Checklist for Selling Your Home by Owner | 4SaleByOwner.com

Seller Checklist

Seller Checklist

Pricing

Setting the right price is the most important step a prospective home seller makes. Set too high and the home can languish on the market, undergoing multiple price drops until it sells for below market value. Set too low and you can miss out on some big money.

  • Study Comparable Homes

    Learn what your selling competition is doing and where they are pricing.

  • Visit Open Houses

    Take a good look at the condition of comparable homes so you know how buyers will evaluate your home.

  • Know What Makes Your Home Stand Out

    What makes your home different from the competition?

  • Calculate Your Desired Net Proceeds

    Identify, calculate and track all costs associated with selling your home.

  • Set Your Price

    Setting the right price will help you meet your goals.

Clean and Make Simple Improvements

Are you ready to entertain open house guests? Is your house ready to be hit with the buyer's fine-toothed comb? Follow these steps to ensure you are optimally show-ready.

  • Mow and Water

    Green, well-kept grass, gives the feeling of a well-maintained home.

  • Tidy the Yard

    Put away tools and toys.

  • Weed the Gardens

    Weeds and unsightly plants are easy to remove and should be.

  • Plant simple, Colorful flowers

    Go to your local nursery and buy a bunch of flowers that are already in bloom. These are inexpensive, easy to plant, and increase your curb appeal.

  • Replace Worn Outdoor Furniture

    Simple outdoor furniture is inexpensive and always inviting. Best part: if you buy nice stuff you can take it with you to the new house!

  • Replace the Welcome Mat

    A worn first impression will make for a bad first impression.

  • Wash Windows

    Make sure your windows are clean and clear. This helps your interior and exterior appeal.

  • Remove Excess Furniture

    Too much furniture, or furniture that is too large, will make a home feel smaller.

  • Remove Collectibles

    Protect your valuables and cut down on clutter.

  • Remove Excess Artwork and Photos

    It is crucial that buyers can imagine themselves in your home, so remove excess personalization elements.

  • Clean Out Closets and Cabinets

    Protect your valuables and cut down on clutter.

  • Empty the Garage

    The garage is typically one of the largest and worst set up rooms in the house. Let your visitors imagine what they will do with a wide open, bright space.

  • Clean Appliances

    Nothing looks more appealing than a clean kitchen. Cleaning takes time but very little money, so roll up your sleeves and make your kitchen sparkle!

  • Clean the Bathrooms

    Ensure the bathroom is free of odors, stains, clutter, and anything that you don't want to be found by an open house visitor. Prescription drugs must be locked up.

  • Shampoo Carpets

    Carpets are another place where stains and smells can hide. Hire a company or rent a carpet cleaner.

  • Mop Floors

    Streaks and scuffs make floors look older and more worn than they may actually be. Clean, shiny floors help enhance light reflection and make the rooms feel larger.

  • Clean Litter Boxes

    Hopefully this goes without saying. Pet ordors can drive potential buyers away. Make sure pet areas are deeply cleaned.

  • Consider Staging Your Home

    Evaluate hiring a staging company to showcase your home so that it may achieve the highest value.

  • Fix Leaking Fixtures

    Drips are frequently seen as a sign of more wear, tear, and neglect under the surface.

  • Replace Burnt Out Bulbs

    Burnt out lights can bring out suspicions of neglect, so best to repair those before you invite in potential buyers.

  • Clean Gutters

    Clogged gutters can lead to roof, siding, and water damage.

  • Clean the Chimney

    In addition to being a sign of neglect, a dirty chimney can be a fire hazard.

  • Replace Worn or Missing Shingles

    Don't give buyers any reason to suspect the roof is in any way compromised. Repairs made necessary by a compromised roof are extremely costly and can scare people away.

  • Wash and Paint Where Needed

    Just like windows, clean, bright walls will make a home feel larger and more welcoming.

  • Clean Grease and Spills from Driveway

    These can be tricky to remove but can be worth the efforts as the next owner will certainly not want to deal with them. Also, if a seller draws a parallel between a car in need of repair and a home in need of repair any grease stains will certainly work against you.

  • Replace Broken Switches

    Switches and outlets are easy to replace. If you have worn or chipped units please swap them out.

Marketing and Merchandising

Now that your price is right, buyers need to be able to find your home. The internet has made it much easier for sellers to get their property noticed, but there's a lot more you still need to do.

  • List in Your Local MLS

    The MLS is a primary marketing tool for 80% of sold homes, and further ensures exposure on sites such as Xome™, Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia.

  • Create a Flyer

    Create a property flyer that highlights what is unique or attractive about your home.

  • Take Photos

    Make sure you represent your home well with high-quality photos.

  • Create a Story

    Stories help sell homes, so make sure yours is a good, intriguing one, that enhances the charm of your home.

