Look at Your Home Through a Buyer’s Eyes: Making Your To-Do List

Look at Your Home Through a Buyer’s Eyes: Making Your To-Do List
March 12, 2018 David Weinstein

Selling your home is one of the most tricky parts of owning a home, really. There are always little projects that you meant to get to and didn’t, and things that probably weren’t perfect, but didn’t bother you enough to fix. You can’t possibly do everything to make your house like new before putting it on the market, but there’s a minimum level that most buyers will expect.

How many of those things left on your “to do” list absolutely need to become “to dones?”

Getting Ready to Sell that Home Sweet Home

Before you get too serious about selling, it’s a good idea to have your Realtor over for a quick walkthrough. They can give you a punch list of items they think should be updated, fixed or addressed in some other way before you sell your home. You never know when the right buyer will walk through the door, your house needs to be ready to go from the moment you put it on the market. Putting your best foot forward is key to sales success.

That doesn’t mean you need to completely gut and remodel your home, but you should make sure everything is in proper working order and ready for a new occupant. That can be a lot to wrap your head around, though. If you get overwhelmed, start with the list below.

Entry / Living Room

For most homes, the living room and foyer are a combo unit, but if yours are separate understand that this same advice applies to both. The moment that door opens, and even before it does, your potential buyers are forming an opinion of your home. What the open door reveals had better pack a punch (or at least not terrify them).

Make sure that the windows are very clean to let in as much light as possible, that all your light bulbs are in good working order, the flooring is clean and in good shape, any tile grout is intact and the walls are flawless. A neutral color is always a good idea, but white is kind of a turn-off for a lot of buyers. Blues, light grays, beige and creams are all good choices for paint colors.

Dining Room

Your dining room should follow the same advice as your living room, with one exception. Since there’s probably some amount of eating that happens in this part of the house, you’ll want to check the flooring to ensure there’s no staining or spots under the table.

This is a particular problem if there’s carpet. Do not attempt to cover spots with a rug, this could be considered a “hidden, latent defect.” Basically, it means that you’re hiding damage from a potential buyer. That’s a big fat no go.

Instead, call a professional carpet cleaner (you can meet one in the HomeKeepr community!) or just own it and try not to panic if the buyer asks for the carpet to be replaced or cleaned before closing.

Kitchen

The list of things in your kitchen can be long, but we’ll try to make it reasonable. Check all the items on this list, one at a time:

Appliances that stay with the home
• Are they fully functional?
• Do they have an attractive appearance?
• Do they match one another?
• Are they clean?

Kitchen sink area:
• Is the sink free of damage?
• Does it drain well?
• Does the disposal work?
• Does the sprayer work?
• Is the faucet leaking?

Counters, backsplash and cabinets:
• Do the counters have worn or burned spots?
• Are there grouted areas that are needing regrouted?
• Do the cabinet doors open and close properly?
• Is there water damage anywhere?
• Is everything clean and not tacky to touch?
• Do the cabinets have worn finish?

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are by far the hardest, especially if you have kids. If you’re going to have to live in the house until you find a buyer, invest in some storage systems — they’ll pay off in the long run. Organize everything as best you can to give the rooms the appearance of more space, clean the windows, install the lightbulbs, clean the carpets and instruct everyone to keep it tidy. If anything can be moved out to a storage unit, do it.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are much like kitchens, they have a lot of wet, moving parts. That being said, they also have basically the same punch list. The only addition would be the shower or tub units. Check the faucets and showerheads for leakage and make sure there’s no mold on your tub or shower surrounds. Clean that stuff within an inch of its life and if you can’t get rid of the stains, recaulk. It’s an easy way to make that tub or shower look like you’ve never even used it.

Garage

There’s not a lot to do in the garage, but do make sure your door opener is functioning properly, that the wheels on the door are lubricated if it’s making a terrible sound when you open it or close it and that you’ve tidied the things inside as best as you can. If you don’t really use your garage, you can dress it up a lot by applying an epoxy coating to the floor. The DIY kits run around $100 and, although they don’t add any value to your home, they’re far more impressive than an old, stained concrete floor.

General Indoors

Overall, it’ll help a lot if you run around your house and make sure that all your lightbulbs are fresh, all the windows are cleaned, you remember to leave the blinds open during the day and that the paint makes each room feel bigger. The key is to bring in more light and then use lighter colors to keep it bouncing around the room. A new coat of white ceiling paint won’t hurt your efforts, either.

Paint is great for a lot of reasons. It can seal in smells you might have never noticed, as well as giving the house the scent of fresh construction. That smell paints a picture for a buyer that says this house has been taken care of and they can trust that it’s in great shape!

General Outdoors

When it comes to the great outdoors, keep your lawn mowed, trim your hedges, clean up any projects that you started and never finished. Landscapers, trash haulers and metal scrappers can help a lot with these tasks. You’ll also want to check out your roof and gutters to make sure they’re in good shape because your potential buyers will be doing the same thing.

The first thing a buyer sees is the view from the street, make sure you run out there during the outdoor prep work to check your look. When you start to wonder if you should actually sell this amazing house at all, you’ve probably got the curb appeal knocked out.

When You Can’t Get It All Done

You don’t have an unlimited timeline, that’s completely understandable, but your home should be ready to sell if you want to get top dollar. If you can’t do the work, just call on someone who can. Your HomeKeepr community is full of professionals who can do specific tasks like cleaning your carpets or help with more general things on your list, like ensuring the whole kitchen is in ready-to-show condition.

Log on, search for the home pro you need right now and let them take it from there. You know they’re going to do great work because your Realtor recommended them!

2 Comments

  1. Melanie Crawford (past client) 2 months ago

    A great information filled read. If you follow these suggestions you WILL get your home sold. By implementing these suggestions not only will you get your home sold but your home will also have the potential to greatly improve it’s SOLD price. You don’t wont perspective buyers to leave your home overwhelmed with projects that need to be completed especially with an inexperienced homeowner or first time homebuyer. The bottom line is that, a small project here and there and over there in your buyers mind can quickly begin to add up in their pocketbook/wallet or encroach upon their time. Make it easy for your potential buyer to walk into your home and absolutely fall in love with your home and wanting to place an offer on your home right there on the spot and coming in with their HIGHEST and BEST offer to ensure that they make your home that shows your love and care their brand new home!

  2. bowerman25@msn.com 2 months ago

    Great Information and to the point. Listen folks, it works. It has worked for us not once but 4 times and will probably happen again in the not to distant future. Our last home never hit the market. Because of the way we kept it, Friends wanted it as soon as they knew we were thinking about putting it on the market. Clean, neat and clutter gone, it works. Good luck to all of you who might be selling. Your realtor is your best agent in know how.

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