Tips to get your house sold in an increasingly competitive housing market
Impress potential buyers with a well-maintained home, even if yours isn't!
Pro Home Manager: by Rubi Fingeret

Preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure your home will be in top condition for that open house. If your maintenance has gotten away from you, consider a few basic steps you can take that wonít cost much but will have a big impact on potential buyers.

Begin with the exterior -- the first thing a prospective buyer will see. This is where youíll get the most bang for your buck. Take a walk around your house and bring a few garbage bags with you. Clear away any clutter you find, everything from leaves and branches to that old cracked plastic flower pot thatís been in your yard since the last century. Prune back any landscaping that obstructs the view of your house from the street. Replace any missing siding, fix broken windows, and repair those cracks in the sidewalk and driveway. Get someone to powerwash the moldy spots from the fencing. Donít disregard the roof as itís one of the first things a buyer will see. A roof in good repair may go unnoticed, but missing roof shingles or a drooping gutter will signal that your home was not well taken care of. Give the buyer the impression that your house has been lovingly maintained, even if you havenít swept the chimney since Nixon was vice-president.

Now step inside and try to pretend youíre seeing your home for the first time. You may no longer see those cracks in the sheetrock, but a buyer is sure to spot them. Invest in some spackle and paint. Replace that old stained carpeting and buff up those wood floors. Are the windows dirty? Hire a window washer and let the sun shine in. Bathroom mildew on shower curtains and tile grout is a turn off. Replace those curtains and restore the grout to its original whiteness. Make sure all the kitchen and bath fixtures gleam and sparkle. Make the buyer believe you stay up nights cleaning.

Most buyers donít want to purchase someone elseís poorly maintained house. While they donít know when your water heater was last serviced just by looking at it, theyíll probably assume your home has been well maintained if everything they can see appears in good condition. You donít need to invest in an expensive kitchen or bath renovation to sell your home. Just focus on the visible signs of a carefully tended home to snag that buyer.





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