When selling your home, make sure it’s in tip-top shape
Ideally, homeowners undertake routine maintenance tasks for the duration of their stay on the property. Taking care of the property on a regular basis – whether that entails landscaping and garden maintenance or the general upkeep of the house – ensures that it stays in tip-top shape, which helps to avoid large repairs bills down the road.
Often, though, when a person decides to sell their home, the painstaking attention to detail about a property’s general condition takes a back seat – after all, they won’t be living in the property for very much longer, and the issues are, quite frankly, the next owner’s problem. This may be especially true when the homeowner isn’t living in the property when it is put on the market.
The way a home is taken care of speaks volumes about whether it will be attractive to prospective property buyers. People looking to acquire a new home already have to fork out a large portion of cash, and purchasing a property is considered one of the most significant financial transactions in any person’s life. If they anticipate that they’ll have to spend even more money to get a property up to scratch, potential buyers will often steer clear of a purchase by default.
Unless you’ve decided to sell your home as a fixer-upper – which comes with its own set of challenges, chiefly the fact that sellers can expect to earn much less on a property than they could, had they undertaken certain basic repairs or renovations – you’ll do well to pay attention to some rudimentary details that really could mean the difference between a sure sale and a long stay on the market.
1) Keep up the yard and walkways
Home sellers will rue the day they didn’t pay attention to maintaining the garden and walkways around the house. Make no mistake: this is the first impression prospective buyers have of a property. An unkempt garden leaves a bad taste in the mouth even before potential buyers have had a chance to check out the rest of the property, and even if the house is immaculate inside, a neglected yard speaks volumes about the general condition of the property.
Aside from welcoming and inviting buyers to the home, landscaping can actually also add value to the property that should not be disregarded. One UK study, for example, found that landscaping the garden could increase the property value by as much as 77%. While landscaping could prove an expensive venture, which sellers might not necessarily have budgeted for, simple upkeep and general tidiness can be undertaken without the help of an expert.
Never underestimate the power of kerb appeal – impressing buyers is as simple as making sure the garden and pavement are weed-free, and setting down a few pots at the front door if the garden isn’t quite as lush as it could be. Get rid of any garden or other rubbish, clear the mailbox and keep the lawn neat and trimmed, with clear boundaries between your house and the neighbours’ property. Don’t forget to make sure the front door – often referred to as the “handshake of the house” – is not weathered. If it is, sand it down and adorn it in a fresh coat of paint. The driveway should be clean and clear, and ensure that vehicles are out of sight when the house is on show.
2) Clean the gutters and check the roof
A dilapidated roof is an immediate turn-off to most homebuyers. Anticipating that they might have to fork out a lot of cash to undertake roof repairs, most buyers steer clear once they realise the roof of a property is worse for wear. While these types of repairs can prove to be costly to the seller – although some simple repairs might not be as expensive – they will certainly yield returns when the time to sell comes.
Similarly, home sellers should check and clear the gutters around the house of any debris that might have gotten stuck. The main purpose of roof gutters is to collect and direct water away from the property when it rains. Blocked and broken gutters allow water to fall close to the home, potentially leading to problems with the house’s foundation, that could amount to thousands of dollars in repairs. In addition, problem gutters could lead to staining on the exterior of the home (which negates a repaint – certainly not a cheap fix), and could damage the landscaping, too.
You can be sure that a home inspector will pick up on roof or gutter issues anyway – avoid the hassle by getting it right before the time.
3) Service your heating and cooling systems
If you have an air-conditioner or heating system in the house, now is the time to make sure that it is in good working order. Call in a technician to check the system completely and advise you on any repairs or maintenance work that needs to be done.
If your house has a fireplace and a chimney, you should also make sure that these are free of blockages or debris. You’ll also have to give the chimney a good clean – let’s be honest, it probably hasn’t been done in ages, and is way overdue.
4) Keep the critters and insects out
The single best way to avoid having critters and bugs make your home their home is to always ensure that your household garbage is secured away from animals. Food that is just lying around the yard is irresistible to roaming critters and will inevitably lead to them being around the house more often. If food is always in steady supply, these wild animals might even decide to bring along family members. Unless you are planning on selling your property with the added bonus of a family of possums, you should make your property an unattractive option to roaming wildlife.
Keep insects and other animals out of the house by looking for holes or gaps in windows or vents, and sealing these off with caulk or mesh. Use gutter guards and put some mesh over the chimney to keep animals out in nature, where they belong.
If you are already aware of an infestation of some kind, enlist the services of a pest or animal control expert to help you relocate or exterminate the population.
5) Wash your windows
We often don’t realise just how dirty our windows are before we wash them. Although this task is usually associated with spring-cleaning, home sellers will understand the difference clean windows make once the job has been done. Clean windows don’t just allow the maximum amount of natural light to enter the home, but may also draw the attention away from the little corner you forgot to dust.
Prospective homebuyers like to see that the current home owner has put in some effort to show the home in its best light, and will certainly notice squeaky-clean, sparkling windows – this is perhaps the easiest way to make your home seem cleaner than competing properties on the market.
6) Tackle seasonal tasks
Speaking of spring cleaning: even if the lawnmower has a specific, albeit random spot it usually stands in, home sellers should move it, together with other gardening tools, out of sight when the time comes to put the house on show. Depending on when you are planning to sell your house, it creates the impression that the owners are nonchalant and don’t care about the maintenance of their property when seasonal tools, lawnmowers and leaf blowers are lying around the garden – especially when these are typically not used at that specific time of year.
Simply keeping a finger on things around the home can save homeowners a lot of hassle when it comes time to sell their property. While extensive renovations or repairs to the property are not always necessary, some basic maintenance tasks go a long way in ensuring that potential homebuyers get a good impression when they come to see the home.
The home showing is the one price a property must shine – if prospective buyers have gotten this far in the process, home sellers need only hook them now to ensure a sale. When a property is in disrepair or is neglected in some way, this could well lead to buyers questioning whether the home perhaps has other issues that they might have trouble with down the line.
Even if many of these suggestions are cosmetic in nature, they certainly help to put the property in the best light by immediately helping potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space.
Qualified and experienced real estate agents can advise home sellers on which repairs or renovations are absolutely critical to ensuring a sale. If you still haven’t found an agent that understands your specific needs, contact Perfect Agent today. Our extensive database of real estate agents is bound to have your perfect fit, helping you to sell fast.