If you have decided to sell your home, now is a great time to begin working on the checklist to make sure you are prepared this spring to list your house and attract buyers who will fall in love and make it theirs.
Your home has endured some wear and tear through your time of ownership and sometimes we don’t always recognize the changes in the property until we look at it through fresh eyes. Here is a list of things to assess and repair any problems that may have escaped your notice.
A savvy buyer is sure to ask fairly quickly about the age of the roof, water heater, gutters, furnace and other big systems. Depending on how long ago you purchased your home, your home records or seller’s disclosure will have the age of the last repair on big items, or you will need to dig up copies of your maintenance receipts and records. The general lifespan can vary depending on the maintenance and model of the item, but there is a basic guideline that can be followed for some big ticket items:
- Electric water heater – 14 years
- Gutters – 30 years
- Wood shingle and shake roof – 15 to 30 years
- Central A/C – 15 years
Look through your home with new eyes to see signs of damage that might take away from the value of the home. Some common problem spots to check are:
- Leaks around toilets and under sinks
- Water stains near doors and windows or on the ceiling which can be a sign of rain seeping in and a leaky roof
- Wood rot around window ledges, garage doors and outside of door frames from rain and condensation that can cause weakness and rot
- Discoloration on hardwood floors or bulges under carpet that can be a sign of flooding or uneven foundation
- Test “functionality”
- Visible cracks in the floor or walls
- Broken handles in cabinetry
- Doors that don’t shut correctly
- Objectively look at the outside from the perspective of a buyer and judge what your first impression would be
Consider an Inspection
The cost of a home inspection varies but the average is around $400. You will be paying for the knowledge of what problems might occur in the future. An outside, objective look will spot issues you might have overlooked or make you aware of larger issues such as outdated plumbing or wiring issues. A home inspection is a great tool to have for prospective buyers to build trust and let them know what issues may arise or that you have already corrected.
Decide what to repair or upgrade depending on the finances available. It’s important to remember that real estate is an investment and that often buyers will want to tweak certain details to make their own, such as new kitchen cabinets. Upgrading the insulation, a new roof or hardwood floors can give you a 95 to 105% return on your investment.
These are the first steps to help you prepare your home for listing and selling to the buyer who is looking for the home you are selling.