To get top dollar when selling your home, there’s no question a well-kept home will sell better, even if you have moved out. Be sure to address small fixes (broken doorbells or leaky faucets) so buyers aren’t left to wonder if there are bigger problems you are trying to hide. Here are six more often-overlooked areas that should be corrected.

1. An untidy landscape

messy home exteriorJust like a firm handshake gives people their first impression of you, so does your landscape. Most people will do a drive-by before making an appointment to tour the home. If it looks neglected, they will keep driving. Taking the time to mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, remove fallen twigs, and pick up toys compel buyers to tour the inside. Power washing the exterior of your home can really freshen it up. You may even want to repaint the outside if warranted.

2. Neglected gutters and roofs

dirty guttersA rainy day and overflowing gutters can turn off potential buyers in a hurry. They may wonder about water damage to the foundation and drainage issues. Water damage should always be mitigated. Don’t forget about the roof. While the roof will be included during the home inspection, it’s beneficial to correct potential problems before putting the house on the market.

3. Heating and cooling system maintenance

furnace cleaningKeeping your furnace and air conditioning system in tip-top condition keeps things running at optimal efficiency, saving you money, whether you live in the home or not. A big turnoff for buyers is a dusty-smelling furnace or AC unit when it’s turned on. General furnace maintenance should include duct cleaning and replacing filters. If your heat and AC are combined, there are a few more steps such as cleaning the evaporator coil. You can maintain your own HVAC system, and it’s a smart idea since it can extend equipment life. See this HVAC maintenance article from the DIY Network. If you have baseboard heaters, they should be cleaned as well. Setting the thermostat at 66 degrees Fahrenheit during showings ensures a comfortable tour of your home and you will avoid freezing pipes if you live elsewhere. Chimneys should also be inspected and cleaned, as this can be a dangerous and expensive fix.

One often overlooked item to clean is ceiling fan blades. Simple to clean with a step ladder, it’s another one of those items that shows pride of ownership in your home.

4. Critter control

bats in homeEspecially in cold-weather climates, unwanted rodents may decide your home is their home. It can be costly to have them removed, and a definite turnoff for buyers (think bats, too). Inspecting your home for entry points, such as cracks and holes, is a good idea prior to putting your home on the market. Include the foundation, siding and fascia under the roofline in your walk-around. Wire mesh on the stove and dryer vents can often deter these unwanted guests. Bats can be especially troublesome, but there are solutions you can do yourself. If you have a large infestation, you may want to hire a professional to close any gaps where they enter your home.


5. Cleaning windows

cleaning windowsOne of the easiest and fool-proof ways to show off your house is through clean windows. Dirty windows could tell buyers that you just don’t care about the house, but sparkling windows give the home a refreshed look. If one of the selling points of your house is the outside view, grimy windows will be a detriment. You might want to take the time after a storm to wipe them down for a clear look at the backyard.

6. Clear up decks and patios

messy deckKeep up on seasonal tasks, such as stowing patio furniture and garden tools or moving your lawn mower indoors during the winter months. When left outside in offseason, these undone chores don’t reflect well on the property and may cause the buyer to question if other maintenance has been kept up.

Getting top dollar for your home can be all about the details, so don’t neglect these general maintenance areas. You will come out ahead in the long run.

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