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1. Check the major systems: After size, style, and location, a buyer's main concern is the soundness of the structure and major components such as roof, furnace, plumbing, etc. You can call on a professional contractor to check things out, but again your most unbiased reporting will come from a home inspector.

2. Make maintenance improvements: A number of maintenance improvements are relatively easy and inexpensive yet can substantially improve a home's appearance, efficiency, and comfort. Pay attention to details. Fixing even minor items can go a long way toward improving that important first impression.

3. Take safety precautions: When a buyers sees items like smoke detectors and GFCI outlets, it gives them confidence that the house they are looking at has been responsibly maintained. Even if a buyer would not have noticed these items, you can

be sure their inspector will point out any safety infractions when they get their own pre-purchase home inspection.

4. Make cosmetic improvements inside and outside the house: See the checklist for lots of great ideas, some of which will cost you nothing more than a little time and "elbow grease".

5. Prepare paperwork for buyers to review: See the checklist for the paperwork and receipts you should have

on hand relating to your home's maintenance history.

Richard D. Malin & Associates, Inc.

Home Inspections, Radon Testing, Infrared Thermal Imaging, Indoor Air Quality Testing


THE FIRST STEP IS TO LET GO: Real estate agents often refer to a property they are showing a buyer as a "home". On the other hand, if you are a seller the agent will often refer to the property as a "house." They have a good reason for doing this. Buying a new home is often an emotional decision, but when you are selling you need to remove emotion from the equation. You need to think of the house you are trying to sell in terms of "real estate", "property", or " a marketable commodity". Your goal is to help buyers see it as their home, not yours. This can be especially difficult if you are selling a beloved home where you spent many happy years raising your family or if you are selling your elderly or deceased parents' home. However if you don't make a conscious decision to be objective and detached, you may unwittingly create an atmosphere that makes the house unappealing to buyers.

REMOVE EVIDENCE OF YOUR PERSONAL LIFE, AND THINK "NEUTRAL": Toward that end you need to de-personalize your home. Remove all personal items from your house such as family photos, sports trophies, college banners, and collectables. Store them in another location if at all possible so that you don't clutter the attic, basement, or other storage areas. As a seller you may wish to be present during an inspection that a potential buyer has ordered. You are certainly within your rights to do so, but this may feel "territorial" to a buyer. By allowing the buyer and their inspector to go through the house without you, it will go a long way in helping them to envision it as their home not yours. If you have an opportunity to do so, visit a "model home" in a new housing development in your area. You will see minimally but tastefully decorated rooms throughout. You don't need to make the rooms in your house as bland as a motel, but keep colors and decorations neutral and to a minimum. If it is not possible to personally visit a model home, go online to do so. Your goal is to help potential buyers feel drawn to attractive rooms which they can envision making their own.

GETTING HELP: This may just seem like a shameless plug for business, but a pre-listing inspection is frankly one of the best decisions you will make when it comes to selling your home. We understand it takes money to prepare your house for market, and the last thing you may want to do is spend even more on an inspection. Yet despite your misgivings, the small amount you invest will more than make up for itself when you actually go to sell. To give your house a competitive edge, you need to make sure it is in good condition. While your real estate agent may have some great ideas, too, a professional home inspector sees things from a different angle - in more of a "nuts and bolts" kind of way. 

TOP TIPS FOR SELLERS: There are many things you can do as a seller to make your house more attractive to potential buyers. We have narrowed them down to the five categories listed below.  Don't feel overwhelmed and panic when you look at the list below. You do not have to do everything on it. Even a few carefully chosen items will help make your house more appealing.

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