In Plain Sight
In empty homes, flaws stand out all the more. As buyers will have little else to focus on during showings, you'll need to focus on preparing the following five areas of your vacant home before showings.
- Windows and doors. Replace missing or broken screens and glass panes. Make sure windows and doors open, close, and lock properly, and are clean. Silence squeaks with lubricant. Replace caulking and weather-stripping and repaint as needed. Polish or replace door hardware.
- Walls and ceilings. Remove wallpaper. Sand rough spots, repair popped nails, and patch holes and cracks. Wash your walls, then repaint them in a neutral shade. If your ceilings have water stains, give them a fresh coat of paint too. Replace missing or damaged trim and re-paint it as needed.
- Floors. Damaged or outdated flooring (e.g. stained, worn, an unusual color or passé pattern) should be replaced. Otherwise, repair and revitalize floors as needed: replace missing, broken, or stained tiles; have carpets professionally cleaned; make vinyl shine again with vinegar and water; wash and buff or refinish hardwood.
- Cabinetry. Make sure doors and drawers open smoothly and quietly, and outfit them with new hardware – this inexpensive improvement will go a long way towards updating your kitchen and bathrooms. If your cabinetry's in good shape but looks dated, you can refinish or reface it instead of replacing it.
- Plumbing and electrical. With little else to do in an empty home, buyers will be more inclined to play with switches, taps, handles and such, so ensure toilets flush properly, water pressure is strong, taps don't drip, pipes don't leak, and light switches, dimmers, and appliances work.