After spending 15+ years in real estate and participating in 1100+ transactions valued at close to $400,000,000 – I am hopeful my knowledge base can help you prepare your home for a successful sale for the absolute highest and best price with the lowest amount of stress - on time.
I learned there are just two things you can control when selling a home: 1) Price and 2) Presentation and they both compensate for each other. The good news is presentation can dramatically affect your home’s value and how long it will take for your home to sell. The reality: You are in control.
Over the years I have observed many people will spend more time prepping their used car for trade-in then their home. REALLY??? Very true... Many believe you can just drop in a front yard sign and it will sell. Well, it will at some point for some price. There is always a trade-off.
Take that control and be your home's Majordomo. Make the following list your honey-do list to be completed before listing your home for sale. I absolutely promise that your home will sell faster, for more, and you will have A LOT less issues, repairs required and price reductions during the inspections and appraisal.
Let's do this. Be your home's ListingMD (Majordomo).
Exterior: Siding, trim, walkways, and decks should be in good condition, comparable to surrounding homes - HOA compliant. Eaves, sofits, and fascia should be free from water damage and in good repair. Be sure water damage or peeling paint is corrected.
Caulking and/or mortar should be sealed. Raw, damaged and rotted materials are a no-no.
Bonus: A newly painted home goes a long ways to big time curb appeal and increased value.
Exterior Door(s): The door’s hardware should be in working order. The weather stripping should be present. Door should not have holes or broken glass. Door finish should be attractive.
Doors from the garage to the home should be fire-rated without compromise (holes or pet doors).
Bonus: A freshly painted door and new door hardware makes the home feel fresh and more valuable.
Garage: Garage door should be operational and opener should be included with home. Check to be sure you do not have any broken chains, belts or springs. Door should provide a seal to the home and floor/driveway (no gaps). Be sure safety reversal works and there are no dents or cosmetic defects.
Bonus: A painted garage door or new door can add lots of curb appeal.
Landscaping: Vegetation around property should not interfere with physical property. Shrubbery should be 6-12 inches away from home. No trees or shrubbery should be touching home.
Bonus: Power wash driveway, walkways, house. Add new bark and flower. Edge and trim.
Irrigation: Property should be free from drainage defects (including drainage path directing to home foundation). Drainage defects, holes close to the foundation and high grade (ground covering wood framed walls) should be addressed.
Bonus: Label your irrigation control. Buyers love seeing details.
Deck: Decks should be structurally sound and should have infill spacing so they are safe for children. Be sure to repair any structural deck damage, missing infill spacing (support columns), water or bug damage, anything causing structural integrity issues whether according to code or not.
Bonus: Restain and/or powerwash. Think of your desck/patios as outdoor living space with value.
Fencing: Should be solid, secure and complete with no missing pickets or leaning sections and mounted solidly without excessive gaps underneath.
Items to repair
Bonus: Freshly stained or painted fences look new and add value
Pool Equipment: All aspects of pool/spa such as filters, lights, pumps, heathers, and chlorination and cleaning system should be in working order. Items to be sure they are working or should be fixed include leaking filters, leaky connections, broken lights, broken or leaking pumps, broken salt chlorination systems
Bonus: Stage your pool area as livable outdoor space.
Roofing: Roof covering protects the interior of the home from the weather, water, and other elements. Materials should be in good working condition. Items to pay attention to that could slow your sale or have high costs include: broken or slipped tiles and caps; damage to underlayment or evidence of leaks; missing, wind damaged, or incorrectly installed shingles or nail holes; damage, cracks, bubbles or blisters in sealants; Moss or other debris; Any problems that create more than ponding water should be resolved. Gutters should be cleaned and seams sealed.
Bonus: Clean any and all debris and growth off of your roof. Replace any vent boots and paint all vents to look the same.
Windows: Should exhibit full structural integrity. Repair any cracked or broken windows, broken thermal sales or window locks.
Bonus: Have windows professionally cleaned.
Kitchen Appliances: All appliances should be in working order and free from leaks. Malfunctioning appliances should be fixed or replaced.
Bonus: Be sure all appliances are sparkling clean.
Sinks & Faucets: Should flow and be free from leaks. Overflows should be in working order. Correct any leaky or broken
Bonus: A new, modern kitchen faucet can make your whole kitchen feel updated.
Double Bonus: New kitchen hardware to match your new faucet make a huge visual difference.
