FSBO: Basics in preparing your home

Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Company

For sale by owner basics

As a long-time Realtor in Downtown Colorado Springs, I have seen hundreds of houses come on the market as a FSBO.  I refer to them as Unrepresented Sellers, and I learned early in my career that they are a very warm target market. 

FSBO AdviceTowards that end, I designed an easy-to-read booklet over the years that I often present to FSBOs with useable information that might help them in the sale of their home.  Approximately 25 pages long, each page has information that might be useful as they begin their process of navigating the ‘treacherous’ FSBO waters. 

One of the first pages in this booklet is titled Absolute Basics in Preparing Your Home for Sale:

  • You are going to be moving. Start packing now.
  • Air out the home.  Most people are turned off by even the slightest odor.  Odors must be eliminated, especially those caused by dogs and cats, soiled diapers and/or cigarettes.
  • If it has been over a year since the carpets have been cleaned, now is the time to do it; bare floors should be waxed or polished.
  • Put the brightest light bulb allowed in each socket.  Buyers like “bright.”
  • Clean out closets, cabinets, and drawers.  They should look like they have enough room to hold additional items.  People WILL look in your closets.
  • Get everything off of the floors and do not have anything piled on shelves.
  • Make sure rooms are not overcrowded with furniture.  Select your best pieces and store the rest, even if you're storing neatly in your garage.
  • Keep bathrooms and kitchen sparkling.  Make sure appliances are clean at all times.
  • Bathtubs, showers, and sinks should be freshly caulked.  The grout should be clean and in good condition. 
  • There should be no leaks in faucets or traps.
  • Put away any unnecessary items in the kitchen, bath, bedrooms, family room, living room, dining room.
  • Clear off all countertops as much as possible.
  • Pack and store NEATLY in garage.FSBO Advice
  • Keep children’s toys out of yard, sidewalks, off porch.
  • Clean ashes out of the fireplace.

Going the extra mile:

  • Change outdated wallpaper in entry, kitchen, or bath
  • Replace outdated light fixtures
  • Paint interior and exterior where needed
  • New kitchen appliances can actually make the difference in a Buyer choosing your home over another

 For sale by owner basics was written by Mimi Foster

Comments (19)

Faith LaRosse
Springer Realty Group - Limerick, PA
Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties

Great info for those homeowners who are "going it on their own" in this tough real estate market, Mimi~ Also, love your wallpaper background~so pretty!

Jul 10, 2011 09:37 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

This isn'y just a good list for FSBO's.  Do you have this list in your listing packet for your sellers too?  When and how do you distribute these to FSBO'ss?

Jul 10, 2011 09:41 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is a great list for anyone selling a home, not just FSBOs!  Thanks for sharing!

Jul 10, 2011 09:45 AM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I've heard way too many agents "bad mouthing" FSBO's, I like your approach here Mimi. Help them to be successful by showing themwhat they should be doing to sell their place. Love the idea, and want to apply it to other occupations.


Thanks Mimi.

Jul 10, 2011 09:49 AM
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Great list presented in a non threatening way! Should be very helpful  to Unrepresented Sellers. Suggest!

Jul 10, 2011 09:49 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thank you, Faith.  The idea is to give them enough information in the packet to help them, and to make them remember you when the time comes to list.

Kasey (or is it John? :) ) When I take a listing (after the paperwork is signed), I give the Sellers a very nice Staging packet which includes this information.  The FSBO (Unrepresented Seller) packet is self-contained.  If I am driving down the street and see a FSBO and I have the time or like the house, I will stop and present them with the packet, talk to them, hear their story (read the Unrepresented Seller link in this post).  I think what I should do here is write a post about the scenario and then ennumerate the pages.

Thanks, Kathleen.  You are so right.

Thanks so much, Tom.  When you consider that 87% of FSBOs list, we should not be alienating them.

Thanks, Anne.  They are ALWAYS receptive.

Jul 10, 2011 09:50 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hello Mimi-You are so smart. This is an EXCELLENT post and tool for FSBO's and also represented sellers. Great job my friend. "suggested" Hope you have had a wonderful Sunday.

Jul 10, 2011 09:55 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Hello, sweet friend.  It has been uneventful (THOSE are nice :) ) Thanks for your kind words.  Hope you are doing well.

Jul 10, 2011 09:59 AM
Rick Lorenz
Team Lorenz - Durango, CO
REALTOR Emeritus, CRS, ABR, CyberStar, CNE, E-Pro

These are great helps to a for sale by owner seller.I usually do a series of letters to for sale by owners with a little tip or comment in each letter. In our town of Durango where we have a lot of second home buyers, I find that the following advice is pretty impactful on a seller:

People coming to town to buy real estate have already hooked up with a Realtor who they found on the Internet. Over 90% of real estate searches today start on the Internet. The newspaper is less and less a force in the sale of real estate. typically that is where for sale by owners advertise… In the newspaper.

Thanks for your blog article Mimi.

Jul 10, 2011 10:07 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mimi- a good list for any Seller... FSBO or not.  Good "staging" information... good will and good sense that you've passed on to the Sellers! (suggested)

Jul 10, 2011 10:45 AM
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Great job Mimi. This kind of service probably helps you land some of those FSBO's as clients. I was just in Colorado Springs and did a drive through of the downtown area. I love the downtown areas of cities.


Jul 10, 2011 11:20 AM
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Thats a great list for anybody putting a home on the markert whether or not it's FSBO. Now if they would only do that for the inspections.

Jul 10, 2011 02:42 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thanks for your comments, Rick.  I used to do more than just the initial contact, but then realized that the initial contact is enough.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks, Kathy!  They usually appreciate genuine concern.  And that's exactly what it is . . . good will.

Yes, Cal.  I get a nice percentage of them.  What were you doing in the Springs?  Our Downtown is well preserved.

Yes, but that's a different booklet, Bob :) . . . wouldn't THAT be nice, huh?

Jul 10, 2011 03:15 PM
Janet Robinson
Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners - Augusta, GA
Augusta, Ft. Gordon, Evans, Grovetown, Waynesboro

Mimi thanks for the advice and I agree with you. When FSBO's see that you are really trying to help them, they are more apt to allow you to list for them.

Jul 10, 2011 04:16 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Good morning, Janet.  It's all about the relationship.

Jul 11, 2011 05:11 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Unrepresented sellers are lucky to have your expertise in Colorado Springs.  Your list is perfect for all sellers.

Jul 16, 2011 11:42 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thanks, Evelyn.  I have a Staging Packet that I give to Sellers AFTER I have taken a listing.  Some of this list is certainly duplicated.

Jul 16, 2011 12:16 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Mimi, a very nice selection of helpful hints. I know these people who choose to be unrepresented appreciate a friendly face, especially someone who is so helpful. Well done!

Aug 02, 2011 03:45 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thanks, Evelyn!  I imagine they don't get a lot a Realtors at their door who aren't high pressure :)

Aug 02, 2011 03:46 PM