As you prepare to put your home on the market to sell, don’t forget to check each room in the house for the little issues you’ve grown accustomed to ignoring. These details, such as fluorescent light ballast that causes flickering or pulsing light, a slow drain, or a shower head that lacks water pressure, are all things that can give a potential buyer a little hesitancy. Staging your home to sell means dealing with all the little irritations before the potential buyer gets the idea that your home is poorly maintained.

If your house passes the first test of today’s buyer – the first meeting on the internet – at some point the buyer will actually visit the home. Unlike in days of yore when a home was visited and inspected several time before the offer was finally made, today’s buyers will probably have looked at hundreds of listings online before they make the call to a real estate agent. It’s only then that they may actually visit the home in person.

It’s also then that little sale-stoppers can pop up.

Today’s buyer is a conservative one. This buyer wants to know that the house has been meticulously cared for over the years. This is because the price – which is admittedly high – will set them back quite a bit. They don’t want to imagine how many expensive ‘surprises’ might be waiting for them in a few months’ time. They will look for small imperfections and little maintenance issues that have been neglected.

Peeling paint, broken or cracked outlet covers, an air-conditioning unit that rattles or growls more than it should; all of these things can ultimately result in an outright rejection of the house or a significant downward adjustment in the price.

If your toilet runs or a tap drips, fix it. These things translate as expenses to the potential buyer. The buyer we see today wants to lower his or her utility bills. Dripping water doesn’t help with that. Nor does a shower head that lacks pressure. (This probably only means lime scale buildup that can quickly be dispatched with a common solvent available in most home improvement stores, but the buyer might see a shower that takes longer and may waste water and money.)

Another issue in bathrooms today is the effectiveness of the extractor fan. If your fan doesn’t eliminate moisture from the air after you’ve showered, it’s an open invitation to mould or worse. Water can be the most destructive force in the world of bathrooms, so keeping a lookout for any signs of gathering moisture or hint of mould growth needs to be fixed at once. You can, indeed, whisk the visible mould and mildew away with a topical cleaner, but you might be simply hiding signs of a bigger problem behind the walls. It may be tempting, but staging your home to sell must address problems in the longer term. In time, the nose will discover where the problem lies. Better to fix it now.

Drains with odours are another problem that can and should be addressed, by a professional if necessary. Buying a house involves all of the buyer’s senses and his or her olfactory organs will be at attention the first time he or she enters the property. There are drop-in drain deodorisers available in the cleaning aisle of your supermarket, but again, using these to solve the problem could simply be masking a bigger problem. Smelly drains could be caused by debris in the drain or a clog in the making. Remove the drain cap and see what you find. A drain snake is a quick and easy way to fish out whatever is causing the smell. A plumber’s bill is not much money in comparison to a thwarted sale.

If you have questions or concerns about problems you don’t understand with your bathroom, discuss the issue with your home styling professional. People who spend their lives staging your home to sell are very familiar with the little snags that can make your home sale more difficult than it needs to be. They will be happy to share not just their wisdom in such matters with you, but can also suggest repairmen to help. In this process, take all the help you can find.

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