I know what your thinking, this is a horse blog, why on earth is there a blog post about selling a house??? I know, this is different. But for the past 5 months, I have been living vicariously through my friend who is searching for a horse property. And while I have been scouring the internet realtor sites, I have looked at a LOT of properties for sale lately. And right now the housing market in our area is nutty to say the least.

Make Your Listing Stand Out

For example, Vickie and her family have been looking for a horse property, and they literally go see a house withing hours of it being listed. Some have been horrible, some have been perfect for them. But every perfect house they find, and put an offer on ends up selling above asking price. And even though Vickie and her husband have even made offers like this, their perfect home still eludes them.

But with the lack of inventory, some homeowner are resorting to listing their homes on the market by themselves. They are foregoing the realtor, and going FSBO – For Sale By Owner. Maybe it’s to save the 3% commission they would have to give for a listing agent, or maybe they feel they can do it on their own just fine.

Whatever the reason, FSBO homes are starting to pop up now, and some are even horse properties. And I have to say, looking at these listings is beyond frustrating to me. Even though I’m not the one looking for a new home, for the moment.

And even though I’m not a real estate professional, I have a lot of experience searching for homes, and knowing what helps sell a home. So just in case you are considering selling our home, and going it alone, I wanted to share some things with you that could help get people out to your home to even look at it.

Know The Rules

I’m not sure how to even title this section. But knowing the basics of home selling is important. If you are trying to save money by listing your home yourself, because you don’t want to for out a commission to a realtor, you are still going to have to pay some money from the sale of your home.

Just because you don’t have a realtor, doesn’t mean your buyer doesn’t. And when your home sells, you are going to have to pay a percentage of that money to the buyer’s agent. You will be paying around 2-3% to the buyer’s agent. This means if you sell your home for $500,000 dollars, $15,000 of that will need to be paid to the buyer’s agent. And on top of that, you will also have closing costs that are paid from your proceeds to the title company.

So if you are doing a FSBO, keep in mind that it may be a little less expensive, but there are costs you will still have to pay.

Real Estate Photography

They say a picture is worth 1000 words. And if you are listing your home online, you will typically see up to 35 photos (35,000 words) to show your house off to potential buyers.

The pictures are critical if you want to get people out to see your house.

The first thing you need to do is list as many photos as you are allowed to for your listing. If you can grab a potential buyers attention for more than 15 seconds online, you are on the right track.

You want your photos to evoke an emotion from buyers.

You want to create photos that will make people want to come see your house.

And if you aren’t good at taking photos, hire a professional, seriously. Just as an example of bad real estate photos, here are some pictures of a couple of houses that are listed for sale in our area right now:

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

I see neglect, I don’t see anything that would make me want to see this house in person.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

There is potential here. But it makes me wonder if there is not enough storage in the home. See the hats on top of the fish tank? And all the furniture makes it look really narrow. The box in the photo makes me think if they don’t care enough to remove the clutter, did they care for the house while they lived here?

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Besides the person taking the picture showing up in the photo, the carpet looks worn and dirty. And the sheets (blankets?) next to the side of the bed? And again, so much stuff that appears to be stuffed into places makes me think there isn’t enough storage in this home. It also looks really dark in this bedroom.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Again, it looks really dark. And when it looks dark, to me, it looks dirty.

Again, the lack of attention to detail makes me sad for this house. And it isn’t something I can see past enough to go out and see it in person. And neither can my friend, who is actively looking to buy a new home.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Do any of these pictures make you want to run out and make an offer on either of these houses? Not me. I have a feeling both of these houses are going to be on the market for awhile. A few things that stand out to me,

The photos are dark, and don’t show anything of what I would be buying.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Yes, that’s a beautiful saddle, but I’m not looking to buy a saddle, I want to see the house that I might be buying. And the hair brushes in the front of the photo? Why leave those there? I’m also curious about the movies that have been staged. But shouldn’t I be look at the house, rather than the staging props?

