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Archives > May 2015

Using Buyer’s Eyes to Critique your Property’s Repairs  

Written by Jill Gargus, CID
Buyers today are savvy, they have been amply educated thanks to the internet and the television programs on home staging. They are also not spending the way the used to. The economy changes and daily stress of lower incomes and a higher cost of living have created the demand for move in ready homes.

As well there is a generational gap that is more prominent than ever before, younger couples are buying older homes and they are generally more unskilled at property maintenance and updating a home, than their older generation home sellers.

There are multitudes of older sellers moving out of their long term homes and that makes for a flooded market in that category.

The other problem in this scenario is that if a younger buyer is looking in a set price point, they can likely find a new home, with a warranty for the same price as your older fixer upper.

This happens in every price range, regardless. If your home is in need of repair, why would they buy yours? You are competing with the newer model homes and they are popping up everywhere.

So consider your buyer’s needs and demographic.

If your potential buyer is the demographic of a younger family or a couple with no kids but both work, consider that thinking the way they think and finding out what they want to be your top priority if you want to sell your property

Turning around the Blind Eye

After years of living in your home, it becomes part of you. You tend to get used to the disrepair or the chipped paint and “one day” will get around to fixing the broken closet door and you just don’t see it anymore.

In the weeks to come we are going to give you checklists so you can address these and other issues, and they must be addressed unless you are willing to knock off thousands from your asking price to reflect the work that will need to be done.

Keep in mind that buyers think in “thousands” just like you do when searching for a new home and they want to be compensated for their trouble if they have to repair your half completed projects.

Where to Start- A General Checklist that every Seller needs

  • Remove plastic runners or glued down rugs and repair the damage they may have caused
  •   Clean door jams and polish handles
  •   Clean furnace filters and wipe the furnace down
  •   Clean drains
  •   Service sprinkler systems
  •   Repair holes in gutters and fix all eaves that may be falling down
  •      Clean septic systems
  •   Fix broken doors, baseboards, trims, windows
  •   Fix gates and broken fences
  •   Clean oil stains off the garage floor (CLR™ should work for this or try Coca Cola ™)
  •   Make sure garage doors all open and close properly
  •   Clean all door tracks and window tracks
  •   Sweep out and if possible wash garage floor
  •   Ensure locks are working easily / replace if they are sticking or stubborn
  •   Oil hinges on doors
  •   Ensure doorbell works properly
  •   Repair damaged steps or door casements
  •   Repair damaged screen doors
  •   Replace broken light fixtures
  •   Repair any tiles that need it- floor or back splash tile
  •   Remove mold and dirt build up from bathrooms and kitchens
  •   Seal or re-surface driveway
  •   Add gravel to bare patches like along the side of the house where no sun is)
  •   Fix all dripping faucets and the damage they may have done under the sink
  •   Service noisy exhaust fans (kitchen and bath)
  •   Remove rust stains from sinks and toilets
  •   Ensure shutters are in good condition
  •  Re-grout any tile if necessary
  •   Re-caulk and repair seals in shower enclosure and around sinks
  •   Ensure that toilets don’t run continuously
  •   Replace worn toilet seats and covers, take off themed toilet seats or incorrectly sized ones
  •   Update toilet paper holder, towel racks and curtain rods
  •   Fix cracks on ceilings or walls or in basement ( don’t hide anything from the buyer)
  •   Silence noisy floors
  •   Clean and wax floors
  •   Patch floors where damage has occurred or replace flooring
  •   Update batteries in all smoke alarms
  •   Make sure burglar alarms are working
  •   Secure area rugs

This list is very important to take heed to and is by far the most time consuming items on the preparation report.

Take this list and make your specific repair list from it.

In many cases, not everything will need to be addressed, so you can tackle your projects in their own order of importance.

Property’s often get neglected in many areas and as you can see once you start addressing an issue there will be another to take its place.

All of these points are items that do affect the buyer’s first impression and also what they feel your property VALUE truly is. If there are many unattended projects left for a buyer, they will either walk away and find a home that is move in ready or they will low ball your offer enough to justify the work they will have to do.

