3 DIY Projects For Sellers With Huge ROI

Man with dog building kitchen cabinets and using a cordless drill

Man with dog building kitchen cabinets and using a cordless drill

 How you prepare your home for sale can have a big impact. Get organized with these steps to prepare your home for sale.

Here are three DIY projects for a great return on your investment.


Pressure wash your Historic Home

Would you sell a car without washing it? The same is true for a house. Sometimes a home’s exterior needs a good cleaning. 

We’ve heard painters complain of jobs canceled after pressure washing. It can make that big of a difference.

Your home may not need a paint job, but we’ve found it will always benefit from being clean. 

You can buy an inexpensive pressure washer for less than $100, or rent a higher-quality pressure washer for about $100 a day at Vallejo All Star Rents

Be as gentle as you can!

Using full pressure on a wooden deck or house paint could easily peel the paint. Start with the misting setting, then add more pressure as needed.

Just like with a car wash, you will want to use some suds and a gentle (GENTLE!!) scrub brush (really soft) if you can reach.

Many people don’t realize that Historic doors and windows are usually not sealed. Be careful. Leaking water could cause damage.

If you’re concerned about damage, you can hire a painter to pressure wash your home for you.

If a pressure wash seems like too much work, try a spray down with a garden hose. Just washing off the dust and cobwebs can make a real difference!

If your home has paint that is ready to peel off, don’t use a pressure washer. It is likely to make the problem worse. 

Total yard clean up

Getting the outside of your home prepped for a sale can be easy and fun.

To help you get started we created a Total Yard Clean Checklist for you. 

Start early and hire help as needed. 

You don’t want to take a portrait right after getting a haircut, and it is the same with pruning. It should be one of your first tasks. 

If your photo day is coming in the next few weeks, take it easy on the plants. You want them looking healthy and full. 

Get the junk out, even if it takes a trip to the dump. Don’t forget to clean in front of your home too. 

Vallejo Recology will do a pick up twice per year for all customers at no extra charge. If you need an additional pick up, they will do it for a fee. There are restrictions. You can call them directly at this number (707) 552-3110.

You may want to give the block a quick clean up. We recommend spraying weeds with pure vinegar rather than poison (it is always nice to avoid poison).

Cobwebs on fences, trees and shrubs make the yard look messy and unkempt. Remove them.

A cobweb duster on an extension pole is an inexpensive tool that will come in very handy.  

Here in Vallejo, we can easily go 6 months without rain. Most yards are dustier than you think. A good spray down will go a long way to spruce up your yard.

Depending on the season, it may be time to plant some flowers. If you have a few weeks before you list, use water soluble fertilizer to help your plants look their best.

Operation Declutter

Imagine what it feels like in a total stranger’s home. That’s how buyers feel. It’s very hard for a buyer to relax and feel “at home” in someone else’s space.

Buyers may not feel there is room for them if there is too much of the owner’s stuff in the way.

You are going to pack and move anyway. One of the highest leverage tasks you can do is to pack early.

It seems far-fetched, but we’ve seen buyers looking at walk-in closets full of clothes and saying, “There is no room for my stuff!” as if the sellers were leaving their clothes behind.

Buyers understand your basement, extra bedroom, or garage is filled with boxes. They know you’re moving. 

But for reasons known only to buyers, they won’t understand a full closet. Don’t traumatize  them.

Pack at least half your clothes. Doing this makes closets look spacious.

Remove magnets from your refrigerator, along with the things they are holding up. Clear your counters and shelves of knick-knacks. 

It is important to pack your family photos. If buyers see these photos, it is hard for them to imagine they’re standing in their new home.

Decluttering can be difficult and emotional. It’s not easy to pack up years of memories or figure out what to throw away. 

But a clean, mostly empty home creates space for buyers to dream and hope for the future. Their dreams lead to your sale. 

Get the Road Map

Now you can see the entire listing process with the Seller Road Map Infographic. 

This step-by-step infographic illustrates the sales process from prepping your house to accepting an offer.

Feel confident. Print this infographic to know what to do and when at a glance.



Action Steps

How much ROI can you expect? Download this worksheet.

Want a room-by-room cleaning guide? Try this house cleaning checklist.

If you would like some more insights, read the Guide to a Stress-Free Historic Home Sale.

If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, Download the Prepping Your Home For Sale Checklist.






The 10 Steps To Selling A Home

Attractive Middle-aged Couple In Front Of Their House

Attractive Middle-aged Couple In Front Of Their House

We want you to know what is happening during your sale and what it means. 

If you’re wondering how much you will make from selling your home, this worksheet will help you get an estimate.

Here is an overview of the 10 steps to selling a home. 

Prepping your home for sale

The main goal of the prep stage is to arrange your home so buyers relax as they walk through. We need them to say, “I feel good here!”

Prepping a home for sale can also increase the list price. This can include making small repairs before the sale, doing a yard clean-up, or getting rid of clutter.

Also, during the prep stage we research the history of your home, including past appraisals and public and private records. We are looking for clues that could make the home more valuable. 

It is critical to have your historic home ready for photos and video. This is your one big sale. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, we make sure everything is right.

We have a checklist to guide you through this process, and of course we will always be available to help.

