Routine Maintenance



When your home is for sale, you need to be prepared to show it to buyers at short notice. To that end, here are some things you (or someone else) should do every day until your home sells.


    • The dishes, or, at the very least, load dirty dishes into your dishwasher so they're out of sight. Nobody wants to see a sink full of food-encrusted plates and cutlery in a home they've come to view
    •  Make the beds, complete with bedspreads for that polished look. Incorporate the task into your household's morning routine.
    • Take out the garbage. Garbage means odor, and odor is one of the quickest ways to make uyers turn their nose up at your property. In addition to the kitchen bin, don't forget wastepaper baskets in bedrooms and bathrooms, etcetera.
    • Vacuum/sweep, especially if you have children and/or pets. Spot-cleaning – cleaning up spilled crumbs or pet hair with a hand vac, for example – at the start or end of each day may be all that's necessary.
    • Make your kitchen shine. Dirt is especially off-putting in kitchens, perhaps because that's where we eat. Clear off and clean surfaces such as the stove and countertops, and make sure your sink, faucet, and appliances gleam.
    • Make bathrooms sparkle. Like kitchens, bathrooms are intimate spaces where the presence of dirt is particularly objectionable. Clear off and clean surfaces, and make sinks, faucets, toilets, and showers shine.
    • Tidy up. Toys, paperwork, clothing – if it's out of place, throw it into some sort of catchall (e.g. a basket) and stow the whole thing out of sight until you have time to put everything in its rightful place.



Bright Ideas


When it comes to selling a property, dark and dreary simply won't do – few things are a bigger turn-off for buyers. Here are a handful of tips to help you lighten and brighten your home before listing it.


    • First and most obviously, give your home a fresh coat of paint in a light color – dark color absorbs light. Neutral hues, like shades of white or beige are the best bet, as they're the least off-putting to the greatest number of people. Keep in mind that while a matte finish will absorb light, a glossy finish will reflect it.


    • Maximize natural light. Keep doors open inside the home so light travels farther throughout the space. Make sure your windows are sparkling clean so that dirt isn't filtering out valuable sunlight. Consider swapping out dark, heavy curtains for something more gauzy; whatever kind of window coverings you have, make sure they are all wide open during showings of your home.


    • Amp up the artificial light. Outfit fixtures with the brightest bulbs that can safely be used in them. Use uplighting (e.g. sconces, torches, floor lamps) to wash your walls and ceilings with light that will bounce back into the room – a great way to improve overall brightness. Add task lighting via table lamps and under-cabinet lights, for example.


  • Strategically placed mirrors are an inexpensive, easy way to amplify natural and artificial light, while making rooms seem bigger. Hung opposite or perpendicular to windows, they can reflect attractive views in addition to light. Note that convex mirrors distribute light over a larger area than flat mirrors do, as they bounce light back in many different directions.



Engaging The Senses


They may be called viewings or showings, but that doesn't mean you can't enlist your other senses, in addition to sight, to help you sniff out the right home when visiting potential properties.


    • Smell. Odors caused by pets, smoking, cooking, or trash are always off-putting, but may or may not be difficult to get rid of. Musty odors, however, may be bigger cause for concern: where there's a musty odor, there may be mold, and where there's mold, there may be a water problem. Whatever strange or offending odor you smell when you walk into a home, make sure you determine its source in order to ensure it's not symptomatic of a serious problem. 
    • Hearing. Dripping faucets, squeaking doors, running toilets, and rattling appliances might signal a home that hasn't been well maintained. What about traffic noise? Can you hear music pumping from the corner bar? Can you tell what TV show the neighbors are watching? Is there a train that passes through the area? Be sure to revisit any home you're considering at different times of the day and week. While things might be quiet on a weekday afternoon, things might sound distinctly different during the morning commute or on a Saturday night. 
  • Touch. Your sense of touch is handy in determining whether a home might have water problems. Note whether hardwood feels soft or springy underfoot. Do carpets feel damp? Press your foot down on the flooring around the base of toilets, sinks, fridges, and washing machines to see if there is any give. Feel discolored spots on the walls – are they damp or soft to the touch? Press a finger into the wood around windows; if it's soft, there's rot.



