Whether or not you live like Martha Stewart (who no doubt has a full time staff fluffing & tidying each of her homes) on a regular basis, when your home is on the market, you’ll want it to be as close to spotless as possible. If you aren’t able to complete a deep clean of your home, it is well worth investing in a cleaning service – either just before listing photographs are taken and the listing goes live, or on a weekly or biweekly basis until you are under contract, if you can afford it. Letting someone else do the dirty work can ease the stress of keeping your home show ready until you go under contract; a $400 or so investment in cleaning is likely to net you an additional $2,000 at closing – a 400% return on investment!
Read our listing readiness cleaning checklist to help your home sparkle and shine for showings:
- Start at the top and work your way down. As you go, fill boxes with clutter you know you can pack away for your future move or donate to Goodwill right away. Within each room, do the same thing. Dust/sort the fridge, kitchen cupboards, the linen closet, etc. from the top down. And while you’re up there – dust the top of everything – even door and window moldings. A really clean home = well maintained to buyers, and you’ll be glad you paid attention to details when offers come in.
- Put away every speck of pet paraphernalia. Put the litter box out of the way, keep the dog toys in a drawer and keep lint rollers handy in every room (but not out in plain sight) to keep Fido’s fluff of the furniture.
- Clean the refrigerator. Buyers are going to look in there – we promise. While you’re at it, clean the microwave, too.
- Declutter the top of anything and everything. That includes kitchen and bathroom counters, the top of kitchen cabinets, dressers, shelves in the laundry room and garage, closet shelving… if it has surface area, cut back on the piles and let the space breathe – and make sure you dust every flat surface.
- Replace anything tarnished or dingy in the bathroom. TP dispensers, toilet seats, towels, the trash can, the bath mat and shower curtain – if these things are dusty/musty/crusty or stained – ditch them and invest in new. For not much money your bathroom will feel fresh, clean and new if you replace the towels and update a few of the inexpensive fixtures.
- Make your home office presentable and polished. When potential buyers see how organized and put together your work space is, it will inspire confidence in the rest of your home, too. “Surely someone this organized keeps up with home maintenance,” they’ll say to themselves.
- Pack up anything in your closet you won’t wear this season, and clear the floor of clutter. Your closet will seem larger, and the fashionistas in the showing crowd will be able to envision themselves moving into your tidy, spacious, well-kept closet – not wondering how they’ll squeeze their wardrobe into a cramped and messy space.
- Outside, clean up pet detritus, scrub down outdoor furniture, replace the welcome mat and clean the windows. More light = happier potential buyers; let the sun shine in through sparkling clean windows and ensure every step from the car to your front door inspires oohs and ahhs of home admiration from buyers.
Are you wondering how much your home will sell for in the hot Denver Metro marketplace? Give me a ring – I’m happy to share my insight as a 21 year veteran of Denver real estate.
The Meyers Group
When purchasing a home, I always recommend hiring a qualified, experienced home inspector. Even with the aid of an inspector, unexpected conditions of the home you just purchased can pop up and surprise you as a homeowner. Try as they might, home inspectors do not have x-ray vision or psychic powers, and sometimes they fail to uncover an existing issue with the house. Read on for information on how best to prevent oversights during your home inspection.
- Interview potential inspectors. Ask about their experience in your specific city or suburb, whether they will get on the roof of the home, and whether they have particular expertise in child safety, environmental-friendliness, or any other special concerns. In Colorado, you’ll want someone able to give recommendations on mold or radon inspection, even if they are unable to inspect for these concerns themselves.
- Be aware of common hazards, particularly if purchasing an older home. Stair or patio railings should be 4 inches apart, but prior to the 50s and 60s, these items were produced with 6″ spacing, which is unsafe for infants, who could crawl through and fall. In addition, be on the lookout for potential safety issues like pools, fire pits and window wells. Items of this nature should have appropriate gates and covers for safety. Other hidden hazards are lead based paint in pre-1978 homes and asbestos in older walls or tile work, outdated wiring and plumbing, both of which can prove expensive if you discover after closing they are not up to code.
- Consider all current and future occupants of the home. Will infants or children live in this home with you in the future? What about elderly parents or visitors? A home that is safe and sound for you now could pose challenges if you add pets, kids or seniors to the mix.
