Keep Your Home From Looking Like a Haunted House

Haunted houseThis is the one time of the year when the most popular piece of real estate is dark and creepy — unpainted, unkempt, and unloved. We’re talking about a haunted house, of course, which is a fine thing for Halloween. Just make sure your home doesn’t look like one.

If you are thinking of selling your home, now is the time to clean out the cobwebs and make sure there aren’t any bats hanging out in the eaves. If you don’t, you won’t have a ghost of a chance of getting the best price for your home, even here in the overheated Bay Area market.

Is the paint chipping or faded? A fresh coat of paint will make for a great first impression on prospective buyers. Many real estate professionals will tell you it’s the single most important improvement to a house coming on the market.

Are the windows clean and their frames in good repair? Sunlight streaming through sparkling-clean windows makes your home warm and welcoming.

What about the carpets and flooring? Carpet stains are an immediate turn-off. Worn flooring tells the buyer to be prepared for additional costs after the purchase, and he or she will adjust the final offer accordingly.

Is the lawn mowed? Are the shrubs, flowers, and trees healthy-looking? Time and money spent on landscaping will be repaid in buyer interest. Landscaping and a fresh paint job are the key elements of that phrase we’ve all heard a million times: curb appeal. And it matters.

Less visible are the systems that keep your home functioning: electrical, plumbing, and heating. Making sure they’re in good, working condition now will save you headaches later, when home inspectors come calling.

Lastly, haunted houses are notorious for their sagging roofs and rotting frames, and that’s fine when the only inhabitants are ethereal spirits. But buyers are not nearly as forgiving. Neither are the aforementioned home inspectors.

Bottom line: Get started now on home improvements. It’s one thing to frighten trick-or-treaters, but it’s quite another to scare off potential buyers.

(Photo: Flickr/Sean MacEntee)