In the rush to get a house ready for its first day on the market, there is always a hurry to get things done. Pressure washing the exterior, staging problem rooms, checking lights and alarm systems, trimming up the landscaping and painting the front door are all common jobs on a seller's to do list. But there are some jobs often forgotten that can really make a difference in getting a house "showing ready".
Caulk and Re-Grout
When was the last time you freshened up the grouting around baseboards and molding? And don't forget bathtubs and showers. They've seen
you naked and heard you sing. Of course they'll need a little freshening up! A tube of caulk can make these areas look well maintained and cared for.
We all know about removing clutter from the refrigerator door, but what about inside? Think those buyers will snoop a peek inside the 'fridge? You bet they will. And the oven too! Be sure kitchen appliances are uncluttered and clean. There's no bigger turn-off than a dirty refrigerator and an oven still sporting the remains of last Thanksgiving's dinner.
Mowers and weed whackers can do a lot of hidden damage to a sprinkler system. Check for broken components and mis-aligned sprinkler heads hosing down the house instead of the begonias.
Chimney and Fireplace
Buyers this time of year are thinking of chestnuts or marshmallows roasting on an open fire and cozy fireplaces to hang stockings on. Be sure your fireplace has a clean hearth and firebox. While you're at it, have the chimney swept by a professional chimney service so your REALTOR® can tell buyers it's been done since the last season.
Window Treatments and Window Sills
We seldom do much with our windows except open and close the blinds. Those blinds or curtains need to be cleaned professionally, and sills should be checked for peeling paint, discoloration and moisture stains. And don't forget to clean the curtain rods!
While we're on windows, how are the screens? It's often something buyers wonder about during a final walk-through. Are there any missing or in need of repair or replacement? Accounting for screens often becomes a last minute frenzy prior to the pre-closing walk-through.
Attics are like Canada, we never remember how much cool stuff is up there until we go and look. It never surprises me what sellers leave behind the day they're moving out - golf clubs, family heirlooms, Christmas decorations, not to mention all kinds of unwanted junk. Clean the attic before going on the market, and while you're up there, give the insulation a look for missing or damaged sections.
First, check your homeowners insurance to be sure it's up to date. There are (hopefully) going to be loads of people walking around in your home, and the opportunity for all kinds of disasters looms. So be sure your driveway, walks and the house itself are safe for company to navigate. Sunken living rooms or any unexpected steps need warning signs for visitors. Be sure all areas are well lit, and fix tripping hazards like loose pavers or buckling concrete and sidewalks. Have buyers remove their shoes when showing, especially if it's been raining, to prevent slips and falls.
Prevent crimes of opportunity by removing valuables and prescription medicines before showings, or store them securely. Also remove any expensive wine or spirits. Most thefts have happened at open houses where buyers may slip away unaccompanied.
Your punch-list for showing preparations may seem endless, but covering these and other issues can make for a faster sale and an easier closing for all concerned.