If you don’t live in a home that you have listed for sale, who is responsible for keeping the home show-ready? Here are my thoughts.

If your for-sale home is still showing, you’ll want it to be in tip-top shape to impress potential buyers. However, if you’ve moved out of town, dropping by to tidy up isn’t always feasible. So whose shoulders do those maintenance tasks fall on?

The easy answer is that the general upkeep of the house is the responsibility of whoever owns the house, meaning that if it has yet to sell, the seller is liable for how it’s maintained. Neighbors can also get quite testy if your home becomes an eyesore. 

Don’t assume that your real estate agent is your gardener. Some people might consider relying on their real estate agent to maintain the house—after all, the agent does have a vested interest in making sure the home sells quickly and at a high price. While the agent might be up for the task, never assume they own this responsibility. It’s important to have that discussion up front so that there’s no misunderstanding.

“Don’t assume that your real estate agent is your gardener.”

A Realtor might also object to managing ongoing maintenance because it can put them at risk if they assume the responsibility and something goes badly. For example, if the agent sends over their favorite painter and the painter takes the cash for the job but never completes it (or does a bad job), the seller is likely to blame the agent. To prevent such a snafu, the agent might suggest a couple of contractors and then encourage the seller to solicit their own, as well; at the very least, the agent can recommend the seller to take care of the bidding and hiring process. Sellers can also hire property managers if they need help taking care of the property.

No matter the situation, a helpful Realtor will have your best interests at heart and will be set on keeping the house in top-notch condition if you won’t be living there while its on the market. Be sure to strategize and discuss your maintenance plan with your real estate agent so that everybody is on the same page.

If you have questions about selling your home or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We at the Dailey Group look forward to hearing from you and helping you move with confidence.