How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

My friend Ken and his new wife are looking for a home to buy. They recently asked me to accompany them to an open house so I could help them inspect the property. I was happy to oblige. Being they are a young couple, I suspected they would get wrapped up in the “looks” of the house and ignore important items they needed to check.

The house we visited had been on the market for nearly a year. Even though there were other houses in the area that had been sold and bought, this one remained for sale. It was no wonder. The owners had “gotten it ready” to sell by planting flowers and shrubs in the front yard. They even added a cute little fish pond. That was fine. However, it’s what they didn’t do that sorely hurt their chances of selling their home for the price they were asking.

Just like any other home owners, these owners wanted to get the most money out of their home. The more appealing a place looks, the more buyers it’s bound to attract. They had the right idea by adding pretty flowers and an attractive fish pond. What they didn’t do was take a good, hard look at the rest of their house.

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, look at the outside first. Does it need a paint job? Is the siding in good shape, or does it have holes in it that need to be patched? If it’s a brick home, are there cracks or missing chunks of mortar that need replaced?

What about the roof? Are there shingles missing? Is the chimney in good shape? When was the last time you had it cleaned out? Are the gutters and the spouting securely attached to the house? Or are part of them dangling off the roof? The gutters should be clean and free of debris, by the way. There’s something about seeing gutters that are so packed with leaves and debris that saplings are growing up out of them. It makes you question how much care the rest of the house has received.

Also, check your windows and doors. Don’t forget to inspect the windows and doors in the attic and basement areas too. Are there any broken or cracked windows? Do the lock work, and do you have the keys?

Now, take a look at your yard. Are there unsightly weeds growing in the flowers beds? Have you mowed the grass recently? If you want to sell your house, you’ll need to make sure your lawn, sidewalks, decks, and open porches look presentable.

After you’re sure the outside of your “humble abode” looks the best it can, now it’s time to go inside your home and start looking around.

The home I visited with Ken and his wife had a dining room that had been painted a beautiful sky blue. I was sure the room had been painted while the owner’s furnishings were still in the house. How did I conclude this? The large white spot on the wall that was in the shape of a china cabinet tipped me off.

In order to get your home ready to sell, inspect the rooms. Do the walls and ceilings need repainted? If the walls are papered, is the paper clean and in good condition? You can quickly cover small holes in plaster by using a a dab of toothpaste.

If your furniture is going to remain in your house when you sell it, is it arranged neatly? Too much furniture in a room will make the room look cluttered and small.

Check the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen sinks. Make sure they are free
from hardwater and rust stains. Fix or replace leaky faucets and water pipes.

And finally, in order to present your house looking at its best, you’ll need to keep the inside of your house especially clean while it’s on the market. Vacuum the floors and dust often.

I doubt that the floors of the house that Ken, his wife, and I walked away from recently had been swept before the owners put the “for sale” sign in the yard. Because, the floors were covered with unwanted items, McDonald’s™ food papers, mud, dirt, and other debris.

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