Repairs Worth Making Before Listing Your Home For Sale

Why would I want to spend money on a house I’m selling?

When you finally decide it’s time to sell your house, many of us just want to get the for sale sign in the front yard and be done with it. But, taking a little time to prepare your home for sale can go a long way in having it sell quickly and for more money. Most importantly, your home will show better and go through a better home inspection meaning potential buyers are more likely to put a serious offer on the table.

Show Better

By taking care of a few minor repairs, your house will look well-maintained and desirable to potential home buyers.

Better Home Inspection

Home Inspections that are filled with repairs can easily scare off both first time homebuyers and homebuyers looking for a turnkey property. Knock some things off the report by fixing them ahead of time.

What Repairs Should I Tackle?

Ok, you’re ready to get started, but what exactly should you be looking for? We’ve compiled a list of items for both the exterior and interior of your home so you can get right to it.

Exterior:

Windows/Screens

Any cracked or broken windows should be dealt with immediately. They diminish your home’s appeal and give buyers the impression that the home is not properly maintained. Be sure to check all screens for damage as well.

Peeling Paint

Peeling paint is a turnoff for any buyer. Look for cracked, chipping or bubbling paint around the exterior of your home. Whether it’s the siding, trim, windows, shutters or doors, a quick refresh will make a huge impact in your home’s aesthetic.

Cracked caulk

Caulking is important to seal a home from extreme weather conditions. For this reason, many home inspectors will look for cracked caulking around doors, windows, chimneys, skylights and areas where water could get in. This is an easy one to fix with some high-grade caulking that fits the application.

Missing Siding or Siding in Need of repair

Check for any missing or loose pieces that need to be refastened or replaced. When replacing, ensure exact colour match, or use pieces from an inconspicuous area on the front and sides and replace the siding in that area.

Roof

A roof in need of repair is a major turnoff for many buyers. Most new homeowners fear a major expense like a roof replacement and will pass on your otherwise perfect house because of it. Whether you choose to repair/replace the roof or have an estimate available for potential homebuyers, don’t ignore a bad roof.

Gutters/Eavestroughs

Check to ensure all eavestroughs are properly fastened to your home. Replace or repair any pieces as necessary. While you’re up there, take the time to clean them out as full gutters will be noted in a home inspection.

Drainage

Take a walk around the perimeter of your house and make sure the ground slopes away from your home. If there is anywhere that it slopes toward your house, you’ll need to build the grading to slope away. Ensure all gutters are extended to 3’ past your house as well.

Exterior doors/Garage door

Check to make sure all exterior doors open and close smoothly. Oil hinges and/or fix weather stripping as needed. If you don’t regularly park in your garage, take the time to test the door now. Open the door, have someone hit the button to close it, then wave your foot in the path of the infrared beam. It should stop and reverse back to open. Try closing it again and grab the door with both hands and make it stop. Both of these tests should be performed to ensure your garage door is safe.

Air Conditioner

The area around the a/c unit should be clean and free of debris to allow it to cool properly. Take a few minutes to clean up leaves and trim any overgrown bushes. If it is broken or in need of a repair, have it serviced.

Decks and Fences

Check both decks and fences for missing or loose boards. Secure any loose boards and replace any missing or rotting boards. Ensure all railings and stair treads are in place and are secured properly as the home inspector will flag any unsafe railings and stairs. Once everything is safe, consider pressure washing and/or staining to spruce up the yard and improve the curb appeal of your home.

Driveway, patios

Does your driveway have cracks or holes? Grab some crack filler and apply a fresh coat of driveway sealer to have it looking its best. Check all walkways and patios for cracks or loose/missing stones and repair as necessary. At the very least, pressure wash the driveway, and all walkways and patios. Removing years of dirt and scum will have them looking fresh and new for potential buyers.

Interior

Heating/Cooling/ Water Heater

An Inspector will test both units to make sure they are working. If either has been giving you trouble, have it serviced prior to listing. Don’t forget to change your air filter.

Showers/Tub Surrounds

Cracked grout and caulking can easily be repaired prior to listing and make a big impact on the look of the shower. Simply match grout colour and texture and re-grout damaged areas. To re-caulk, clean out old caulking with a utility knife and run a smooth line of caulking around the edges/joints of the tile/tub surround.

Faucets/Plumbing

Go around your home and test your faucets. Check for leaks around the seal, supply lines, valves and under the sink. Fill sinks halfway, then pull the plug to see if they drain normally. If they are slow, the P-trap may need to be cleaned. Either remove it or use a drain cleaner to clear it out.

Toilets

Flush all the toilets in your home. Check for leaks and slow-draining toilets.

Ceiling Fans & Lights

All ceiling fans and ceiling lights will be tested during a home inspection. Make sure they are all in working order and that you repair/replace any items before listing. If you have any burnt out bulbs, now is the time to replace them so your house can be well-lit during showings.

Electrical outlets

Have an outlet that doesn’t work? A simple outlet tester (can be purchased for $10 at most home improvement stores), can let you know before a home inspection if any of your outlets aren’t working. A Home Inspector will test every outlet in your house, so make sure you beat them to it and repair/replace any outlets that aren’t working. While you have an electrician at your house, get him to switch out any outlets that aren’t up to today’s code, especially around wet areas (bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc.)

Outlet covers/Switch plates

While you’re checking outlets, have a look at the covers around them. Are they chipped, painted over or in need of replacement? These are easy to switch out and can quickly update a space.

Safety Detectors

Fire alarms and carbon dioxide monitors are required on each level of the house. Ensure you follow code requirements of your area. It’s a good idea to replace batteries and test each one as they will be checked by the home inspector.

Kitchen Appliances

If included in the sale, the Home Inspector will run the dishwasher through its cycles, turn on all range/cooktop burners, oven, vent fan and light and all functions of the refrigerator. Repair/replace appliances as needed.

Michael Murphy, Ottawa Realtor

Hi, I'm Michael

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