If you’ve ever tried your hand at the dating scene, then you know the importance of looking your best. Making a great first impression is critical is you want to see your special someone again. The same goes for putting your home up for sale.
But, how do you make sure that potential buyers come back time and time again? Before you panic, you should know that there are some things that you do can (like performing a personal home evaluation) to make sure your home achieves this goal.
What is A Home Evaluation?
Technically speaking, a home evaluation is a process often used by professionals (home inspectors, appraisers, etc.) to get an idea of a home’s value. But, you can use their criteria to your advantage as well.
It’s always a good idea to get an understanding of the flaws and assets in your home before putting it on the market. And performing your home evaluation lets you know two important things:
- What you need to play up
- What needs to be fixed/replaced
Most buyers use their savings to pay for the down payment and closing costs. The whole kit and kaboodle. This means that they rarely have enough left over to make improvements to the home. In other words, they have to live with that dingy carpet until they have the money to replace it.
So it’s only natural that, if buyers have a choice of two similar properties that are virtually the same price, they will pick the one that’s in the best condition. Think about it – wouldn’t you do the same?
Home Evaluation Criteria: Outside
Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, don’t just do the bare minimum or handle all the easy stuff. Your property must look good from all angles, whether it be from the front porch, the street, in the house, in the attic, or even the closet.
So armed with a pen and notepad, take a tour of your home, starting from outside. Be objective. What do you think? Does your home look and feel like one of those model homes?
Additional questions to consider include:
- Is the yard visually appealing?
- Are the doors and entryways inviting?
- Do your walkways have cracked bricks?
- Front yard filled with brown spots?
- Are weeds everywhere?
- Is the paint on your door stained or peeling?
- Are the door and window frames square?
- Do the roof shingles look good?
- Are there any signs of siding cracks, decay, or rot?
- Is the masonry flaking or cracking?
- Are there bowing or dents in vinyl?
- Are there any concrete cracks and if yes, are those concrete cracks repaired?
The outside of your home is the very first thing that potential buyers notice. And, if you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, don’t sweat it. You now have an idea where to begin making changes.
- If you can only see shrubs and trees, then it’s time to do some yard work. Thankfully, trimming overgrown shrubs is easy. Simply lower them to a height that’s close to the bottom of the windows. And, although some consider ivy to be romantic, if you see it creeping up the sides of your house, take it down.
- If the tree branches in your yard are low, prune them. The general rule of thumb states that the limbs should be high enough that someone of average height can safely walk under the tree.
- You may also want to add some visual accents, like flowers, to your front porch. Periwinkles and petunias are hardy flowers. And, they will add beauty and colors to the front of your home. Red geraniums are also a good choice.
Home Evaluation Criteria: Inside
When you go in the house, keep a careful eye out for any cluttered or crowded areas. You can expect potential candidates to look everywhere – even your closets.
Everything should look like it belongs, even if you have to rent a storage space until your home is off the market. Your goal here is to make potential homeowners see themselves living comfortably in the space.
To ensure this happens, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your ceilings stained?
- Are there enough heating vents?
- Do range hood fans vent to the outside?
- Any leaks under the sink?
- Do the drawers and cabinet doors open and close properly?
- Do the toilets flush properly?
- Are the drains draining properly?
- Showers working?
- Are the visible electrical and wiring panel in good shape?
- Are the light switches working correctly?
- Does each room have enough outlets?
Staging Tips To Help You Step Up Your Real Estate Game Even More
The above questions are just the tip of the iceberg. So, here are some actionable tips you may want to consider:
- Get a new doormat
- Replace any old light bulbs in the attic
- Replace any old doorknobs
- Replace or polish house number
- Power wash the exterior siding, driveways, and the sidewalk around your home
- Add fresh mulch to planting beds
- Air out your house
- Edge the grass around the sidewalks and any trees
- Buy a new mailbox or paint the old one
- Upgrade outdoor lighting
- Clean gutters
- Repaint the rooms in neutral colors
- Make necessary repairs to AC/heating systems
- Fix unsightly doors with a fresh coat of paint
- Wash all the windows, inside and out
- Clean carpet, especially if it hasn’t been done in over a year
- Bare floors? Wax or polish them. This holds true even for those that are “no wax”
- Make sure that each socket is home to a working light bulb
- Clean the oven and make sure it stays that way – even if you have to eat out more often
- Clean the ranges as well and put some new drip bands under the burners
Right now is an excellent time to put your home up for sale. With most of these tips, you can also consider hiring real estate agents, who would help you out from the situation. But, before you take the step, it’s important that you keep the feel, look, and condition of your home as updated as possible. You want to give off the impression that your house is well-cared for. That’s where the above tips come in. Taking heed can help you ensure that your home goes flying off the market in no time flat.