The Ultimate Pre-Sale House Checklist for FSBO Sellers

house checklist

Are you ready to sell your home and move on with your life?

If so, there’s an important question you need to ask yourself. Do you want to hire a realtor or sell your home by yourself?

As a for-sale-by-owner seller, you need to do everything you can to get the best price for your home. If you do things right, not only will you save money by not hiring a realtor, but you’ll also get just as much for your house as you would have you hired one!

Take a look below for our 12-step pre-sale house checklist for a complete guide, showing you exactly what to do!

The Ultimate Pre-Sale House Checklist

When you opt to sell your home without a realtor, you’re choosing to operate on your own. While it may feel like a safety net is being removed from down below, understand that a realtor isn’t a safety net. They can’t magically sell your home.

Instead, view a realtor as an aid, someone who will guide you through selling your home. While helpful, they’re not always entirely necessary. If you educate yourself, you can sell your house completely independent from a realtor and save money while doing so!

Best of all, your journey can start right here with this article.

1. Research the Housing Market in Your Neighborhood

The first thing you need to do is dive into some research. Find out what the homes in your neighborhood are selling for and how long they’re staying on the market. This will help you determine the price and give you a projection of how long it may take to sell your home.

Location is an important factor when it comes to the real estate market. Some neighborhoods are more desirable than others. This can be due to proximity to schools, safety, quality of the neighborhood, etc. For better or worse, your exact home could be priced very differently if it were in a different location.

2. Attend Open Houses

Next on your pre-sale checklist will be attending other peoples’ open houses. This is further research into what homes in your neighborhood are selling for and how they’re being presented.

However, don’t limit yourself to your neighborhood. Go to homes all over your city, but do so with the intent to be inspired. See what you like about what others are doing so you can replicate it with your own home.

Then, when it comes time to show your home, you’ll know exactly how you want it to look!

3. Educate Yourself on Your State Laws

Since you’re selling your home without a realtor, learning the laws of for-sale-by-owners transactions is vital to everything running smoothly.

For example, you’ll obviously need a sales contract, but what all is included? Did you know there are multiple disclosure forms pertaining to lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials?

There are also the questions of how the deed of the house is transferred, what laws are in place to protect the buyer and/or seller, etc,

Make sure you have a clear understanding of all of the legalities surrounding the sale of your home. This is a very important step in your pre-sale house checklist!

4. Move Out or Significantly Reduce Clutter

In order to make your life much easier, it’s best if you can move out of the house sooner rather than later. This will benefit you on several levels.

First, when you move out, you take all of your stuff with you, making the home feel cleaner and more open. Additionally, you won’t have to bend over backward cleaning up after yourself to keep the house in top condition for showings. Finally, your evenings won’t be interrupted when people want to see your home.

If moving out isn’t an option, it’s okay. However, you will need to move out, sell, or store the majority of your stuff. The emptier your house is, the more appealing it will be to potential buyers. It will also be easier to keep clean.

5. Make Minor Repairs and Updates

Now that there is significantly less stuff in your house (if any), it’s time to start renovating. This part of your pre-sale house checklist is completely subjective – you can do as much or as little as you like.

However, we recommend making minor repairs at the very least. These include water leaks, negative drainage, broken or cracked windows, damaged trim and drywall, broken fixtures, etc. These small things aren’t substantial but will seem like a big deal for potential buyers doing a walk-through.

You may also choose to use this time to repaint rooms, refinish floors, do small updates, etc. It all depends on how much effort you want to put in and how much return on investment you think you’ll get out of your hard work.

6. Have the Home Inspected

While the buyers typically pay for an inspection on a home, it may not be a bad idea for you to hire an inspector yourself before the fact.

In doing so, you will avoid any nasty surprises that may arise down the road. You don’t want an inspection to uncover something that may frighten buyers away. Instead, you can be fully aware of everything and fix what’s necessary.

Additionally, a potential buyer looking at your house will be impressed and grateful you already have an inspection report. It could be enough to push them in the right direction.

7. Clean Like Crazy

Next on your pre-sale house checklist is the cleaning. Your home has to be 100% spotless. You can either invest your time and do it yourself, hire professional cleaners, or some mixture of both.

Regardless, your home needs to look like it’s never been lived in. Everyone involves knows better, but the cleaner your home is, the more buyers will appreciate it. The last thing you want to do is turn buyers away with a dirty home.

We recommend:

  • Sanitizing the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Cleaning all appliances inside and out
  • Shampooing carpets and scrubbing hard floors
  • Wiping down all horizontal surfaces
  • Cleaning the walls and ceilings
  • Cleaning out all cabinets and pantries

Again, things need to look brand new, especially in bathrooms and kitchens.

8. Improve Your Curb Appeal

Another important aspect of selling your home is perfecting your curb appeal. Curb appeal is important because it is the cover by which your home will. While no one is supposed to judge a book by its cover, everyone does.

The exterior of your home will be the first impression buyers get. While the inside may change their opinion, what they see on the outside will stick with them.

We recommend:

  • A fresh coat of exterior paint (if necessary)
  • Keep the grass cut short
  • Pull weeds
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed (never touching the home)
  • Clean any garbage, debris, etc out of the yard
  • Clean the gutters
  • Keep the driveway and sidewalks clean

9. Hire a Home Stager

Next, it may be a good idea to add a home stager on your pre-sale house checklist. It will cost you upfront, but staged homes show to sell 87% faster than unstaged homes. It gives people the warm feeling of a home but without the intrusion of your personal, worn-in items.

As an added bonus, staged homes typically sell for more money!

10. Advertise Your Home Everywhere

Learning how to advertise your home is also a vital step on your pre-sale house checklist, especially when you’re doing a for-sale-by-owner sale. You don’t have a realtor nor their contacts to help you.

However, you have a myriad of resources at your fingertips. You can use social media, newpapers, and various websites, ours included. The more you market your home, the faster it will sell.

11. Set the Right Price, but Be Willing to Negotiate

One of the most important factors of selling your home is pricing it right. We don’t mean undervaluing your home so it will sell fast, however, you’ll never sell it if you’re asking too much.

This is where that research from Step 1 comes into play. The recent house sales in your neighborhood are indicative of what you can expect your house to sell for. Granted, you have to take size, quality, features, and more into account.

12. Don’t Get Emotionally Involved

Another important step of note in your pre-sale house checklist is emotionally separating yourself from the sale of your home.

This sounds extraneous but far too many homeowners let themselves get emotionally caught up in every buyer that expresses interest in the house. Then, they’re crushed if it falls through.

Additionally, people will try to low-ball you. Everyone wants the best deal. Don’t allow low offers to make you defensive or aggressive with your negotiating.

You’ve Got This

With this pre-sale house checklist in hand, it’s now time for you to get to work. If you want to sell your home without a realtor, you need to make sure you have all your bases covered!

However, if you need help, remember that we’re around. Contact us and we’ll help you get your home listed and help you avoid costly realtor fees!

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