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  • Writer's pictureDonna Baker


Selling your home is a big decision but once you have made it you need to do your homework. When the weather is keeping your indoors there isn’t a more perfect time to start whittling away at your “to do” list. The first step in doing any project well is preparation. To insure your “to do” list is well thought out begin by asking yourself these questions:

1.      What enhancements and improvements are necessary?

2.      What improvements will give you a return on your investment?

3.       What will make your home sell more quickly?

4.      Can I accomplish some tasks myself or should I hire a professional?

5.      What are the most important enhancements and improvements?

Many homeowners find the prospect of preparing their home for sale overwhelming but even if you don’t it is a wise decision to consult the professionals. You can source articles on cleaning, purging, organizing etc. but nothing will beat the advice of a professional real estate agent that knows the local market.   These are the people that do this for a living every day after all. Most real estate professionals are happy to provide you with a market analysis and as part of that advise you on improvements and enhancements you will want and need to do. It is a great idea to involve them early so you don’t make expensive or unnecessary repairs and enhancements and regret it later.

However, if you are a home owner who is hesitant to call the Realtor before you “clean the place up” or prefer to be a DIYer we have compiled some practical ideas on how to successfully prepare your property for sale.

First impressions, as you have always been told, can make all the difference. Studies show that within 15 seconds a buyer has developed an opinion of your property. The best way to make a buyer “feel at home” is to create a welcoming environment. Focus your attention on several key elements when looking at your home through a buyer’s eyes:

·        Environment should be neutral.

·        Accent the home’s features with color and décor.

·        The smell should be “new” and CLEAN.

·        Details make a positive first impression.

·        Appeal to the senses: sight, smell, and sound are key.

Curb appeal encompasses everything from the street to your front door. You will want to make sure each component of the visual landscape looks its’ very best.

Exterior maintenance is extremely important when you are “on the market”. You may wish to refer back to our article “Exterior Fall Home Maintenance” published on our blog for more detailed information on this category.

Interior maintenance.  Once you have a buyer interested and, in the house, you will want to bring your “A” game. Each room should be spotless from top to bottom. This includes storage areas and garage spaces. Check out our article titled “Appealing to the Senses” published on our blog at for more details.

In addition to the general maintenance issues you will want to insure all appliances are in good working order. If the appliances need repair then get those done. If they are older but still work well perhaps you should consider offering a home warranty with your property.

If your home uses a septic or aeration system know where it is located. If possible, have a diagram of its’ location available for buyers. You will also want maintenance records for the system available for buyers.

A diagram of the location of inground sprinkler systems and maintenance records would be advisable as well.

Attics, crawlspaces, electrical panels, HVAC (furnace and air conditioners) and hot water heaters should be easily accessible by inspectors so make sure all personal items are clear of these areas.

Having a copy of your subdivisions covenants and bylaws as well as contact information for the home owners’ association (HOA) and ages of all appliances (kitchen appliances, furnaces, air conditioners) and dates of major improvements (roof, painting, siding, windows) is the sign of an organized seller as well.

As advised earlier, consulting a knowledgeable, local Realtor is wise. They will have their finger on the pulse of buyers in the market and be able to give you advice tailored to your specific home and situation.

Completing the tasks outlined above will show attention to details and leave a positive impression with any buyer.

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