Are you preparing to sell your home? There are a ton of things to do before listing your house, so now is the time to get to work!
It takes more than just putting a ‘For Sale’ sign on your lawn or uploading a few random pictures of your property to sell a house, especially if you want it to sell quickly. And who doesn’t, really?
Below are some things to do before listing your house on the market.
10 Best Things to Do Before Selling Your Home
While some of these suggestions are straightforward, others require a little more work. However, they will undoubtedly pay off if potential buyers begin drooling over your home and, ideally, making a great offer.
1. Check Your Roof
Some of the most important issues you should consider before listing your home for sale include: ‘Do I need to fix my roof?’ ‘Will it be better to replace my roof entirely?’ and ‘Should I sell the house as it is?’
When considering a potential purchase, one of the first things buyers look at is the roof’s condition. A new roof installation improves the property’s curb appeal, making it easier to sell. In fact, according to Remodeling’s 2019 Cost vs Value Report, a new asphalt shingle roof of medium grade costs the typical American homeowner $22,636. The average value of the home will rise by $15,427 after erecting the new roof. That equals 68 percent of the initial investment.
According to another remodeling impact assessment published by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, new roofs offer a 109 percent return, meaning you might profit from your new roof. If your roof is in good condition, you may need a professional repair to work on the damaged area. However, you need residential roof replacement services if the estimated functional life of your roof is about to expire. The only way to decide the best course of action is to have a qualified roof inspector assess your system.
2. Check Your Wiring
Your first concern when selling a house with outdated wiring will be whether it is safe to live there. Electrical systems in older homes are prone to overload, which can result in fires and electrocution. According to NFPA, on average, US firefighters battled 44,880 home fires involving electrical malfunctions from 2012 to 2016. Each of those years had an average of 440 fatalities, 1,250 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage due to electrical fires. For the present owner, that is already a fire hazard, but for the buyer, it is a deal breaker.
A real estate deal might also fail if the lender or homeowners’ insurance provider prevents the buyer from moving forward due to outdated electrical wiring. An electrical system assessment is advised by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) for anyone purchasing a previously owned property and if your home fits the following criteria:
- You’ve recently added new appliances
- Your home has had significant remodeling
- Your house is 40 years old or older
Although a buyer pays for a home inspection, a pre-listing examination by an electrician service can spot problems like outdated wiring and warn homeowners about pricey repairs. A home inspection can cost as much as $337 nationwide, according to Home Advisor, although it depends on your property’s location and size. You can also let the buyer know that you’ve fixed several issues. Being proactive boosts sales significantly.
3. Check for Water Damage
According to Forbes Advisor, 29% of annual house insurance claims are for water damage. Water damage issues can affect your home sale, regardless of whether the problem was caused by a leaky pipe or a flood brought on by a storm surge. Water damage frequently goes undetected until during a house inspection. However, with proactive guidance, sellers can avert a situation that could cost them thousands of dollars.
DIY repair can be ideal if your home doesn’t require mold remediation and the damage is just minor, such as moisture damage to the walls and furniture. That said, it is best to pay for the water damage restoration. Otherwise, you may have to accept a significantly lower offer if you give the job to the buyer.
Ensure you include a written justification for the repairs. You should state your efforts in alleviating water damage in your sales contract. Gather receipts, invoices, and other documentation, including warranties that act as proof. Remember that the buyer may file a claim against you for the harm caused if you fail to disclose issues with the property.
4. Check Your Insulation
There are several best things to do before selling your home to raise its value. Adding high-quality home insulation is one of the best improvements you can make to attract buyers. So why is insulation important, and how might it increase the value of a property?
Insulation’s primary purpose is to make your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, drastically lowering energy costs. It’s also excellent for the environment, so adding insulation will raise the house’s EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate).
How does your home’s insulation affect its sale? It might not be evident to you, but it can really matter. One of the best upgrades you can do is attic insulation, and everyone appreciates a house with good insulation. In fact, an upgrade to attic insulation can increase return on investment by over 108%, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.
Check your attic and crawlspace to see if you can spot any obvious insulation issues. Also, ensure the insulation is equally distributed. Is there mold or evidence of pests building nests in it? If so, proceed with the damage restoration. Although it may not be legally necessary for all areas, it is still ethically correct to fix any issues with the insulation in the house before selling it.
5. Check for Mold
Checking for mold is another of the best things to do before selling your home. But how do you spot areas where mold is growing?
Mold is visible and odorous. On furniture, walls, and ceilings, look for stains or growth that is fuzzy, velvety, scratchy, or leathery. Health experts advise checking for standing water near air conditioners, furnaces, drain pans, drain lines, evaporator coils, and liner surfaces. Pay close attention to any musty or earthy smells. These are typical signs of mold.
During a visual inspection, a house inspector keeps an eye out for these indicators. Most of the time, it’s up to your sight and nose. Some house inspectors have thermal imaging tools that detect wet or cold patches behind the walls. But what happens if they find that your house has mold? Can you sell a mold-infested home? And why is mold an important consideration, anyway?
For good reason, finding mold in a home is sometimes a deal-breaker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that mold can have various adverse health impacts. This includes symptoms including a skin rash, a sore throat, a cough, and wheezing. However, does it always mean the end?
Essentially, mold can compromise the structural integrity of your house, pose a health risk, and hurt your home’s ability to sell. According to research by Environmental Protection Agency, mold and moisture exposure accounts for 21% of the 21.8 million asthma incidents in the United States.