Ok, there’s a barn. But if the inside of the barn looks like the outside (I don’t know because there aren’t any photos of the inside of the barn) I’m not really wanting to drive for 45 minutes to see the inside of this barn.

Now if this house was a bargain, I might be enticed to go see it. But with a price tag of over $750,000, I’m not wasting my time to see it in person.

So these sellers were not able to keep my attention long enough that would make me want to see their houses. Other than the fact that it encourage me to write a blog post in order to help others who may be trying to sell their home on their own.

The first picture, in my opinion, should be of the exterior of the home. It should make the viewer want to see more. So, that being said, would you want to learn more about this house:

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Or this house:

Which one would you continue scrolling through? Which one would you want to learn more about? And just so you know, the second house is on 5 acres, has a barn, and is listed at $699,000 and it is listed using a realtor. The first house is on 40 acres, and is listed at $750,000 and is for sale by owner.

And I don’t have an example other than my own house to show you, so I am using my own home as an example throughout these comparison photos. And no, my home is not for sale. But one day it might be. So I keep practicing taking photos, and staging so I can market it to the best of my ability. Practice makes perfect right?

The Kitchen

When you are selling your home, people want to see the kitchen. So make sure your kitchen sparkles! Cleaning and decluttering can go a long, long way when it comes to taking photos. And while I would love to be able to show you a picture of at least one kitchen from the two FSBO homes that I showed you earlier, neither house has pictures of the kitchen.

Yet another reason why I wouldn’t go look at those houses. You have to grab people’s attention, and make them want to see your house in person! That means including photos of your kitchen.

And while my kitchen isn’t perfect, it’s functional. And I have taken some photos to show why it’s important to list pictures of your kitchen!

You want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves in YOUR kitchen making meals, and making memories!

Get rid of the clutter so people can see what they are buying. You can put your knick-knacks up later in your NEW home, once you sell your current house. I mean, you are going to be moving anyway right? So invest in a storage unit, and get rid of the extra stuff! People don’t want to see your things. They want to see your house.

And while I’m not moving, I tried to stage my kitchen to look like I were selling my home.

I moved all of the extra stuff out of the frame of my camera, so you can’t see it. All you can see is the kitchen. And no, I’m not going to show you the mess behind the phot! It was a LOT of excess stuff!

The Bathroom

A few tips to consider when taking pictures of the bathroom. First, please, take a moment and close the lid of the toilet.

It’s just a little more aesthetically please to see a photo of a bathroom with the toilet lid down.

Second, make sure the bathroom is CLEAN!

Remove all of the tubes, bottles, and containers that may sit out on your countertops.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Remove the waste can, as well as the rugs. It just looks nicer.


For starters, make the bed. And when you make the bed, make sure to move any sheets, or blankets that aren’t falling evenly from beneath the bedcovers, and take the time to remove the sheets, blankets, or whatever else out of the frame of the photo.

FSBO bad photos

Now this wouldn’t be a make or break deal breaker, but it will look nicer in your overall presentation.


It floors me that when I am searching through home listings that people don’t take photos of their garage for their listing. Maybe it’s because they are storing everything in the garage. Maybe its because it isn’t clean.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Whatever the reason, if you want your house to stand out, and you want people to come see your house, put in a photo of your garage. Now my garage has a lot of stuff in it. And if we were actually planning on listing our home, I would clear out all of this stuff and store it in a storage unit.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

But having at least two photos of the garage show the potential buyers of the space of the garage is important, in my opinion. I mean, they are buying the garage too right? So show them what they will be getting!

The Barn

If you have a horse property that your selling, make sure to add photos of the barn. And not just the outside, but the inside too please. People want to see this! Especially if they have horses.

They want to see where their horses are going to be living too!

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

And if you have a substantial area to keep feed, and shavings, etc. Make sure you show this off.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Also, if you have an arena, show it off! Make sure it’s spotless, get the weeds out, and the manure. Groom your arena, and make it look great if you have the tools to do so.

