Are you planning to put your house on the market this fall?
Neat & Organized: Once you purge, make your closets the envy of all!! I like to use non slip hangers that you buy in packs of 35 for less than $10 at Home Goods or online.
If your closets are neat and tidy buyers feel like there is ample storage.
If they are bulging they will feel there is not enough storage.
Minimize & Neutralize: The idea here is to have potential buyers focus on the features of your home, not on your "family" and your "things". Buyers get derailed if there are a lot of personal items like family photos and collections. They start focusing on "who lives here" versus visualizing themselves living there. VERY important note; ALWAYS remove children's names from their walls/rooms. Your listing is going to be plastered all over the internet, do you want your address and your kid's names going out to the world?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! So many agents forget this very important safety measure and it really upsets me when I am searching for property and I see the kid's names on the walls.
Scrubadub: Hire the professionals to come in and get down and dirty! When is the last time you cleaned your oven, or inside the trash cabinet? Does your carpet need cleaning or replacement? Is it time to repair the tile grout, clean the light fixtures, or pick up and organize the unfinished basement and garage?? I always tell my sellers to "make your home SPARKLE!!" A clean house is viewed as a newer house. It will pay off.
Prepare & Maintain: No one wants to inherit your deferred maintenance. Clean your gutters, service your furnace or boiler and the air handlers and change the filters. Check for mold in your attic. Make sure bath fans are exiting to the outside, not into the attic. Take care of any insect or rodent problems and save the paperwork. Trim back all foliage so that there's 2 feet of space to walk all around your house and trim back any trees hanging over the roof. If your roof is ready to be replaced, DO IT! You'll end up paying more for it if the buyers take it on! It's always best to keep up on the obvious exterior maintenance like exterior paint, roof and the driveway. If you have let this go, now is the time to do it. Don't expect the buyer to want your old roof, peeling paint or your cracked driveway. If lack of finances prohibit your from doing it, then be armed with written quotes on everything that an inspector will flag and be prepared to negotiate and/or provide a credit to the buyer toward closing costs.
Tie Up Loose Ends: Get all required inspections done prior to listing your home. No one wants any surprises at the 11th hour! Go to the town hall and make sure all permits are in order on any work that was done during your occupancy AND that they were closed out! DON'T ASSUME! I see this all the time and it can be a deal killer. If you have a septic system and you live in Massachusetts you must have a passing Title V Inspection Report for the lender in order to close. If you have a water well, get a quality test done including radon. Provide all these to the potential buyers before they submit an offer. Why wait for the buyer to do it? Take care of any outstanding issues prior to getting your home under agreement! These can become potential deal breakers, and there is nothing worse than having a deal fall apart.
Big Bang - Little Buck: I always say, paint is the least expensive, highest return project you can do. But one word of caution, DON'T do it yourself if your going to make a mess and get paint on the ceiling etc.!! Nothing worse that a bad paint job! Do yourself a favor, hire a pro and save yourself the headache.
Rearrange to Refresh: You may like the way you live in your house however, if you have turned your family room into a bowling alley and your dining room into an Irish Pub, this is not the way to show your house!! Don't take it personally, but most people will not be able to see beyond what is there. My background in interior design allows me to help my sellers re-purpose the rooms so that the potential buyers can visualize themselves living there. If your Realtor is not a designer, hire a good home-stager that really knows what they are doing. I'm not talking about greenery, place mats, napkins and flower arrangements...this is a bunch of fluff and waste of time and money. In my Blog post, Simple Interior Design Tips To Stage A Home For Every Day I have some great ideas that won't break the bank.
For more fall home maintenance tips, click here!
Trina Macchi is a highly coveted Realtor with extensive Real Estate knowledge of the Metrowest Boston area