Category Archives: Tips & Advice

tips and advice

Point of Sale Inspections Required in Cleveland Ohio Suburbs

Point of Sale Inspections Required by 21 Citie...

There are currently 21 suburbs around Cleveland Ohio (and the list is growing) requiring homes to pass final inspections before titles are transferred. These Point of Sale Inspections (POS) allow the city to maintain the condition of their aging housing stock to keep up property values.  View the list of cities in Cleveland that require Point of Sale Inspections.

SystemToSell is a licensed general contractor in each of the cities requiring the POS repairs. With carpenters, painters, and other tradesmen on staff, SystemToSell handles all the work in house with our own crews. We now have Plumbing and HVAC licenses in house and are experienced in correcting all violations from your city’s Point of Sale Inspection promptly and professionally.

See some residential before and after photos of a recent property improvement that SystemToSell did to prepare a home for a Point of Sale inspection.

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Should you Fix up Your Home or Sell It As Is?

By Steve Nicholas, System To Sell- Cleveland, Ohio

Many Sellers today find themselves asking the question:   

Should they fix up their home before they put it on the market or sell it as is?

An important consideration for many homeowners is to understand the motivations of a typical Buyer. Most Buyers want homes that are in move in condition with little or no work necessary so they can move their possessions in and start living in the home. They are concerned about the cost of repairs and most do not have the time and/or money to tackle them. This is confirmed by the fact that the homes in the best condition are shown more often and sell faster than homes that show poorly or need work.

On the flip side, there are some Buyers that actively seek out distressed properties that need work. This group of Buyers is prepared to put in the time and money to get the house in top condition. But it’s at a price. They expect a heavily discounted sales price to compensate them for their trouble.

Before the house is listed, a Seller should research comparable homes in the neighborhood that have sold or are currently for sale and analyze their condition, amenities, and quality of finishes. This information will give the Seller a good idea of the condition their house must be in order to compete. If the Seller wants to sell faster or for more money than the comparable homes, they must have a home in better condition, a better floor plan, a better kitchen, or have some other advantage to get the Buyer to pay more for their home over the others for sale in the neighborhood.

Savvy Sellers know they must also consider the cost of the improvements along with the market value of the home once the upgrades or repairs are made. The return on the investment (ROI) must warrant the cost of the improvement.

Whether you decide to make the necessary improvements or sell your home as is, the amount of equity you walk away with at closing will be determined by the choices you make long before you list your home.

Please contact SystemToSell at or toll free at 1-8oo-456-7500 for guidance on the best repairs or improvements to make to be competitive to get the most equity out of your home.

This article is the intellectual property of SystemToSell  LLC  and cannot be copied without written permission.  SystemToSell ©2010.

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How to get your home ready to sell

By Steve Nicholas, System To Sell- Cleveland, Ohio

Homes have traditionally been the single largest investment for most Americans. Despite this fact, most homeowners preparing to sell their house don’t know what improvements should be done in order to get their house ready to sell. There is a direct correlation between the condition of the home, how well it shows, and the selling price.

Homes in great selling condition sell faster and for more money.



There are 3 conventional ways to get your home ready to sell.

  1. Do the repairs yourself. Some homeowners possess the skills and time to handle all the improvements, eliminating the need to hire subcontractors to handle the work. The return on investment [ROI] is high as long as the homeowners keep track of the nature and cost of the improvements. An example of overimprovement would be a homeowner deciding to install a Viking Stove in a neighborhood where home sales prices won’t support this type of improvement.
  2. Hire contractors. We live in an age of specialists: among them are drywallers, painters, plumbers, roofers, carpet cleaners, and duct cleaners. Each company is a specialist at what they. They also each charge overhead and profit. So if you hire 6 different subcontractors, you pay overhead and profit to 6 different companies.
  3. Hire a handyman. This option eliminates the duplication of overhead and profit for some of the trades. The handyman does the repairs he/she is directed to do by the Seller, whether the improvements increase the value of the house or not. The Seller is left with the burden of managing the renovation process to maximize the return at closing.

Or there is a new option available to homeowners.

  1. Hire System To Sell. This option also eliminates the duplication of overhead and profit from multiple subcontractors but shifts the responsibility of managing the renovation process away from the inexperienced homeowner to the professional. The focus of SystemToSell is on creating a house that sells quickly and for the most money in order to maximizes the Seller’s equity.

