Home Preparation Checklist

Following Are Some Basic Suggestions for Improving the Marketability of Your Home

Owners can help expedite the sale of their home by following a few guidelines to make the house more attractive to potential buyers. A thorough self-inspection and a walk-through with your real estate agent can reveal imperfections that might hinder a sale. House-hunters typically begin their inspection of a property by previewing its "curb appeal." A surprising number of homes are eliminated from consideration before potential buyers get out of their car because they find the exterior appearance unsightly or uninviting.

  • 1.

    Examine the lawn and flower gardens, making sure the lawn is mowed and free of drainage problems. Colorful flowers and shrubs can enhance the home's attractiveness.

  • 2.

    Check the sidewalks and driveway to make sure they're free of weeds and clutter.

  • 3.

    Inspect the home's exterior, looking for loose, missing or damaged siding and brickwork, a cracked and uneven foundation, and gutters, downspouts or fences that are in disrepair. Paint or repair any problem areas.

  • 4.

    Clear the decks! Clean decks, patios, and steps, removing unnecessary furniture, toys, and debris. Tidy up any pet areas.

  • 5.

    Inspect the front door. A fresh coat of paint or stain and a clean doormat can help create an inviting "first impression."

  • 6.

    Check lighting, making sure pathways and entry have adequate illumination. Inside the home, you should conduct an equally thorough inspection, since potential buyers are likely to open doors and cupboards, look into, look behind, and operate everything to make sure the home offers the space, layout, and features they need. Extensive redecorating isn't usually recommended, but all rooms should be clean and clutter-free. Think "light," "bright," "open," and "airy."

  • 7.

    Clear rooms (including closets and storage areas) of everything but the basics. Arrange furniture so rooms look spacious.

  • 8.

    Remove clutter from the basement and garage. Sweep floors, degrease spots and dust.

  • 9.

    Have carpets and drapes professionally cleaned.

  • 10.

    Patch walls and ceiling cracks, then repaint or wallpaper, using neutral shades.

  • 11.

    Check the basement for musty smells and signs of mildew or leaks, correcting any defects.

  • 12.

    Inspect bathroom and kitchen fixtures to make sure they sparkle, are leak-free, and are otherwise functioning well. Remove stains from countertops, sinks, tubs, and showers.

  • 13.

    Test major mechanical components, including the furnace, water heater, and electrical system.

  • 14.

    Make sure windows and doors open and close easily. Replace cracked or scratched glass.

  • 15.

    Be aware of the amount and type of insulation.