One aspect of my job is to counsel home sellers about maintenance and upgrades that they need to take care of before listing their home for sale. Often these tasks are completed, literally, days before the property goes on the market. It is a shame because many of these tasks are things that, had they done them in advance of listing, the homeowner would have enjoyed while they still live there.
Here are 5 of the things that often get pushed out until just before it is time to sell:
- Clean out closets and drawers: chances are you have old coats, mismatched gloves, unworn boots, old jeans and tattered sweatshirts that you don't plan to hang on to for the rest of your life. Get rid of them now and make your closets easier to use! Get your junk drawer under control, too. If your is like mine, you have at least 6 pairs of scratched sunglasses put aside as back-ups. Are you really going to dig out a pair of old sunglasses or would you just get a new pair? Be brutally honest with yourself!
- Improve your front entry: Replace the door if necessary, update the front door hardware, replace old light fixtures, power-wash the sidewalk and stairs, add nice pots and plant them with seasonally appropriate plantings. Make sure there is a nice welcome mat and that all the spiderwebs are kept at bay. Freshen the paint and the house numbers.
- Fix your driveway: That big crack that seems to be getting worse? If it means you are going to need to replace your driveway, do it now. If it means you should be patching and sealing, do that now. Either way, show your driveway some love!
- Replace your garage doors: Look around your neighborhood. Have most of your neighbors replaced their garage doors with newer, quieter versions? Do it now and enjoy the new ones (they are much quieter and nicer to look at!).
- Freshen up your deck or patio: Many of the decks I see at potential listings look really, really old. There are great products out there to 'freshen' up your deck. Make sure none of the wood is rotting, and replace it if it is. If you have a patio, make sure that it is level and that there are no places that would cause anyone to trip. Make sure it is power-washed and attractive. If you are going to stay in your house for a couple of years, splurge on a new outdoor set, or at least upgrade the cushions and umbrella and enjoy the outdoor space at your house.
There are many more tasks that get included on a listing preparation plan, but these are just some that, if you take care of them now, will allow you to enjoy your home in a way that you likely are not right now. Why do all the work for the next person? Do them now and enjoy all that is good about your home BEFORE you are ready to sell.