Helpful tips when Selling Your Home

To give your home a competitive edge when it’s time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition. This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, it simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the buyer’s pre-purchase inspection. According to home inspection experts, approximately half the resale homes in the market today have at least one significant defect. Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent major, costly problems from developing in the first place. If you have been putting off those repairs, now is the time to make them.

Over the years, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has identified a list of common problems that typically appear on buyer’s home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a home’s appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale. The following 6-point checklist can help you achieve these marketing goals. (See also Home Buyer Checklist)

1. Check the major systems
After size, style, and location, a home buyer’s primary concern is the condition of the home’s basic structure and major mechanical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas. A pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most of these problems and include recommended repairs, if needed. Think of the inspector as a critical and neutral third party, allowing you to see things that may be overlooked or thought of as “normal.”
Roof structure and coveringFoundation, basement and/or crawl spaceCentral heating and air conditioning systemsElectrical systemPlumbing system
2. Make maintenance improvements
A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home’s appearance, efficiency, and comfort. A professional home inspector may make helpful maintenance suggestions, such as:
Trim trees and shrubs which touch or overhang the house, creating better curb appeal – the first impression is the only impressionApply new caulking and weather stripping as needed around windows and doorsClean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainageReplace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearanceVentilate closed basements and crawl spaces, or install a dehumidifier, to prevent excessive moisture build-upRegrade soil around the foundation, as needed to keep water away from the houseReplace dirty filters in the heating and air conditioning systemsHave the heating and air conditioning systems professionally servicedHave chimneys professionally cleaned and install chimney hoods or caps as needed
3. Pay attention to details
Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of our home. Here are some typical improvements which might be suggested by the home inspector’s findings:
Repair leaky faucetsTighten loose doorknobsReplace damaged screensReplace broken panes of glassReplace burned-out light bulbsSecure loose railingsRepair and coat drivewayPatch holes or cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaintRepair or remove wallpaper
4. Take Safety Precautions
Home inspectors also pay attention to items relating to protecting the home and its occupants from danger. They can alert you to important safety precautions which home buyers will appreciate, such as:
Installing smoke detectors on each levelInstalling Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s) in “wet” areas, such as kitchen counters tops, bathrooms, and exterior outletsKeeping flammable products away from heaters, water heaters, and fireplaces
5. Make Cosmetic Improvements
An attractive, clean, and neat home will appeal to a buyer’s emotions. Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. HGTV offers some great tips & secrets to buying or selling a home.
Keep the lawn mowed and the house neatClean the exterior walls and trim; repaint if necessaryOpen windows shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphereKeep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, since buyers scrutinize these areasKeep your home “show ready” at all times (clean, clutter free & impersonal)Storage is key – keep closets half-empty & neatly organizedSend Fido or Fluffy to the pet hotel during any open house events
6. Prepare for the Buyer’s Inspection
It is a good idea to assemble in advance various house records that can be used to answer questions from buyers and home inspectors. The Home Buyer Checklist identifies some of the important factors to consider when choosing a home. In addition to an affordable sales price, they will also want to be sure that the neighborhood and house meet the needs of their family.