Repairs You Should Make Before Listing Your House For Sale

There is a laundry list of tasks to do when you first list your house for sale. Not only do you need to declutter and pack, but you also have to get your property in tip-top shape to attract the highest bidder. While you can stage your house and clean it so it shines, that won't help if some glaring repairs need to be made. Before you hire a real estate agent and have photos taken for a listing, take the time to inspect your house and fix the things that might turn away eager buyers.

But when it comes to repairs, which ones are mandatory to ensure a smooth house inspection? Where do you start, and what are the most important things buyers look for? That's what we're going to be talking about here today. From patching holes to updating outdated hardware, here are some things to focus on before you put a "for sale" sign on your lawn.

Patch the holes in the wall

One of the first things to do is patch any holes in the walls. Nail or screw holes are probably the most common, but fixing them is a relatively simple process. You first want to put some plastic down on the floor because it's going to get messy. According to Insider, you should get some sandpaper, a putty knife, and some premixed drywall compound. Don't forget to match the paint beforehand and have that nearby, as well.

Sand the raised edges of the hole, and use a damp cloth to wipe down the area. Use a putty knife to apply the compound in the holes and smooth flat on the wall. Though pink when wet, the mixture will dry white. Let it dry for the amount of time on the directions, and sand it once it has fully cured. Afterward, prime and paint over the patched area. Voilá! It's really just that simple, and it will make a big difference.

Do an HVAC check

According to Realty Biz News, HVAC systems are not only expensive but are one of the most important items to check off your list when preparing to sell your house. If you have any doubt whatsoever that your HVAC system may not pass an inspection, call a professional and have it serviced. Potential buyers will most definitely want to ensure the system is in good working order since it plays a big part in your energy costs. If it's working inefficiently, the bill will be higher.

However, unless you're a professional, it's not advised you do your own HVAC repairs. Instead, find a reputable local business and ask them to come out and check your unit. Be sure to keep a record of the inspection to give to your real estate agent when you list your house. You should also give it a good cleaning, so it looks in pristine shape when buyers inspect it.

Replace knobs, fixtures, and hardware

Changing out the hardware and fixtures in your house before listing it is also an important step, via Powers Realty. Luckily, this is an inexpensive way to make your kitchen cabinets really pop, as well as give your home a subtle makeover. Doorknobs and light fixtures are another added touch you won't want to miss. According to Direct Door Hardware, these seemingly small details can improve buyers' overall impression when looking at your home. You want to give the house an updated look, and this is one way to achieve that.

According to List in Progress, the most modern hardware in 2022 can include a variety of finishes, but there are a few trends to keep in mind. For example, it's currently popular to use tubular drawer pulls on cabinets, and they are usually mounted vertically or even diagonally at the bottom corners. As for finishes, you can choose whatever you like, but stick with the same finish for all the fixtures in the room, to be safe. And if you're dying to get creative, update your front door hardware, too! Just remember, that's part of the buyer's first impression.

Make plumbing repairs

According to VanEd Real Estate, one of the most vital things to repair before listing your house involves plumbing. Besides just obvious leaks to watch out for, there are a few other things to keep an eye on. For one thing, the water pressure in the home should be adequate and working well. Typically, this kind of problem is caused by a build-up in the pipes and can be fixed by having your pipes cleaned out by a professional. If there's any obstruction, it's important to clear it out.

Additionally, do you hear a knocking sound when you shut off the water anywhere in your house? If so, you'll need to have that checked out. It usually signifies an unexpected change in pressure, and potential buyers will be put off by it if they hear it during a showing. Also, be sure to check all faucets for any leaks. You don't want to deal with plumbing issues when it comes time to sell, and it's definitely important to most buyers.

Make sure you have up-to-date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Something you may or may not be aware of is the fact that many areas in the United States actually have requirements concerning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And the truth is, even if you live in a place where there are none, it's still a good idea and selling point to have them before you list your house for sale. If you want to know what the requirements are in your area, contact your local fire department. Sometimes detectors must be hardwired, and sometimes they must be in certain rooms or a certain distance from a specific room.

