If you are selling your home or representing a seller as a real estate professional, you are probably interested in making the experience as profitable and hassle free as possible. According to the real estate professionals and inspectors I know, the following 12 tips are tried and true ways to help that wish become a reality.
1. Have the house well lit and open the drapes to give it the "light and bright" feel.
2. Handle pet or other possible unpleasant odors. Baking some cookies or bread for the showing is an inexpensive great touch, which creates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
3. Clean up the house, especially the kitchen, bathrooms and any dirty flooring or carpets.
4. No clutter. Remove all the excess "stuff" from the home.
5. Clean up the yard, and get rid of any junk or debris.
6. Get the junk and excess storage out of the garage. (This is a good start on moving out.)
7. Redo weathered and peeling paint and caulking giving the house a "well kept" look.
8. Secure your valuables; don't leave money, jewelry or other valuables lying about.
9. Remove the pets, especially the dogs. Animals under foot may be a nuisance to some potential new buyer.
10. Get a professional home inspection before listing the property to uncover any major defects that could cause the price to be renegotiated during the sales transaction.
11. Organize and make available any documents you have, especially building permits, construction plans, contracts for repairs or additions, warranties, guarantees or manuals for new items such as appliances.
12. Provide an honest and complete disclosure of any issues you know about your home or neighborhood. It is far better to have any issues known about before a buyer makes the offer then to have an issue blow the deal in escrow or wind up in court later on. For example, if the roof or pool leaked at some time in the past and you've had it fixed, make it known and provide the documentation for the repairs. If a problem hasn't been fixed and you don't intend to fix it, then disclose it as such.
If you think some of the items above are a bit much, I understand. Do as many of them as you feel are right for you. And keep in mind that this data is culled from the experience of hundreds of seasoned real estate professionals (including my wife Norma, who gave me the idea for this article) and our company's 50,000+ property inspections.
By John A. LaRocca, Inspector Member of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) and a licensed general contractor. For questions or comments, contact him at (818) 951-1795 or www.laroccainspect.com