Yes, spring is in the air, and your thoughts may be focused on selling your home! And now is the time to get it ready for the process!
I advise my clients to have a neighbor or relative to visit the home who hasn’t been there for awhile to give their brutally honest first impression of the home. What will a buyer notice? Chances are, the blemishes in your home that literally drive you nuts and keeps the “honey do” list on the refrigerator is NOT something that a buyer will notice. More likely, it’s the blemishes you are used to that will stand out the most to prospective buyers, (like the dirt build-up around your kitchen cabinet hardware or the doggie scratches in the woodwork by the back door)!
And can we say it enough? De-clutter and clean those ceiling fans! Besides, you’re planning to move. Now is the time to go through the stored items in your basement or closets or garage and donate or pitch. Rearrange furniture if possible to make your rooms appear larger. Open the drapes/curtains, wash those windows and let plenty of light in.
It’s been proven that the fastest and most cost-effective DIY fix-up you can do to your home is paint! Get rid of the lime green walls in the bedroom or the pink wallpaper and paint in the bathroom! Another cost-effective update is new kitchen or bath counter tops. Nothing turns off a buyer more than dated countertops. It doesn’t have to be granite, it just can’t be orange! With the surfaces available today at relatively low cost, it’s worth doing ahead of time! Think of it like this….it’s one more thing the buyer will NOT have to do when they move in to your home, thereby making it a more attractive home than the one down the street that still has a lime counter top and a pink bathroom!
Your agent is also an excellent source of help when it comes to items that might not be as apparent. He/she may notice areas that other agents, home inspectors, appraisers would question. Does the roof look like it needs attention? Is your water heater dated to 1960 but is working perfectly? Is there duct tape holding parts of your heating system together? Are your downspouts disconnected from trunk lines and causing water leakage in the basement? Anything at all that looks suspect should be checked by a qualified repairman. Keep the receipts to show that it has been maintained/repaired recently. It may be worth your while to ask the maintenance provider to give you a certification that the equipment is in good, working order. Occasionally, we find basement walls that have bowed from being back-filled too quickly during the construction phase, perhaps decades before! In those types of cases, it would be worth your while to have a structural certification done to address the issue up front and put potential buyers’ minds at ease. Certifications and repair receipts go a long way in determining the condition of your home and how it’s been cared for on your watch.
Your home should look as fresh, clean and well-maintained as possible. And remember, your agent sees hundreds, perhaps thousands of homes, and is your personal guide to getting your home ready to sell. Good luck and get to work!
(As appearing in the Canton Repository March 11, 2016)