I know the saying goes, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, but when selling your home, the small stuff can add up quickly and may lead to a lower sales price. While making sure your house is clean and ready to show is critical, don’t lose sight of the details. Make sure to focus on fixing things that may distract buyers or raise a red flag during inspections before your home goes on the market. When we live in a space every day, it’s easy to overlook small items like a leaky faucet or a wobbly toilet. Walk through your home and try to examine it with fresh eyes. The checklist below may help.
1. Your Front Door
Most of us enter & exit our home through a garage or side door, so it’s easy to forget that your front door is a buyer’s first impression of your home. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
- Make sure the lock works properly and is easy to operate.
- Ensure that front porch lights are operational and have working light bulbs.
- Clean the door well and remove any cobwebs or leaves from the porch area.
- Place a doormat both outside and inside the front door to eliminate dirt and water from damaging your flooring surfaces.
2. Kitchen & Bathrooms
As you know, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Even if you haven’t renovated these rooms, you can get the biggest bang for your buck by making sure they look fresh, clean and trouble free.
- Fix leaky faucets and make sure that toilets are properly seated.
- Remove small appliances and other clutter from counters to show off work space.
- If the room has not been updated in awhile, consider a fresh coat of paint and some matching accessories (towels, throw rugs, shower curtain) to freshen it up.
- Make sure that tile & grout is in good condition, replace tile or re-grout if neccessary.
- Deep clean those major appliances & make them sparkle.
- Pull screens off windows & repair any holes or tears you may find. Re-screening is a simple and inexpensive process that you can do yourself or it can be done at your local hardware store. Store screens once they are in good condition since the house will look brighter without them.
- Clean windows to let the in natural light in and let buyers have a clean view of the property.
- Make sure windows are clear (with unbroken seals) and that they open, close and lock easily. Home inspectors will check each window during the inspection process.
4. Mechanical systems
- Make sure to have your furnace and air conditioning units serviced and in good working order. They will both be inspected.
- Check your water heater and water softener (if you have one) for leaks.
- Do all of your light switches work? Do you have GFCI plugs in your kitchen & bath?
- Check walls and woodwork for dings and repair where necessary.
- If walls are filled with scuff marks, consider a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color.
- Do you have lots of color on your walls? Consider repainting to a neutral palette. Color is personal. Even though you may love the red walls in your dining room or your lavender master bedroom, those bright colors may turn off potential buyers who may lower their offer price because they plan to repaint these rooms once they move in.
- Has the wallpaper on your walls been there awhile? Wallpaper is one of the biggest turn-offs for younger buyers. If removing all the wallpaper is not an option for you, consider removing it from at least a few rooms like the living room, dining room or kitchen.
6. The exterior & yard
Not all of us have a green thumb, but you can make the best of your home’s curb appeal by attending to just a few items.
- Make sure the grass is mowed and that leaves are removed.
- If you are listing in the winter, remove snow & ice from driveway and walkways.
- Get rid of weeds in planting beds and put down a thin layer of fresh mulch.
- Do you have mildew build-up on your siding or concrete surfaces? Make sure to clean them with a pressure washer. You can rent one to use yourself or have a local service provider do the job for you.
- A lot of homes have piles of wood or extra building materials in the back yard. Stack the wood neatly and either store or get rid of old bricks, stones and other building materials that you no longer need.
- Check those gutters! Make sure they are clean and in good working order.
It is easy to lose sight of the “small things” when you list your home, especially if you have lived in it for a long time. Issues like a lock that sticks or a light switch that doesn’t work may not bother you, but they can be a big deal (especially if there are a lot of problems) to a potential buyer. By taking care of these issues before listing, you present your home in the best possible light and help ensure that you get the highest offer possible.