Getting Your Home Ready To Put on the Market

(Article by Lisa H)

If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, you need to look at your home in a slightly different way. Think, literally, in marketing terms: consider your house as a product that’s going on to a market where it’s likely competing with newer, bigger, better properties.

Here’s a look at what you need to do to ensure your home is market-ready and just as ready to compete with newer properties.

Fixing It Up

If there are improvements that need doing, do the work before putting your property on the market. Potential buyers don’t want to hear that you plan on taking care of defects before transfer of ownership. Even if you’re in the process of fixing up things, buyers might not be able to see the bigger picture or visualize what the house will look like when the work is completed. They’re more likely to walk away remembering the house in a state of disrepair.

Should You Have A Professional Inspection Done?

Serious buyers often request that a professional inspection is done before making an offer. But you also have the option of hiring a professional inspector. This is a great way to find and take care of any serious deficiencies before a potential buyer gets their inspector in.

A Market-Ready Checklist

We’ve outlined some practical and easy-to-follow steps below that will help you to identify common house problems and deal with them before putting your house on the market. 

1. Street Appeal

Try to look at your house with a different view. How does it look from the street? This is the first impression your home will make on potential buyers. Stand in front of your house and take note of what you see.

It only takes 60 seconds to form an impression. Does the lawn need mowing? Are there leaves to rake? You should also look into trimming trees and shrubs neatly, especially if they are blocking light from the house. Remove dead plants and clean the flowerbeds and remove weeds from paved surfaces. If your grass is looking a little brown, be sure to water it and if you have tables or benches that could do with a coat of varnish it might be worth freshening them up to add to the cleaner look of your home. 

Remember to clean out water features, fill up the birdseed feeder and sweep the driveway. When you’re done, put away all the things that are simply taking up space like the hosepipe, toys or loose building materials.

Next, take a look at your roof. Look out for missing or broken roof shingles and replace them and then straighten and clean the gutters. Give the windows a clean and fill up any broken putty. If you haven’t painted the exterior of your house in a while, a fresh coat of paint does wonders for curb appeal (and that includes window frames and doors and mailbox). Remember to seal any cracks that may be present before painting.

Don’t forget to look down and inspect the state of your driveway or walkway surfaces which may need evening out or have cracks that need repairing.

Ensure that all outside lights are in working order and fixtures are free of cobwebs. If you have a shed, ensure that it is neat and tidy and if you have a swimming pool that it is sparkling. Entrance gates should be well oiled too.

Also remember to tidy up the garage and make sure the door and light works.

2. Going Inside

Typically buyers will enter through the front door, so start your interior inspection here. Your interior should be neat, clean and well-lit with no clutter in sight. If you have carpets they should be clean and floors polished. The walls and skirting should also be clean and it may be worth giving the walls a fresh splash of paint too – preferably in light or neutral colors.

Get a friend to take a sniff around – literally. Get them to tell you if they pick up any unpleasant odors (sometimes we’re used to the smell of our homes and won’t pick up smells that may be unpleasant to potential buyers).

Next, make sure that all your lights are working and are free of insects and cobwebs. Aim to have your home looking spacious, fresh and bright. If you have lots of picture frames around, thin them out a bit and aim for a more neutral home that potential buyers can visualize themselves living in.

The most important parts of your home to consider upgrading and modernizing, according to realty professionals, are the bathroom and kitchen. New and well-kept floor coverings are important too.

The General Stuff

  • Make sure all windows work properly
  • Cupboards should look spacious and uncluttered
  • Check stairs for loose boards and handrails as well as ripped carpeting
  • Ensure doors don’t stick
  • Make sure kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilets and baths are free of rot and mold and that there are no leaks
  • Make sure appliances (especially the oven) are clean
  • Remove items stored on kitchen counter-tops
  • Remember to clean mirrors, cupboard and door handles and light switches

It’s Show Time!

When it’s time to put your house on the market ask yourself if your home looks like somebody else’s dream property. 

A house that is in ready-to-move-in condition is far more appealing to potential buyers and is sure to sell quicker at a more favorable price.

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