For Sale By Owner Columbia South Carolina   1 comment

For Sale By Owner Columbia South Carolina as promised this is part 2…. How to prepare 😉

 “Understanding how to make your For Sale By owner home look great to any buyer who comes to see it!”

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two very different things.  There’s a whole industry of “home stagers” out there who realize this fact.  You are able to find lots of ideas and tips on the internet and in your bookstores – the following is a basic overview of preparing your property for sale.


Homebuyers ideally want to their new home to be a “model home.” No nicks, scuffs, or dings.  They want lots of room and things to look like new.  Your job when preparing your home for sale is to begin to give the buyer what they are looking for in terms of condition, features, benefits, and amenities.

There are some things that can’t be fixed.  Items such as a busy street, sloping lot, number of bedrooms, etc. are generally fixed and unchangeable.  But there are others that can be improved upon easily and inexpensively.  Doing the work up front will allow you to sell quicker and net more money. Getting your home ready for sale and keeping it in showing condition during the selling process is one of the most important and crucial aspects of doing this yourself.

In fact, if there is one thing that I’ve learned in my years of real estate experience – it is that most buyers have really no imagination whatsoever. If they can’t see it they can’t buy it. And those buyers that can see it expect to discount the purchase price for their ability. The condition and presentation of your home may cause it to sell or not sell.

Buyers almost always see only what is in front of them. Which means don’t ever expect a buyer to see the “potential” your home has to offer without a huge decrease in their eyes about the value of your home.

In the real estate business we call this the law of the “thousands.”  A buyer will see a old dishwasher and subtract a $1000 from their offer even though a new dishwasher may only cost $600.  New carpet may embolden them to subtract $5000 when it will cost them only $3000.

Go over the items below below and complete as many tasks as possible can cause your home to sell quicker and for more money.

De-Clutter and Clean!

Too much clutter and lack of home preparation is one of the biggest mistakes I see many “For Sale By Owners” make.

This subject probably has the most expert advice available on the Internet and in the bookstores.  Feng-shui, staging, and “How to sell a home” books and articles abound.  I’ve put together a short chapter for your review here..

Cleaning and packing stuff away is the most important of all the basic preparations.  Rooms, closets and garages need to look neat and clean and as roomy as possible.  Cluttered rooms and closets full of boxes and “stuff” make the home look smaller and buyers wonder if their stuff will fit.

The solution to the clutter is to simply get rid of it.  Everything that you don’t use on a regular basis (which means every other day at least)… put in storage or at least out of plain sight. Seriously get rid of a lot your things by packing them away.

Kitchens are the number one spot in most homes for clutter.  Quick, count the appliances and other items on your counters.  Where can you put all of them?  A few weeks of inconvenience in getting them out and putting them away or doing without them is well worth it.   Now go through each of your cabinets in your kitchen, all of the counter space, and all of the cupboards to make sure all are clean and neat of “unnecessary stuff.”  I’m especially fond of putting away about 2/3rds of all the coffee mugs and glasses into a box and storing them.

Remember that in your bedrooms less stuff is more appealing.  Pack away your clothes and shoes; only save the 25% to 35% that you’ve actually worn recently.  Take a close look to determine what can go. Pack away the books, toys, and gadgets you have lying around.  You might buy new bedspreads.  Make sure there is plenty of light in each bedroom; curtains and blinds open, freshen the air if needed.  Make sure all nook and crannies are clean.

Bathrooms:  clean out under the sink and the medicine cabinets (people will nose around) make sure there is plenty of light and tthey are spotless.  Do you need to re-caulk the tub and sinks? No mildew allowed. Air fresheners might also be in order.

Living rooms, family rooms, and dining rooms:  pack away the stuff.  Make them well-lit and immaculately clean.

Clean or re-paint all nicks and scuffs.  The newer Magic Erasers sponges work wonders on minor scuffs and may preclude the need for repainting.

Prepare the home when you can for each showing, dust, clean, spruce up, put out fresh flowers, turn on all the lights, and leave with your pets if they’re with a professional real estate agent!  If the buyers are on their own be prepared to answer questions honestly but don’t get emotional if they speak poorly about your house; someone has told them they can get it for less if they “tell you” why it’s in poor shape.

The yard should be free of debris, toys and clutter too.  Nice flowers can brighten up any area! Coil your hoses.  Put tools away.   What can you do to make the yard more appealing – a table and chair under a shade tree?  Repainting the swing set?  New mulch or flower beds? Tree or shrub trimming?

I don’t recommend spending a lot of money on granite countertops, new cabinets, appliances, etc.   Home improvements of this type rarely provide a good return on dollars spent.  Some real estate agents advocate spending a lot of your money without any supporting evidence that you’ll sell quicker and for more money.  For example spending $15,000 in a kitchen might only bring in $8000 at resale.  in some parts of the country swimming pools, spas, and upgraded appliances add no value at all according to the appraisers.

