What should you fix? Anything that a prospective home buyer will think should be in working order on the day of sale, including:
All appliances. These include air-conditioners, furnace, boiler and hot water heater. They don’t have to be new, but everything should be in working order. Clean out lint from the dryer. Make sure the ice maker is working properly. Install new air filters in your heating and air-conditioning systems. Clean out the air-conditioning compressors. Make sure your humidifier is working properly.
All faucets. If it leaks or doesn’t turn on correctly, repair or replace it.
All windows. If any window panes are cracked or don’t open properly, fix or replace. And make sure to repair all screen doors and windows.
All doors. No creaking, no doors that open only partially, no cabinet doors that don’t open at all. If the windows are painted shut, fix them so that they open properly.
Any exterior problems. Replace missing roof shingles, repair your gutter if it has come apart, and regrade landscaping away from the house if you’ve been finding puddles or wet walls in your basement. Clean out your gutters and downspouts.
Cracked or chipped paint. A fresh coat of white or off-white paint can help make your home seem bigger.
Peeling wallpaper. Get some wallpaper glue and make sure to get the air bubbles out when you press it to the wall.
Change the light bulbs. Make sure all light bulbs are working and swap out the burned-out bulbs. Houses are often too dark when buyers come through in the late afternoon or evening for a showing. Make sure every light you have has the brightest wattage possible, and that you turn on every light before a showing — even during the day.
Carpet. If your wall-to-wall carpet has been pulled up in places, make sure it is tacked down firmly. And while you’re at it, you might want to have your carpets cleaned and floors waxed before you sell.
Kitchen cabinets. Doors should open smoothly; hinges and knobs or pulls should be tightened.