7 home maintenance tasks sellers must do before listing

Proactive is the buzzword when addressing both cosmetic and mechanical components of a listing

It’s that time of year again, the 2019 selling season is upon us. If you have clients getting ready to put their home on the market, the task list to prep for the market can seem endless.

To make it easy, we walk you through the seven things sellers should do before putting that for sale sign in the ground.

Spruce up the exterior

Let’s face it, the exterior of the property is the first thing a buyer will see whether online or driving by. Now is the time to make sure it looks its best.

Walk around the entire exterior of the home, and conduct an assessment.

Consider pressure washing, painting, having the windows cleaned, cleaning out gutters, trimming back any overgrown or dead landscaping, cleaning the front door and changing out any worn door hardware that may look old and corroded. And make sure the front doorbell actually works!

Service the heating/cooling system

A home inspector is going to check this anyway, so beat ’em to the punch by having the system serviced and cleaned. When was the last time it was serviced anyway?

It’s better to take care of any repairs that may need addressing now versus waiting until a buyer decides to make an offer.

Do a light bulb check

Make sure all of the lightbulbs are working and free of dirt and debris. Yes, these need cleaning too — just make sure they are off. Don’t forget to check the outdoor lights as well.

Check the smoke detectors

Maybe sellers took the batteries out the last time they were playing Top Chef in the kitchen.

Now is the time to make sure that all smoke detectors are working and have new batteries. Replace any old ones as an inspector is likely to flag those during a home inspection and recommend that they be replaced.

Blue tape it

Conduct a thorough walk through of the interior of the home. If there are any nicks, dents or scratches on the walls and moldings, blue tape them so sellers can go through and have each area repaired.

The more wear and tear a home appears to have, the more the buyer is going to chip away at the asking price.

Deep clean, and declutter

Now is the time to give the home that deep clean it needs. Consider hiring a cleaning crew to tackle this; the more hands, the better.

Deep cleaning means wiping down all of the baseboards and moldings and cleaning cabinets, appliances (including the oven) and every corner from top to bottom including light fixtures and ceiling fans.

It’s also a good time to gather all those unwanted closet items together to donate as well as any unused furniture and decor. The less stuff in the house, the less there is to organize and keep clean.

Clear out the garage

Often overlooked when preparing a home for sale, don’t forget this space. Make sure the garage is clean, in good repair, organized and that you can actually walk through it.

Consider painting the floor or having an epoxy finish put down. And that ceiling? Buyers also look up when touring this space, so make sure any drywall cracks or loose seams are repaired.

Buyers recognize and appreciate homes that have been taken care of. Taking some time to invest in home maintenance before selling will likely yield a big payoff when it becomes offer time.

It’s not TV. It’s your bottom line.

TV shows make finding a profitable fixer-upper seem easy. But in the real world, there are real challenges and decisions to be made.  

Whether you’re buying an investment property or a starter home for your family, there are dozens of factors to consider. How much will it cost to renovate? Are home values rising or falling in the neighborhood? How in-demand is the area? 

Want to make sure your purchase isn’t a money pit? Ask yourself these four questions:

1. Does it have good bones?
We want to avoid expensive repairs that would eat into your bottom line. It’s vital to have structural elements like the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical and HVAC system inspected. 

2. Is the price comparable to the area? 
The property may come at a fixer-upper price, but how does it compare to others in the area? Let’s also take a look at new developments or zoning laws that could influence future home values.

3. Does it need special inspections?
Fixer-uppers need to go beyond standard inspections. Things like sewer lines, septic systems and pools age with the property, so it’s important to have each evaluated. 

4. What does your contractor think?
Bringing a contractor on board early is essential when creating your renovation budget. We need to estimate the cost of any aesthetic changes or upgrades to avoid overimproving the home.

Remember, it’s not just the sticker price you want to consider when buying a fixer-upper, but the cost of the entire project. 

Do you need help finding the fixer-upper of your dreams? 
Together, we can evaluate the purchase price, factor in repair costs and determine the future resale value of the home. 

If you’ve already got your eye on a fixer-upper, or want help finding a contractor in our area, get in touch today.