Put away valuable and personal items first. When a buyer enters your house, they want to imagine themselves living in the house. How will their lifestyle fit into this house? What will they use this room for? Let their imagination flow through the rooms, across the book shelves, out the windows. To make that happen, pack away nick nacks, trophies, cook books, collections. and family pictures. Take down art work and replace with mirrors. Not only do mirrors reflect more light, make rooms look bigger, but hello - what better way to allow the buyer to SEE THEMSELVES in your house!! Remember, you're moving. It all has to be packed so what you don't need every day, put away including pots and pans, clothes, linens, books, toys, sports equipment, make up, spare blow dryers, last months' magazines and hobby items. Now that you've put your life away, look around and discover the dirty footprint you've left.
Spring Clean Like Your Grandmother Taught You: Granny never missed a corner, crevasse or baseboard and neither will the buyer. Keep windows clean including the window sills, blinds or drapes. Vacuum or wipe window sills, dust or take blinds down and wash and if possible, toss drapes or curtains in the dryer with a couple dryer sheets to freshen. Speaking of dryer sheets, use them to wipe baseboards and put a couple on top of the HVAC filers - after you change them - to freshen the whole house. And clean those filter covers and ceiling vent covers with soap and water. Dust or grime on vent covers might suggest a faulty AC condenser. Spray paint yellowed plastic vent covers to make them look new. Wash around light switches, plug sockets and door knobs. If you're brave enough, paint chipped door molding. Home Depot sells toilet seats priced as low as $9. Just sayin' is all. The Devil is in the details, so don't forget high ceiling corners, ceiling fan blades and get out dead bugs from light bulb globes and closets.
Fix It While You Can: Get a home inspection before you list. Spend the few hundred dollars to do this and avoid costly repair negotiations down the road. A home inspection will reveal the most vulnerable defects in your home as well as the petty annoying problems you've come to love and live with. Seller's aren't expected to bring an old house up to current building codes but if your inspection reveals a lack of ground fault sockets, put that fact in the seller's disclosures and make it a non-issue going forward. Slow drains, running toilets, leaking faucets, broken sprinklers, fussy dead bolts can be easily remedied by most but once it's on a buyer's 'Repair Request Amendment' it's a different story. Most sellers don't know that once the buyer knows it's broken, it must be fixed by a professional or licensed person. The owner has lost the privilege of fixing it themselves. The buyer could request a transferrable warranty for leaky pool equipment, flickering light fixtures or plumbing issues and seller fixed items can't provide one. Very few home warranty companies cover pre-existing defects which translate into anything identified in a buyer's home inspection.
Transitioning forward should be an enjoyable adventure for the entire family. Your real estate agent should be a resource of encouragement and sound, professional advice. I look forward to your comments. If you want individual answers, contact me by email and I'd be happy to help you GET MOVING FORWARD.