Preparing Your Home to Sell

Exterior

  • Make sure your lawn is mowed and edged.  The first impression a buyer will get of your home is from the outside.  Curb appeal is very important.  If you don’t have the time to keep the lawn mowed and edged, now is the time when hiring a service would benefit you.  This way you don’t have to worry about making sure it always is done in time for a buyer to see it or an open house.
  • Trim all the trees and shrubs on your property.  If you can’t reach some of your trees or don't have the equipment to trim the trees and shrubs, we suggest you hire a landscape company to get it in shape for you.  You can also rent the equipment from a rental company if you would prefer to do it yourself. Be careful trimming trees!!
  • Weed and edge gardens.  Freshen up the plants by taking off any dead leaves and flowers, weed & edge the area and add some fresh mulch to add a new fresh feel to the garden. Fill in "blank spaces" that look out of place with some new shrubs or flowers.
  • Clear driveway and clean up oil spills.  Make sure the driveway is always clear of toys, bikes, trash cans, and other items.  If there is oil on the driveway, clean it with some solvent from an auto store or another store like K-mart, then wash it so it is clean of all spills. Cat litter is also very effective in absorbing oil.  Pour it on the oil spot, grind in and leave sitting overnight.  Repeat if necessary.  Sweep and wash after treating.
  • Clean out the Garage.  The garage should be viewed as a garage to be able to put a car in, not a storage shed.  When a buyer see’s that the garage is used for storage they will assume the home to too small and has a lack of storage.  It will also free up your driveway making curb appeal better if the car is in the garage and the garage door closed.
  • Clean all sidewalks and pathways.  Make sure your sidewalks, pathways and decks are free of mold and algea so they are not slippery. Pressure wash or use appropriate cleaning products if necessary.  Make sure no toys, papers, or outside tools are left in the walk-ways.You want your home to be inviting and to ensure that no one falls.
  • Repair and clean all windows.  Replace any cracked or broken windows and make sure they are clean for a well maintained look.
  • Clean all eaves and drain spouts.  Blocked eaves and drain spouts can lead to damage that will cost more than keeping them clean.  Using a ladder and either your gloved hand or a small broom/trowel allows you clean them out. Again, if you are not comfortable or safe using a ladder, you should hire a handyman to do it for you.
  • Paint exterior areas that need painting.  If the exterior of your home, garage, or any other out building is in need of paint or repair, do it before the home goes on the market.  This includes peeling or chipped paint. 
  • Ensure door bell is in working order.  You will want to test your door bell and make sure it is working so you can hear it ring when a Buyer or Realtor comes to the door.
  • Repair screen on door or other out door areas with screening.  All screens should be repaired before the home is on the market.  Screens help bring the outside indoors and many buyers want to be able to open windows and doors when the weather is nice.
  • Freshly paint or varnish front door.  The front door is always the door to have a prospective buyer come in.  It should look inviting and have a fresh look to it.
  • Repair door knobs, locks and key access.  Like the front door, this is what the buyer will see when entering the home.  If the door locks and hardware are not in good condition they should be replaced.  Make sure the key works easily in the lock if your home is going to be shown by Realtors.

 

Interior

  • Remove all family photos, trophies, personal crafts, etc.  Personal items often keep people from being  able to visualize the home for themselves and distract from other features of the home.
  • Create Space:  Areas that become "clutter" spots, such as entryways, halls and stairs should be "de-cluttered" to remove any safety issues of potential buyers tripping.  Doing this also helps the areas seem more welcoming and usable.  Remove empty boxes and containers:  These items should also be placed in a storage unit until ready to use.
  • Store surplus furniture:. This will make the rooms seem more spacious.  Try not to store these items elsewhere in the home, garage or basement.  Renting a storage unit for unused items is worth the investment.  If these are not items you plan on moving, you may want to have a Pre Sale Garage Sale.
  • Clean all your carpets.  If the carpet needs to be replaced, do so and make sure it is a neutral color.  If it does not need replacing, have it cleaned or do it yourself by renting a carpet cleaning machine.
  • Repair or paint any chipped or dirty walls.  Remember to choose neutral colors when painting your walls, not everyone likes bold colors or blue or red tones.  If all that is needed is to wash the walls, do the entire wall, not just spots.
  • Make doors and windows open correctly and easily.  Just use a little A-1 oil where needed so that everything opens’s and closes easily.
  • Repair seals around tubs and basins.  If this is needed, you can purchase caulking at a Hardware store and replace and repair where needed.
  • Repair leaking taps and toilets.  These items may not be noticed when a buyer is looking at the home for the first time, but when they choose to purchase and have an inspector check out the home, these little things will be brought up and often asked to be repaired.  Addressing now is better than later.
  • Clean Air Conditioner filters.  Doing this should be done as normal maintenance yearly to add to the life of the unit.  The effectiveness and condition of the unit will be a major concern of any buyer.
  • Tighten door knobs and latches. Double check knobs and latches so that they are not loose and in good working order.
  • Replace defective light bulbs  The inside lights are usually turned on during a showing so you want to make sure all bulbs are in working order.  Bathrooms and other smaller areas especially need to be well lighted.
  • Repair squeaking floor boards.  Repairing squeaking floor boards can be difficult depending on what you have for floor coverings.  If you do not want to attempt it yourself, we suggest you call a professional flooring company.
  • Repair minor damages. (ie: plaster, wallpaper, etc.)  If you have wall-paper and the seams are opening up, a small tube of wall paper paste can be  purchased at a hardware store.  Plaster repairs may need the attention of an expert.