Top 10 Items to Upgrade/Repair Before Selling

As an inspector, and homeowner, I see many homes that have been prepared for selling, and sometimes sold as-is with no preparation.  These are the top 10 items that regularly improve my impression of a house for sale:

  1. New Exterior Paint/Clean Exterior Walls
  2. Clean Gutters
  3. Clean, Moss-Free Roof/ New Roof
  4. Clean, Fogless Windows (remove the screens, store in a visible location)
  5. Repair walls, repaint with neutral colors
  6. Clean and Stain Deck, Repair Rotten Boards and Loose Railings
  7. Replace Old/Outdated Light Fixtures
  8. Have HVAC Maintained, Ducts Cleaned
  9. Clean Kitchens and Baths, Clean Moldings
  10. Prune Vegetation, Get Branches Away From House

Bonus: Most buyers don’t normally check this, but all inspectors are required to view/enter crawlspace.  I’ve been in nightmare crawlspaces (think dead rat carcasses, soiled hanging insulation, giant pools of water) and pristine crawlspaces (clean vapor retarder, pest-free, insulation intact, space to move around); consider having your crawlspace serviced by a professional crawlspace company.  Full service would include repair/replace vapor retarder, repair missing/hanging insulation, clean up after pests, set traps, remove standing water and provide recommendations for plumbing or grading repair, if necessary. 

There is any number of things one can do to prepare a home for selling.  The items on this list are mostly inexpensive and can help make a good impression with prospective buyers.  Your realtor might have some other recommendations; definitely heed their recommendations to bring in the highest offers.