Here’s a continuation of some items that you might consider. They are inexpensive – but prudent – when getting your home ready for sale:

v     Make sure that the front of your home is spotless all the way up to the front door. Repaint and replace light fixtures if necessary. Often times the buyers spend a lot of time there why they wait for their real estate agent or you to open the door.  First impressions are hard to modify.

v     Make sure that all of your walls and outside exterior are washed down. No flaking paint. No wasp nests, no cobwebs.

v     Keep the window coverings open and the lights on at all times during showings unless you are hiding an outside eyesore or very close neighbor.

v     Clean and wash all visible features… like your windows, fireplaces, countertops and your tables before anybody sees your home.

v     Consider filling in any foundation cracks in the sidewalk, patios, driveway, or walls.

v     Repair any leaky faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen.

v     Keep your pets out of the way. If you hear them, or worse, smell them you may cost yourself a sale.

v     Fix any faulty, rusty, older appliances.

v     No drafts. Fix or caulk all windows and doors.

v     If your roof leaks or is visibly damaged it may be a good idea to hire a good roofer now; especially if your home is older.  A roof near the end of its life or damaged will be a problem during the inspection.

v     Outdoor lighting.  If you’re going to be showing your home at night – outdoor lighting is going to be crucially important.

v     Remove dead trees and shrubs.  It’s a good investment, especially in the front yard, to add new trees and shrubs or replace the old dead branches.

v     Everybody loves flowers, keep yours blooming.  The cost of replacing flowers is usually minor in comparison to the perceived value it gives your home.

v     Make sure the doorbell works.  You can replace it with a wireless one if needed. A broken doorbell is a bad start to any showing.

v     Have your mailbox repaired or replaced if not in great condition.

v     Oil or WD40 any squeaky hinges or doors.

v     Put out fresh towels in the bathroom.

v     Eliminate all pet odors.

v     Use potpourri types of fresheners throughout the house.

v     Try to get up the oil stains on your driveway or in your garage. Most hardware stores have concrete cleaner.

v     Paint, paint, paint. Nothing freshens a home up more.

v     Clean the gutter. Replace downspouts.  Make sure there are no running trails of water erosion in your yard.

v     Re-stain wood decks if necessary. Replace any rotted wood.

v     Make sure all stair railings are tight and secure.

v     Mow the grass. Trim all the edges and hedges of your yard.

v     If you have a fence – make sure it looks good. Paint it, replace broken boards etc.

v     Professionally clean all the carpets in your house.  You may need to replace them. Again, this is relatively inexpensive – but very profitable to your bottom-line.

v     Clean and Wax all appropriate floors.

v     Clean the curtains and window coverings. Replace them if they need replacing

v     Make sure any wallpaper is secure to the walls. Peeling wallpaper is a turnoff.

v     Straighten all pictures and mantel decorations. Too many pictures on a wall clutter it up.

v     Make the kitchen sparkle for each showing.

v     Gather the operating manuals and warranties for all major appliances and fixtures.

v     Replace any loose, chipped, or broken tiles in the bathrooms.

v     Replace shower curtain with a new, clean, bright and fresh one.

v     Make all beds – this seems obvious but it’s amazing how many homes I’ve shown with the beds not made and the rooms a mess. You may have to bribe a teenager to keep their room clean.  Pay them.

v     Keep all stairways uncluttered.

v     Have the furnace cleaned and inspected if you haven’t done it in over a year. This always comes up during the inspection anyway.

v     If your garage or basement is jam-packed full of “stuff” – rent a storage facility and move all the “stuff” to it immediately.

v     If you have an automatic garage door opener – makes sure it works.

Be sure that you go through each room before a showing or an open house. Remember that each new buyer is “new.”  They haven’t seen your home before- first impressions are critical.

Curb Appeal


Enhancing Curb Appeal

“Curb appeal” is “real-estate-ese” for everything prospective buyers can see from the street that might make them want to take a further look.  If the curb appeal is negative they’ll drive by slowly and move on. Enhancing curb appeal is critical to getting buyers to want to come inside.   You can sum up curb appeal by driving by your house and seeing if it invites you to come inside.

v     Neatness sells.  Crisp paint, trimmed lawn, neat shrubbery, a clean driveway, potted plants at the front door—put them all together, and drive-by buyers will probably want to see the rest of the house.

v     Hand in hand with neatness is “neutrality.”  If you are going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colors.  Keep the yard free of gardening tools and toys.  Remember, when a family looks at a house they are trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home.  If they say “I like the house but need to change that pink color”  you may lose them.


General Notes:

v     Remove/replace any special items that you don’t intend to leave behind; for example, the chandelier that you love.  Replace it before a buyer makes it a part of the negotiations.

v     Repair or replace all doors, closet doors, and windows and screens if there are holes, cracks, or rips.

v     Check that your doors don’t stick or have loose knobs.  Make sure your cabinet drawers have no loose knobs, as well.

v     Any cobwebs, wasp nests, ant hills etc.  should be removed.

v     Organize closets and remove stuff which is not necessary and put it in storage.  Large closets sell houses; well-organized closet looks much bigger than one crammed with clutter.

v     Remove excess extension cords, especially those in traffic ways.

v     Dress up windows in freshly laundered curtains, or dust/clean window blinds.

v     If any decoration is needed, (especially in the kitchen or bathroom), do it before the house is put on the market! $20.00 worth of paint may balance $100.00 in a price cut.

v     Open doors to the areas you want the buyer to see such as walk-in closets, pantries, etc.  Make sure those areas are neat.

v     If you have hidden features, like a stairway to the basement, consider making a sign that spells out that feature.

v     Ensure that all light fixtures are cleaned (dust chandeliers; clean out bugs from overhead lights; and lamps, etc.), and that there is a light bulb in every socket.

v     Clean all windowsills, as well as any space between windows and storm windows.  Windows should be in good repair with no cracks.

v     Any paint on windowpanes should be removed with a razor blade prior to cleaning.


One response to “For Sale By Owner Columbia South Carolina

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  1. If you would like a copy of my free ebook for sale by owner 2012 please contact me

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