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Getting Ready to Sell Your Home

Following is a checklist of items and practical advice to help your home look its best:


Paint the front door and mailbox. Polish any brass hardware. Wash or clean wood, aluminum, or vinyl sided homes. You can hire a contractor to pressure-wash your home for usually under $500. Pressure washing can remove dirt, grime, chalky paint and even mildew.

Rake leaves, trim shrubs and trees, cut the lawn, and put in some seasonal flowers. Refresh mulch by topdressing with a layer of new mulch, or replace it totally with new.

Sweep and hose off patios, driveways, and sidewalks. Another item that is a possibility for pressure washing! Make sure all are unstained and in good condition.

Clean gutters; extend downspouts to prevent water seepage and drain water away from wood siding to prevent rot.

Organize garage and any storage buildings/sheds. Keep car clean.

Make sure all house and garage locks work easily with the key(s). You may want to purchase a small tube of graphite to remedy the problem, or replace very worn locks.


Wash windows, shades, blinds and curtains.

Leave the shades/blinds open to make the house appear bright and cheerful.

Replace burned-out light bulbs and clean lighting fixtures.

Wax/polish floors; vacuum or shampoo carpets; glue down open seams in vinyl flooring.

Paint the foyer and repair/clean flooring.

Make sure windows and doors operate properly and lubricate bi-fold door tracks with spray silicone.

Glue loose seams in wallpaper; remove soiled wallpaper and replace or paint.

Clean in and around fireplaces

Organize the closets and clean up all clutter.

Make sure beds are made and there is no laundry visible.

Have a yard/garage sale to get rid of unwanted and excess items that can clutter the house.

Make your baths sparkle by making these improvements: Repair loose tiles, remove loose grout and add new. Remove old tub and tile caulking and install new white tub and tile caulking around edges of the tub, along edges of the sink tops and around the toilet base. Clean mildewed caulk with bleach or a bleach product. Old tubs can often be repainted with a spray epoxy coating or lined with vinyl.

Remove soap scum and dirt buildup on tile and clean glass doors with vinegar. Replace or launder soiled shower curtains.

Vacuum exhaust fans and have them plugged in.

Improve the kitchen with these items: Clean ovens, cooktops, and exhaust fans. Remember to clean behind appliances. Make sure all the burners or cooking elements work. Defrost freezers. Remove mold from refrigerator gaskets. Empty the water collection tray under refrigerator.

Neatly arrange items under sink. Wash cabinet fronts. Cover counter burns with ceramic tile or heat resistant glass. Make sure all drawer pulls and door handles are in place and secure.

Install new shelf and drawer liners. Signs of rats, roaches, spiders, mice, termites, etc.

Because Homeowners become desensitized to the odors in their own homes, they may not realize how obvious these odors can be to visitors. To avoid this problem, ask someone outside of your household to help you detect odors.  Things that could turn your potential buyer off:    


                                Dog and cat odors

                                Odors from dirty baths and kitchens; bacteria growing in drains

                                Freezer and refrigerator odors

                                Odors from tobacco smoke and trash cans

                                Mildew odors from baths, kitchens, and screened porches               

                                Odors from heating equipment (usually dirty coils).


How to fix the problems:

Remove pet odors by steam cleaning carpet, cleaning litter boxes daily, and keeping barking dogs out of sight.

Air out furniture; use commercial odor cleaner such as Febreze.

Check toilet bowl to see if it is fitting tightly against the floor. Odors often come into the bath through a bad wax seal under the bowl.

Food disposal units and the inside overflow areas of bath sinks are great places for bacteria. Using a chlorine bleach and water solution, remove the trap and block the drain, then pour in the solution past the overflow inlet. Let sit for half an hour.

Rinse trash cans and spray with a deodorizer.

Make the whole house smell inviting by boiling cinnamon sticks or vanilla in a pot, or have an apple pie or loaf of bread warming in the oven.

Once you have attended to the physical inspection of the property, gather any pertinent papers concerning your house: substantial repair or replacement receipts showing updates, warranties that can pass from owner to buyer, termite bond, and previous utility bills to help answer questions on water, electric, and gas consumption.

By completing these lists, your home will appear its best! Plus some expenses occurred for preparing your home are tax deductible: professional cleaning and painting, window repair, landscaping, or even a professional home inspection!

Expenses are deductible as long as they are performed within 90 days of the sales contract and paid for no later than 30 days after closing, and are not otherwise deductible on your return, or a capital improvement. Selling expenses also may be deductible if incurred during the negotiating and final sale of your home.

Typically, these include: advertising costs, home inspection fees, legal fees, loan placement fees or points, survey fees, recording expenses and sales commissions. Always consult your attorney and/or tax accountant, and save all records.


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