The many Television shows on Staging and Buying Real Estate attest to this.

And as I said before, Buyers think in “thousands”. So spend a couple days or a couple weeks getting these items looked after and in the end you will reap the rewards of the best sale price you can get.

For more information on Preparation for Staging and Selling see or call us at 780.452.4527

How Clean is Clean?  

Written by Jill Gargus, CID

Everyone’s perspective on clean is different, as I can attest to after seeing over a thousand properties in my Real Estate and  Staging career over the last 15 years. Even some professional cleaning companies have different views on what they deem as clean, which can make even hiring cleaning companies a bit tricky.

This week’s list is short and sweet.

To sum up the list now, we will cut to the chase and say that your home, when prepared for sale, should be WHITE GLOVE clean.

This means that anyone can wear a white glove and wipe any surface of your home and the glove stays white. Even in areas like the tops of door trims…Sounds complicated? It is, but it’s manageable. It will require a “face to face inspection” of areas that you normally don’t get too close to!

Let’s start with a major once over clean of your home. This will occur after all the de-cluttering, packing updates and repairs. It is the step before the Staging.

So first, having these other items taken care of will make the cleaning process go much smoother. A large portion of what would have normally hindered your progress is now out of the way.  You can begin at the top or back of your house and make your way to the front door, using a room by room process or you can do all similar items at the same time.

For example, all light fixtures, then all window sills…and follow that pattern. Whatever works best for you and your family.

Remember that cleaning will represents hundreds of dollars to your bottom line and it is worth doing to create the best first impression for the buyers.

Take the following list and use it as the guide to make your master list

  • Clean fireplace thoroughly
  • Clean out ashes and remove all firewood
  • Clean off soot stains with soot remover
  • Clean all chandeliers and light fixtures
  • Polish all woodwork, including furniture
  • Clean back splashes in all bathrooms and kitchens
  • Polish mirrors
  • Clean all window screens and storm doors and screens
  • Clean front door hardware
  • Clean the front entryway very well, it reflects the first impression of the entire house
  • Sinks should be free of food, stains and odors
  • Keep dishes done and put away every day
  • Clear off all small appliances off the counter tops
  • Take all items off the refrigerator (top, front and sides)
  • Clean cabinets of all stains and food splashes. This will require getting on your knees in front of the cabinets for a “face to face inspection”. You will be surprised what you find!
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan, filters, hoods
  • Clean bathroom exhaust fans, they can be easily pulled down, washed and put back up or for a few dollars they can be replaced. You can find them at home improvement stores.
  • Clean toilets using “the face to face” approach
  • Wash all sinks and faucets, including behind them. They should shine.
  • Clean oven, stove top, burners (replace burners if needed)
  • Run a dishwasher load with CLR™ only
  • Empty the refrigerator and wash all drawers, and shelves. Buyers are buying these appliances and will look inside them. Clean exteriors as well.
  • Wash all floors, staircases and closet floors. Keep swept and shiny
  • Wash all baseboards throughout the house. Face to face inspections!
  • Hide all scrub pads, cleaning supplies and soap under the sink
  • Empty pantry by 50% and wash all shelves
  • Keep interiors of cabinets neat, clean and free of smells. This will require de-cluttering the pantry also. Cabinet interiors should reflect storage space and should not look cramped and “too full”
  • Empty garbage daily to prevent odors
  • Eliminate all odors “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it!”
  • Wash walls, especially high traffic areas that have been used and abused
  • Clean ceiling fans
  • Clean and dust everything (doors, mirrors, shelves, baseboards…)
  • Clean carpets or update them to the most current trends
  • Vacuum often, including the couches. Pet hair is a turn off, so stay on top of it.
  • Clean under and behind appliances. This is a dirty job but somebody has to do it
  • Garbage out daily
  • Cat litter cleaned every day, or if you have other pets, keep their wood shavings or “messes” clean 100 % of the time, you never know when you will get a last minute showing (put a soft air freshener nearby)
  • Call an exterminator to deal with any insect problems 

For more information on Preparation for Staging and Selling see or