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Prepare your Home to Sell

Posted by Patricia Rattray on November 5, 2022
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Prepare your home to sell at the highest price with these tips. Buyers pay more for homes that are well maintained and organized. Owners that are detail-oriented and meticulous send a message that you have taken the utmost care to preserve the value of your home. Preparation has 3 phases, home maintenance, information gathering and staging.

Home Maintenance

  1. Check attic vents for blockage by bird nests, etc.
  2. Clean window wells, dry wells and storage areas of debris.
  3. Have heating and central air systems checked by service person and replace filters where necessary.
  4. Exterior paint: touch-up minor areas, repaint/paint shutters and front door
    Check humidifier for proper operation.
  5. Roofing: secure any loose shingles, replace damaged areas Have service person check water softener for proper operation.
  6. Chimney: repair loose bricks, clean flue, repair chimney cap.
  7. Check sump pump for proper operation and that cover is securely in place.
  8. Gutters: clean and repair gutters, replace leaders and gutters where necessary.
  9. If appliances will remain, make sure they are in good working condition and owner’s manuals are available.
  10. Pruning: prune large trees and shrubbery, remove dead foliage.
  11. Check all faucets for worn washers and pipes for leaks; repair where necessary.
  12. Mason or stucco cracks: repair with caulking compound.
  13. Re-caulk tub and shower enclosures.
  14. Locks: lubricate, repair or replace locks, have keys made for main entry ways.
  15. Have entry area brightly lit and clutter-free.
  16. Keep lawn mowed, leaves raked, driveway and sidewalks clear depending on season.
  17. Paint hallways and rooms off-white where necessary.
  18. Area around front door should be neat.
  19. Check front door bell, light fixtures and mail box. Plants or flowers will perk up the entrance.
  20. Repair settling cracks and water marks.
  21. Repair loose wallpaper.
  22. Make sure house number if visible.
  23. Shampoo carpets and wax floors.
  24. Replace outside lights with higher wattage bulbs.
  25. Wash windows.
  26. Remove stored items around house, pool and garage.
  27. Clean kitchen closet and cabinets.
  28. Check all windows, screens and storm doors; repair or replace broken items.
  29. Clean hallway, bedroom closets, storage and basement areas.
  30. Remove insects and bird nests from eaves.
  31. Store excess furniture and possessions in attic or basement.
  32. Clean garage
  33. Make sure pets’ litter boxes, cages and bedding are clean and order-free.
  34. Leave lights on in dark rooms if there are no wall switches; leave shades up and allow as much light as possible to penetrate home.
  35. Increase wattage in light fixtures.
  36. Determine what kind of insulation you have.
  37. If your property has had termites or carpenter ants, check your warranty.
  38. Do your own inspection and fix everything broken that is not a major expense.
  39. Keep cash and all valuables secure and out of sight. Placement in drawers is not out of sight. Remove anything with high value from the home completely.

Information Gathering: Take time to gather and organize the information listed below.

  • Home Association Rules and Regulations (for PUDS)
  • 12 months of utility bills (electric, oil, gas, cable, trash and water)
  • Common area fees for Homes on Shared Land/Common charges for condos
  • Property Tax Bill
  • Floor plan sketch, Architectural Plans or Drawings (if any)
  • If available, provide land survey; define easements, neighborhood assessments or covenants on land
  • List of all upgrades, new appliances, systems, etc. since purchased, including brand names and capacity
  • Are any contractors currently working on home? If so, please provide contact information.
  • Does anyone else have access to your home? If so, please provide contact information.
  • Contacts for Management Company, President of Board, Land Associations, Planned Development Management, Gated Community Security Company
  • Age or approximate age of all major systems, features and appliances: such as roof, windows, septic, compressor, furnace, hot water heater, water storage tank, etc.
  • Security, Electronic Fencing and Home Electronic Systems: Status, Brands and Features
  • Details of any notable masonry and landscaping features (include new or exotic trees and plants)
  • Details of custom home features indoor/outdoor that might differentiate your space from other units
  • Any historical documents related to building, land or street
  • Any known developments planned for neighborhood or street
  • Any exclusions of sale (such as chandeliers, other lighting, washer/dryer, door knobs, shelving, etc.)
  • Storage Unit Number and Location
  • Parking Spot Number and Location
  • Two extra sets of keys for house (I have what I need)
  • Extra garage door keys/openers and keys for other exterior buildings/gates
  • Any town hall records that you have, such as a survey, certificate of occupancy, permits, etc. (I will visit the town hall for any items we need)

Staging

The Secrets to Staging

Highlighting a residence’s most positive attributes through the power of home staging is an
essential step in the home selling process. Whether it involves reorganizing, adding new furniture
and decorations, or even making repairs and renovations, staging can make a powerful impression
on a prospective buyer. Here are some basic guidelines to help you get started.

  1. Boost Curb Appeal
    Make a strong first impression with your home’s exterior and lawn.
    • Power wash the house and walkways
    • Replace or repair worn elements such as roofs, decks, patios or porches
    • Make sure all windows are clean
    • Add some eye-catching color with new shutters or a freshly painted front door
    • Carefully choose your flowers and plants
    • Keep the grounds well maintained
    • Include proper lighting along the driveway and sidewalks, and near important landscape elements
  2. Clear Away Clutter
    Showcase your home’s true potential by clearing out unneeded items.
    • Remove all unnecessary items such as clothing, trinkets and furniture by asking yourself what you can live without
    • Keep flat surfaces clear, especially in popular gathering spaces
    • Keep drawers and closets organized and clear to reveal full storage capabilities
    • Rearrange furniture for added space
  3. Appeal to the Senses
    Adding brightness and pleasant aromas to a room can go a long way.
    • Clean all windows and screens for optimal natural sunlight
    • Keep all drapes and shades open
    • Use higher wattage light bulbs
    • Place lamps throughout
    • Include light-colored paint and furniture
    • Add pleasing scents throughout the house, while covering any undesirable odors.
  4. De-personalize While Maintaining Character
    Limiting personal items while retaining a warm environment allows buyers to imagine adding their own personality to the home.
    • Remove excess personal items prior to welcoming interested buyers
    • Take down family photos and replace with framed art or neutral images
    • Eliminate any trinkets that cater to personal preference
    • Keep the décor neutral and add decorative arrangements
    • It’s not all about white walls—bold accents help add warmth to a de-personalized home
  5. Present a Lifestyle
    Capture the essence of being “lived in” by presenting a relatable, authentic environment.
    • Use specific lifestyle accents, whether a hammock in the backyard of a quiet suburb, or a swing on the front porch
    • Re-purpose extra rooms to give them a clear use—for example, as a home office or studio
    • Add appealing, warm touches such as vases with cut flowers, a basket of fruit, neatly arranged magazines or candles

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