Over the next 2 months we will have a weekly series called ‘How to Sell House Fast!’ Ron and I are putting our house on the market in March and are determined to sell quickly and for top dollar. The key is putting in the time and effort to get everything ready before the For Sale sign goes up. Today we will detail Step 1: Finish Projects and Repairs.
Approximately 8 weeks before you plan to list your house, you will want to complete all projects that are partially finished. You do not want potential buyers to walk through your house and see work-in-progress. They will either tally up the cost to complete the projects (and reduce it from their offer) or will not put an offer on a house that will require work. Either way, you are losing out.
One of the most common unfinished projects is painting. I am guilty of this one! As you can see in the photo below, I started to paint the walk-in closet in our master bedroom, but stopped when I got to the corner where the built-in drawers are located. So I will spend this Saturday afternoon painting and will remove the painting supplies from the closet. If your projects will take more than 2 weeks, consider hiring someone to do the work.
Now comes the hard part. You need to take an (honest) walk around your house and make a list of all necessary repairs. Potential buyers do not want to see anything in disrepair. If they see one item that is broken, they will assume that there are many broken items throughout the house. If they decide to make an offer, they will reduce the amount to accommodate for repairs. Here is a list of standard repairs you will want to make:
1. HVAC: Replace filter and clean all vents (especially the return register). Dirty vents and registers tell buyers that you have not properly maintained your filter. If the filter is not replaced on schedule, it can damage your HVAC system. This would be a red flag to anyone looking at purchasing your house.
2. Refrigerator Water Filter: Remove and replace the filter for your refrigerator water system. You will be surprised how quickly the water comes out with a new filter!
3. Caulk: Caulk becomes cracked and brittle over time. Even if you think your caulk is fine, it is a good idea to remove and replace all caulk in your kitchen and bathrooms.
4. Grout: If you have tile with a light colored grout (like I do in the photo up above) you will want to clean and reseal it. This is a bit time-consuming, but worth it.
5. Toilets: Consider replacing your toilet seats and toilet flappers (flushing mechanism). Potential buyers want to see perfect bathrooms and kitchens. Replacing these items is economical and will go a long way towards impressing buyers.
6. Bathroom Sink Stoppers: Over time, sink stoppers get just plain gross. Take yours to Home Depot to find a comparable replacement. This is a cheap and easy repair that should not be skipped.
7. Walls and Doors: Over time, walls and doors are scratched, scuffed, or just become dirty. This often happens on doors, near light switches, and around the thermostat. First try to clean with a damp sponge. If that does not work, gently use a magic eraser to remove the residue. If that is not successful, you will need to use touch-up paint.
8. Wall Cracks: Check walls for minor cracks. They tend to show up around windows and doors. Patch and repaint any minor cracks. Major cracks should be repaired by a professional.
Do not take more than a few weeks to knock out these projects. Dedicate yourself to completing them on a timeline so you can move on to the next step! Next week we will discuss Step 2: Declutter and Staging.
Don’t forget to ‘Pin’ this post so you can access it when you are ready to put your house on the market!