A fireplace can be a big draw when selling a home, and a warm, cozy fire on a cold day can help create the perfect scene. It will heat up the home and also allow visitors to imagine themselves relaxing by the fire after a long day.
But a neglected and messy fireplace with spilled ashes and a dirty rug can be a turnoff. So, if the home you’re selling has a fireplace, take some time to make sure it’s well maintained and safe with these tips.
Have It Cleaned. Your fireplace should be cleaned by a professional annually, and even more frequently if you use it often. You should also inspect the fireplace on a regular basis, checking for soot buildup in the chimney. This is particularly important because soot is flammable. You also want to look for buildup of creosote, the residue that’s left behind after burning wood in your fireplace.
Also, your chimney’s cap should be covered with mesh, to keep animals, such as squirrels, birds and even bats from entering your home via the chimney. Have it inspected regularly. If you hear or see signs of potential animal activity, such as scratching by a squirrel or bird calls, inspect the covering or call a professional to do so.
Setting a Fire. If you decide to light a welcoming fire when potential buyers visit the house, start by opening a nearby window just a bit so that smoke doesn’t fill your home. Place the kindling and wood inside the fire and make sure the damper is open. For a test, light a match and blow it out; if the smoke from the match goes up the chimney, all should be good. Another helpful step is to invest in a nonflammable rug to keep in front of the fireplace. This way, your carpet won’t be damaged by any sparks or embers from the fire.
Keep It Clean. When your fireplace isn’t being used, keep the area neat and organized. Clean the space where logs burn every week or as ash builds up, making sure to leave a thin layer of ash because it will work as insulation. Also, be sure to clean the slate and brick around the fireplace, and keep tools and logs organized.
In the end, it’s all about setting the perfect scene, whether the fireplace is in use or not.