For BuyersFor SellersHome maintenance tipsReal EstateReal Estate Tips January 29, 2010

Top Ten Structural Items to Check When Preparing Your Home For Sale

Since I’ve been busy telling people now is the time to sell a home if planning to sell in 2010, I thought I’d bring up a friendly reminder about some of the top things to do around your home before you go on the market.  This is by no means a complete list, but it focuses on some of the most obvious structural items both buyers and building inspectors will notice about a home.  This list also is separate from a list of strictly cosmetic suggestions such as updating carpet and flooring or painting walls.  Many blog posts could be written about the items you should check when preparing your home for sale, but this list is a good start.

Here’s my top ten list, with an added #11 thrown in because I’m dealing with it right now:

1. The Condition of roof – Does it need to be cleaned?  Repaired?  Replaced?

2. Earth/wood contact – Be sure all soil is 4 – 6 inches away from siding, planter boxes, decks, skirting, posts, etc.

Check any earth to wood contact on the side of a house

Pull any dirt or bark away from the siding so you can see the foundation wall

3. Deck material rotted?  Railings, steps, deck boards, joists, beams, etc.?

This is not a deck that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Check all deck boards and supports

4. Electrical – Non professional work?  Panel breakers match wire size?   Non grounded outlets?
5. Handrails  Are they secured to wall?  Are they installed where they should be?

Make sure there's s a sturdy railing so no one goes sailing down the stairs

6. Shower tile grout and sealant conditions?

Does the grout look clean and fresh?

7.  Condition of the bathroom floors at tub/shower and toilet?

check out the bath and tub grout

Check the floor for soft spots, clean, regrout, and reseal

8. Smoke detectors?  Are they working?  Do they need batteries?

9. Furnace     Has the furnace been serviced recently?  Does the filter need cleaning or replacement?

Your furnace must be a clean machine

10.   Crawl space?   Is there moisture in crawl space? Is a vapor barrier installed?  Ventilation adequate?  Wood scraps or debris which needs to be removed?

11.  My new personal favorite is to check your chimney and fireplace.    Hire a professional if you have not had your chimney checked or serviced.  Make sure  it is safe to use.  (I’m having some fun doing this now and will fill you in at a later date as to what is involved.)

If you want to get more into it, check the home builder’s inspection checklist or the list from the American Home Inspectors Directory

What other things should be checked out before a home goes on the market?