Preparing Your Home for Sale
A prospective buyer will usually enter through your front door; so, that is where your work should begin.
You want your buyer to see a neat, clean, well-lit interior. Get clutter out of sight; ensure carpets are clean and floors are scrubbed and polished; and that walls and trim show fresh paint (preferably neutral or light colours).
Take a sniff. Are there any unpleasant odours in your home? If so, track them down and get rid of them. Ensure all your lights work and are free of cobwebs. You want your home to look spacious, bright and fresh.
If you have considerable family memorabilia, consider thinning it out. Your objective is to help potential buyers feel as if they could live in your home. That mental leap becomes more difficult if your house resembles a shrine to your family.
Professional realtors and decorators say the most important areas of your home to upgrade are the kitchen and bathrooms. Buyers also want to see new or recently installed floor coverings throughout.
- Check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, and missing or loose handrails and guards.
- Most problems with interior walls are cosmetic and can be repaired with spackling compound and paint.
- Ensure doors open and shut properly. Minor sticking is normal, but excessive binding may indicate structural problems.
- Open and close all windows to ensure they work properly. Fogging between the panes of a sealed window indicates the seal is broken and the unit needs replacing.
Keep furniture to a minimum so rooms don't look smaller than they are. Ensure traffic can flow into or through rooms unimpeded. If bookshelves or cabinets overflow with books, magazines and knick-knacks declutter...less is more.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
People splash water around in the kitchen and bathrooms, so check around sinks, tubs and toilets for rotting countertops and floors. Problems could be due to poor caulking or plumbing leaks. Fogged windows, mould and sweating toilet tanks indicate high humidity, which you can remedy with exhaust fans.
- In the kitchen, clean all appliances, including your oven. Clean or replace your greasy stove hood filter. Clean your cabinets inside and out, as well as your countertops and backsplashes. Repair dripping faucets.
- Remove anything stored on top of your fridge and remove artwork and magnets.
- Remove items stored under the sink.
- In bathrooms, scrub sinks, tubs and toilets, taking care to remove any rust stains. Remove mildew from showers and bathtubs. Fix dripping faucets or trickling toilets, and vacuum your fan grill.
- Clean mirrors, light switch plates and cupboard handles.
- Consider installing new six-litre toilets if you currently have water-guzzlers.
- If you have ceramic tile in either your kitchen or bathroom, ensure grouting is intact and clean.
The condition of the foundation and main structural members in the basement are critical to the fitness of any house. The purpose of your inspection is to make sure these are sound and durable.
- Look for cracks, water seepage, efflorescence (white powder-like substance), crumbling mortar or concrete, and rotting wood. If these problems are present, you need to learn about causes and solutions.
- If your basement is damp or musty, consider using a dehumidifier.
- Like all areas of your home, your basement should be organized and clutter-free.
- Change filters in the furnace and have it cleaned - this is the No. 1 thing buyers want done after a home inspection.
- If your pet has a litter box, ensure it's clean.
- Get rid of broken tools, old car parts, discarded bicycles, empty paint cans and the hundreds of other useless items that accumulate in garages. Again, you want a clutter-free zone.
- Use cleaning solutions to remove oil stains from the floor.
This is just a sampling of what's required to sell your home. For a professional, no obligation, home evaluation contact Dean directly.