- Bring in additional experts when necessary. Mold, radon, well, electrical, plumbing and roof inspection are all items that may require a specialized inspection beyond the scope of your inspector’s work. Any one of these can cost between $150 and $500 to complete, but consider the cost if you don’t conduct an inspection and an issue turns up. If you, your Realtor or your inspector suggests a specialty inspection, carefully consider the pros and cons. A couple hundred bucks now could save you thousands of dollars down the road.
- Consult your agent or another home expert about budgeting for repair costs. Some issues uncovered during the inspection period may be covered all, or in part, by the seller. The seller will be required to disclose material defects they become aware of during the sale process to future buyers is you cancel the transaction based on your inspection, so they may be motivated to work out the details with you. In a fast paced seller’s market, the seller still holds many of the cards and may not agree to repair or replace systems or issues in the house. Some issues may need to be fixed prior to move in, some you can pay for and repair or replace over time.
Bottom line, having a home inspection is not a guarantee that your home won’t experience issues after closing. Budgeting for potential home repairs over time is one way to prepare for issues that arise, and it is imperative that you are diligent and involved in the process of inspecting any home you are in the process of purchasing. Ask questions for clarity at every stage and if you are unsure, keep asking questions. Conduct additional inspection procedures if necessary.
If you are considering a home purchase in our lightning-speed marketplace, you’ll need an expert guide. I’ve been helping people like you buy and sell homes for over 21 years, and I’d be happy to help you navigate the challenging waters of Metro Denver real estate.
The Meyers Group
It’s no fun being paranoid or expecting the worst, but it makes sense to take basic precautions when protecting your home against criminals. There are basic steps you can take (and mistakes you can avoid) to offer your home and family better protection against a home break in. Most break ins don’t happen in the middle of the night while you are home asleep – they happen between 10 am and 3 pm while the kids are at school and you are at work, and they happen while you are out of town. A home break in happens every 15 seconds in the United States, but a few proactive measures can help you beat the odds.
- Don’t hide a key to your home under the welcome mat, or anywhere outside. Disney cartoons from the fifties and sixties make petty criminals out to be bumbling idiots, but the average criminal is savvier than you think. They will look under the birdhouse or a planter. Don’t give thieves easy entry to your home; leave a key with a neighbor or bury it somewhere you’ll remember in the backyard – not near the front door.
- Don’t settle for cheap or flimsy door/window locks. Criminals know how to bust through low-end locks quickly, and their goal is to be in and out of your home with the minimum of fuss. Invest in door and window locks that are tougher to break and give thieves a run for their money – it might stop them from running away with yours.
- Don’t help burglars hide in plain sight. Unkempt bushes or trees, large trash cans and unlit expanses of yard provide excellent cover for burglars to hide in. Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed, your trash cans in the garage and install motion sensor lights in the front, back and sides of your home.
- Maintain your security system annually at a minimum. If you are paying for a home security system and some aspect of the system is not working properly, you are throwing money away. If you have a security system in place, have it professionally tested once a year.
- Don’t leave a handy dandy ladder in the back or side yard. A ladder laying around in your yard is a flashing neon invitation to burglars. Some home heists are planned affairs, but many crimes of this nature happen because a person of criminal nature stumbles upon an easy opportunity to steal. A ladder is a great tool for thieves to access unlocked second story windows in your home. Don’t make it easy for them – put that ladder away in the garage or storage shed.
- Always lock your garage door. It is tempting to leave a side door of the garage unlocked, or the door from the garage into the house, but these are extra opportunities for thieves to enter. You probably never lock your overhead garage door – did you even know this door likely locks? It is easy for thieves to trigger your emergency open mechanism from the outside. Lock your overhead door if you’ll be absent from your home for any length of time, and consider investing in a Gaplock for extra security.
- If you’ll be away from home, the following steps are essential:
- Inform a trusted neighbor of your absence and ask them to keep an eye on the house.
- Refrain from posting your out of town plans on social media. Brag about the big trip AFTER you get back – not before you go.
- Don’t leave just a single light on – this won’t fool robbers. Invest a few bucks in digital timers to turn lights on in different areas of your home.
- Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail or newspaper. Burglars on the prowl for break-in opportunities know that a pile of newspapers or mail means an easy target.
Stay smart, stay a step ahead of the bad guys and stay safe. And if you are in need of a home security referral (or a general contractor, window cleaner, etc.), just ask. I’m happy to help.
The Meyers Group