At a quick glance your home looks fine and absolutely ready to be put on the market for sale. The problem is that you are likely to be viewing your home through the eyes of a person who lives there, which of course you are, not someone who is stepping into it for the first time as a potential buyer.
As any real estate professional will tell you, home buyers seem to develop Superman type vision as soon as they begin looking at homes for sale. That little crack in the living room window? They noticed it from the hall. The piece of gutter pipe hanging down and falling off a bit at the back of the house? They saw that from the road before they ever pulled into your driveway. That is why it is so very important to give your home a truly through going over, with a very critical eye before you ever open your door to potential buyers. Here are just some of the things you should be looking for, room by room
The Kitchen – Is your kitchen really clean? Yes? How about those cobwebs up in the corner, the ones that were always just a little too high to reach? Or that fading (but not faded) spaghetti sauce stain on your white work surface that never did quite come out? Tiny details, but ones eagle eyed buyers will spot right away.
You should also make sure that you cabinets are neat and organized. Buyers love to open cabinets up to check out how much storage space they would have if they made this kitchen theirs. If everything is jammed in and looks cluttered they might think that they will have to do the same.
The Bathroom – The bathroom is another room in your home that potential buyers will examine very closely. And something as simple as a grimy bathtub ring will make a very bad first impression. Make sure your bathroom is clean and spotless at all times, including wiping the toothpaste off the taps and keeping the toilet bowl nice and clean.
Spare Bedroom – You are advertising your home as a three bedroom, but the fact is that ever since Jr went to college you have been using his room as a makeshift gym/sewing room. Before you bring potential buyers into your home that room needs to be turned back into a bedroom – even if you just put a decent duvet over an inflatable bed and clear out the clutter. Not doing so will make it very hard for buyers to see the room as a bedroom at all and they may even think you were being dishonest in your listing.
Outside – The condition and appearance of the exterior of your home is every bit as important as the interior when selling your home. Take the time to walk all around your for sale by owner home and consciously be on the lookout for problems. Check the roof tiles, the gutters, the area around the chimney if you have one. You don’t have to scale a ladder to do so, taking a good look with a pair of binoculars should do fine. Whatever you do find needs to be fixed right away though. Finally, watch out for dead plants and weeds in the summer and make sure that even if you never have before you do your best to make your lawn as close to baseball diamond perfection as you can get.
Angelica Pinto is an artist, interior design lover and Realtor serving the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, Ontario communities.