Staging a house fireplace is one of the most overlooked gems in selling your home. A clean firebox and spotless screen or glass sells a home. Often, the fireplace and chimney are centerpieces of a large den or living room. If the fireplace screen, glass door or wood stove are dirty, the buyer may assume the chimney and chimney cap are also not well maintained.
The second most important part of the fireplace is the bricks of the chimney or the flue pipe of the wood stove. Over time, the bricks can build up soot from the fumes of the fireplace. Use a highly diluted bleach and water solution to scrub the bricks. Pay attention to the mortar of the fireplace and chimney. The often white mortar will turn dark over time.
This difference in color between the upper and lower areas of the chimney and fireplace are noticeable. A buyer or prospect looking at the home will make a judgement, good or bad, as to the maintenance of the overall house based on the dirt of the fireplace.
Use binoculars to view the chimney from outside of the house. Is the chimney cap clean and in place? Is there any dark spots of soot or mold on the chimney? Can the flashing be seen and is it in place?
Most home inspectors do not do a thorough inspection of fireplaces. Therefore, many are not qualified to make a judgement about the safety and efficiency of wood stoves and fireplaces with chimneys.