Recently, home owners in my local Andersonville and Lincoln Square neighborhoods in Chicago are asking, “What should I be doing to help sell my home in the not too distant future?”As a local realtor working with buyers in the area, I will start with two questions: “What is your budget?” and “How much time do you have before you want to go on the market?”

It’s never too soon to begin to invest a little money in your home each month and to bring the house up to date.   Curb appeal is very important.   If you own a home, then your front entry and landscaping are most important.   If you own a condo, your front door and common areas should be updated.   Help your fellow owners in the condo association to understand the importance of clean, well lit hallways and lobbies to avoid that dingy, dark and dated look.

Once inside your home, be sure to repair any obvious broken items in the home, such as cracked windows, appliances that don’t work, etc.   Then move on to the “skin”, which includes painted wall surfaces and flooring, whether it’s hardwood, ceramic tile or carpeting. Both should be clean and free from scratches or damage.

If your budget permits, you can keep moving inward.   Plan for the future replacement of any appliances that are older models, to more recent, Energy Star models.   Installing energy saving enhancements to your home aren’t necessarily glamorous, but will save energy, and add value to your property. Some changes you can make are insulating your attic floor to keep temperatures stable in your home, installing storm doors on exterior openings, and checking for broken window panes or storm windows that don’t close properly.

We are increasingly seeing that buyers ask for energy disclosures before making an offer on a home, so they can ascertain heating and cooling costs.

Maggie Finegan, ABR, Move with Maggie Chicago Real Estate Team

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