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Preparing a House to Sell For Sale by Owner

When preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, keep this in mind. It has been said that a buyer will make up their mind within 10 seconds when viewing a home whether they are interested or now.

This is partially true. It all starts when they drive or walk up to the front of the property. I have had buyers tell me. “We don't even have to look inside". "We don't like the looks of the outside”.

Although it happened rarely, I've also had a few folks who when convinced to go inside, actually bought that property. I always used the excuse that we were already there and we should at least take a quick look inside as a courtesy to the sellers.

For more information about preparing a house to sell for sale by owner just select one of the photo links below.

Preparing a House to Sell for Sale by Owner - Curb Appeal

The property pictured here could be absolutely stunning inside but how many people would just drive by?

Of course this home could improve some of it's curb appeal with some paint, shutters and landscaping.

Sometimes a house will look a great deal smaller than it really is. It could be a back-split with lots of mature trees hiding the depth. People could look at the building from the outside and see 84 sq. meters (900 sq. ft.)

Preparing a house to sell for sale by owner

The building could actually be 140 sq. meters(1500 sq. ft.)which was maybe what these people were looking for. Preparing a house to sell for sale by owner to increase the visual size of the property is difficult in these cases.

It is important therefore to advertise in Print, Internet and even on Your Sign the square footage.

Property Inspection

You may want to consider having a home inspection done before you sell. Why you asked? If there is any problems you may have missed, now may be the time to find out.

You may also be able to use this as a selling point to a nervous buyer. Leaving a nice clean “your house passes inspection” report on the kitchen table next to the appraisal can make a buyer feel very comfortable.

Having a home inspection done is by no means necessary and really has nothing to do with staging a house. I only mentioned that it is an option you might want to look at.

Major Renovations

When preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, should you ever do major renovations before placing your house on the market? In most cases no.

If you have finished totally updating your house except for the downstairs bathroom which has the rust stained harvest gold fixtures with the matching yellow shag carpet, then probably I would renovate that bathroom.

The kitchen would look so great with brand new raised panel solid oak cabinets to replace the slightly dated but in excellent condition plywood ones. Would I do the kitchen renovation? Probably not.

If the work is going to cost you far more than you can expect in return, when preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, you probably should bypass that change.

Some Exceptions

Some exceptions to the rules of preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, might be as follows. Every other spring during the rainy season, the basement gets 3-4 inches of water in it. The cure is to put weeping tile around the foundation and add a sump pump.

Side note: You can do this from the inside as well for a lot less money if you have an unfinished basement or you are going to gut and refinish anyway.

Not only would I do this work, we actually have in the house we are living in when I wrote this page. Results? No more water in the basement! Now when we sell I can tell people that we had water before the work was done, but not any more. Note: We did sell that home in 2013 for top dollar.

Any major repairs you make while preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, I would keep the receipts to show potential buyers when and what was done. This could include repairs but also the installation of a new furnace, air conditioning, hot water tank or new roof shingles.

By now you know where those receipts go right? Right! Alongside that Certified Highlighted Appraisal.

A Few Nuts and Bolts

  • Vacant Homes - If the house you are selling is vacant, you may want to place some attractive furniture, lamps and window dressings for showings.

A Visitor's Comment

Thank you very much for your website. I sold my house myself in 1 month.

A professional home stager can provide this service or you could rent the furnishings while the house is on the market. This makes the house feel more like home to a potential buyer. A few real or artificial plants are also a nice touch.

Sold As Is Property - By preparing a house to sell for sale by owner, even a property that needs some TLC and is being sold as is, can still bring more money, if you do some inexpensive improvements. Some paint, and making sure the lawns are mowed are a couple examples. Removing junk from the yard, repairing holes in the wall or fixing a leaky faucet are a few more.

Squeaks and Bangs: Some noises are good, others not so much. If doors squeak and squeal when opened or closed please apply a lubricant of your choice.

Stickies: If doors jam in the casements adjust or sand to fit. If windows stick closed or open fix them.

Forgotten Places: Don't forget to clean those easily forgotten places. Ceiling fans, duct vents, inside closets and behind furniture are a few examples. Many people like myself wouldn't notice this extra cleaning, but my wife Sue sure would!

The 6 Senses

When buyers are looking for their new home, they use all 6 senses. Give some extra thought when preparing a house to sell for sale by owner to these senses.

  • #1 Sight- What will the buyer see when they tour your home inside and out?

  • #2 Sound- What will the buyer hear? Pleasant sounds or unpleasant sounds?

  • #3 Touch- What will the buyer feel when they pass their hand along a railing or a window sill?

  • #4 Smell- This one is actually VERY IMPORTANT. Does the buyer experience pleasant smells or unpleasant smells?

  • #5 Taste- What will the buyer taste when she ask for a drink of water from the kitchen tap?


  • #6 FEELINGS- That 6th sense that says to a buyer....."This FEELS like Home!" Yes, I can see us living here and being very happy!

For More Information on Preparing a House to Sell for Sale by Owner

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