Decks, Porches Influence Home Sale

Porch and deck structures are visible to potential home buyers on a first visit, unlike other structural elements.

elevated deck railing

Replacement railings refresh the appearance of the porch or deck.

Azek replacement railings

Vinyl post wraps and caps can update the appearance of a structurally sound wood deck for a modest investment.

vinyl post wraps

Vinyl Post Cladding

solar post cap for deck railing

Solar Post Caps

Formal building inspection is part of every home sale. But is that the only building inspection our homes have to pass?

“In my experience, buyers begin ‘inspecting’ the home on the first visit,” says Linda Windisch, a real estate agent with Northwood Realty in Wexford, PA. “And one of the first places they look is the deck or porch.” Because these outdoor structures are more exposed, she says, they are an easy target for casual scrutiny.

“If the porch looks dry,” says Windisch, “it gives the impression the whole house is poorly maintained. If the railing lattice is weathered, it can reduce potential offers. Buyers assume they will have to do that maintenance themselves. And they wonder what else they'll need to do.”

How important are these decks and porches to a home sale? According to the 2004 American Housing Study*, about 85% of all year-round homes in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area have one or more outdoor structures such as decks and porches.  In other words, they are nearly universal.

“The presence of a deck or porch is almost expected—and if they are in good condition, it is definitely an advantage,” says Windisch. “The size of the outdoor structure makes a difference, too.” She says that when it comes to deck size, “more is usually better. People can see themselves holding that Fourth of July party and having a good time right away.”

Rebuild or refurbish?

To decide on your most cost-effective method of making the deck or porch presentable, an inspection is well advised. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors offers an online illustrated guide to deck inspection. The single biggest cause of deck collapse, according to their site, is separation of the deck ledger board and the house. But the biggest cause of all deck-related problems is railing failure, they say. Porch inspections are similar to deck inspections, but include additional inspection details related to the roof, gutters, and structural supports.

If your inspection shows that your deck or porch is in good structural condition but in need of some cosmetic improvements, you have many options today in addition to the traditional bucket of paint. These include vinyl floor and post wraps, replacement railings, post caps, solar post caps, and replacements railings.

If the inspection shows deeper structural problems, and rebuilding seems the way to go, Penn Fence’s professional installers can help you create a deck this fall that is safe, code-compliant, and good looking—a real asset whether you continue to live in the home or sell.

Justified or not, a deck or porch in poor cosmetic or structural condition can hurt the sale of your home. If a spring 2012 sale is your goal, this is a good time to inspect, update, or reconstruct.

* U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

According to a 2011 study presented in Remodeling Magazine, entryway improvements and deck replacements are among the ten improvements most likely to pay back when you sell your home.

 

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