Before hanging the For Sale by Owner sign in front of your house you must prepare to go into FSBO mode. Read through the list of tips below to get yourself and your home ready. There are two major areas of preparation discussed in this article: 1.) preparing the home for showings and the inspection (once under contract) and 2.) the administrative and marketing tasks involved with selling the home.
Getting Ready for Showtime and an Inspection
In order for buyers to get the best first impression of your home, you must make it look good, inside and out. The second most important impression you will make on a buyer is when they have the house inspected. You need to prepare for that too.
7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Buyers
The first impression of your home is the only one that matters to buyers. It is important to have major curb appeal outside and space appeal inside.
- Clean, clean, clean! – You have to clean your home like never before. Once cleaned you have to keep it clean the entire time you are living in it and trying to sell it. You may want to hire professional cleaners to do a deep cleaning the first time. You can maintain it yourself and have the professional cleaners come back as necessary.
- Declutter and Depersonalize – You want buyers to be able to imagine what your home will be like when it is their home. Declutter as much as possible so they can appreciate the space. If necessary rent a storage unit and shove all the excess in there until you move. Depersonalizing is also important because it gives the broadest range of buyers a feel for your home. Buyers want to see the house they may one day call home, not Ernesto and Adriana’s family vacation photos. Get the picture?
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression! Consider staging the home professionally if you think it will show better.
- Deodorize the home – It is so very unpleasant to walk into a home that has a bad smell. It gives buyers a terrible impression of the home. Take the time to deodorize the home and leave it fresh and clean smelling. Avoid scents that are particular and use scents that are one-size-fits-all like lemon or lavender.
- Landscape the front and the back – Curb appeal is extremely important. As a Realtor who has shown hundreds of homes, it is not uncommon for a buyer to not even want to enter a home because of the way it looks on the outside. Make them want to come in. Clean up the shrubbery, mow the lawn and add some nice potted plants and flowers to spruce up the outside.If you have a yard make sure it looks the best it can. If you have pets and they leave landmines, make sure to clean those up. You don’t want to imagine how a buyer will feel if they step in poop! Not a good thing at all, so clean it up. Make the back yard look clean and inviting. Stage the outside, like the inside if you have too.
- Paint, patch and fix – Has it been a while since you have painted your home? Patched up any holes? Yes, you are planning on moving so why paint and fix it now? Do it now because it will make the house look and feel fresh. It will be more attractive to buyers with its new look. If you have unusual colors on your walls consider repainting in neutral colors. A fresh coat of neutral paint will revive the look and feel of your home and have an even broader appeal.
Fix any little known issues. An example of those little issues can be a sliding glass door that doesn’t slide properly, a door knob that doesn’t turn, a window that doesn’t open, etc. You want everything to be in good working order when the buyer is having their first look at your home. Take the time to do these little repairs because it lets buyers know that you are a homeowner that takes pride in their home. Overall it gives them a good feeling about the condition of the home. You can earn some serious brownie points with these little repairs!
- Improve kitchens and baths – Kitchens and bathrooms are the single most important spaces in a home. Buyers place a very high importance on both of these. A complete remodel is not suggested, but you might want to think about doing some little things to make those spaces look better. For example, you might want to repaint those spaces in neutral colors like the rest of the house, refinish cabinets, paint tiles in the bathroom and add accessories that make them look fresher and newer.
- Inspection – A lot of sellers do not do an inspection before they put their home on the market, but it is recommended you spend a few bucks to have one done. You want to take care of any little issues that might become big issues as the result of the buyer’s inspection.While you may not want to spend the money at the outset it could end up saving you money in the long run. If you can remediate issues before the buyer’s inspection then you won’t have to worry about a buyer making unreasonable demands for things you already fixed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right?Lastly, even though you have addressed the issues, you must remember to disclose everything on the Seller’s Disclosure so as to avoid any legal issues. Disclose and explain how you remediated them.
4 Administrative and Marketing Tasks
- Familiarize yourself with the legal paperwork – Become familiar with legal paperwork involved with the sale of a property. Do this even if you have an attorney. Only you can really look out for your best interest and even attorneys make mistakes. Take the time to do your homework. Ask questions ahead of time so you know what the different documents mean. Below are some of the documents that my be commonly used in a sales transaction.
Residential Contract For Sale and Purchase (click on the link for a sample)
AS-IS Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
If you would like more samples of the current legal paperwork, contact me. For legal advice please contact an attorney.
- Take Pictures – Right after you have the home cleaned and staged, take pictures! If you are living in it, chances are it won’t stay as pristine as it is like the moment right after it was cleaned. So be ready with your camera or have the photographer you hired ready in the wings.
Click here to get free professional pictures of your home!
- Design Flyers – Once the home goes live on the internet, you will start receiving calls. When the first buyers come through you want to make sure they leave with something in hand. Design flyers that showcase your home and list the important points they should remember. After a buyer sees several homes, it helps them to have something in hand that helps them remember your home.
Click here to have a flyer professionally designed for free!
- Post Online – Once you have the pictures and flyer ready, write the copy that describes your home and post it online and social media.Some of the websites you will want to post it on are zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com and there are many more. Make a list of each website you post it on so that when you have to make a change you know where it was posted.Create a social media campaign and post it often. With social media it is essential to post consistently and constantly. You may want to focus on one space at a time. Be creative to catch people’s attention.
Once you begin your FSBO adventure, share your story with others so they can learn from your experience. Click here to submit your story to the FSBO Survival Guide.
Happy preparations and best of luck with the sale of your home!
Désirée Ávila was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. Désirée is now a licensed Florida Realtor and committed to a high-level of professionalism and to helping others with their real estate endeavors through education.