The Value of Check-Lists When Selling Your Home
Make a check-list of the agent's recommendations and while you are at it you might draw up another list for the agent's benefit.
This should emphasise any features you think enhance the value of your home, like central heating, insulation etc.
It should also refer to any reports you have obtained from builders or engineers or architects on the structure of the house, pest control reports, documents and receipts on pool care (if you have one) and the same for any landscaping or gardening works you may have had done.
On the same list you also write down the things you and your family like about the house and the neighbourhood and list convenient local amenities.
But perhaps the most important list of all is the one that is going to help you sell your house for the best possible price.
This is the list of things you and your family should do to make sure your house or unit is presented in the best possible light. It should contain the following:
- Check lawn and landscaping. If necessary, re-seed the lawn and get advice from a landscaping expert on how to make your garden look as attractive as possible. Bedding plants in flower will help lift a run-down border.
- Paint any part of the house that needs it. Your local paint store should have plenty of brouchers on colour schemes. Make sure yours is appropriate to the style of the house and area.
- Check all windows and fly-screens. Make sure that they are in working order. Fix any cracks or holes. Replace broken or cracked panes.
- Clean barbeque and outside entertainment areas. Make them look attractive and as inviting as possible.
- Clean and tidy your garage and storage areas. If you have a workshop, make it look clean and efficient - even if you aren't a handy person. Remove any oil stains from the garage floor and the driveway. Make sure the garbage and recycling bins are unobtrusive and tidy.
- Replace any cracked tiles on the roof. Check the guttering to make sure it is sound and not clogged with leaves. Replace rusted or sagging sections.
- Check all fencing. Replace any palings that have fallen down and repair holes, which may have been made by pets or children.
- Check brickwork. Make sure that the pointing is sound. If your house is cement rendered, make sure there are no cracks. Check your pool and its surrounds. Make sure there are no cracks and that it meets the legal requirements for safety fencing.
- Check walls for blemishes in paintwork or wallpaper, for signs of damp and loose plaster.
- Make sure all doors operate quietly and smoothly and that all latches and locks work.
- Ceilings can make a room look small and shabby. Make sure cornices and ceilings are clean and uncracked, if necessary repaint them.
- Examine floorboards and replace or repack any that have undue movement.
- Check floor coverings and get carpets cleaned, if necessary, or replace if badly worn or stained.
- Check the plumbing and replace any leaking tap washers.
- Make sure water in bath and sink drains away quickly. Have a garage sale. Get rid of unwanted toys and all the other paraphernalia families tend to accumulate. You don't want the house cluttered up when prospective buyers walk through. And if you're moving, it doesn't make sense to pay removal costs for items you don't want or need.
- Make sure all electric appliances in the house are working. Check the electrical system and replace any broken switches, frayed wiring or broken light bulbs. Check the gas system. Finally, make sure the house is well (but not harshly) lit and comfortable. Turn on the central heating and have a fire going if it's cold, or the air conditioning if it's warm. Make sure that the house is well ventilated.
- The expense and time involved in doing all of these things may seem a little daunting, but if you do it properly the dividends will come back in the form of a higher price and quicker sale.
Remember that if they are not taken care of, many of the items listed could be used by a potential buyer to try and force you to reduce your asking price
Have a final look around before the first potential buyers are due to arrive.
- Check any indoor plants to make sure that they look healthy. Some colourful cut flowers will brighten up darker rooms.
- Board out your pets for the day. Some people don't like animals in the house, even if you regard the cat or dog as a member of the family. Send the children off to stay with friends. Some buyers might not take kindly to having boisterous juveniles around when they're thinking of spending large sums of money.
- Check for dust - cleanliness counts everywhere, not just in the toilet and bathroom.
- Open the drapes and curtains. Let prospective buyers see as much of the house in natural light as possible.
- Let the agent do the talking and keep in the background as much as possible. Some prospective buyers may make remarks about your house - or your handy work if you have done some renovating - that could upset you. It is sometimes very difficult not to take offence particularly if people start commenting adversely on the state of your kitchen or bathroom.
Remember, some buyers will not deal directly with the owner.