First things first, I’m not selling my house. BUT we have a magazine coming over to shoot most of the rooms this Friday… The pressure is on! So I started making lists of things that needed repaired. You know, the issues that have been nagging me that I haven’t gotten around to fixing. I want my house to look amazing- every detail! So I made a list of the most important repairs before listing your house (or just photographing it 😉 ).
Side note- I’ll do my best to take you behind the scenes on Instagram stories. Make sure to tune in!!
I figure, the projects I’ll be working on is similar to what I would do if I was trying to sell my house. Except I get to actually enjoy my upgraded house!!!
Here’s the thing, WHY do we wait until we’re selling our house before we fix up the things that make us crazy? I remember when I sold my condo, we finished SO many projects that we hadn’t gotten to for years. And sure, the house sold quickly, but I was pretty ticked at myself that I did all that work for someone else. I promised myself to not ever do that again.
I was talking about this on Instagram and someone wrote to me telling me that for seven years they had a tiny kitchen sink and a faucet that barely worked. They upgraded it to prep for listing their house. It turned out beautifully! But she felt really disappointed that she hadn’t gotten to enjoy it.
SO, let’s stop fixing up our houses for everyone else!!!
most important repairs before listing your house
If you’re getting ready to sell your house, this list is for you! AND if you have a house with even one thing that is bugging you, join me and let’s tackle that item!
Let’s start with the obvious- paint! On my to do list is touching up paint on baseboards, trim, and painting the ceiling in 2 rooms. I also have a few doors with scratches that need touched up.
Of course, if your walls are painted bold colors, it might be worth repainting in a neutral color before listing. Paint is easy and affordable to update, so fixing up rooms with any paint issues (dark, chipped, or dirty) will give you a lot of bang for your buck.
First impressions count so make sure your house looks great from the road. For me, I need to paint the porch and prune the roses. Here’s some other ideas to make the exterior look beautiful-
Mow the lawn, pull the weeds, sweep the porch and walkway, plant extra flowers, clean the mailbox, remove any clutter, paint the front door, clean the screen door, make sure locks work easily, anything that’ll make the entry look crisp and welcoming!
On a super serious note, make sure the roof doesn’t have any leaks. Pay for any repairs before listing because most inspectors will flag a home with any roof issues.
The number one seller in a house is the kitchen. For my kitchen, I need to patch a crack in my marble and paint the ceiling.
Although everyone wants to buy a fancy upgraded kitchen, just concentrate on minor repairs. Things like making sure the faucet doesn’t drip and the countertops are caulked. You can even update old light fixtures. And make sure appliances work and are clean.
Kitchens are the priority, but close behind are having a bathroom where everything works. My bathroom needs a good cleaning (especially the tub I’ll be using this tried and true method).
Make sure the bathroom is clean, smells good, and is in working order. Does the toilet run? Is it tightly installed? Does the faucet leak? If so, fix them asap. If you have any water damage, fix what was causing it and them repair the damage. Clean up dirty grout, fix any broken tiles, and put out fresh flowers.
On the day of any open houses or listings, open all drapes and window coverings all the up to let in as much light as possible (plus it’ll make sure the whole space looks bigger). For any dark rooms, turn on the lights so they feel inviting.
If light fixtures are dated, this is a good opportunity to replace them. Also, make sure all lightbulbs work and that the fixtures are dusted (especially the fans).
Floors are also a great selling feature in a home! If you have dated floors, it might be worth considering to replace them with laminate wood floors. At the very least, make sure floors are clean, in good repair, and any scratches are touched up.
Beautiful floors can make a whole home look finished and refined. I’ll be cleaning spots in my carpets with this (amazing) carpet cleaner– it also works great with upholstery stains. If you have a rug covering beautiful floors, you might want to consider pulling it up to show off the floors while you sell your house.
Walk through your house and make sure everything thing works- door knobs, light switches, locks. Confirm that your windows have screens and that they easily open and close.
Check out your water heater and furnace. They both (obviously) need to be in working order. If either one is older, it might be worth it to have it serviced and given a clean bill of health.
These functional aspects really need to be working well. Yes, they are a pain to fix, but if you don’t update them before showing, you could lose money on the sale and you’ll probably have to fix them after inspection.
thoughts about nagging items
This was a long article with a LOT of items on it! If you aren’t selling your house, but still want to keep on top of home repairs, I thought I would share with you an idea for how to do it.
A few years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. She talks about these small home repairs- painting the base boards, patching that hole in a way I love. Here’s a few quotes-
Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started. I knew this, but nevertheless I’d accumulated a lengthy list of small, mildly unpleasant tasks that I kept putting off—in many cases, for months. Maybe years.
These tasks weren’t urgent (which why they didn’t get done), but they weighed on my mind and sapped my energy. As I walked through my apartment, or sat at my desk, the accumulation of these little chores made me feel overwhelmed.
But how could I form a single habit to cover a bunch of non-recurring, highly diverse tasks?
I hit on an idea. Once a week, for one hour, I’d steadily work on these chores. An hour didn’t sound like much time, but it was manageable.
With this hour, I’d tackle only tasks where I had no deadline, no accountability, no pressure—because these were the tasks that weren’t getting addressed. That’s another Secret of Adulthood: Something that can be done at any time is often done at no time. But although no one else cared when I replaced my office chair with the broken arm, or donated my daughters’ outgrown clothes to a thrift store, it made a difference to me.
It feels so good to cross a nagging task off the list. A friend once told me, “I finally cleared out my fridge, and now I feel like I can switch careers.” I knew exactly what she meant. -Gretchen Rubin
I LOVE the idea of taking an hour every week to get annoying things off the to do list that’ll make our house happier. To hear more about how she actually gets this stuff done, read her post here.
the bottom line
At the end of the day, if you’re listing your house, you want to sell your home quickly with a maximum return on investment. These repairs will have you prepared for open houses, the inspection, and get you top dollar for your house.
And if you’re not ready to sell yet, make sure to keep on top of repairs and the easy to ignore fixes that just come with owning a house. It’s not fun, but it is satisfying to live in a well functioning home. What updates would you need to make if you were listing your house today? Walk through your home with fresh eyes and start tackling the items that need some love.
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