Checklist for Preparing Your Home For Sale

This checklist for preparing your home for sale is quite detailed.

A. The Exterior of your Home

Checklist for Preparing Your Home For Sale1. The Yard, front and back

  • Cut, edge and fertilize the lawn.
  • Trim bushes & trees removing all dead limbs & debris.
  • Add low cost, colorful and seasonal foliage.
  • Remove all weeds from flower beds, rocks, & cracks in concrete.
  • Install/ Inspect decorative metal or stone borders between lawn & planting beds.
  • Add more rock or more mulch to garden beds.

2. Decks, Patios, Driveways, Porches, & Fences

  • Wash driveways & sidewalks.
  • Patch holes & cracks in concrete or asphalt.
  • Replace any broken areas in fencing or decking.
  • Paint and stain fences & decks.
  • Arrange outdoor furniture & firewood neatly.
  • Put away all lawn equipment, bikes, & toys.
  • Make any repairs or updates to all equipment
  • Remove debris from the street in front of your home, hose it down if the municipality doesn’t street sweep.

3. House

    • Inspect all exterior elements of home: gutters, downspouts, siding, windows sashes, trim, & shutters. Clean, paint, and/or replace as needed.
    • Replace any broken windows, doors, & screens. Make sure they all operate properly.
    • Clean windows & screens thoroughly inside and out. This helps brighten the home inside.
    • Roof: Inspect for missing/ damaged shingles & flashings. Make any necessary repairs.
    • Clean & touch up paint on the little things: House numbers, mailboxes, doorbells, etc…

4. Front Porch: Extra Attention Needed! This should be very welcoming.

  • Replace front door if damaged & can not be repaired.
  • Paint door & trim.
  • Clean porch, make any necessary repairs (depending on type of materials the porch is made from).
  • Put out a new doormat.
  • Depending on space, decorate with hanging or potted plants, chairs, etc.
  • Have a nice porch light that uses high wattage bulbs to make porch area brighter.

B. The Interior of your Home

1. Whole Home Improvements

  • Clean and repair windows & screens.
  • Clean curtains, drapes, & blinds, replace if necessary.
  • Clean carpets, professionally, if necessary. If not salvageable, replace.
  • Clean & wax wood floors, repair any stained beyond cleaning.
  • Clean vinyl & ceramic floors.
  • Clean, paint, replace all vent covers.
  • Clean, polish, paint/stain wood trim in home.
  • Have a friend come in once cleaning is done and advise if there are any lingering pet or smoke odors. Re-Clean areas where there are.
  • Remove dated wallpaper & borders.
  • Repair damages to walls & ceilings. Includes: holes, cracks, & water stains.
  • Freshly paint home using white, off white or beige paint, or a light, neutral color.
  • Clean all lamp shades & covers and replace bulbs with a higher wattage, if possible.
  • Have all home systems inspected: HVAC, electrical, plumbing, roof; and have any necessary maintenance or repairs completed. Keep a file of documentation to provide proof of what was done.
  • Have all appliances maintained and repaired. This includes hot water heater, laundry and kitchen appliances. Replace any beyond repair.

2. Closets

  • Completely empty out all closets and sort items.
  • Pack up out of season clothing, coats and shoes.
  • Pack anything not necessary to live for the time period you’ll have the home listed.
  • Leave only a few items on the floor of closets.
  • Neatly arrange items on shelving.
  • Leave extra space on shelves.

3. Pay Attention to the Little Things

  • Tighten loose door knobs.
  • Tighten loose towel racks.
  • Oil any squeaky doors or drawers.
  • Arrange furniture to give an open feel. Remove any unnecessary or oversized furniture.
  • Make sure all switches & outlets are clean & working properly.
  • Make sure windows open & close without squeaking.
  • Keep expensive personal items with you, including prescription medication.

4. Kitchen & Baths

  • Thoroughly clean all countertops, appliances, mirrors, ovens, sinks, toilets, tub, & shower walls.
  • Store small appliances to open up counter space.
  • Clear off vanity countertops & store all personal care items neatly.
  • Clean ventilating hood & exhaust fans.
  • Remove rust stains.
  • If old and dated, replace knobs on drawers & cabinets.
  • Clean & organize drawers, cabinets, & linen closets.
  • Clean all tile grout & caulk. Re-caulk if necessary.

