Top dollar for your FSBO home sale.
Whether or not you’ve sold a home FSBO-style before, you can make top dollar if you follow some tips from successful home sellers. Making top dollar may require some time and money invested on your part, but in the end, it will pay off when your house sells for top dollar. This is especially true if you’re selling a home in an area where there’s serious competition among home sellers.

Begin with an eyes-wide-open survey of your house and property from top to bottom. Visit other homes in your area for sale to get an idea of your competition. You may discover that your home needs some updating or repairs to attract more buyers and the price you’re aiming for.

Follow these tips for maximizing buyer interest and you’ll hit the ground running:

  1. Clean and de-clutter. If you have a houseful of personal items and a lot of furniture, start packing things away. Clear all surfaces. Children’s art on refrigerators, family photos, knick-knacks, trophies, religious and political items, and even family heirlooms can distract buyers from imagining their family living in the space. You want to allow buyers to see rooms as open and spacious as possible in order to imagine their own furniture and belongings in the space.

De-cluttering makes a home appear clean and welcoming. Clutter – even something as simple as a coffee maker and a blender on a kitchen counter – can make a space seem crowded. If you need to rent a storage unit for a short time, do it and move any excess furniture, boxes of personal items and clothes there to give buyers the best idea of space available. Remember, clutter is contagious and nobody wants it.

Clean the home immaculately. Scrub tile, take care of discolored or mildewed grout and pay extra attention to areas in the kitchen and bathrooms—make sure they gleam. Clean the carpet, or better yet remove old, stained or worn carpet and replace with hardwood or tile. Hardwood floors are a top selling point among home buyers, and your investment will be returned in your sale price. Make sure cabinets are emptied and cleaned, with just the bare necessities in them. Buyers love cabinet and storage space, so give them what they want! If your cabinets are packed, it gives the impression of inadequate storage space. Make sure ceiling fans, windows, built-in shelving, and closets are dust-free and clean as a whistle. Finally, stage your house for maximum appeal.

  1. Price your home right. Make sure to price your house with your head and not your heart. ListingDoor.com offers tools to help estimate a home’s fair market value, and compare it with similar homes for sale in the area. Homes that are not priced competitively for their market can sit unsold for long stretches, and the longer a house is on the market, the harder it is to sell. Homes that are priced competitively attract serious buyers early on, and sell faster.
  1. Paint rooms in neutral colors. A coat of paint can freshen a room at little cost. Neutral colors are safest since buyers don’t want to have to repaint rooms to complement their own aesthetic when they first move in. Optimal paint colors for selling a home include shades of white and gray and some earth tones. A simple coat of paint can make all the difference when it comes to creating universal appeal.

The right shades of paint can also make ceilings appear higher, narrow spaces appear wider, and dark spaces appear light and bright—all very appealing to buyers. Open curtains, drapes, and windows to enhance the effect. It might help to choose a shade of white, gray, or another neutral color as an anchor and paint adjoining rooms in lighter or slightly darker shades of the same color for continuity and flow.

  1. Clean up the yard. Make sure your cleaning efforts include outdoor spaces too. Store toys, sports equipment, old barbecues and the like away, preferably in an off-site storage facility. If you have patio furniture, make sure it is clean, inviting, and fits the space. Curb appeal is huge, so the lawn should be mowed, bushes trimmed, porches, walkways and steps power washed, and plants and flowers well-tended. Thoroughly clear out the garage.

Look at your home’s exterior critically. Does the house need paint touch-ups or a full coat of paint? Does the roof look old and near its end? If necessary, paint the house and repair or replace the roof in order to get top dollar at closing. Some of these repairs may sound expensive, but if you address them before you begin showing your home, they will pay off in spades at sale time.

  1. Update tired and dated spaces, fixtures and appliances. Home buyers want modern, inviting kitchens and baths. In fact, these are make-or-break rooms when it comes to selling a house. If your kitchen or baths are clearly of a former era, do what you can to update them – from a full gut if it’s feasible, to replacing cabinet fronts, counter tops, hardware, lighting and appliances and back splashes. If bathtubs, sinks, and toilets are hopelessly dated or stained, replace them. You don’t have to buy the most expensive fixtures on the market, simple fixtures that are clean and new will sell a home far faster and at a higher price than old, dated and stained. If you’re handy, you can take on many of these projects yourself and save big.

If the water heater, furnace or HVAC system are old, rusted and appear on their last legs, consider replacing them. Again, the cost of these items can be retrieved in the sale of your home, but buyers can be easily turned off of a property if it’s obvious that any of these items need replacing, which they will learn from a home inspection anyway. You can price any item yourself and install them ahead of time, and you’ll probably spend less than a buyer will request in a price break to replace them during negotiations. Bottom line, if everything appears shiny and new, and buyers aren’t adding up costs of repairs and work to be done when they’re viewing your home, their interest rises exponentially. A pre-listing home inspection can tell you a lot about what fixes you should do yourself before putting your house on the market.

  1. Market your home to the world. List all upgrades, improvements, and repairs you have made in your listing and marketing brochures so potential buyers can see what they’re getting for their money. Include warranties that come with new appliances and equipment, and keep manuals in a kitchen drawer for the buyer.

Add a yard sign with a flyer holder and keep it filled with clean, fresh copies of your home marketing brochures, complete with professional photos and written descriptions of your upgrades, special features of the house, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, etc. This way, people driving by when you’re not home can grab a brochure and get motivated to schedule an appointment to view the house.

Remember, selling your home may require an investment on your part, in both time and money. But the rewards will come when you achieve your goal of selling for top dollar!