To give your home a competitive edge when it's time to sell, make sure it is in good physical condition.
This not only makes your home more attractive and desirable, it also simplifies the negotiation process when the time comes for the Buyer's pre-purchase inspection.
Over the years, The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), has identified a list of common problems that typically appear on buyers' home inspection reports. Early correction of these problems can increase a home's appeal and its selling price. It also sets the stage for a favorable home inspection report for the buyer, and thereby helps to expedite the sale.
The following checklist can help you achieve these marketing goals.
After size, style, and location, a home buyer's primary concern is the condition of the home's basic structure and major mechanical systems. Most buyers do not want to invest a great deal of money correcting problems in such critical areas.
A pre-listing home inspection of the visible and accessible home components can reveal most of these problems, and include recommended repairs, if needed, on the following major items:
- roof structure and covering
- foundation, basement, and/or crawl space
- central heating and air conditioning systems
- electrical system
- plumbing system
A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive to make, yet they can substantially improve a home's appearance, efficiency, and comfort.
- clean gutters of debris and leaves; repair or replace cracked or broken gutters, downspouts, and extensions to ensure proper drainage;
- replace bathroom caulk or grouting where necessary to prevent seepage and improve appearance;
- have the heating and air conditioning systems professionally serviced;
- have chimneys professionally cleaned, and install chimney hoods or caps as needed.
Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression of your home. Here are some typical improvements which might be suggested by the home inspector's findings:
- repair leaky faucets;
- tighten loose doorknobs;
- replace damaged screens;
- secure loose railings;
- patch holes or cracks in walls and ceilings, then repaint;
- repair peeling wallpaper.
Home inspectors also pay attention to items relating to protecting the home and its occupants from danger. They can alert you to important safety precautions which home buyers will appreciate, such as:
- installing smoke detectors on each level;
- installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI's) in "wet" areas, such as kitchen counter tops, bathrooms, and exterior outlets;
- keeping flammable products away from heaters, water heaters, and fireplaces.
An attractive, clean, and neat home will appeal to a buyer's emotions. In addition to making repairs such as those listed above, remember to
- keep the lawn mowed and the house neat;
- clean the exterior walls and trim; repaint if necessary;
- open windows shades and curtains to create a bright, inviting atmosphere; - keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean, since buyers scrutinize these areas.
It's a good idea to assemble in advance various house records that can be used to answer questions from buyers and home inspectors. Specifically, you should have on hand:
- appliance receipts, service records, and warranties;
- information on the age of major components, such as the heater, air conditioner and roof;
- major component warranties (e.g. carpeting, siding, roof shingles);
- heating, water, and electric bills from the previous year.
In addition, keep areas clear to give buyers and home inspectors access to the garage, heating system, and electricalequipment.
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

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