.

Something is Wrong

You might not realize something is wrong in your new home until something happens. To prevent that, you should know the signs that something is wrong. If you keep smelling something burning, but can’t find the source, you need to check all of your outlets and switches to make sure your wiring isn’t faulty. On the same note, if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, you might want to replace it or get it checked out by a professional who can help you fix it. Other signs something may be wrong are an unclean kitchen, uncertified appliances, lint build up in the dryer exhaust, or an unclean chimney or fireplace.

Fighting Back at Fire Hazards

Fire hazards are around every corner, and you should always keep an eye out for them. To prevent any fires from happening in your home when you thought you were safe, get your house inspected in Maryland by Highland Homes Inspections. We’ll make sure your new home is ready to live in, not ready to catch fire.

Signs that Animals are Ruining Your Home

Do you ever hear noises around your house at night? Something that sounds like an animal, but you’re not completely sure? Well, it could be an animal, and it could be ruining your home. This could spell disaster for a homeowner. We’re here to look at some of the most common animal intruders and signs that they’re in your house so you can make sure your home is safe and rodent free.

A raccoon on a roof.

Rats and Mice

The most common house intruders, but some of the smallest and trickiest to get rid of or spot. If you’ve spotted the rodent, then you know you have one. But if you’re still trying to figure out if you have an intruder, for starters, keep your nose open. The smell of rats or mice can spread, especially when they typically pee wherever they go.

You should also keep your eyes open for droppings. The droppings of rats and mice tend to be smaller, almost mistakable for a chocolate or raisin. Another way you can tell if a rat or mouse is in your home, is noises. Rats and mice are typically nocturnal, so you will hear them running about the walls and scratching at night. Along with that, there may be signs of chewing. Take a look at your running boards, insulation, and other various places you think the mouse or rat may have been. Yes, this includes the open box of cereal you have on your counter.


To determine if you’ve got a raccoon roommate, you typically follow the same signs as you would for a rat or mouse. Raccoons, because they’re larger animals, don’t typically stay in the walls. They tend to seek shelter in an attic or basement, so if you suspect something has gotten in to your attic or basement, it might be a raccoon.

Signs that a raccoon is now living in your house could mean raccoon droppings, ripped insulation, damaged ducts, or chewed wires. Raccoons are also known to get in to garbage, so be sure to get rid of your trash frequently as to not draw them to your house. If you’re unsure if you have a raccoon but have a strong feeling you might, call a professional to conduct a home inspection and help you decide if you’ve got a raccoon.


The signs of an opossum being in your house are very similar to the other two. Because opossums are larger than the other two, the signs are slightly different and larger. There will be a more prominent smell, as opossums defecate more frequently than most mammals at a size that is close to a house cat’s droppings. Other signs you might have an opossum are: louder noises, including animal vocalizations, disappearing pet food, and damage to your houses exterior.

How Do I Get Rid of These Pests?

If you’re unsure if there are animals in your home, call the professionals to conduct a home inspection in Maryland. At Highland Home Inspections, we look at everything inside and outside of the house to make sure you’re safe. Contact us today to learn more.