Getting Your Property Ready to Sell

Nothing is More Important Than the First Impression

When you put your property on the market, you want to achieve the best sales price you can get, and do so within the timeframe that meets your needs. Nothing is more important to most buyers than the first impressions they receive.

PAINTING — At the top of the list for creating good impressions. Inspect interior walls as well as the exterior including trim, gutters, downspouts, mailbox, etc.

YARD — In addition to proper cutting and edging of the lawn, trim landscaping and weed flower beds. Also check for dead branches in trees and shrubbery debris. Store all outdoor lawn equipment and toys.

SPRINKLER SYSTEM — Check for defective heads and for proper water coverage over entire lawn.

FENCE — Repair where necessary and paint or stain if needed to give your yard that well-maintained appearance.

GARAGE — Check garage doors and opener to see if they are in good working order. Inspect doors for painting or staining. Remove and reorganize garage items.

DRIVEWAY — Check for grease and oil spots. When showing the property, it’s best not to have vehicles parked in the driveway.

PATIO/DECK — Clean patio and arrange outdoor furniture.

POOL — Have pool sparking clean. Store equipment and chemicals out of the way.

ROOF — Check for loose shingles or broken tiles. Make sure eaves are cleared of leaves. If mildew has occurred, consider professional cleaning.

FRONT ENTRANCE — Front door should be clean and all trim painted or stained. Check doorbell and outside light to see if they are operating properly.

AIR -CONDITIONING — Certainly, the air-conditioning system must be functioning at top performance, but also check for proper draining, install a new filter, and clean exterior unit.

WALLS — When checking for cleaning and possible painting of interior walls, look closely at wallpaper for repair or replacement, if needed.

DOORS — All interior and exterior doors should be cleaned, hardware tightened and oiled for smooth opening and closing.

CARPETING AND TILE — Steam cleaning is the best answer for most carpets. While it’s a hassle to rearrange furniture and be disrupted, this is one item that can’t wait until after the sale. Also, repair or replace damaged tile.

WINDOWS — Repair or replace all broken windows or screens. All windows must be cleaned to show the home at its best. Check blinds and draperies for cleanliness.

ELECTRICAL — Repair all switches and outlets that are not working. Good lighting through adequate wattage in garage, hallways, and closets will brighten up your home.

PLUMBING — Leaking faucets always raise questions about plumbing. Clean stains from stainless steel sinks and check enamel for repair.

APPLIANCES — All appliances should be in good working order and CLEAN. In particular, oven and stove top, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave.

KITCHEN — A bright, cheerful kitchen is a must. Clean all surfaces, check for loose knobs or sticky drawers, clean exhaust hood and organize drawers and cabinets.

BATHROOMS — Clean mirrors, shower doors, curtains, tub caulking, and flooring. Just when you decide to clean the bathroom “later” is when the prospective buyer rings your doorbell.


Showing Your Property At Its Best

Having Pride of Ownership Will Sell Your Property Faster

The most saleable properties are those that show pride of ownership, with attention given to every detail. If you are looking to sell your home in the near future, we hope this checklist will be of assistance. Even if you’re not planning to sell, it may be helpful as a checklist for spring cleaning or file away under “house papers” for future reference.

TEMPERATURE — Keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Air-conditioning is a must on warm days.

FRESH AIR — Keep air smelling fresh. Air freshener, candles or fresh flowers are nice, but don’t over - do it.

LIGHT — Have sufficient lighting. If it’s daytime, have draperies drawn open. In the evening, turn on the lights prior to showing. Light makes rooms look larger and more appealing.

MUSIC — Soft music can be nice, but loud radios, stereos, or television should be off during the buyers’ inspection.

VALUABLES — Having valuable possessions displayed in your home is only inviting trouble. They’re best placed out of sign, or out of the home.

CLOSETS — Clothes hung properly; and if used for a storage area, clean out. Of most buyers’ requirements, closet space is high on their list.

LAUNDRY — Keep fresh towels and washcloths displayed. Laundry should be done often to keep laundry area clean and fresh.

EXCLUSIONS — Remove or replace items you do not intend to include in the sale. Sure enough, the one item that you wanted to take with you (such as a certain lighting fixture) is just the item the buyers want to include – causing a delay in the negotiation process.