And just like everything else you are taking pictures of, and making sure everything is clean, do the same with your barn.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

The stalls need to be spotless. And if you have tack in your tack room, make sure this is clean as well.

a clean horse stall

The goal is to make your barn shine! You want people to see your photos online, and get them out to your house to see it in person.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

And the pictures can make or break the deal before it even happens, especially if your house is further out than your potential buyers are wanting to live.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Case in point, my friend, Vickie got a listing, but it was about 10 minutes further out than she really wanted to live. She asked me if I knew where it was, and of course, I did because I had driven by that house when it was for sale in the past.

I told her the house was perfect for her, AND it even has an indoor riding arena. The people that were selling the house put up 6 pictures of the house, just SIX! And the pictures were pretty bad. They didn’t put any thought into it. But I found the old listing and showed her that. She was sold at that point.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

But I explained to her where the house was, and that it would really be worth the extra 10 minutes to drive. Well, they went and saw the house, and they loved it. Sadly, with how competitive the market is out here, someone else went and looked at the house, and went way over asking price for the home. But if the owners would have put in just a little effort, they probably would have had more interest in the home, and possibly could have made even more money.

But without my knowledge of the listing, Vickie and her husband would have never gone to see it in person. Does that make sense? Can you see how important it is to really ‘show’ your property? This is especially important if you are doing it on your own.

How To Take Good Photos

So now that I have given you lots of examples of photos, how can you do this yourself? It’s really easy nowadays, because you probably have an incredible camera that you carry with you all the time.

That’s right, it’s your phone.

Now your phone isn’t going to be the same quality as a DSLR camera. But it can produce some pretty good results.

Here is an example for you. One photo is taken from my phone, and the other is taking with my DSLR.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor
FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Can you tell which one is which?

Same shot, one with my iPhone 10, one with my Nikon D7100 with the standard kit lens. In case you were wondering, the first photo is with my camera, and the second photo was take with my phone.

So I think you can see, if you only have your phone, you can do it. In fact most of the photos for this blog post I took using my phone.

The one thing that can make the biggest difference besides the composition of the phot is the editing software.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Adobe has a product called Lightroom that you can add to your phone, and it is a photo editing genius. I love Lightroom. I have it on my phone, as well as my desktop computer. And if you want to invest a little bit of money, you can buy Lightroom presets, or find them for free online, and this takes all of the work out of editing your photos.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

The goal is to make your photos bright enough so people can see the house. Let the light in! Open shades clean the windows, and make it look like the natural light just pours in your home.

You don’t want your house to look like a cave, right?

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

So be sure to make sure the photos are bright, as well as inviting.

Photo Composition

Just a word on composition. Composition is how the shot is set up. And when you are photographing a room, you want to keep the camera at eye level. As if the person viewing your photos is walking through the home.

And the good thing about digital photos, you can take as many pictures as you want to get the shot. You aren’t dealing with film, so you can take hundreds of pictures, and then choose the best of the best!

Make sure there are no boxes in the pictures. You don’t want to much clutter in the photos either, it will detract from the overall picture you are trying to create.

Sometimes I will take a photo, and then study it. Is there anything in the picture that detracts from the room I am trying to show?

  • Are there too many ‘things’ in the room?
  • Is the room spotless?
  • Am I showing the room to it’s best potential?

These are the questions that run through my head when I am reviewing each photo. And when I look at a photo, and say ‘wow’ then I know, this is the picture I am going to use.

A lot of times, this is how I determine which photo to put on my Instagram page.

But like I said earlier, you don’t have to buy an expensive camera, use what you have, and practice.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

The best thing you could do is to spend a little money and hire a photographer, and a home stager. But if that is not within your price range, you can do it yourself. Again, you just have to practice, practice, practice.