If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule an assessment of your home, we can be reached at or toll free at 1-8oo-456-7500.


This article is the intellectual property of SystemToSell  LLC  and cannot be copied without written permission.  SystemToSell ©2010.



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Top 10 Things To Do To Get Your Home To Sell

Top 10 Things To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

By Steve Nicholas, SystemToSell


1. Fix all the little things.

Buyers can “feel” when a home hasn’t been well maintained. Most buyers don’t have a realistic idea of the costs of home repairs and improvements so they naturally inflate how much money they will have to spend when they notice things wrong with your house. So be proactive. Remember how important it is to make all the necessary repairs before you put your house on the market.

2. Get a pre-sale home inspection.

A pre-sale home inspection can help in two ways. First, by identifying and addressing problems that could thwart a potential buyer from buying your home. Second, a clean inspection report will build the buyer’s confidence that they are buying a home that has been well maintained and ready to give those years of worry-free living.

SystemToSell Tip: Put the inspection report right on the counter next to copies of your utility bills and listing information. It will send a clear message that you are taking the sale of your home very seriously.

3. Pack up the clutter.

Too much stuff makes rooms appear smaller and focuses the buyers’ attention on your possessions rather than the home you’re trying to sell. That’s why many professional stagers recommend removing as much as a third of your things to better show off rooms and closets. The buyer can’t imagine themselves living there if they can’t see the space. Think of moving out the extra furniture as getting a head start on the moving process.

SystemToSell Tip: Rent a storage space to temporarily put all your extra stuff until the house sells.

4. Depersonalize and neutralize.

The first items that should go in those packing boxes: family photos, collections and just about anything else that says “you.” Streamline your artwork and consider toning down bold decorating statements. That means neutral shades if you need to repaint walls or replace carpets. Buyers have a hard enough time envisioning how their stuff will look on your walls. By neutralizing your decor, you can help give them the blank canvas they need to imagine your house as theirs.

5. Deep clean every room.

Clean everything from toilets to closets, garages to attics, shine windows until they’re spotless and vacuum up every last crumb from under your stove. You’ll need to banish suspect smells as well; you don’t want your house to become known in real-estate circles as “the cat pee house.” If your pets have had one too many accidents, you may need to replace the affected carpet and padding and have the underlying floor sealed. If you’re not sure how your place smells, get your least tactful friend to take a few whiffs and tell you the honest truth.



6. Stage your home.

Stand in the doorway to find each room’s focal point, and use furniture placement to highlight that. The back of your sofa shouldn’t block the view of the fireplace and the dining room table shouldn’t be sharing space with a stair climber. You should remove any piece of furniture that detracts from the rooms’ purpose.

7. Create great curb appeal.

Most people today start their home search on the Internet and if the photos online don’t  ‘wow’ them; they might not even call for a showing. If your home is on the list to be shown, you may not realize how many sales you’re losing before potential buyers even get to the front door. During the 30 seconds it takes your seller’s agent to unlock the lockbox, your seller is looking around at the condition of the front porch, door hardware, paint, landscaping, and flowers. You only have one chance to give a great first impression.

8. Pick the right agent.

Choosing the right agent means different things to different people. Experience, personality, knowledge of the industry and your neighborhood- these all influence which agent you select to represent you in the selling of your home.  In today’s tough housing market, selecting the right real estate professional is more important than ever so interview as many agents as necessary to find the one most qualified to sell your home.

9. Make the necessary improvements.

If your home isn’t in great selling condition or your kitchen looks like it’s from one of the reruns of the Brady Bunch, then you need to make the improvements necessary to get you home ready to sell. The right combination of improvements will not only make the property show much better, but will yield you more at closing. The art is which improvements to make and which ones to save for the next owner.

10. Price it right.

Determining the asking price of your home is both an art and a science. Price your home correctly and it will sell. The price should reflect its age, condition, neighborhood, style, and overall marketability. If a house needs a lot of work and shows poorly- a buyer will expect a huge discount off of market price to handle the cost of the necessary repairs and improvements. Likewise, a home in great selling condition will sell quickly and near asking price in almost any economic market.

Steve Nicholas is president and founder of SystemToSell- a Cleveland, Ohio based company that works exclusively for Realtors and their buyers and sellers helping them maximize the value of their property before and after the sale.

