6 repairs you should make before you list


Getting your home ready to sell can feel overwhelming. How much do you repair? When do you stop? Which repairs give you the biggest bang for your buck? Trust me, these are questions I spend hours thinking about on a weekly basis because I get it--the stakes are high! You want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward before you have dozens of buyers traipsing through your home checking under every rug! And you also have the inspector to consider. The truth here is that every inspector is going to find something different. It’s your job to make sure their list is as small and inconsequential as possible. 

To sort of cut to the chase, I’ve put together my go-to list of the repairs I think every seller should at least consider, and more likely go ahead and make. These are the super basic, no brainer-type repairs, so…take note!

  1. Water stains: You should not have ANY water stains anywhere throughout your home. Many times you will fix a leak, and then leave the stain. This is totally fine if you’re not selling your home. If you are selling, then every water stain should be reassessed to make sure it is still dry, and then patched/painted so it is clear there is not active water.

  2. HVAC: My tip here is to have your HVAC serviced just before your list your home. It gives the notion that your home is well-maintained--which it is--even if your unit is old. Inspector always love to see a recently-serviced unit!

  3. Gas fireplace: Make sure it is in working condition and you have the gas key accessible. 

  4. Garage: Make sure the garage door works and you have the garage door keys accessible. 

  5. Lighting: Make sure all lightbulbs throughout the home are functioning. This may sound silly, but a buyer and/or inspector might think there is a major electrical problem when a light bulb is just burnt out. So, don’t even let that notion cross their minds. Plus, you always want your home to be as bright as possible.  While I love mood lighting when entertaining, for showing property, buyers want to see the home as bright as possible.  It makes them feel like there is a lot of natural light. The newer LEDs can sometimes be considerably dimmer, and also take a few minutes to get to full strength brightness so I recommend going with incandescents. Definitely go back to LEDs for everyday life though--the environment thanks you! 

  6. Plumbing: Leaking sinks and constantly running toilets should be fixed by a plumber prior to an inspection. 

A note on accessibility: Make sure your mechanicals room has a clear walkway and that all the mechanicals are easily accessed without storage/boxes in the way. This is a good idea to address for showings and inspections since buyers like to see that there is sufficient storage space without having to store things in random boxes. 

At the end of the day, I always tell my sellers to think of the inspection like their most important showing. You want your buyers to walk into your home and think, “Yes, this is why I bought this home!” Cue feelings like this with clean floors and counters, vacuumed rugs and a generally tidy home. I will also say that without fail, all of my best inspections are at the cleaner homes.