One of the best ways to make certain your home attracts buyers and the highest possible sales price is to make sure it’s “dressed for success” both inside and out. Clean your house. A clean home says you can and do take care of the house. A fresh coat of paint and some new landscaping may seem like obvious first steps in preparing your home for sale. However, when it comes to the home inspection, there’s much more to do.
Beginning with the exterior, repair things like loose steps, disconnected gutters and rotted trim. Look for anything that’s been neglected and needs repair, like a rotted windowsill or missing roof shingle. Loose railings on decks or stairs are a common and often overlooked issue. A pair of binoculars is a good tool to use for the roof review. Besides missing shingles, look for loose metal flashing around chimneys and plumbing vents, a common cause of leaks. Be sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed away from the house, decks and fences.
Inside, give your mechanical systems an honest assessment. If your heating and cooling system hasn’t been recently inspected and/or serviced, do it now. If you are aware of any minor plumbing or electrical repairs that need to be done, get them done before a home inspection takes place. Make sure all light fixtures have working light bulbs. Leaky toilet fill valves, drippy faucets or electrical outlets that don’t work might seem minor but fixing them now not only means you’ll have less to worry when the inspection is done. It also shows both inspectors and the buyers that you’ve taken good care of your home.
If you have made improvements to your home, make available to buyers all invoices and documents regarding remodeling projects or new items such as a roof, water heater or furnace. If you’ve upgraded the electrical service, installed a new dishwasher or repaired a leaky faucet, find the paperwork and make it available. It will give the buyer peace of mind to know those items were repaired or upgraded.
One of the smartest things you can do to get your home ready for sale is to hire your own home inspector to go through it before it goes on the market. There may be issues with your home that you have either forgotten about or never knew existed. If problems are discovered, you have the time to either repair these yourself or disclose them upfront to the buyer, eliminating the possibility that the buyer will ask you to make repairs later. Ask your real estate agent which repairs should be done right away. A home inspector is going to find more wrong with your home than needs to be repaired. There will be items that you cannot and should not ignore. If your home needs a new roof, or a new heating/air conditioning system these should be addressed up front. There may also be a list of honey-do items that will not diminish the home’s value, and may cost you more money or time than the money they would yield for you at the sale. Make sure you discuss these items with your agent as well. Your realtor may have other suggestions but these are a good place to start.