With the recent surge in Beacon Hill home prices here and around the country, many homeowners are considering putting their home on the market. Here are 5 tips that will help you sell your home.

1. Patch nail holes and repaint

Moving inside your Beacon Hill condo, you’ll want to patch up nail holes in the walls. Ask at a hardware store for lightweight putty. Apply it with a putty knife and fill in each hole, scraping the excess off the wall. Following directions on the package, wait for it to dry. Then sand the putty until it’s smooth and flush with the wall. Paint the repaired spots with primer. Call a handyman for anything bigger than a nail hole. Repaint the entire wall, you’re unlikely to be able to hide a touched-up patch.

2. You have to get rid of those smells

The thing is, smells are a serious deal killer. When strangers enter a home, the first thing they notice is the smell. Don’t even try hiding behind scented candles, potpourri and plug-in room fragrances. Buyers, ever suspicious to problems, catch a whiff of those and conclude that you’re hiding something.

In the kitchen and bathrooms, deep clean with bleach, then re-grout tiles and re-caulk cracks between sinks, tubs, toilets, counters and floors to seal out the moisture that encourages the growth of smelly mold, mildew and bacteria.

If you’ve had smokers in the house, you’ve got extra work to do. To rid walls of smoke and nicotine film, some experts suggest washing the walls with cleaners using an alkaline builder, such as ammonia, and a glycol solvent (found at paint stores). Finish the job with a fresh coat of paint and change the furnace filter to further freshen the air in the house. Then… Ban smoking! Even in the garden, because the smell clings to porches, decks and clothing. Gardens lose their appeal when littered with cigarette butts. If you have a pet, board your cat/dog off-premises while you’re showing your home; at minimum, clean the litter box daily.

3. Replace damaged vinyl flooring

Inspect the vinyl flooring in your bathrooms. If it has discolored spots or is loose, moisture may be damaging the floor. You’ll probably want a professional to lay the actual flooring, which could cost $400 or more. But you can save as much as half of the cost by preparing the floor yourself.

Remove the baseboards by pulling them away from the walls with a small pry bar. Next, pull up the flooring using a larger pry bar — it will be glued and nailed or stapled. Also remove the next layer, called the underlayment, made of particleboard or layered plywood.

While your new floor is being installed, you can sand and repaint the baseboards so the whole job will look terrific when it’s finished. Another good choice for flooring material is linoleum, a green product made from linseed oil, pine resin, sawdust and other natural binders. It can add 30% or 40% to the cost of a $400 job.

4. Stop faucet drips

A dripping faucet calls attention to itself, and it’s not hard to fix. Shut off the water supply to the faucets by turning the valves under the sink to the right. Then, test the faucet to make sure you’ve shut the water off completely. While you’re looking under the sink, check for moisture on the wall around the valves and on the floor of the sink cabinet. Also check the supply lines leading to the dishwasher and disposal. If those areas are wet, get a plumber.

If you’ve got a newer, rotating, single-arm faucet (through which both hot and cold water run), note the brand and purchase a faucet rebuild kit (roughly $50) at the hardware store. Inside the faucet arm is a metal ball on a stem that lets the handle swivel while allowing water to flow in any direction. The kit contains the six to 12 parts most likely to fail, including that metal ball, O rings, springs and gaskets. The idea is to replace them all rather than trying to diagnose the exact source of the problem. Dismantle the faucet, laying the parts out in order on a paper towel. Snap a photo or draw a sketch to help you with reassembly. Replace the old parts, put the faucet back together and turn the water back on.

For older faucets with independent hot and cold water faucets, shut off the water under the sink as before then dismantle each of the sink’s faucets separately. Remove the washers (rings made of rubber, plastic or brass), put them in a plastic sandwich bag and bring them to the hardware store to find replacements. Reassemble the faucets and turn the water back on.

If this seems like more trouble than you’re willing to tackle, call a plumber. With no complications, a plumber can install the new parts in an hour, though most will bill you for an hour and a half minimum.

5. Renew dinged baseboards

Beat-up baseboards detract greatly from the appearance of your home, and they’re easy to spiff up .Something like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge works great on painted surfaces. Fill in dents with spackle, sand the baseboards smooth and repaint them. If you’ve lost the name of the original paint color, chip off a coin-sized bit, slip it into an envelope and bring it to the paint store where you can have the color computer matched.

Use primer before painting. Don’t just retouch small areas; paint the entire piece of baseboard, from one end to the other. Choose a washable eggshell finish. White is a great choice for making baseboards and trim look crisp and clean.

For more helpful information about getting your home ready to sell, or information on the Downtown Boston Real Estate market, feel free to contact us anytime.

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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