A Seller’s Spring Maintenance Checklist
The first day of spring has arrived, which means if you’re planning on listing your home for sale this season, now is the time to act. Home sellers should address these seven key maintenance areas before listing, to give their property a chance to shine and potentially help secure a better offer and a faster sale.
1. Yard Upkeep
Curb appeal is one of the most important factors when it comes to selling a home. Of course, no reasonable buyer expects a home to look like a summer paradise in the middle of March. Nonetheless, some simple and important outdoor upkeep chores are not to be skipped.
Make sure that walkways and driveways are clean and tidy. Take care that leaves, mud, felled branches and any late snow accumulations are cleared away for home tours. Similarly, make sure to give equal attention to your yard. Yard debris isn’t the only thing to detract from your curb appeal – sleds, shovels, snow blowers, forgotten lawn furniture and toys can all take away from an otherwise clean and tidy outdoor aesthetic.
2. Roof and Gutters
Many homeowners spend so much time looking at the lawn and walkways that they forget to look up. Remember to check on your roof and gutters, particularly when you’re planning to sell. While the home inspection will certainly cover the condition of your roof, it’s better not to be surprised in the middle of trying to close a sale.
If you noticed any roof leaks during inclement weather, if fall windstorms blew off roof shingles or if spring rains overrun clogged gutters, now is the time to address these issues, before you put your home on the market. Water inside the home can lead to some serious (and expensive) issues, and buyers are rightfully wary of leaks and moisture problems, so it’s best to address any such issues before they become bigger problems.
3. Spot Painting
Painting your exterior can be a major undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s natural for siding and trim to chip and crack over time, especially after a particularly brutal winter. If you’re planning on selling this year, consider doing some touch-up painting to your exterior now that warmer weather is on the way.
Inspect siding, exterior trim, railings and banisters for chips and cracks. It’s always a good idea to keep leftover paint for such a purpose, but if that’s not an option, your local home supply store can attempt to match the color and finish.
4. Planter Beds
Most home sellers don’t intend to grow a prize-winning garden as they try to sell their property, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect planter beds, gardens and landscaping entirely. Particularly over the winter, shrubs may have died, debris may have accumulated in beds and mulch or gravel may need to be refreshed.
These planting areas are important to your home’s overall curb appeal, and outdoor appearances can often be indicators of interior conditions. Make sure you spruce things up yourself or call in a professional to help prepare your planter beds, gardens and landscaping to make sure your home is making the right first impression on prospective home buyers.
5. Window Washing
Many spring-cleaning checklists include washing windows as a key task, but sparkling-clean windows are important no matter what season you’re selling your home. Clean windows give the impression the home is well-cared-for and give prospective buyers a good view of the house, inside and out.
It’s particularly important to do an overall cleaning of window sills, frames, and shutters as the weather allows. Don’t forget to touch up your cleaning job if there’s another big storm while your home’s on the market. Dirt and grime have a habit of building up on the exterior during spring downpours.
6. HVAC Servicing
Moving inside, it’s very important to make sure your heating and cooling systems are in tip-top shape before putting your house on the market. These systems are critical to your home, and one of the most carefully scrutinized components of the house for buyers and home inspectors. They’re expensive to replace and need periodic upkeep, so a neglected unit can be a big red flag to a potential buyer.
Before listing, consider calling a professional to evaluate these systems – especially those that are aging or have been experiencing issues. Make sure to clean out ductwork, filters, vents and service baseboard heaters as well, so that buyers can tour your home at a comfortable temperature without dustiness, musty smells and so on.
Finally, don’t forget to give the interior of your home a good deep-cleaning. It is spring after all, which means it’s time for a good spring-cleaning after having the house closed up all winter. This is particularly important when the sale of your home is on the line.
Make sure to clear away clutter, give all the carpets a good vacuuming, clean and shine wood, vinyl, and tile floors, clean the blinds, curtains and trim, and deep-clean bathrooms and kitchens. A clean home is not only a happy home, but it’s also a home that shows well to buyers, which can help get you the best possible offer for your property sale.
Spring-cleaning can be a chore, but it’s simply too important to ignore if you plan on selling your home during the spring or summer buying season. Buyers pay attention to these details, so cutting corners could cost you. There’s no better motivation than working toward the goal of selling your home quickly and for the price you want. A little spring maintenance can help bring you one step closer to that goal.