Buying or Selling a Home? Here’s a Helpful Checklist

You never realize how much stuff you own until you move. Now you have a seemingly endless to-do list and new questions coming up every day. Your work isn’t over when you close the deal – then it’s about packing, unpacking and readying the house.

home checklist for buying and selling

We break it down for you so it’s not so big and scary. When buying or selling a home, keep this helpful checklist on hand.

1. Set Goals for Buying and Selling

It’s a lot easier going into the situation when you have a road map. Take a moment to sit down and put your goals in writing. Put down your budget, your wants, and your non-negotiables. Think about your commute and the schools you want to be near.

Calculate your costs including one-time (e.g., down payment, movers) and recurring payments (e.g., insurance, landscaping). It may help to also put dates on each step so you can check in and see if you’re on target.

2. Tighten Loose Handles and Knobs

You go to reach for a doorknob and it comes loose in your hand. It’s something so small, but it can make you question the integrity of the whole house. Just like with your home’s exterior, the smallest details make the biggest impression and you can make up for a lot by fixing up these loose ends.

Go around and tighten those pesky handles and knobs. Even if you only do this step you’ll already be way ahead when it comes time for an open house or moving day.

3. Fix Wonky Utilities

That tricky light that always flickers. That fuse that always trips when you use the A/C and microwave at the same time. Or that faucet that drips long after the shower is done. Take this time to fix up your utilities that would give someone pause during a showing. You might also have issues with hard water that causes build-up in the kitchen and bath. Use this opportunity to install or replace a water softener.

4. Get a Chimney Inspection and Cleaning

The fireplace is where memories are made on cold nights and holidays. However, this beautiful feature of your house can be a hazard, and it often gets missed during home inspections. You want to rule out any pre-existing issues and be sure it’s safe for use, especially if the fireplace gets used infrequently.

chimney inspection and cleaning checklist

Contact a chimney sweep for a chimney inspection and cleaning. And if you’ve ever experienced extensive chimney damage, you can get a level 2 chimney inspection which uses closed-circuit cameras to examine the entire length of the chimney.

5. Declutter Your Rooms

Like most people, one of your evergreen to-do items is probably decluttering. Now’s the perfect time to start. Change is like a snowball rolling down a hill, and it’s easier to use the momentum of moving to get organized.

Don’t try to take an inventory of everything you own. Approach each room like someone with fresh eyes. Ask yourself your first impression: does it feel calm or disorganized? Start with what’s out and visible, on shelves, desks, and countertops. That will tell you what to get rid of.

6. Take Down Personal Items

Decluttering is a list in itself, so no worries if you don’t master it in one step. Do the minimum amount by hiding personal items like memorabilia and family photos. The goal is to make the house look like a showroom, so hide the evidence of life like loose toys underfoot.

Even think about putting away art, books, games or media that may be controversial or have a narrow appeal. And curbside takes down holiday decorations and lawn ornaments, too.

7. Do An Odor Check

You know how when someone’s baking you only notice how nice it smells when you leave the room and come back? You get used to the scents in your home, but your visitors will notice them at a showing – for better or worse. An easy way to correct that is to open the windows to let in a breeze and cross-ventilate.

8. Clean Up Scuff Marks

There are some areas around your home that naturally collect marks from furniture and little hands. Do a quick sweep of the house paying special attention to doors, walls, and baseboards that take the most punishment. Then scrub or buff out the areas in need of attention. This is a stress-free way to touch up your painted surfaces without doing a full makeover.

9. Check the Condition of Your Flooring

The floor is another area that draws people’s eyes right away. Rent a carpet shampooer for a deep clean or go over the wood floor with a touch-up pen. You may find it worth it to update your flooring to make it move-in ready so buyers can really picture themselves there.

10. Up Your Curb Appeal

home with good curb appeal

Take this time to do some work on your home’s facade. These are easy fixes that totally change the look of your home. Slap on new siding, enhance your windows and fix up your entryway and garage. While taking an audit of things that need to be fixed, you may find you need to update your windows. New home buyers are especially shrewd customers and are going to be looking for the latest in energy efficiency.

Home Improvement Starts with a Chimney Inspection

To remove all the creosote and soot buildup, you’ll have to go with a professional inspection and cleaning of your chimney. It’s better to keep it safe and maintaining a clean chimney with a working chimney liner will drastically improve your home value. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote online today.

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