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What To Do Before Listing Your Home For Sale - Part 1

There are a number of relatively inexpensive things that you can do to your home and property to make it more appealing to potential buyers. The items listed here are relatively inexpensive, most are labor intensive, and so, for the home handyman the return on investment (ROI) can be substantial.

house with poor curb appeal
Figure 1 - House with poor curb appeal

The initial items on the list pertain to curb appeal, as shown in Figure 1. This is the first impression that potential buyers will have when they see your home first time, as they arrive and pull into the driveway. Unless you are selling your home as a fixer upper, the first impression that a potential buyer gets when seeing your home is crucial to the overall price a potential buyer is willing to pay.

You want to do these items before you list your home for sale. You want your real estate agent to have a good first impression and believe that the house is an easy sell. If the real estate agent is uncomfortable when he or she shows your home, the potential buyers will pick up on that. Real estate agents will work harder to sell a home that shows well, then they will to sell a home that they believe will require a lot more of their time and effort to find a buyer.

In many cases these tasks are on-going. Once the home is listed it is important to ensure that the home is maintained, is clean and as tidy as reasonably possible.

If you have a lot of clutter in closets, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, the garage and a lot of items stored outside it may be wise to consider renting a storage unit in order to unclutter those areas. As well, rooms that have a lot of furniture look smaller than rooms that have less furniture.

Within the details of the pre-listing checklist you will notice a lot of references to uncluttering and cleaning. These are the least expensive things that can be done to prepare a home for sale. Uncluttered homes look bigger and very few people want to buy a home that looks dirty. A dirty home may, too many potential buyers, suggest that the home is not well looked after.

Curb Appeal Pre-listing Check List:

Landscaping & Gardening:

  • Toys, bicycles, and any other obstacle should be properly stored and removed from driveways and walkways.
  • Lawns should be continually well manicured with weeds removed. Excess grass clippings should be raked up and collected. Areas of dead grass should be cleaned up and have new seed applied, weather permitting.
  • In the fall leaves should be continually raked and collected.
  • Bushes, shrubs and hedges should be trimmed at least every 4 to 6 weeks. Cut materials should be collected and properly disposed of.
  • Where possible, dead tree branches should be removed.
  • Flower beds should be weed free. Dead or plants on the verge of death should be removed from flower beds.
  • Water hoses for gardens and lawns should be neatly stored.
  • Animal excrement must be picked up as it occurs or is noticed. Note: I am a dog person, but when trying to sell one's home it is important to walk the dog so that the lawn is not a group of brown spots!
  • Free standing driveway and walkway light fixtures and poles should be cleaned and any defective light bulbs should be replaced. Broken glass or globes should be replaced.
  • Any low voltage landscape lighting fixtures should stand straight and any visible wires leading to fixtures should be buried below soil.
  • If you have security signs on the property you may wish to consider removing them. Security signs may give the potential buyer the feeling that the area your home is in is a high crime area.
  • Remove oil, grease and other stains from driveways and walkways.
  • Window wells should have garbage, debris and weeds removed.
  • Wash window screens. Ensure that their are no spiders and spider webs on the screens.
  • Clean bird droppings from sidewalks, decks, porches, outdoor furniture, barbecues and air conditioner condensers.
  • In winter months in areas that receive snow, driveways, walkways, porches and outdoor stairs must be cleaned of snow and ice.
  • Swimming pool and hot-tub water should be sparkling. There should never be signs of algae growth. Pool and hot-tub equipment should be properly stored. Pipe fittings should not leak. Skimmer baskets should be free of leaves and other debris.
  • Remove junk vehicles and vehicles that are under repair from driveways and yards.
  • Boats stored on properties are eye sores. Remove them and store in temporary storage facilities.


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4