Lighting For Real Estate Photography

The lighting is very important for your photos. And if you want to add some dimension, and dramatic effects to the photos you take, try and capture some pictures during ‘the golden hour’. This is the hour after the sunrises, or the hour before the sunsets.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

This can create some beautiful photos for your listing. So grab your camera (or phone) before the sunsets, and go capture some great photos…

Create a Lifestyle

When you are selling your home, you aren’t just selling a house, you are selling a lifestyle. Keep that in mind when you get ready to prepare your house for sale. Separate yourself from the property. It’s no longer your home, it’s a product. And you have to treat it as such.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

You want to get people out to your house. And you want them to fall in love with it when they get there. You want them to be able to picture themselves in the house.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

So do everything you can to market your house effectively. Start with your listing photos (I think I have covered this above) and then get to work creating the listing description. Be sure to include any improvements, as well as the specifics. Paint a picture for potential buyers with words. This will cement your home at the top of their list of must see homes.

Clean your house to perfection. Be sure to remove an offensive odors, and don’t cover up smells with cheap artificial air fresheners. But I am a fan of the higher quality scents, like Wall Flowers from Bath and Body Works, just keep it subtle.

You can even upload a video walkthrough of your home to YouTube to generate more interest.

Don’t Go Crazy with Improvements

If you are moving away from your home because it is missing certain things that you need, don’t get carried away making improvements to the house you are getting ready to sell. As an example, if you want a paved driveway instead of dirt, don’t do it at your house now. You probably won’t recoup the money you invested in the project in the first place. Sure it will look great, but a lot of times, a paved driveway isn’t going to make that much of a difference in the home you are selling. And it’s really expensive.

winter driveway

That is just an example. For myself, personally, I love the fact of having a paved driveway. But that wasn’t done when we bought the house. That was something we did on our own.

Instead of investing tens of thousands of dollars in something that is a nice addition, invest a couple of hundred of dollars in things that have a big impact, such as fresh paint, and cleaning. And even renting a storage unit to keep all of your stuff in. I mean, you’re going to be moving anyway right?

So don’t go crazy with making improvements, but instead make your house the best that it can be right now. The new owners can change things if they want to AFTER they buy your house!

Don’t Go Crazy with Staging ‘Extras’

Ok, this is difficult. I love stuff. And when I go to stores with home staging things to buy, it is difficult to control myself. I see all of the shiny objects and think that I need them. But in truth, less is more. You aren’t selling stuff, you are selling a house.

So keep the staging Knick knacks to the minimum.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Also when setting up little accents, set them in odd numbers like 3 or 5. For some reason, it’s more pleasing to the eye.

And when talking about pleasing to the eye, lets talk about wall hanging pictures. When you hang a picture, again, hang it at eye level. It’s more pleasing to the overall ‘flow’ whether its all the time, or just for staging. And remember, you aren’t selling the art, you are selling the wall that the art is hung on!

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

Whew! That was a LOT of information! A lot of the tips and tricks I talked about in this article are meant for those who may be considering selling their house on their own. However, even if you are working with a realtor, you can use these tips to make your home selling process that much easier. I’m sure your realtor would appreciate your attention to detail, as well as being an educated seller.

So now is the time to get out your pad and paper, go room to room, and start. That’s the only way you are going to get this done, is to start.

And if you seriously consider the tips I discussed, you are putting in the work ahead of time so that when the time comes to list your house, all the work is done. You will set your house apart, and get people out to see what it is you have to sell.

FSBO – Tips For Selling Your House Without A Realtor

If you live in a seller’s market, and do the things I explained, you will have marketed your house to it’s optimum, and won’t be leaving money on the table. That’s the ultimate goal right? To get the most that you can for your house. That way you can buy the house you really want to call home.


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you........AND just to have FULL Disclosure:Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the blog posts on my site will allow you to purchase different products and services online provided by other merchants, and not myself. Some of the links that I post on my site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission.* I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. *Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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