5. Garage, Basement, Attic, & Storage Areas

  • Clean out all storage areas, throw away or donate anything you no longer need or use.
  • Thoroughly clean storage areas, garage and attic. If finished, consider painting white to make them appear larger. Paint garage floors with a sealant.
  • Arrange and organize remaining items.
  • Wipe off dirt/cobwebs from water heater, furnace, washer & dryer.
  • If you have a basement, make sure it’s water problem free.

Why Owning Your Home is Better than Renting

Everyone has the moment: do you go for owning your home or should you just continue renting? Owning versus renting has a lot of advantages, beyond just being a rite of passage into being a grown up. So what are some of these advantages? Here are the biggest ones and hopefully they can help move you to being a proud home owner.

Why Owning Your Home is Better than RentingOwning your home helps you build positive equity. Equity is what you get when you own more than you owe. Most young people, if they had to fill out a sheet listing all their assets, would only be able to list a bank account and maybe something like a car and some furnishings. Meager equity when stacked against things like student load debt or the car note that came with the new car. Owning your home gives you a big asset. Real estate also generally gains value over time. With some exceptions, that improvement in value means you have more equity in the property. When you are renting, you pay money each month and have nothing to show for it.

Another thing that makes owning versus renting make a difference in is your taxes. When you are renting, the payments you make aren’t payments you can deduct from your yearly income tax return. When you are a proud home owner there are several things that you can deduct. First is the interest you pay on the mortgage payments. You can also deduct the amount you pay for the real estate taxes you pay to the county or municipality where the property is located. It doesn’t sound like much, but the interest on a $200,000 mortgage can add up to several thousand dollars a year, depending on your interest rate. Even one as low as 4% can mean deducting $10,000 to $15,000! Real estate taxes can be sizeable as well, depending on where your home is located.

Another advantage – knowing exactly what your payments will be year to year. If you choose a fixed rate mortgage, which most people do, your mortgage payment will not change. The only thing that could affect it is changes in real estate taxes or homeowners insurance premiums since mortgage companies collect those bills in your monthly payment and then pay them for you.

An intangible advantage to home owning versus renting? Pride of ownership. That home is YOURS. You can decide to fix it up, change things and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do it.

Is Your Home an Executive Rental?

You’ve heard the buzz about executive rentals, but wondered if your home would qualify as “executive”. So what is an “executive” property?
To figure out what an executive property actually is, think about the most amazing high end home you’ve ever seen. A large home, which in some places are derisively called “McMansions” The homes are spacious and have high end finishes and quality upgrades. They aren’t typically on acres and acres of land, but on a few to small lots. Many are on small lots because the surrounding community provides the outside amenities so individual homes don’t need them.

Is Your Home an Executive Rental?Inside spacious is the operative word. High ceilings, grand entrances and large rooms. The kitchens have high end appliances, gourmet stoves, granite counters, wine coolers and are large. Baths have double sinks, separate showers with high end things like steamer showers or multiple shower heads, deep soaker tubs, heated towel racks, high end tile finishes. Bedrooms have large usually walk in closets. All rooms are spacious and well appointed. Floor finishes are also the best. Hard woods are top notch; tile is in finishes like marble, travertine and the like.

If it is furnished, it has well-appointed furnishings, quality materials, and modern touches, well decorated, but not overdone. Entertainment items like TVs surround sound, and stereos are top of the line.

Executive homes don’t exist in a vacuum. The communities where they occur have great amenities too. They have great hospitals, centers of entertainment, museums, culture and shopping. They are in subdivisions with homeowner’s associations that allow rentals and have great things like pools, gyms and golf courses.

Executive homes for rent are in high demand and your best bet is to hire a Realtor who specializes in renting and selling executive properties. They will be able to tell you what upgrades you might need to have the best executive property, and then help you find the best tenant.