Bathtubs & Showers: Should be in working order and should be free from leaks. Correct any leaky or broken fixtures; correct any cracks in the bathtubs or showers.
Bonus: A new, modern bathroom faucet can make your whole kitchen feel updated. Add some polished rocks to your sink before showings. It will give your bathroom a “spa like” feel.
Walls & Ceiling & Countertops: Should be structurally sound and free from holes, cracks, and damage. Cracks/holes, water damage and peeling paint on walls and ceilings and peeling paint.
Bonus: Fresh paint is inexpensive, easy to apply and makes everything feel and look fresh.
Flooring: May show wear from gentle use, but should be free from obvious defects. Prior to selling correct tears in flooring and heavily damaged flooring.
Bonus: CLEAN all carpets, polish all floors and buff and polish wood floors.
Odors: Home should be free from significant odors such as smoke and pet-related odors. Replace any floor coverings and repaint any walls that are causing odors. Yes - this is a big deal.
Smoke and carbon Detectors: Should be in working order and less than 10 years old. If smoke or carbon detectors are not working – replace. If smoke detectors are 10-years or older and/or carbon monoxide detectors are 5-years or older, replace. Be sure to follow code requirements for replacement.
Bonus: Replace prior to listing your home. This will show your buyer you care and are serious.
Circuit Breakers and GFCI outlets: Should be in working condition. They should be in rooms as required by code. If you do not have GFCI outlets in the correct locations – add.
Panels: REPLACE Zinsco/Sylvania GTE or Federal Pacific brands. These are brands known to have defects and recommended by the government to be replaced.
Overcurrent protection should be operational. Repair double taps or damaged breakers
Bonus: Label your electric panel if you know where the breakers go. Your buyer will love you for it.
HVAC: Thermostat controls should be in working order. Equipment should be clean and free from leaks. Correct: broken heating or cooling systems; damaged distributions; unsealed ducting; broken ducts; Consider replacing HVAC units considered to have less than 2-years remaining.
Bonus: Have your HVAC system cleaned and checked before you list your home. Clean or replace your filter.
Double Bonus: Have your vents cleaned.
Triple Bonus: Leave documentation of this work at your home for showings. Buyers will love it.
Water Heater: Should be in good working condition, free from leaks, and pipes should be insulated. Correct any leaks or corrosion – with attention on supply valves and/or lines.
Pests: Home should be free from significant pest infestations (termites, roaches and pigeon activity on roof). Correct any problems. This includes in attic, crawlspace and basement.
Bonus: Have pest inspection and treatment done to home before listing.
Attic: Trusses should be structurally sound. Insulation should be in place to local code requirements. Correct any broken trusses or any other structural damage. Be sure atic is clean of debris.
Foundation, stemwall & retaining walls: Must all be structurally sound. Correct any issues such as sagging floor and large settling cracks on exterior (1/4” to ½” or more). In addition, cracks in interior floors/walls, significant setting and horizontal cracks should be resolved. If home has crawlspace, space should be clear of debris, insulation secure and black vapor barrier in place.
Light bulbs should all be working and should enhance the beauty of your home.
Replace thermostat with smart thermostat.
Clean and polish wood floors. Refinish if highly worn.
Oil creaking hinges.
Clean and dust.
Go the distance
Get the home inspected prior to listing. Get ahead of any problems. Do not underestimate the power of investing in the sale of your home. a pre-listing home inspection can save you $1000's all said and done. Find an awesome home inspector at https://www.homeinspector.org/
Stage your home (either with your items or by renting).
Verify county details about your home are correct (lot and home size, bedrooms, baths, year built, etc).
Check permits, verify history is correct and clear.
Have average utility bills available.
Finally, create a home history book with all home information, manuals, work done
This is a proven process. Follow the plan and don't cut corners. You Got this!
Lee recognized a few missing puzzle pieces in real estate transactions after spending 16+ years as a top producing real estate broker participating in 1,100+ transactions: the understanding of a property's condition, the story of a property, why it matters, what to do next, and who to call to for help. As CEO, Lee oversees the company vision, manages sales and marketing, and exploring business models. "Let's improve the owner's relationship with their home."
Majordomo created the Domoreport.
The Domoreport is the most in-depth report on a home’s condition ever created, yet it’s easy to read and you can quickly figure out exactly what your buyers need to know. It’s the new standard for helping home buyers quickly understand the condition of their home with local and highly accurate repair estimates based on their inspection.
The Second Half of the Home Inspection