How to Love Your Home as If It Were for Sale

If you’re like most people, your home is the largest expenditure you’ll ever make in your life…and the costs don’t stop with the purchase.

Unlike renting, where a landlord takes care of the home maintenance and repair tasks, as a homeowner, these tasks and expenditures fall on you…if you don’t do them they simply won’t get done – until an emergency forces them to be dealt with.

And when that happens, it can mean more money coming out of your pocket both in terms of repairs and a lower sales price should you decide to sell.

For example, when a potential buyer sees a dusty air filter, they’re probably wondering how long it’s been dusty and whether or not the HVAC system is going to die before its time because of improper maintenance. This means the buyer will either look elsewhere, or will bid low because they assume they’ll need to replace the air conditioner soon after moving in.

So as you can see, little things such as an air filter that needs changed or a dripping faucet can reflect on your care as a homeowner; possibly costing you when you do decide to sell.

Look ahead

It shouldn’t take a herculean effort to keep your home “buyer ready”…just make routine maintenance tasks part of your regular housekeeping schedule and you’ll be fine.

When you first notice repairs or maintenance issues that need your attention practice the “do it now” principle for those things that can be quickly tackled such as a loose doorknob or a nail poking out of the baseboard trim piece. 

For those things that will take longer – or if you simply don’t have the time at the moment, schedule it to be done…and then do it!

Make a plan

When you’re preparing your initial list of home maintenance tasks, think about how you can ease a prospective buyer’s mind when they’re looking at your home.

For example, if you have a contractor repair a crack in your home’s foundation have them prepare an invoice that details the issue – including what caused the crack in the first place – and then outlines the steps that were taken to resolve it. If possible, also obtain a warranty that transfers to the new owner to set them at ease.

Take a look at some common maintenance tasks to help you get started on your own list:


Yard maintenance: 

Depending on the time of year, set aside at least 30 minutes to do simple maintenance tasks in your yard such as:

  • – Prune shrubs and/or trees
  • – Paint your mailbox
  • – Blow or sweep leaves and debris from the sidewalk, yard and exterior entry or breezeway
  • – Clean outdoor furniture
  • – Clean out the gutters
Bathroom maintenance:
  • – If you haven’t already installed mesh screens over your drains (you should) you’ve probably got a mess of hair building up in your drain that will become a clog. Use something (such as a Zip-It tool) to clean out your drains first – then add some screens to keep it from happening again!
  • – Repair any damaged tile grout in your shower or tub.
  • – Remove any buildup of mineral sediment in your shower-head and faucets.
Kitchen maintenance:
  • – Freshen up your garbage disposal by shredding some citrus peels and/or baking soda
  • – Wipe down the exterior of all appliances – big and small 


Kitchen maintenance:
  • – Clean the range hood and filter

(Note: If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned them it may take you a while to clear off the grease and grime, but once you’ve done it, the next time it will be much faster and easier.)

  • – Clean the filter on your furnace, replacing it if necessary
  • – Wipe down the baseboards, dust light fixtures and fans and polish wood furniture
  • – Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they’re working. Replace batteries if needed.
  • – Check to see that your fire extinguisher is fully charged
  • – Check your home’s roof, looking for any loose or missing tiles (binoculars are a helpful tool for this task) have repairs made if needed
  • – Look for any insect nests under the eaves or damaged siding
  • – Make sure water is draining away from your foundation


These tasks can take longer, but are well worth the effort:

Garage, basement and/or attic:
  • – Declutter, clean and organize these areas. Sell or give away what you don’t use and love, then put away what you’re keeping, marking the boxes and containers to make it easier the next time you tackle these areas.
  • – Wash windows, window screens and curtains and sweep or vacuum the floor. Don’t forget to dust – or vacuum the cobwebs while you’re at it!
  • – To really show your home some love – and potentially boost your home’s value in the process – take on at least one major improvement project each year.
    • – For example you could finish out the attic, making it a useful room, install a fence, refinish your deck or patch up your driveway.

Finally, performing maintenance tasks on a regular basis is much easier than trying to tackle everything at once, and is better for both your pocketbook and your peace of mind.

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