Key West Blog

Staging Tip #24: Test Your Property’s Condition

I recently read an article addressing how to determine if a property is worth buying. The author suggests that not only should a buyer include the normal professional inspection contingency in the offer contract, but do their own inspection before making an offer. And that’s when the light went on! This is exactly what the seller should do prior to showing their home….just like staging, and is in fact what I ask of my clients.

By doing your own inspection before placing your home on the market you could actually save considerable time and money haggling over a reduced sale price and eventually having to address maintenance issues you neglected in the first place.

How can you tell if you property is worth your asking price? Here’s how to look at the big picture—for structural concerns i.e. settling, termite damage, leaks, major repairs that are needed, appliances that you know are old and need to be replaced.

Crawl the Walls

Go out your front door and come back in with a new perspective. Look to the right when you enter the house, and keep following the wall until you return full circle. Do the same on every floor. If in a concrete block house, look for spalling, settlement cracks, separating joints, defective plaster or other signs of stress or damage. Check wallpapered areas for crinkling or gathering, which may mean walls are settling or shifting. Check window sills, floorboards and walls if made of wood typical in Key West Old Town homes for evidence of termites. If you’re ever unsure if you have pests in your home, contact a pest control expert who can fully reassure you. It’s better to contact professionals sooner than later to avoid more damage. If you do find a termite infestation, your best course of action may be to hire a professional exterminator such as Termite Control Kansas City in order to maintain the condition of your home. It is always worth making sure these pest control services are in your area and provide a really thorough pest inspection, because sometimes smaller pests like ants aren’t easy to find and see. You might see some of it but might not understand how bad it is. A friend of mine had a termite issue in his decking once and originally thought it was confined to just an old rocking chair that he owned but unfortunately it bloomed into a full scale infestation that cost my friend a lot of money. That same friend did some research since and found termite control los angeles. They sorted out his issues so quickly.


Prospective buyers will be looking for evidence of current or past leaks. Loose or wrinkled wallpaper or water stains will send up a red flag. Take care of any leaks you are aware of and repair any area that show that there was a leak such as water stains on the ceiling and walls, cracked or loose tiles and missing grout or mildew stains on the walls or floor.

Plug Into the Electrical System

We all get used to the inefficiencies of our own homes. Once we set it up and adapt to certain short comings we tend to forget that it could be better. That goes for our electrical outlet setup as well. Technology changes so quickly that are electrical systems in our homes quickly become outdated and we end up running extension cords, buying large outlet adapters rather than going through the expense of an upgrade. As for the older home owner, we sometimes even forget which outlets work and which ones don’t. Check every electric socket or outlet. Use a plug-in night light if necessary and turn every switch on and off. Determine why you started using extension cords and multiple plugs in sockets, which could mean insufficient or poorly placed sockets and consider procuring estimates to upgrade.

Focus on Condition

Open and close every door and window. Look and listen for squeaking, sticking, or a tendency to close voluntarily. Check for evidence of shifting or settling around the front stoop, chimney (yes, there are a few on our fair island) and walks, and places where the driveway and the fence meet the house. Also, check the deck for sturdiness and look for rotted wood/termite damage. Go into the garage and check the walls, floors and doors for spalling—inside and out.

Keep in mind that the buyer will insist on a professional inspection. A professional will get into crawl spaces, climb onto the roof, inspect major systems – electrical, gas, plumbing and heating/air conditioning and will certainly look for evidence of termites and ants. By taking care of any of these issues before listing you will be well ahead of the game and comfortable with your listing price.

Vicki GrantHas this information been helpful? Give us your feedback. Let us know if there is a topic you would like for us to address. Need the assistance from a professional Stager? Contact Vicki Grant, CEO of Grant Home Staging Services, or (305) 394-9201, staging Key West homes since 2009, winner of the HOUZZ@ 2018 Best Customer Service award.