Often, homeowners buy a new property before selling the old one. In some cases, this is a smart financial move, such as when you’re old home exists in a seller’s market, when you found a great deal on a new place or when you have kids. However, this can also mean you are on the hook for two properties instead of one, and that can be a confusing juggle, especially when it comes to home maintenance.
Your boxes are unpacked, and you’re starting to finally feel settled in your new place — but that doesn’t mean your old house is no longer your responsibility. Read on to learn what you still need to do in your old house to sell it fast.
Real estate agent wisdom states that buyers make a judgement on a home within the first eight seconds of seeing it. That means many of the people visiting your property will know whether or not they are interested in making an offer just on seeing the front exterior of your old home. As you should expect, this makes exterior maintenance your utmost priority.
First, you should focus on yard maintenance. Unless you want to spend all your spare time caring for your new yard and your old one, it is wise to hire a yard service to care for your old property. They will come as often as you request — once per week, every other week or once per month is best, depending on the amount of upkeep your old house needs — and they will mow the lawn, trim bushes and hedges, pick up debris and perform other tasks that keep the exterior looking neat and tidy.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the windows are the eyes of your home. Okay — that doesn’t make sense, but it is important to keep your windows sparkling clean. Through your windows, your potential buyers will catch their first glimpses of the interior of the property, and they will also evaluate features like natural light once inside. Dirty windows are an eyesore, and they make interior spaces seem darker and dingier, so you should strive to keep them clean.
As with yard maintenance, you can ensure the windows stay streak-free by hiring a house cleaning service to visit the property every so often. Because no one lives there, you probably only need them to visit once a month and perform the bare minimum of service: clean the windows, sweep the floors. However, if it is particularly rainy or dusty in your area, you might schedule more cleanings for the sake of your windows.
If your appliances are old, buyers will notice. However, those old appliances still function fine, you should do your utmost to make it look like they are still good. This starts with giving your appliances a good, deep clean to rid them of rust, dust, baked-on crud and worse. You might also repair any cracks in the enamel, replace broken light bulbs and otherwise make minor fixes that put them in proper working order.
Even with this effort, it’s wise to offer buyers a year-long home warranty when your home is 15 years old or older. Home warranty programs guarantee that critical systems in your home will work. By paying for a year in advance, you are putting your money behind your belief in the quality of your home.
The Pest Control
Can you imagine venturing into a potential new home and finding a cockroach (or a rat!) moseying around the kitchen? Visible pests and pest-related problems rightly generate immediate an “no” from any and all buyers, which means you need to keep pests under control at your old property.
The best way to do this is to spray for pests after you move out. Usually, pesticides will last for a few months, which should give you enough time to sell your home without worrying about buyers spotting creepy-crawlies. However, if your property is likely to linger on the market, it might be wise to schedule a second application of pesticide, just in case.
No one wants to buy a house that looks dirty and run-down. That’s why it’s important for you to invest in home maintenance, even after you’ve moved away. If you keep your property looking lived-in — meaning clean and manicured — buyers are better able to imagine their lives there, and they are more likely to make an offer that you can accept.