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Sunday, December 29, 2013

What to do before selling your home

By Phil Brown

When you’re house hunting, there’s nothing worse than enduring tours of houses that haven’t been well-cared for. Burnt-out light bulbs, missing tiles, sagging screen doors, and other similar findings all suggest that the previous home owners didn’t properly care for their house.

If it’s that easy to spot visible maintenance problems, there are probably many invisible issues as well. And when you’re paying a hefty mortgage, the last thing you want to deal with are costly maintenance problems. If you’re selling your home, it’s important to make it stand out in a good way. Here are several things you should do to your house to make it an easier sell:

Leverage home sale negotiations with home staging
Home staging improves the appearance of a home for sale

 1.  Create a great first impression

It only takes a few seconds for potential buyers to size up a house, so make sure that their first impression of your home is a favorable one. Trim your bushes, prune shrubs, and mow the lawn. Give your house a fresh coat of paint if needed, and replace any missing shingles on your roof. Clean the gutters. Replace any sagging screen doors (or give old ones new life with a new paint job). Try to see your home through the lens of someone who has never visited before, and ask yourself if there’s anything in the yard or entrance area that shows signs of neglect. If so, fix the problems so that viewers’ first impressions of your home will be a positive one.

2.  Replace light bulbs and other items

Make sure every room has a working light bulb. Put new batteries in the smoke alarm. Replace the air filters. Little touches such as this signal that you're intentional about taking good care of your home.

3.  Make sure your house sparkles

Deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms. Rid your shower of any mildew or mold. Wax wood floors. Get rid of any unwanted lingering smells from cigarette smoke or pets. Remove unnecessary junk from each room so that your house is clutter-free. Make sure that your house is a welcoming and inviting space.

4.  Notice the little details

Go through your house, one room at a time, to see what needs to be done in each space. Do you need to replace the shower curtain? Fix nail holes in the walls and add a fresh coat of paint to cover them up? Fix that annoying leaky faucet? Simple fixes such as these show buyers that you take a keen interest in caring for your house, which will make them feel more confident about buying it. Have a real estate agent walk through the house to see if there’s anything else to take care of that you may have missed.

In the midst of a stagnant economy, selling your home can sometimes be a time-consuming process. But if you make sure that your house is polished and well-taken care of, it should sell in a timelier manner. Through utilizing these tips, you will guarantee that your house is in its best shape, thereby making it much more likely to sell quickly.

About the author: Phil Brown is a handyman who enjoys renovating old homes.

Image license: Lamar70, GFDL