“For Sale By Owner” Home Selling Tips

By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

My wife and I have sold two homes by owner (in Chicago and in Cleveland), without the help of a real estate agent. While I think agents can be helpful in some instances, we felt that both of our homes were desirable to a good number of buyers, making the sales likely to be fairly easy. We were right; both sold in less than two weeks.

Here are some tips based on our experience of successfully traveling the “For Sale By Owner” route, as well as some general home selling tips.

Preparing Your Home

Curb appeal is huge when it comes to selling a house. Remember that people want to picture themselves living in your house, so their first impression is extremely important. The nicer your house looks from the outside, the better. You can’t necessarily change the overall look of your home — it is what it is — but you can spruce it up through landscaping, a paint job (if applicable), fixing anything that is obviously broken, and un-cluttering porches or patios that can be seen from the road.

Inside, same thing. People want to picture themselves living in that home, not you. Obviously the house should be clean, but it should also be uncluttered. In particular:

  • Don’t clutter the home with too much furniture and especially “knick knacks.” You may love to fill every square inch with stuff, but potential buyers want to see the actual home, not your Santa collection. In addition, I always remember one home we visited that had so much furniture you could barely move. They even had a sofa in the middle of the hallway!
  • Continuing on the “less is more” theme, go easy on the photos and other wall art. I remember visiting one home that had pictures on every inch of the walls in every room — there’s wasn’t even space between the pictures, they overlapped! It was like a teen girl’s bulletin board in there. You love your family and your memories and your art, but if you’ve gone overboard, take some of it down while buyers are coming through.

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