These unsightly and distasteful habits need to be kicked to the curb, or strongly avoided, before costing you big bucks as a homeowner. 

From a real estate agent's perspective, it is agonizing to see homeowners settle into bad habits that reduce the value of their home, cost them thousands of dollars in maintenance, and usually don't benefit the person's well-being to begin with. The worst part is that most of the time, the person is completely ignorant of the effects and externalities their habits are having on their financial health (and possibly physical health as well). So here are five habits that you, as a homeowner, need to avoid and/or drop at all costs.

1. Smoking in Your Home

smoking in home

I have shown clients an uncomfortable amount of Treasure Coast homes that have a smell of tar and smoke. No matter how much you think you are masking the smell - replacing carpet, painting rooms, lighting candles - even non-smokers can tell when they visit a property that has been habitually smoked in. Not only does this severely devalue your home when you want to list it, but the maintenance costs (if you keep up with regular maintenance) can be astronomical with the damage this does to A/C systems. Whether you want to sell your home in the future, save on maintenance costs now, or keep a more comfortable guest, the smoking needs to be kept outdoors at all times. 

2. Being Unorganized

Messy House

When any room in your house is cluttered to the point where you cannot see some of the floor or walls, you can have some major maintenance problems that may be avoiding you. One major problem I have seen is when a home inspector gets into an attic and sees an active roof leak, which the homeowner never noticed because before that day it was disorderly and filled with random boxes. Another issue is when pest problems and leaking cleaning supplies go unnoticed because temporarily unneeded items get thrown into their default location in a garage or closet. Along these same lines, you should be very organized with any maintenance or work you've had done to the home - when it was done, what it cost, and who did it. This will allow you to convey this to future buyers, and will give you a contact point should anything break down in the years after the work was done.

3. Neglecting the Yard

The curb appeal of your home is invaluable, and overdue landscaping can be costly or even impossible when you finally decide to rectify the problem. Even if you are living in condos on Hutchinson Island, and don't have a "yard", the exterior presentation of your property is important and needs to be kept up. This means regularly washing windows, pulling weeds, trimming bushes, cleaning downed branches, etc. If large trees or shrubs are getting out of control, get them taken care of before it is too late. 

4. Not Setting Boundaries for Pets

Pet in House

Most people have close relationships with their pets, so it is difficult for them to set boundaries. When a homeowner asks me what to do about their pets to ensure their home can be shown in the best light, and ultimately result in them getting a high offer for their home, they usually already know my response before I say it. Allowing pets on furniture can cause an unappealing smell and unsightly dander and fur that turns off guest and potential home buyers. The pet's food and water should also be in an area out of site and on a solid flooring so as to no absorb any mess or overflow. Going back to the third tip, do not let your dogs dig in the yard, and if they do, fill it in immediately. When someone goes to buy a home, they want to see pride of ownership. Even if something may not be a big deal to you, it's a sign of something greater to them. 

5. Avoiding Regular Maintenance of the "Big 4"

You should have a plan of servicing your plumbing, electrical, roofing, and HVAC system on a monthly, semi-annual, and annual basis. Take care of these items and everything else should be an afterthought. When you go to sell a Treasure Coast home, buyers will see value in knowing that you have a maintenance schedule, and it will save you time in money when they have a home inspection done. Common sense treatment of these items - replacing air filters, only flushing toilet paper, etc. - should be top of mind so you are treating these four major bones of your home well and keeping them in good working condition.