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As you put your house on the market, here are some things you can do to improve the presentation of your house.  These are items you can do prior to your home being professionally inspected.

Approximately 45% of the houses sold will have an inspection.  The typical house inspection does not cover cosmetics such as clean carpets and fresh paint. It will cover the functionality saftey, and livability of the house. It is not intrusive (no screwdrivers in the walls).

The typical home inspection covers the exterior, walls, roof, outside equipment, and the interior win- dows, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, etc.  It will take an estimated hour for every 1,000 square feet with a two hour minimum.

Assuming your house will be inspected, here is a list of recurring items you can address up front:

• Faucets and pipes. You may be quite willing to live with that dripping or leaking faucet, but don’t assume the buyer will.

• Windows.  Cracked glass or leaking seals on dual pane widows are not acceptable to most buyers.

• Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) should be in working order. To test them, push the test button.  This turns the power off to the outlet.  Plug in an appliance and make sure. Press the reset button and the appliance should now work. Older houses may not have GFCIs. If you have them, they should work.

• Toilets. Check for leaks and cracks in toilet bowls.  Make sure they are not loose.

• Extension cord or handyman wiring.  If you’ve been inventing your own wiring out on the patio or in the garage, it can be a negative issue. If any wiring is exposed it should be in a conduit, a junction or seal tight to protect it.

•  A/C Filters. Change them. Dirty air filters affect the performance of the heating/cooling system. Consider having the unit serviced and cleaned so that it will operate properly when tested.

• Pool, pool filters and pool lights.  Check for cracks and rust in the pool plaster. Make sure the pipes and filters are not leaking and that the gauges work.  Ensure the pool lights work.

• Hot water.  The hot water should always be on the left side in sinks, tubs, and showers.

• Roofs. Any missing shingles or tiles should be replaced. Any flashing that needs resealing should be resealed.

• Doors.  They should latch and lock, if a lock is installed.

Two additional points: listen to your Realtor.  They see many properties and other houses competing with yours for the buyers’ attention.  As you fill out the sellers’ property disclosure statement (SPDS), ask them about any issues that come up.

Also, consider having a house inspection at the time you list your house.  Pre-inspectied houses typi- cally move faster from offer to escrow - an average of ten days quicker. With a house inspection report in hand, you and your Realtor can determine in advance which items you’d be willing to address. Plus, you’ll have a better sense that your “price” is in line with the overall condition of the property.


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