According to Elizabeth Weintraub Real Estate, not having these devices can sometimes hold up the appraisal and financing and, in turn, the entire sale. Getting ahead of this before you list your house is one less thing you have to worry about going wrong. Generally, most states have some requirements concerning detectors. If you're working with a real estate agent, you can start by asking them what they are for your area. 

Check for electrical issues

When you're getting ready to sell your house, electrical issues will definitely be a problem if you have any! Especially if you have an older home, you'll need to check out a few things. For example, according to Gary Buys Houses, if your house still has 2-prong outlets, get with the program and switch them to the standard 3-prong outlets. While you're at it, make sure there are enough outlets throughout the home. This typically means there should be multiple convenient outlets in every room.

You'll also want to be sure the home is wired to accept 200 amps. If you have an older house, it could be just 60 amps, which will be a massive drawback for buyers. In fact, any old or outdated electrical equipment or even wiring will need to be replaced. This is an area you should not attempt to check on your own, so have your electrical system checked out and updated by a professional in your area.

Check the roof

According to Clever Real Estate, you most likely won't have to replace your roof, but it's still important to check for certain things. Of course, missing or damaged shingles will need to be replaced, and if you know of any leaks that need repairing, get those things done. If it's over 10 years old, you might need to get it checked out, but if it's still functioning perfectly well, don't worry about it too much. 

Another thing that can be a warning sign is damaged flashing, per Dolan Roofing. Flashing is important because it's put in place to stop water from entering vulnerable spots on your roof. Homeowners should also look out for granular loss on their shingles, which may appear in their gutters when they become damaged. These can all be warning signs, and if you notice any potential issues, you should have a roofing professional take a look. It can save you major headaches later.

Paint where necessary

While you might think painting is an important step, and it is, there are some things to keep in mind that may be different than what you would typically expect. For example, instead of choosing the perfect colors according to your personal decor and whims, you'll now want to focus on neutral colors that will create the best backdrop for the most people. If you're having trouble deciding, ask your real estate agent. They can really be a big help in these areas! Otherwise, you're typically advised to stick to neutral and lighter colors, remembering the buyer will likely change it anyway.

As for the exterior of your home, Clever Real Estate notes that if the paint job is more than 10 years old and takes away from its attractiveness, you might want to consider hiring a house painter. But otherwise, a cheaper alternative is to rent a power washer and thoroughly clean the exterior. You can also choose a nice accent color and paint the window frames. If you're feeling ambitious, consider replacing the front door. These kinds of details can really transform your home's curb appeal!

Landscape your yard

Potential buyers will get their first impression of your house through its curb appeal. According to, fixing up the exterior of it can be accomplished without breaking the bank. For instance, you can set up symmetrical planters with colorful seasonal flowers or plants in them and place them on either side of the door or porch. Keeping your lawn mowed and plants cared for makes a big difference, as well. This is partly because buyers tend to assume the outside reflects the inside. 

Landscaping is one area that goes a long way toward a first impression. To make your entryway look cozy and inviting, try hanging some plants or chimes on the porch, and be sure it's well-lit along the path leading to your front door. Try a new welcome mat; this is where the new door knocker and possibly the new door come in handy! Just remember, a little charm will go a long way. Curb appeal is extremely important to the quick sale of your house.

Consider a pre-listing home inspection

If all of this seems overwhelming, it's probably because it is. There's one thing you can do to make everything crystal clear and know exactly what to focus on. For $280 to $400, you might want to get a pre-listing home inspection, as per HomeAdvisor. This is a pretty good price to simplify your life and help you avoid any unnecessary hurdles when it's time for closing. You'll be alerted to anything that could become a problem later. You can focus your efforts on the areas that count and save bargaining time during the process.

Plus, don't forget to rely heavily on your realtor for help with things you're unsure of. The real estate agent you decide to work with should be able to recommend a good person for this, but if you haven't chosen one yet, you can search for one near you online. Reputable professionals are typically found at ASHI or InterNACHI, the two leading home inspector associations. Whatever you decide, happy listing, and good luck selling your home!