If you are looking for something you can do this weekend, check out 3 DIY Projects for Sellers With Huge ROI. Or if you want a step-by-step explanation of the whole process check out Prepping Your Home For Sale.

Marketing for success

Marketing without a plan is a recipe for mediocrity.

High dynamic range photos, a 3D tour, and video tours are just the start. A listing done right needs a message to pull all the marketing together and explain the benefits to the buyer.

Lucky for us, your historic home is unique and has qualities that few other homes have. Our job is to tell the story of how fulfilling it will be to own your home. 

Doing this makes your home more exclusive and special.

Video has overtaken all other forms of real estate marketing. This is why we use scripted videos to make your home stand out.

Marketing for success tells the story of how amazing your home is. 

If you want to see how we have done this for other sellers, please check out Examples of Marketing that Works. 


A high quality listing promoted by paid social media ads is the key to attracting a larger pool of buyers. 

We created our Historic Home Marketing Plan to identify specific qualities that make historic homes stand out and then attract buyers who want those qualities. 

There are a limited number of buyers in your price range. We need to make sure they don’t just look at your listing. We need to inspire them to come and see your home. 

Your listing starts on the MLS, but it is placed far and wide. It appears on hundreds of websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Redfin. 

But the listing is merely the beginning. 

To get your listing seen, we promote it on social media with paid ad campaigns. If you want to know more, check out this article

You can also see the entire listing process with the Seller Road Map Infographic. 

This step-by-step infographic illustrates the sales process from prepping your house to accepting an offer.

Feel confident. Print this infographic to know what to do and when at a glance.



Accepting an offer

When a buyer is ready, they will send their offer. Most sellers are surprised to find that the offer turns into the contract. 

We may counter back and forth, to define the rules for the sale, but once negotiations are complete, the accepted offer becomes the contract to purchase. 

The transaction process which follows is complex and technical. We understand that it is often hard to keep track of the steps and what they mean for you. 

This is why the transaction process is usually the most stressful part of selling a home. We found when sellers know more about the process, they feel less worry.

To make this easier for you, we created our Step-By-Step Communication Guarantee. You will know what is happening every step of the way. 

When you are confident about the next steps, you will sleep better at night and make better decisions.  

You can read more about our Step-By-Step Communication Guarantee here.


Escrow doesn’t have to be a mystery. Think of it as Paypal for real estate.

If you purchased ski gear from someone in Minnesota, you wouldn’t expect that person to ship the gear until you made the payment. And you probably aren’t going to pay before receiving the goods.

Enter Paypal, a neutral third party that coordinates and guarantees the transaction. Real estate sales have the same problem, only the dollar amounts are higher. 

Escrow is a neutral third party. A buyer wants a legal deed and you want your money. Escrow coordinates the transaction and provides assurance that your sale is legal. 

For a great reference, download the Steps to Escrow Infographic

From the moment you accept an offer to the day you get paid, this one-page visual guide gives you everything you need to know about the process at a glance.

Print this infographic to understand each step and know what to do and when.


Per the contract, the buyer has a set amount of time (often 17 days) to inspect the property and then accept it as-is or reject it. The buyer can also request repairs or other concessions.

You are under no obligation to fulfill these requests. However, if the repairs or concessions are reasonable, most sellers prefer to negotiate to keep the deal together.

The inspections period ends when the buyer signs the inspections contingency, which removes their right to reject the property based on anything relating to the property itself. 


The appraisal is an opinion of value by a person licensed to do so. Appraisers follow rules to create the appraisal. The rules are different depending on the type of loan a buyer uses. 

Buyers usually have the contractual right to exit the purchase agreement without penalty if the appraisal comes in lower than the contract price (an appraisal contingency).

If there is an appraisal contingency and the appraisal comes in at or above the purchase price, the buyer can’t exit the agreement without penalty. 

The bank will only lend on the appraised value. So if the appraisal comes in low, either the price must be reduced or the buyer will have to pay more upfront. 

The appraisal period ends once the buyer signs the appraisal contingency, removing their right to exit the purchase because of a low valuation.


Underwriting is the final step in the buyer’s loan approval. 

The underwriter, who is usually a neutral third party, will examine the buyers documentation and the purchase agreement to make sure everything meets the rules of the loan.

Once this final approval is given, the loan is essentially locked in. The approval is often conditional, requiring some additional documentation. If that documentation can be submitted, then approval has already been granted. If not, the entire process may start over.

This can be nerve-wracking. 

Once a lender has the underwriting complete everyone is all smiles. The lender moves to fund the loan and we move to close the deal.

This part of the process ends with the buyer signing the loan contingency. 


Escrow will calculate how much money is owed each of the parties in the transaction (including property taxes, mortgage payoff, commissions, and concessions). Escrow will also create the documents that finalize the transaction.

Both the buyer and seller will sign. Hang on, we are almost there!


Usually within a day of signing, the loan will fund, and escrow will record the transaction with the county.

The buyer receives their deed. You receive your money.

Buyers usually take possession on the day the sale records. If you need more time in your home, there are ways to arrange this.

Action Steps

Get organized to prepare your home for sale. Download this checklist.

Take the uncertainty out of selling your home. Unlock the Seller Toolbox.

If you would like to talk about your specific needs, Click here to set up a Zoom meeting.