Seattle Residential: I Do That: Seattle Sellers, Prepare the Exterior of Your Home for Sale

Seattle Sellers, Prepare the Exterior of Your Home for Sale

Seattle Sellers, Prepare the Exterior of Your Home for Sale

In This Post

How a seller should go about preparing the exterior of the property soon to be for sale.

You've lived in your home now for one year or maybe thirty years. You know quite a bit about it, but probably not everything. If you are planning to sell this home you can hardly start soon enough to have it market ready when the time comes.

One good option, and it is required in some states, is to hire a licensed home inspector and let him go over the property to let you know what is wrong that might be called out in an inspection that the buyer will do later. This will probably cost you $400-500 and, if you are careful enough in what I've outlined below, you might be better off spending the money on repairs that are obviously needed.Prepare the Exterior

Keep in mind that most home buyers become emotionally involved with the property because of how it is presented, not because the structure and mechanics are in top condition.

Taking an orderly approach to the task at hand will make your work proceed much faster than if you wait until the last minute, and then try to do everything at once.

Make your home look its best for that first day on the market. Get yourself a clipboard and some paper and let's get started.

  1. Go across the street and look at the front of your property. Note the landscaping in general. Some yards are simply lawn and some have been extensively landscaped.
    • Check to see that trees and shrubs are not overgrown. If you don't know how to prune them, hire a professional.
    • Note where the sidewalk meets the dirt. Is there a crisp, clean edge there? If not, write it down.
    • Would the sidewalk look better if it were pressure washed? (Pressure wash cement. Never pressure wash wood surfaces.)
    • Check the planting beds. They should be weed free, and composted or barked (with the smallest bark chips you can find).
    • Does the front door need paint or need to be replaced? How about the hardware? Does the lock work smoothly?
    • Check the door and window trim, and the siding. If you can improve it, note it.
  2. Check the sides of the house next. Besides the windows, siding, and trim, make sure that gutters and down spouts are attached and functioning. Water should be diverted away from the house if the downspouts are not attached to a drainage system.
  3. The backyard will require some imagination. Decks and patios should be neat and clean. The yard should look like a fun place to be. You want it to be clutter free. Anything that might be "stored" there, behind or beside the garage, or under the deck needs to be removed. If you are not taking it to you next location, sell it, recycle it, or trash it.
  4. Check the planting beds as in front.
  5. Check the doors, windows, trim and siding.
  6. If you know how old the roof is, and it's less than 15 years old, you are probably in good shape. If you can see moss growing on it, if you see plants growing in the gutters, if you can't remember when the roof was last replaced, call a roofing contractor and get an estimate for any work that may need to be done. The roofer's opinion will be good to have should the buyer's inspector call it out.

Take a look at what you've written. Write "To Do" at the top of the page. We'll take a look inside on another day.





Glenn Roberts



Comment balloon 10 commentsGlenn Roberts • July 29 2010 10:50PM



Very good points on getting a good perspective on one's home value and others.

Posted by Carol West, Real Estate Agent, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland (Carol West Real Estate, LLC) over 10 years ago

Once again you hit the nail on the head Glenn..................excellent advice for anyone trying to sell their home.  If I had a home to sell, I think you'd be the man to make it happen.  Great post, you're very thorough.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 10 years ago

Carol - Thanks Carol

Roger - I trying a get buyers to start thinking about selling when we're talking about the inspection for their purchase.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Great check list Glenn.  This is something nice to print off and put into listing packets.

Posted by Erika Rogers, St George Utah Real Estate & Relocation Specialist (Red Rock Real Estate ~ Southern Utah's Largest Independent Brokerage) over 10 years ago

Hey Glenn - This is excellent information and it's coming from an experienced source!  I read your bio and think it's a benefit that you have worked as a carpenter, a plumber and even managed your own construction company.  This helps you spot things an average agent wouldn't during a listing evaluation of ones home.  These tips can save the seller a lot of marketing time and save the deal.  A swe know FHA and VA are very particular about property conditon and having these things done will help close the transaction successfully.

Posted by Nevin Williams, Senior Mortgage Advisor (Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation) over 10 years ago

Erika - As Nevin said, underwriters are stricter about home condition, and buyers are pickier these days, so sellers must raise the bar.

Nevin - it's difficult for agents to keep up with everything the lendres what right in a home, so making everything right in the first place seems like a good approach.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Glenn, great check list here!  I'm sending it on to one of my clients to read.  Thanks.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Pat - Glad you could use it.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Glenn, good post.  I find that home owner's often are totally oblivious to many of the things going wrong around them.  Sometimes they simply put up with things that are deteriorating or barely functioning----other times they have no clue the toilet is about to be relocated to the crawl space.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 10 years ago

Charles - Sometimes they just never look at anything. Still seem to think they are living with Mom and Dad.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago