The correct presentation of your house to potential buyers is very important. The best realtor will have problems presenting a dirty house that needs a lot of repairs. Even small repairs and/or house and yard cleanup can make a large difference. Shown below are some of the things that you might want to check yourself, because it is highly likely that potential buyer's will be looking at these areas.
- Prepare some initial documents that potential buyer's will probably request. These are:
- Room Measurements
- Copies of electrical and gas bills
- Property taxes
- Maintenance contracts such as pest control, landscaping, etc. These not only show the exoense level for these jobs, but the fact a service has been taking care of them.
- Well water or septic tank analysis reports if available and applicable to your house.
- Neighborhood covenants, if any
- Property restrictions such as right-of-way or water rights
- Check that all doors and windows are sealed and that they open and close easily.
- Check for loose or cracked glass panes.
- If the windows are of the sealed type, is there indication of seal breakage, i.e. condensation within the window? Repair as necessary.
- Check for areas in which minor repair work, such as wall punctures, or touch-up painting could be done.
- If the carpet has spots or is dirty in areas, have it cleaned.
- Repair any minor tears in vynal flooring if possible.
- Check that the major appliances work properly. Repair as necessary.
- Check all faucets and plumbing fixtures, including toilets and showers, to be sure they operate properly.
- Turn on the heating, cooling and water heating units to be sure they operate properly.
- Check the fireplace draft and damper to see if they work.
- Ring the doorbell and test the intercom, garage door opener, security system and other like items.
- Check for indications of dampness or leaks and repair condition if possible or have good explanation for problem.
- If you have pets, try to clean up any areas that may show problems and air the house out before showings.
- If you smoke, it is very important that you try and air the house out and get rid of smoking odors before showings.
- Check out light fixtures for burnt out bulbs and replace as necessary.
- Clean up the yard around the house
- If a sprinkler system is present, make sure that it works properly.
- Trim large shrubs that might be too close to the house or actually touching it.
- Basement window wells should be clean and graveled.
- Shingles should be flat and tight.
- Flashing should be securely in place.
- Gutters, down spouts and splash blocks should drain away from the house and be in good working condition.
- Windows and doors should be sealed and protected by weather stripping.
- Trim and filling should be tight, without cracks, and smoothly painted.
If you have a maintenance company spraying for pests on a scheduled basis, be prepared to show this contract to potential buyers, especially if there are warranties in the contract against wood damage.
If the water on the property is derived from a well instead of the public system, you may be required to obtain a water quality and well flow test. Even if not required, you may want to do this anyway as this is not something you want to have problems with.
If the house is on a septic system and not public sewage, you may want to have this checked as it will probably be an important question asked by potential buyers.