PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE, SHOWINGS & INSPECTIONS
Confirm that water, gas, and electric service are on with gas pilots burning. Make certain that the electrical panel is accessible and nothing is stacked on or around the water heater.
Ensure that pets will not hinder any showings or inspections. Ideally, pets should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Make certain anyone entering the home is advised of pets that may be on the premises.
Replace any burned out light bulbs. Lights should be turned on for all showings to make rooms bright and warm.
Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing dead batteries. Replace the filter(s) on the furnace and make sure it is accessible (nothing stacked around it). Make certain filters fit securely.
Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, water heaters, attic, and/or crawl spaces.
Remove all stored items, debris, and/or wood from the foundation of the home. Basement walls should be able to be seen and if there is a sump pump in the home, it should be able to be inspected.
Unlock any areas that prospective buyers and/or home inspectors must access – attic doors or hatches, electrical service panels, closets, fence gates, and crawl spaces.
Exterior landscaping should be performed – grass should be cut, tree limbs trimmed, etc. (tree limbs and shrubs should be approximately 10′ from the roof to all access). If the property is for sale during the fall and winter months, leaves should be raked and/or snow should be shoveled from walkways and driveways.
Complete all minor repairs (missing or broken items) such as torn screens, doorknobs, locks and latches, gutters, downspouts, and chimney caps.
Clear away any clutter and personal object (like family photos) which can distract buyers who will spend time looking at your “stuff” instead of your home. Use common sense, organize closets, drawers, and cupboards; soft music playing the background during showings is a nice touch; any strong odors (such as from pets or foods) should be eliminated before showing your home – all of these little things will go a long way in making a lasting impression on a potential purchaser.