So, you want to sell your home? Here is a handy little checklist that you should review before you put your home on the market.
Major Mechanical Systems
Make sure all of the home’s major mechanical systems are in perfect working condition. This means the heating, air-conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems. Not only will it impress buyers, but also if they move in and find out that the air conditioning doesn’t actually work, you can expect to hear from them and possibly their lawyer. If a toilet flushes but drips, fix it.
Fixtures and Appliances
Replace fixtures that are irreparable or just plain unsightly. A 40-year-old toilet rarely looks good. Replace it (toilets can range from a hundred bucks to thousands). If the sink is so old that it never looks clean, despite hours of scrubbing, get a new one. If your kitchen stove is on its last legs, replace it. New fixtures and appliances don’t have to be top-of-the-line. But they should be decent quality and neutral in style. (Tip: Try to keep away from highly-styled fixtures such as gold-toned, swan-headed bathroom faucets.)
Roof, Basement, Attic
Pay close attention to any needed repairs to your roof, basement, or attic. Smart buyers will look to those places for telltale signs of trouble. Now that mildew and mold have become major bugaboos for homeowners — some people believe mold causes health problems and some insurance companies will not cover damage caused by mold — be doubly sure that your basement and other rooms are mildew- and mold-free. Check that your basement isn’t wet or damp. Remember that getting rid of basement moisture may be as simple as fixing a rain gutter or downspout.
Spruce up your landscaping. Take an honest look at the landscaping in your neighborhood. Yours should look at least as good as everyone else’s. Besides such obvious tasks such as mowing and edging, get rid of weeds and any dead or dying plants. Replace them with flowering shrubs. Buy blooming perennials or annuals and plant them in dense groups near the door or driveway. Buying new trees isn’t a good investment, however, since they’ll be small and won’t do much for your landscaping.
Make the front entry inviting. Consider getting a new doorknob or knocker for the front door. Buy a new doormat. If it won’t make the porch or front steps seem too small, set a small potted evergreen or well-arranged large pot of perennials near the front door.
Paint is cheap and the results are magnificent. There’s nothing like a freshly painted room. Maybe you don’t need new kitchen cabinets so much as painting your dinged-up olive green ones a nice, neutral off-white. Ditto for the walls anywhere in the house. Especially if you have any dark walls in your home, repaint them white. You may think a Bordeaux-colored living room wall is dramatic, but many people find dark colors dreary. Keep the color scheme light and neutral.
The Small Stuff
Repair all the little irritations you’ve lived with for years, including squeaky doors, windows that don’t open, drawers that don’t work smoothly, cracked tiles, missing roof shingles, torn window screens, dripping faucets, sticky latches, and broken porch stairs. Any repairs having to do with safety, such as wobbly deck railings or stairs will be flagged by a building inspector anyway. Make the repairs first and you’ll save yourself time later.