'Tis The Season

PhotoShould you wait until after the holidays to list your home? If listed before the holiday season, should you leave your home on market or take it off? Consider these pros and cons of selling during the holidays.



    • The buyers who are actively looking for a new home at this time of year tend to be more serious about buying. After all, they're likely using precious time off from work to pound the pavement.
    • Being on the market during the holiday season means you'll face less competition from other sellers; less available inventory means your property will benefit from increased exposure at this time of year.
  • Between the seasonal lights, decorations, and scents, your home may feel more welcoming and look more appealing – in other words, show better – during the holidays than at any other time of year.



    • Prospective buyers might assume that homeowners selling during the holidays must be desperate to sell and, as a result, may lower their offer price accordingly.
    • Accommodating showings and keeping your home neat and clean can be difficult enough at any time of year, but during the holidays, when you likely have a busier calendar and more stuff around your home, living a show-ready existence may be a bigger challenge.
  • With people taking time off and businesses closing during the holidays, it may take a little more effort to close the transaction in a timely manner.


Despite the holiday bustle, this can certainly be the most wonderful time of the year to sell. Give your real estate representative a call to discuss your personal circumstances, and to get an update on local market conditions before making your decision.


Go With A Pro

PhotoSelling a house – how hard could it be? From the many homeowners who have attempted to sell their houses themselves, the answer is, "Much harder than it looks!"

You may have heard the term "For Sale By Owner" or "FSBO", which means that a homeowner is attempting to sell their home without the services of a real estate sales representative. Doing this presents some unique challenges to the seller, including but not limited to these issues:


  • Homeowners tend to overprice their homes. Factoring in sentimental value alone, owners often price their homes as distinct, unique properties – not as one of a number of similar properties in the area. Up-to-date pricing — the kind a local real estate sales representative knows — is key to generating initial interest in the property for sale.



  • Education on realty legal matters is crucial for any owner thinking of selling a property, especially for those without professional real estate guidance. Disclosures, legal forms and contracts must be in place and real estate laws must be adhered to in order to avoid any vulnerability to lawsuits.



  • Advertising exposure generates significant interest in a property, and sellers going through a real estate sales representative benefit from the wide influence of being included on the Multiple Listing Service®, a powerful tool available to REALTORS®.


Remember, your real estate sales representative only gets paid when your property sells, so we'll do whatever it takes to make sure you achieve your goal – and ours! – by completing your home sale to your ultimate satisfaction.


In Plain Sight

PhotoIn empty homes, flaws stand out all the more. As buyers will have little else to focus on during showings, you'll need to focus on preparing the following five areas of your vacant home before showings.


    • Windows and doors. Replace missing or broken screens and glass panes. Make sure windows and doors open, close, and lock properly, and are clean. Silence squeaks with lubricant. Replace caulking and weather-stripping and repaint as needed. Polish or replace door hardware.



    • Walls and ceilings. Remove wallpaper. Sand rough spots, repair popped nails, and patch holes and cracks. Wash your walls, then repaint them in a neutral shade. If your ceilings have water stains, give them a fresh coat of paint too. Replace missing or damaged trim and re-paint it as needed.



    • Floors. Damaged or outdated flooring (e.g. stained, worn, an unusual color or passé pattern) should be replaced. Otherwise, repair and revitalize floors as needed: replace missing, broken, or stained tiles; have carpets professionally cleaned; make vinyl shine again with vinegar and water; wash and buff or refinish hardwood.



    • Cabinetry. Make sure doors and drawers open smoothly and quietly, and outfit them with new hardware – this inexpensive improvement will go a long way towards updating your kitchen and bathrooms. If your cabinetry's in good shape but looks dated, you can refinish or reface it instead of replacing it.



  • Plumbing and electrical. With little else to do in an empty home, buyers will be more inclined to play with switches, taps, handles and such, so ensure toilets flush properly, water pressure is strong, taps don't drip, pipes don't leak, and light switches, dimmers, and appliances work.


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