You’ve taken your family photos and sports memorabilia off of the walls. A photographer has provided you with high-quality images. Your listing agent has put your home on the market and created ace marketing materials. In other words, you’re deep into the sale of your home. Now comes an important question: What do you need to do to make sure your “for sale” home continues to be clean, presentable, and welcoming to potential buyers in the days and weeks ahead?
There’s a lot of work that goes into getting a home ready to sell, from making major repairs and renovations to getting strategic about staging. One thing that often goes overlooked is the routine maintenance and upkeep that it takes to keep your listing looking its best in the days of showings and open houses to come.
As the writer Cathie Ericson puts it for Realtor.com, “general upkeep of the house is the responsibility of whoever owns the house. So, if it has yet to sell, the seller is liable for how it looks.”
Your real estate broker can help you determine the best way to keep your home looking and feeling its best for tour after tour — while factoring in important considerations like the changing of the seasons, the local market conditions in your area, and the unique structure and systems of the property. Your broker will be an important partner in helping to keep your home well-maintained and presentable, whether you are continuing to live in the home during the sale or have already relocated into a new space.
So, what projects can you expect to come up after your home has hit the market? Here are a few important maintenance tasks to discuss with your local real estate expert:
Maintaining the HVAC Systems
Chicagoland is known for its unpredictable weather. Your listing agent may need to run the air conditioner during the spring and summer, and make sure the heat is fully functional during the frosty winters. Be sure to change furnace filters on a regular schedule, and keep ducts and vents clean and clear. It may help to have your HVAC systems professionally serviced before putting the home on the market, to help ensure that no problems develop in the near future.
Keeping Up the Curb Appeal
Studies have shown that buyers develop first impressions within mere seconds. It’s important to plan ahead for how you’ll keep the exterior of your home looking pristine and welcoming, no matter what. Who will stop by after summer storms to pick up fallen limbs or clean the gutters? Who will bring in the lawn furniture before a storm? Who will be in charge of shoveling snow or raking leaves? Do you have a plan to tend to the landscaping, like mowing the lawn or trimming back bushes?
Maintaining the Plumbing
It’s hard to imagine anything that would stop a house tour dead in its tracks faster than wet spots, water damage, or a burst pipe. If you’re selling during the winter months, take care to avoid frozen pipes by maintaining a safe temperature and wrapping your pipes and water heater. Regularly run the faucets to make sure that water is flowing properly, and take care of any drips. Make sure the toilets are clean and running properly.
Dust loves to gather in empty homes. Be sure to work with your real estate broker to come up with a plan for tackling dust as it develops. This could be as simple as having the broker or their team spot treat dusty surfaces before they start an open house, or as in-depth as hiring a professional cleaning service to fully service the entire home on a regular basis.
Sweeping and Vacuuming
Like dusting countertops and surfaces, keeping the floors clean is incredibly important. After all, you want potential buyers to marvel at the pristine hardwoods and picturesque tile — not comment on the muddy footprints of the last people who toured the space. Your real estate broker will most likely recommend setting out at least one welcome mat for visitors to wipe their feet, and may also encourage the use of foot-coverings. In between showings, decide who will be responsible for caring for the floors.
Looking for Damage and Pests
Expect the unexpected. The worst possible time to discover damage or an issue is when a buyer is looking at the home. Instead, be proactive and regularly look for potential problems like wet spots, any signs of pests, issues with windows and doors, faulty appliances, or lightbulbs and smoke detectors that need to be replaced.
Decorating for the Season
If you got your listing photos taken on a warm, sunny day, they may not match up with what buyers see when they visit on a cold, dark night. It’s important to regularly check in with your real estate agent about any extra flourishes you can make to help the property stand out for all the right reasons. This may be as simple as hanging a festive winter wreath during the colder months, adding some beachy flair during the summer, or using warm blankets throughout the space in autumn.
Looking to Make Renovations That Help Your Property Sell Faster?
All of us at Baird & Warner are dedicated to making real estate easier, which is why we partner with experts who can help us meet the needs of our clients in new and innovative ways. And when it comes to helping our clients sell their homes faster and for the best possible price, there’s no better partner than Curbio.
Curbio offers expert presale renovation services that make it easier to get a home updated quickly and affordably before it’s listed. Their experts make turnkey renovations to the property based on what buyers are looking for in that market. That means when the home goes on the market, it will sell faster and for a higher price.
Not only does Curbio help you maximize the sales price, they also make the process as stress-free as possible. You don’t have to worry about coordinating a renovation because a dedicated Curbio project manager is assigned to each project. They handle the entire renovation quickly and efficiently, so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary to get the home on the market.
The best part? Curbio operates on a “Renovate Now, Pay When You Sell” model, which means there’s no upfront cost. Once the home sells, Curbio gets their settlement at closing.
Ready to Make Selling Your Home Easier?
As the largest independent and family owned real estate services company in Chicagoland, the Baird & Warner family has earned success by putting our clients’ needs first, and always making it easier to navigate the selling process from beginning to end.
From pricing your home, to getting your property ready to sell, to marketing your listing, to leading negotiations and closing the sale, your Baird & Warner agent knows how to make the process easier. And with sales, mortgage, and title services all under one roof, our One-Stop Shop can transform an intricate, complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless, so your sale goes as smoothly as possible.
While it’s hardly business as usual, we know that the Chicagoland real estate market is still strong. The market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too.