  • Post a Yard Sign

    This is a must for neighborhood-level marketing to help you get the word out.

  • Notify Friends and Family

    Don't forget to spread the word to your own network to get the word out.

  • Plan an Open House

    Always a good idea if you want to draw the widest audience possible.

  • Agent Incentives

    Decide what you will pay as a Buyer's Agent commission, which is recommended to broaden the level of interest in your home.

  • Consider a Warranty

    Decide whether or not you are willing to offer a home warranty to buyers.

  • What Goes With Your Home

    Decide what appliances, fixtures and accessories will be sold with your home.

  • Prepare Disclosures

    Identify, complete and provide the requisite disclosure forms for your home.

Showing Your Home / Open House

OK, the buyers are coming. Here's how to make them feel at home.

  • Advertise Open Houses

    Signage, social, and local publications are great avenues to drive visitors to your home.

  • Set Up Signs

    Set up directional signs to help buyers find your open house.

  • Clean

    Make sure your house is in optimal showing condition.

  • Create a Playlist

    Soft, soothing music can reduce buyers' stress.

  • Bake Cookies

    Give buyers the smells and comforts of home.

  • Keep the Lights On

    Dark rooms will be offset by bright lights.

  • Put Away Valuables

    No way to sugar-coat this: strangers will be in your house. If you can't live without something best to take it offsite or lock it up.

  • Have a Sign-In Sheet

    Request names, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever your guests will give you. Make sure they know you are available for follow up questions.

  • Have Offer Forms Ready

    There is always a chance that a visitor may decide your house is the one. Be sure they can make the offer when ready.

  • Greet Buyers as They Enter

    Welcome them into your home, hand them a flyer with contact information, remind them you are there if any questions pop up, and then leave them alone to explore.

  • Leave Buyers Alone While They Tour

    Whatever you do, don't hover! A hovering host will make buyers feel uncomfortable, which is exactly the opposite of what you want.

  • Ask if Buyers Have Questions as They Leave

    Ask open-ended questions that solicit more than a "yes" or "no." "What did you think?" or "Do you have any questions?" are great places to start.

  • Ask Buyers if They are Pre-Qualified

    If the potential buyers say they like the house and would like to make an offer tell them when you will be reviewing offers. Asking if they have been pre-qualified is a fair question at this stage.

  • Smile

    See potential buyers as your guests and make them feel welcome.

  • Follow Up With Visitors

    If they leave an email address feel free to follow up with a personal note thanking for their time and remind them you are here to answer any questions they may have and of when you are reviewing offers.

Negotiating

Now that you have an offer (or offers?) in hand, you need to evaluate them and issue a counter offer. The important thing to remember is they are buying YOUR house, so work to meet YOUR goals.

  • Assess Buyer's Qualifications and Contingencies

    Confirm whether the buyer has the financial means to purchase your home and any other proposed contingencies, such us the sale of an existing home.

  • Decide on Counter Offers

    You are always in a position to counter offer, be it on price, terms, or something else. Remember, you have the house they want.

  • Schedule Inspections

    Work with the potential buyers to schedule inspections.

  • Set Counter-Offer and Settlement Dates

    Upon issuing your counter offer you may set forth deadlines for the potential buyer's response and closing.

  • Set Earnest Money Amount

    Communicate the amount of earnest money you will want. The amount may vary by location.

  • Order Contract Forms

    Find out what real estate forms are required to complete your transaction.

Closing

Always remeber to protect yourself in the closing process. It is advisable to obtain legal assistance and protect your personal assets.

  • Resolve Home Inspection Issues

    Address concerns and issues brought to light by the home inspection.

  • Select a Title Company

    As the seller you may have a choice to select a title company. Evaluate and select a firm you trust.

  • Open Escrow - Table Closing

    The closing process will be administered by the chosen title company.

  • Apply Earnest Money

    Ensure earnest monies are applied and credited at closing.

  • Complete Negotiated Repairs

    If applicable, make sure you are holding up your part of the agreement by finishing any remaining required repairs to the buyer's expectations.

  • Be Available

    In case the buyer, inspector, financing institution, or anyone else need to contact you ensure you can be reached.

  • Arrange for Movers

    Moving is hard work and stressful. If you need help plan ahead. See moving checklist for suggestions.

  • File a Change of Address

    The post office, financial institutions, mailed subscriptions, and all other mail to the house should be redirected to the new delivery destination.

  • Compile House Information

    Appliance warranties and repair history should be passed to the new owner.

  • Arrange for Final Utility Readings and Disconnect Dates

    As you vacate and the new owners take posession make sure you are paid up and they start from scratch.

  • Bring Identification to Closing

    You know who you are but this is required in all states.

* Please be advised that the Seller Checklist is not to be considered an exhaustive list of seller considerations, but is merely intended to provide general guidance.