Preparing Your Home For Sale By Owner

By TradeCasa Team

No matter which route you decide to take, selling with and agent or FSBO, preparing your property for sale will ensure that you sell for the highest possible price in the least amount of time.

Taking the time to prepare yourself and your property for the sale, will ensure a more profitable and stress-free sales experience. An educated and prepared vendor speaks volumes during the sales process, literally, as you will be dealing directly with purchasers and potential agents. Your home will do all the selling, and you will do the all negotiating. Thus, it is also important to ensure that your home presents itself at its very best. A well staged and clean home will sell itself. Consider any time or resources that you invest in advance a worthy investment, that will not only pay for off in the end but also make your sale a lot more enjoyable.

Staging Your Property

Staging, a term commonly used in the real estate industry, refers to improving the overall physical appeal of your property. Generally, applicable to most real estate sales, but may be excluded from the sale of land or other commercial or industrial properties. However, if your property falls into the category of a residential home, then be sure to apply some of these common staging strategies. Staging your home at its very best will ensure that you sell your home for top dollar and within a reasonable amount of time. Regardless of what route you chose to sell your home, for sale by owner or with an agent, preparing your home for sale is of equal importance and will require your personal investment of time and money. This process can be greatly simplified if you tackle the right projects. A common rule of thumb, avoid any major construction projects but rather focus on simple cosmetic improvements such as cleaning, de-cluttering and refreshing. Below is short list of the biggest bang for your buck projects that you can do yourself.

  • Clean or paint your front door. (first impressions are always the most important)
  • Cut your lawn and mulch your gardens.
  • Clean all visible exterior surfaces such as porches and driveways.
  • Replace any non-working light bulbs.
  • Fix leaky taps.
  • Lubricate squeaky doors.
  • De-clutter kitchen and bathroom counter tops and clean all surfaces.
  • Paint or clean walls and baseboards, ensure there are no major marks or nail holes.
  • Clean mirrors and windows.
  • Steam clean carpets and/or polish all hard floor surfaces.
  • De-personalize any space by removing excessive personal memorabilia.
  • De-odorize your home and replace the furnace filter.


It is always wise to have all information relevant to your sale on hand. Some of the most common questions on buyer’s minds relate to costs of ownership and more specific property details. This includes taxes, heating and cooling costs, surveys etc. This is also a great opportunity to address any deficiencies that you may be aware of related to the property. For more clarity, deficiencies that you are not planning on repairing prior to the sale that may be revealed during a home inspection. For example, if you are aware that the roof requires replacement, take the time right now to obtain several estimates. This will allow you the time to obtain and select from the most economical estimate of repair. You can present the estimate to your purchaser in advance, and avoid the harsh negotiations following a home inspection. The list below outlines some of the more specific documents that you may wish to have in advance.

  • Most recent tax bill
  • Heating and cooling bills (This includes electricity and gas or other heating fuels for past year)
  • Property survey
  • Rental agreements (for items that are being leased, such as a hot water heater)
  • Estimates for any major repairs
  • Receipts for recent improvements
  • User manuals and warranties for appliances