The good news is that, as stated by Fixr.com, an online directory of service providers established in 2008, a mold inspection company can eliminate and clear mold colonies and excessive mold development, bringing the air humidity in your home back to what is regarded as normal. After that, you’ll ease the selling process. Buyers feel secure with a guaranteed follow-up mold inspection.
6. Check Your Heating and Cooling Systems
One of the best things to do before selling your home is to check the heating and cooling systems. Ensure everything is functioning before listing your house. For this reason, it is essential to have the HVAC system examined.
The standard lifespan of an HVAC system is 15 to 20 years, according to Sanborn’s Air Conditioning & Heating. Still, if you’ve been diligent about HVAC maintenance, your system will probably be in good health and survive longer. Even if you aren’t quite ready to sell your home, it is a good idea to enroll in a servicing plan that includes spring and fall tune-ups.
The best course of action is to call a licensed HVAC company to evaluate the complete system before you list your home for sale. The examiner evaluates the overall condition of your HVAC system and determines whether any repairs are necessary. Have a professional clean every piece of equipment as part of the servicing.
If you notice issues, schedule HVAC repairs before you put the house on the market. This is especially crucial in the case of any hazardous problems, like gas or refrigerant leakage. Additionally, replace equipment with mechanical wear and tear, address thermostat issues, and clean AC evaporator or condenser coils.
7. Remove Landscape Hazards
The Economic Benefits of Landscape Contractors of America estimates that a well-kept lawn and straightforward landscaping can increase a home’s market value by roughly 15%. It is yet another of the best things to do before selling your home. However, you can’t start by taking on the entire yard.
Start small instead. Think about the areas of your property that are more noticeable. These might include the driveway, the front door, and the landscaping. After all, the goal of curb appeal is to attract attention from the street. Here are some quick tips for maintaining the appearance of your yard:
- Get the lawn cleaned up. The first order of business is to keep your lawn trimmed, rake your leaves, and remove all weeds, particularly before staging.
- The grass is where landscaping begins. Your property may appear run-down and outdated if there are brown or dirty patches. Fortunately, it’s simple to cure bad grass. For new grass, plant some grass seeds and irrigate the area for a few weeks.
- Bushes that are withering or overgrown don’t look good. Trim your trees and shrubs frequently to prevent them from dominating the landscape or encroaching on other parts of your yard. Consider using a tree removal service to remove dead plants. Another excellent idea to make your soil appear rich is to surround your shrubs and trees with dark brown mulch.
First impressions matter a lot. And you got it right – the house’s exterior is the first image buyers check in their web searches. Most buyers only base their initial impression of the home on that first image. Therefore, it is crucial to enhance your yard and create a positive first impression.
8. Remove Junk
Decluttering is another of the best things to do before selling your home. Making your rooms appear roomy helps because large kitchens, baths, and storage spaces sometimes serve as major selling elements. Expert home stagers recommend that you remove 50% of your possessions.
Organize and tidy the places in your home. Don’t merely stuff items into cabinets, closets, attics, or basements; buyers will look inside each location. Use storage containers stacked neatly in a basement or closet or tucked under beds. Cabinet cubbies or baskets can help keep things looking organized and tidy.
Furniture is part of the decluttering process. Buyers should be able to move around rooms without running into furniture, and your pieces should be the right scale for the space. Ensure no furniture obstructs any doorways, windows, or other architectural features. For instance, get rid of accent chairs or end tables in a tiny living room. Even though such changes are inconvenient, it’s only for a time. You can also get help from home junk removal companies.
Getting ready to sell your house might need you to hire a storage unit. According to MovingTips, the cost of a storage facility can vary from $30 to $300 per month, based on its size, location, and amenities like climate control and security.
Think about getting help from a professional to organize your space. They can assist you in deciding which items to give, store, or toss. According to Angie’s List, hourly prices for organizers often range from $30 to $80. Additionally, moving will be simpler because you’ll have less stuff with some already packed.
9. Compare Housing Market in Your Area
Many homeowners question the worth of their homes due to the rising housing costs since 2020, particularly in local house listings. According to real estate agent insights, the housing market will continue to favor sellers in 2022, although a shift to a more balanced market is possible in the second half of the year. The anticipated increase in interest rates should help drive down home costs.
How, then, can you determine the value of your home in light of all these changes? If you’re considering selling your home, ensure you determine the price beforehand. It’ll help you avoid setting the price too low and losing money, or overpricing your home, making it stay on the market unnecessarily longer. Consequently, this is among the best things to do before selling your home.
10. Hire a Professional
Experience is vital when comparing property prices, but the process can be intimidating if you live in a market where houses sell like hotcakes. There is a ton of intimidating data to evaluate, examine, and keep track of! Fortunately, a real estate company can work on your behalf. So, add hiring a professional to the list of the best things to do before selling your home. The agent you choose should be well-versed in the market and have no trouble locating comparable properties. They are adept at comparing home prices and can provide an accurate and competitive listing price.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to learn how to sell a house. When the market is down, your house can stay on the market far longer than you anticipate. Luckily, there are the best things to do before selling your home to boost the chances of closing the deal fast. A great place to start is by following the aforementioned tips. Be sure to emotionally and financially prepare for less-than-ideal conditions. Work with experts, and the process will be a breeze.