Friday, January 19, 2018


Buyers make their first decision in wanting to see the inside of a house by what they see on the outside.  Neatly trimmed bushes, mowed and maintained yards are the best way to make that presentation. Give a buyer a reason to want to see inside your home. It goes without saying that maintaining your front and back yards are important. Start feeding your lawn weeks in advance of putting it on the market, paint railings, decks, etc. if they need it. Trimming and even removing some ugly bushes may be necessary. Don't wait until someone wants to see your home, get it done before they show up. Buying potted flowers is one of the tricks that I have used in the past. Place them along walkways, in front of planters, around trees, you get the idea. Colorful hanging plants always draw people in.  The advantage of using potted plants and hanging baskets is that you can take them to your next home, technically they are not attached and therefore can be removed.  

Spending a few hundred dollars will definitely pay off in a better offer even though the potted plants won't be staying behind. Take the time to step out onto the street and take a hard look at your curb appeal and you decide what steps you need to take to convince a potential buyer that your house is worth taking a look at on the inside. 

Now for the part of preparing your home that nobody wants to deal with- DEEP CLEANING. Whether you do the deep cleaning or have it done by a house cleaning service, make sure that certain obvious areas are definitely taken care of. It is most embarrassing for you as a For Sale By Owner, showing your own home, having to explain why something is stained or left dirty. You really don't want to give a potential buyer a reason to suddenly want to leave your house before your showing is complete.  Bathrooms are usually the worst and often the most forgotten. Take extra time in cleaning bathrooms to completely clean, the floors, toilets and tubs. Stage the bathrooms with rolled towels and make sure hand sanitizer bottles are near the  sink. Have a non-staged  hand towel available for the buyer to use, inevitably someone in the buyers party will need to use a bathroom. 

Toilets are the most common overlooked areas for deep cleaning. A savvy buyer will check this area and will immediately draw their own conclusions about what they expect to find in the rest of the house. When you see a buyer drawing the shower curtain to one side, they are looking for tub stains and if the fixtures are clean and shiny. While we are in the bathroom, remove all medications, especially protected drugs form any cabinet and put them away in a safer place, like a dresser drawer, this is essential even if a real estate agent was doing the showing. 

Getting family and friends involved with the deep cleaning process can save a lot of time, but hiring a good cleaning service can be less stressful on you. Pay particular attention to areas that you would not normally clean like inside closets, behind doors, pantries, ceilings and laundry rooms. These tend to gather dust bunnies and are often overlooked except by the buyer. Make sure that wall pictures are dusted along with window trims, door trims, and ceiling light fixtures. There is something to be said for the "white glove test" when deep cleaning a house. 

After all the deep cleaning is complete, have the carpets cleaned, or do it 
yourself with a rental carpet cleaner. Of course the best will be a carpet cleaning service, as they will move furniture and do a complete job. Keep in mind that it is custom for the seller to do a final cleaning of floors before the new owners take possession of the house.

In review, you now have a price to get on the market, you have
de-cluttered and staged your home, and have completed the deep cleaning process. You are now ready to develop some signage and a marketing plan to implement, which will be the subjects of my next blog.

I did get an email asking me to clarify the part of my last blog that talked about  the seller getting and paying for an appraisal and a home inspection. I know that a buyer is the one that traditionally gets a home inspection done, but having one done is important so you the seller will know what to expect in repairs  beforehand is to your benefit. Being able to offer this inspection to a potential buyer is again to your benefit, so why not show that you, the seller, has taken the initiative to be prepared for the buyer and now that an inspection is done the buyer will no longer have to pay for one. As far as the appraisal, it was recommended because it will be the best way to get a fair market value and to prove to a buyer a realistic value for the house. A buyer that will need to borrow money from a lending institution will need to pay for a new appraisal. 

If you have or want a question answered, please contact me at or leave a comment in this blog. I check this blog often.

The For Sale By Owner Answerman
( The fsboanswerman)

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