Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
Tips to help you get your home ready to sell
So you've decided your going to sell your home. Before the "for sale" sign goes up in the front yard, have you taken the time to really look at your home? You want to make sure that you "welcome" the buyers to your house - from the front door and even before (when they drive up to the curb).
Remember that people get used to overlooking those little problems that many homes have when they are living there, so be sure and look at your home from the perspective of a potential buyer. Get those little repairs out of the way now, and showcase the pride you have taken in your home.
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
First impressions begin when the buyers pull up out in front, and you want things to look their best before anyone even gets out of the car. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
- Repair walkways and driveways: Fix cracks in bricks, concrete, and asphalt. Use a commercial cleaner to remove stains from concrete driveways – and from the floor of the garage while you're at it. Remove weeds and debris, and edge the lawn. Make sure that any steps are safe and clean, and that handrails are in place, solid, and in good repair.
- Spruce up the paint job: Scrape and repaint any areas of siding where the paint is peeling. Re-caulk windows and doors. A fresh coat of paint on exterior trim and doors is always a good idea. If the house is badly in need of a complete repainting, give some serious thought to having that done. Some people opt to offer a discount to the buyer to cover the paint job, but bad exterior paint makes a terrible impression, and may lead some people to question other aspects of the home's maintenance and overall quality.
- Fix the roof: Replace missing shingles or tiles, and repair any loose or missing flashings or vent screens. Repair or replace damaged or missing gutters and downspouts.
- Fix windows and doors: Replace missing or damaged window screens and screen doors. Check the operation of each door and door lock to ensure nothing sticks or hangs up. Pay particular attention to the front door, front sidelights, and any screen or storm door on the front.
INSIDE THE HOUSE
Once you've got buyers through the front door with that great curb appeal you've created, wow them with how beautiful and well maintained the interior is as well.
- Check and repair all flooring: Starting with the entry, check all the flooring in the house. Repair any loose seams in vinyl or carpet. Replace missing or cracked grout in tile floors. Make sure that any transition pieces between two different flooring types are in place and solidly attached. Check the condition of baseboards, and reattach and repaint or stain them as needed. Have carpets professionally cleaned, and have the cleaners pay particular attention to any stains.
- Check door and window operation: Check each and every door and window in the house. Make sure every window operates and latches correctly, that tracks are cleaned and vacuumed out, that frames are tight and freshly painted, and that the glass is clean and in good repair. Check that all doors operate without dragging or scraping the jambs, and that doorknobs and locks work correctly.
- Spruce up the paint job: As with the exterior, good interior painting shows good maintenance and pride of ownership. Fix any holes or cracks in drywall, and touch up the paint. If your walls have not been painted in a while and the touch-up paint is now a different color, repaint the entire wall rather than leaving spots behind that have obviously been touched up. Paint is a can is worth $20 but fresh paint on the wall can be worth thousands. A good paint job is probably the best thing you can do to get your home ready to sell.
- Check the plumbing: Examine every plumbing fixture in the house, including the water heater. Make sure there are no leaks anywhere, including annoying drips in faucets. Make sure that toilets flush properly and also shut off properly. Repair or replace caulking around tubs, showers, and toilets as needed. Make sure every drain is flowing freely, and consider having the drain system professionally snaked if necessary. If your septic system is due to be pumped and serviced, do it now rather than risk an untimely backup.
- Check light bulbs: It's a minor thing, but check each and every light fixture – including table lamps that are controlled by a wall switch – to make sure that every bulb works.
- Clean - clean and clean some more: Buyers are looking for sparkling clean homes and a clean home indicates a home that has been well taken care of.