Important Information About Your Home

Get Prepared for the Questions the Buyer Will Ask

It is important to gather information pertinent to your property. It will take time to coordinate this information from old bills, tax statements, work receipts, service contracts, and warranty documents, but it pays off when you sell your home. Prospective buyers ask questions about your home and property. The following questions can be expected and you should have the file of information to answer them:

  • What do you pay in property taxes and when are they due?
  • How much does it cost to heat and cool your home?
  • What do you pay for gas and electricity?
  • What do you pay for water and who supplies it?
  • How old are various structural components and systems, including the roof, water heater, furnace, and plumbing system?
  • How old are any appliances that will stay with the house?
  • Do you have any guarantees or warranties on appliances or components of the home, such as siding or roofing, and are these warranties transferable?
  • Are there any fees for municipal or private services, such as garbage pickup, and what are those services?
  • Is your house located on a flood plain? If so, what kind of insurance is required?
  • Have you had water problems in the basement or through the roof? (If so, you must show the buyer that you have rectified the problem.) Do you have warranties or guarantees on the work?
  • Where are the local schools, and what is their quality?
  • What is the availability and cost of mass transit?
  • Where are the places of worship in the area?
  • It is helpful if the seller provides a copy of their original title or abstract to the listing agent and title provider. This assists in identifying ownership in the property and can expedite a title search. It also assists the listing agent for submitting information to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that buyers know how to submit their contract offers.
  • Is a copy of the survey and floor plan available?
  • Have available a copy of the Condominium Documents (if applicable).
  • Are there any special assessments? If so, what are the special assessments and when are they due?
  • Is the current property tax for “land” only, due to the house being newly constructed? What are estimated new tax amounts, including the house?
  • Have you filed for a homestead exemption?
  • Are there any Homeowners Association (HOA) dues? Who is the HOA management contact? What are the fees for and when are they due? Are the fees transferable?
  • Does the development have an “additional” HOA fee for boat storage, golf/tennis membership or pool facilities? What are the fees and when are they due? Are the fees transferable?
  • If the property is being sold as an investment property, provide a copy of the tenant’s lease (if applicable).
  • What services are available for communications? Cable, wireless, satellite? Do you know who the service providers are? Is the house wired for cable access to the internet?
  • Do you have a well or septic system? Can you provide information about the inspector and the last inspection completed?
  • Are there any parking permissions or restrictions?
  • Are there any storage restrictions? Examples: Boat or RV must be stored in garage. No sheds over a certain size.
  • Are pets allowed? Are children allowed?
  • Is this home in a “retirement” area, where a minimum age is required?
  • If your property is in a rural area, is an aerial photo available?
  • Have you had any environmental studies done? If so, please provide copies of reports.


Tips for a Smooth Move

Planning Is the Key

Even if your move is within the same general area, there are several actions that can expedite the procedure.

  • If you intend to use a moving company, make arrangements as soon as possible.
  • A month before the move, fill out change of address forms for the post office, the IRS and any others that need to be notified, including families and friends.
  • Don’t wait to tell your children about the move. The sooner they know the better. Children need time to adjust to the idea. Provide plenty of affirmation that the move is for the best.
  • Notify doctors, dentists, veterinarian, and insurance agents. Obtain copies of important records. Fill prescriptions needed.
  • Contact utilities, phone, and cable services regarding discontinuing services. Arrange for new services at new location.
  • Make necessary financial arrangements, including transfer of accounts (checking, savings, other).
  • Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or videotape your belongings.
  • Secure valuables, jewelry, safe deposit box items, and important documents to take with you.
  • Empty fluids from lawn equipment, hoses, etc.
  • Dispose of anything flammable, including gas cans, paint cans, chemicals, etc.
  • If necessary, make special arrangements for transporting pets. You can take cats and dogs in your car, but remember to put down newspapers or sheets to keep your car clean. Animals can get carsick and may require stops along the way, so take along a leash, food and water. Other small pets, such as birds and hamsters, can easily be taken in the car. Cover their cages to help keep them calm. It can be risky to move fish. Better get recommendations from your local pet store or other expert on how to move your type of fish.
  • Plants also need special care. You should prune your plants a couple of weeks before the move to facilitate packing. Place the plants in cardboard containers with packing material to hold them in place. Use paper to cushion the leaves and place a wet paper on top to keep them moist. Mark the boxes and punch air holes in the top before loading into your car. Unpack the plants as soon as possible when you arrive. Remove plants through the bottom of the box to avoid breaking the steams.
  • Pack for your personal move; clothing, linens, personal affects and items needed upon move-in.
  • Empty refrigerator, clean and place baking soda inside to keep it smelling fresh.
  • Trash and garbage should be removed from the home and garage. Open containers are unsightly as well as giving off odors.

PETS — Try to keep pets outside during a home inspection.

AGENTS — Turn your house over to the agent for showings. Trust their professional abilities. All showings should be scheduled and documented through the listing agent/office.

PEOPLE — While all prospective buyers must be accompanied through the home, family and guests should leave when possible to allow the agent to show the home without the buyer feeling hurried. Should you be present during the showing, remain in the background. The agent should know your property and the needs of the prospective buyer and be able to answer any questions.

DON’T APOLOGIZE — Remember not to apologize for the appearance of your home. If you’ve done the best you can, buyers understand that they may be viewing the home at a time that may be inconvenient to you.

PICK UP EVERYWHERE — Keep clutter off counter tops, disregard old newspapers and magazines, remove excess furniture.

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