Seller's Advice

The decision to sell a home is rarely an immediate one.  Therefore, it is wise to prepare your house to sell by taking some time, investing a little money and doing a little work before you even consider calling a listing agent or putting the property on the market as a For Sale By Owner.  Either way, consider these recommendations:

1) Remember that you are getting an item ready to sell.  The goal is to present the goods in their very best light and in order to do that, start with the removing clutter in places you normally don't go:  under the sinks, in the attic, in the crawlspace (yes, light it up, get in there and clean it out.  Trash and junk out, rake the dirt flat if that's what is there, sweep the cobwebs out, spray for bugs around the perimeter) and in the garage.  Garden City has a community clean up twice a year and that's a great time to unload considerable junk at curb side for free.

2) Clean.  Start with the windows and window wells.  Open EVERY window in the house and clean out the frame area, lubricate mechanisms (casement windows) or slides, and only after that is accomplished, clean the glass.  I have inspected houses where windows haven't ever been opened since the house was built and having the seals tear away from the frames during the inspection does not bode well for you as the seller.  Move on to the doors.  Open the door, sweep / dust the jams all the way around in and out.  Oil the hinges, spray a little WD40 in the lockset.  Wipe down the door.

3) Go through the entire house, inside and outside, and replace burned out light bulbs.  There may be light fixtures in the attic, in the crawlspace or under the stairs.  Check the porch lights, the recessed lighting in front of the garage and the landscape lighting.

4) Call two professionals:  an exterminator and an HVAC company.  Have the exterminator do a terminate inspection and treat the house in and (unless its winter) out.  There's nothing that freaks out buyers like black widow spiders looking back at them when they are peering out the basement windows.  It will also determine whether or not you have termite issues that can be addressed now instead of later.  Second, have your heating and air conditioning serviced by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor, note the date and keep the paperwork.  Bad HVAC can be a deal breaker.

5)  In the kitchen:  clean the cabinets and drawers INSIDE, replace or install fresh shelf paper, then clean the stile, rails, doors and drawer fronts with the appropriate cleaner - Murphy's Oil Soap for wood surfaces and damp sponge with mild soap and water for painted surfaces.  Again, sticky or oily cabinets are disgusting to see, let alone touch.  Tighten up all hardware, door and drawer pulls, hinges and latches.  Clean the oven and stove top - replace trim rings and drip pans if necessary.  Cheap to do, looks great to a buyer.  Clean the filter for your exhaust fan - yes, there is one and they are washable.  Very people even realize it's there and they are almost always greasy.  Check the light bulb here, too.

6) Bathrooms cabinets get the same treatment and should ALWAYS have vinyl shelf paper underneath.  Leaks there can be wiped up; leaks on wood last forever.  Sinks and faucets leak, even if its for a few moments duing maintenance or replacement.  Cleaners, hair products, etc. can leak and stain under cabinets, too.  Shelf paper saves the day here as well because the inspector can't tell what caused the stain or wood damage; only that a liquid did.  Clean the toilet, shower, bathtub and/or whirlpool, sinks and mirrors.  Those of you with a jetted tub should consider having it checked by a plumber and keep the paperwork.

7)  Ceiling fans in any room need to be vacuumed (don't try to dust - you'll make a mess of biblical proportions) on top of the motor housing, around where the blades attach, on top of any light fixtures and finally the blade sides and tops.  Only after you have vacuumed the dust first, then you need to come back and wipe the blades clean using the same cleaning materials you used for your kitchen cabinets depending on the finish.  Check light bulbs here again.

8) Return air grills for your HVAC and floor registers should be either removed and cleaned outside with the hose or vacuumed and wiped down.  Take a look in the ducts underneath those floor registers - if there is a pile of Froot Loops or dog hair in there, get the shop vac and clean all of those out.