If you’re a homeowner, you already know that keeping your property in tiptop shape requires dedication and patience for ongoing maintenance. But what if you’ve put your home on the market, or even accepted an offer? To prevent minor issues from escalating into full-blown, money-sucking, sale-killing problems, focus on these five important areas you can’t afford to neglect.
1. Keep up the yard and walkways
Whether you’re still living at the home or not, you’ll want to make sure to keep your landscaping tidy—remove dead tree limbs, rake leaves, and clean out flower beds. Consider having lights on timers so the house doesn’t look dark all the time, and arrange for driveways and walkways to be plowed weekly in the winter months. And don’t let mail pile up in the mailbox.
2. Clean the gutters and check the roof
This one’s easy to forget about, even when you don’t plan on going anywhere. But when it comes to gutter and roof issues, neglect can cause a dangerous domino effect. Overflowing gutters can damage your foundation, and also lead to drainage issues. Buyers, seeing the house when it’s raining, will also see your gutters overflowing. That’s a terrible first impression.
3. Service your heating systems
The hidden guts of your home need regular attention, whether you’re still living there or not. That means having your HVAC systems professionally serviced. First up, your furnace: If you get it addressed before you list your home, it won’t smell like dust when you crank up the heat during an open house on a chilly day. While you’re at it, have the duct work and filters cleaned as well. And if you have baseboard heaters, vacuum those out, too.
4. Keep the critters out
If you don’t want to add “family of raccoons included” to your listing (and pay the hefty tab for getting them out), inspect the inside and outside of your home for any areas that need to plugged up. Take care of holes from damaged siding or fascia under the roofline—and do it promptly.
5. Wash your windows
Most people associate sparkling windows with spring-cleaning, Roberts says. But if your house is on the market, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is—you need to get those babies squeaky clean. If buyers walk through your home and all they see is dirty windows, that’ll really mar the showing process. Make sure to wipe them down after a bad storm, when they’re especially likely to show muck and grime buildup.
Staying on top of these regular tasks will make it easier to sell your home with fewer headaches. Plus, it’ll preserve the value of your property, and potentially, the thickness of your wallet, too.