> Preparing Your Home for Sale
Spruce Up the Outside
- Paint - Few things will enhance the sale-ability of your
house quite as much as painting the outside. Before painting, scrape or water-blast
any blistered or peeling paint; repair gutters and down spouts; and replace
wood showing dry rot. Pay special attention to wood, trim, gutters and wrought
- Front Entry - Give special care to this area because the
front entry is where buyers get their first opportunity to make a close inspection.
First impressions do make a difference. All woodwork should be freshly and
neatly painted, including the door if necessary. Replace a badly worn or broken
doorbell button. Polish any door brass. Paint or replace an unsightly mailbox.
Put out a new or clean doormat.
- Yard - Mow and trim the lawn. Weed flower beds; remove or
replace dead plants or trees. Water regularly during the growing season. With
desert landscaping, make sure that no underlying plastic is exposed, that
rocks and sand are tidy, and that weeds and unwanted grass are removed.
- Driveway, Garage/Carport - Clean up grease or oil spots;
remove the soil at least, if not the stains. See that the garage door opens
freely, and if you have an automatic door opener, make sure it's in good working
- Air Conditioners - Paint or replace any rusted exposed metal.
Correct improper draining.
- Patio - A nice spread of outdoor furniture looks very appealing.
If necessary borrow some from a friend to enhance the show-ability of your
- Swimming Pool - Adjust chemicals until the pool sparkles.
Hose dust and cobwebs from filtration equipment. Store chemicals and tools
neatly. Keep the area around the pool tidy and secure.
Look at the Basics
- Windows - Repair or replace torn or bent screens. As a last
resort, remove them entirely; it's better to have no screens than to have
unsightly ones. Replace any cracked or broken panes. Also, notice unsightly
foliage near windows. A window framed in ivy can give a warm, homey feeling,
but cut it back if the foliage is restricting the light coming into the rooms.
Drapery rods should be affixed firmly to walls and work smoothly; draperies
should be reasonably clean and hanging properly.
- Doors - Check to see that all doors open and close freely,
including closet doors and patio or sliding glass doors. Oil any squeaky doors.
Tighten the hardware, particularly doorknobs. And while you're at it, tighten
hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets too.
- Walls - As with the exterior, painting indoors will pay
dividends out of all proportion to the time and effort spent. Wallpaper should
be clean and adhere smoothly to walls.
- Floors- Repair or replace missing or damaged pieces of tile;
polish if needed. Repair of a loose stair tread plate or loose carpeting on
a stairway is a top priority.
- Carpet - Steam cleaning is the best answer for soiled carpets,
especially when shampooing isn't enough. If pet odors are present, clean the
carpet some time before you home is place on the market to be sure the odors
have been eliminated.
Check the Mechanicals
- Lights - Every light socket in and around the house should
have a good bulb of adequate wattage. Don't overlook those outside and in
the garage. Also remember the utility room, halls, closets, over the kitchen
sink, and in the oven and exhaust hood.
- Switches and Fixtures - Repair or replace wall switches,
outlets and light fixtures that don't work. Replace any broken switch plates.
You may need to call in a professional electrician.
- Appliances - Those that will be sold with the home should
be in good working condition. If specific equipment doesn't work and you don't
intend to repair it, point this out.
- Plumbing - Badly chipped or irreversibly stained sinks and
tubs should be re-enameled, patched or replaced. Leaky or excessively noisy
toilets should be fixed, as well as any dripping faucets.
- Sprinkler Systems - These should be working properly with
no defective heads.
Go for the Spacious Look
One of the best and least expensive ways to improve the show-ability
of your home is to open up as much space as possible. Openness stimulates positive
feelings in buyers. Overstuffed rooms or closets give the impression of being
smaller than they really are. You can't change the size of what you have, but
you can try to present it in a pleasing way.
- Closets and Storage Areas - One of the most frequently voiced
requirements of buyers is for more closet and storage space. Open up your
storage areas by getting rid of items you aren't using.
- Counters and Cabinets - The same principle used for closets
applies here: overcrowding gives the impression of inadequacy. This applies
to bathrooms and kitchen with the kitchen being the most important. Store
infrequently used countertop appliances.
- Garage - Buyers will pay a premium for a garage if they
an visualize it being of value to them, but it's hard to sell the virtues
of a garage when it's filled to overflowing. If you garage has become a two-car
attic, move the excess to a mini-warehouse.
- Bathrooms - Few places in the home can get so dirty so fast,
and yet few things will "unsell" a house as fast as dirty bathrooms.
Vanity, sink faucet hardware and mirror or the focal points. But don't forget
other potential problems: soap residue in the shower, a moldy shower curtain,
accumulated dirt in the track of a sliding shower door, soiled or missing
grout, soiled toilet bowls and dirty or battered bath mats.
- Kitchen - Most buyers will inspect the kitchen carefully,
so extra time invested here is well spent. Clean the stove inside and out.
Replace badly stained or corroded reflector plates under the heating elements
on electronic range tops. Don't neglect the kitchen exhaust hood; buyers frequently
check this area as a clue to general housekeeping.
- Windows - Clean windows are an absolute necessity if a house
is to look it's best. Weather permitting, open windows to let in fresh air.
- Water Heater and Softener - Perhaps because it's so unusual,
a sparkling clean water heater or water softener really impresses buyers --and
it takes so little time and effort.
(Taken from the From the National Association of Realtors
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