Home Staging- It Really Sells Homes

One of the best ways to help sell a home is Home Staging. Home staging is the way you present your home when you are ready to sell. The goal of staging is to make a home appeal to the highest number of potential buyers resulting in a property selling quicker and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. It’s getting more and more popular as the housing market cools and sellers compete for a limited number of buyers.

“The way you live in your home and the way you market a house are two different things,” says Barb Schwarz, the CEO and founder of, who has personally staged more than 5,000 homes over the past 33 years. “You have to think of your home as a product.” Staged homes also sell faster, according to Schwarz, an average of seven days compared to 45 days for unstaged home. Here are Barb Schwarz’s top ways to help improve your home staging.

Get on your hands and knees.

OK, so cleaning sounds like a given, but this goes way beyond a vacuum cleaner and a dust rag. To get your home in shape for sale, you need to scrub around the faucets and the light switches. Banish the dustballs hanging around the baseboards and the cobwebs in the skylights. Powerwash the house and the driveway and keep the sidewalk swept clean.”You would detail your car if you were going to sell it,” says Schwarz. “You should detail your house too.”

Follow the basketball rule.

It’s no secret that America is a nation of consumers. And all of that stuff we buy is strewn about our homes. Here’s a rule of thumb: Remove all items that are smaller than the size of a basketball. Pack up at least half of your books. And stash the photographs of you and the kids on your Hawaiian vacation. You want the buyer to be able to envision himself in your home — not you.

Cast a cold eye.

Stand at the doorway of each room and take in the impression it gives. Are there too many accessories on the wall? Too many area rugs? Do the plants look overgrown? Is the furniture clustered on one side of the room? “Most master bedrooms have too much,” says Schwarz. “They tend to look like furniture stores.”In the dining room, remove extra leaves and chairs. In other rooms, take at least half of everything out and see how it looks. Then reintroduce items into the room sparingly. Be sure to visit your garage, basement, and attic for inspiration.

Set the scene.

If you’re expecting an agent to stop by with a potential buyer, there are several last-minute touches you need to do before leaving the house. Empty the wastebaskets, put the toilet lids down, hide your laundry and grooming items, and place baskets of new, color coordinated hand towels in the bathroom. Always leave some lights on. And have soft jazz or easy listening music playing. It will put people in a buying mood.


Call in the pros.

If staging your home is too big a project to pull off by yourself, you can contact the professionals at SystemToSell. We have assembled a platte of colors, fabrics, and furniture that we know sells homes. We have a growing inventory of furniture, art, and accessories. You can use one of our interior designers or we can work with yours.

We are a single source for all your design and construction needs.

Steve Nicholas is president and founder of SystemToSell- a Cleveland, Ohio based company that works exclusively for Realtors and their buyers and sellers helping them maximize the value of their property before and after the sale.

Importance of Curb Appeal

Importance of Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is an important part of selling your home. Curb appeal is your first impression with the buyer and you will want to make it appealing as possible.

It’s difficult to look at our own house in the same way that potential home buyers do, because when we become accustomed to the way something looks and functions, we can’t see its faults. You need to remember it’s a house; a commodity you want to sell for the highest price possible.

To gain a better understanding of the curb appeal that your home possesses, you may want to approach your home as if you were a potential buyer. You should approach your house from the street and ask yourself the following questions (Tip: It may be helpful to take pictures of the home to help in the critique):

Is the first impression of your home and yard positive?

Is the yard and house clean?

What are the best exterior features of the house? How can you enhance them?

What are the worst exterior features of the house? How can you minimize or improve them?

What can I do to make this more attractive?

Do I know how to make my curb appeal better?

Once these questions are addressed, the next step is to improve on the problems found.  If you don’t have the time or skills necessary to the improvements yourself then call System to Sell. System to Sell is a Cleveland based company that works exclusively for Realtors, helping clients improve their properties before and after the sale. We can make your home have the best curb appeal possible with any budget you may have. Remember that first impression only happens once and you want your home to leave a lasting positive impression on a potential buyer.

How to Update Your First Floor Master Bedroom Suite

Master Bedroom & BathRoom Renovation: 242 Bellus Rd., Hinckley, Ohio

Realtor: Yvonne Highley-Remax-Richfield, OH

Scope of Work: The new owners wanted an up-to-date first floor master bedroom suite.

Work Included: Demolished existing bedroom and bathroom, removed structurally bearing walls, installed hardwood flooring, custom shower, custom vanities w/ granite tops, drywall, paint, and trim