Boost your home sales price with smart preparation

You might be ready to move because you need more space for the family, or maybe you’re relocating for work. The thought of getting your house ready to put on the market can be daunting.

Our guide to sales prep and a few insider tips can help take the stress out of getting your home looking its best.

Do your research

Before you do a thing, think about how far you want to go with your preparation. Are you prepared to invest in renovation, or are you happy to present a clean, neat property without spending on any improvements?

It’s worth talking to some local real estate agents to get an idea of what buyers want in your area, and how to make the most of your time and budget. Depending on the market, your ideal buyer may be happy to see the potential of some aspects of the house, whereas some markets will be looking for a pristine, nothing to do property.

Tip: There’s a saying that ‘bathrooms and kitchens sell houses’, but investing there won’t make the difference if the exterior of the house is in poor shape or there are other structural issues.

Your prep checklist

1. Pretend you’re a potential buyer. Pull up outside and try and take in everything you see from walking through the front gate to moving through each room. Even better, get an honest friend or third-party (like your real estate agent) to do it for you.

2. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by making a list for each space, that breaks down a huge job into achievable tasks. Create an ideal timeframe to decide what you can do yourself, and where you need help.

3. Think about getting a professional building inspection done – they’ll identify any structural issues, water damage, plumbing leaks and pests. Your buyer is required to have an inspection done before settlement, so doing it now means you get a heads up and a chance to fix any issues they may use to negotiate a lower price.

4. Time to get busy on any half-finished projects or small repairs you’ve been putting off. Latch on the pantry door loose? An easy fix. Front door could use a lick of paint? Small tasks make a big difference.

5. Flooring makes a big impression on buyers. Does the carpet need cleaning? Wooden floors need a polish? Think about replacing worn out lino, and re-grouting bathroom tiles to spruce them up. Get the timing right so everything gleams for inspections and auction.

6. Clear out and declutter cupboards, book cases, bathroom vanities and other storage spaces. This can be a tough one when you’re living in the house and everyday life is going on around you – you may need to bite the bullet and pack some belongings into temporary storage.

7. Get the garden looking great:

  • weed, prune and mow
  • clean out your gutters
  • pressure clean pathways, windows and the outside of the house
  • check outside lights are working and clean.

8. If you decide to paint, keep it neutral. Now’s not the time to experiment with a burnt orange feature wall. Allow enough time for the smell of paint to disappear before buyers start inspecting the house.

9. Do a big clean – and then keep it clean through listing, inspections and auction. You might need help with this one, and there are professional cleaners who specialise in pre-sales makeovers. On the list:

  • wash windows and screens (inside and out)
  • remove cobwebs
  • polish taps and mirrors
  • clean out the fridge (yes, people will look inside)
  • vacuum and dust daily to avoid grime building up
  • wipe down walls, skirtings and light switches
  • clean the oven, dishwasher and appliances that get a lot of use.

10. Odours from pets or cigarettes can be deal breakers. At inspection, a freshly brewed pot of coffee or tray of cookies can be a welcoming smell (vanilla is an old favourite – but might give the impression you’re trying to cover something up).

11. Get the temperature right. Get fans or air conditioners going in the heat, or create a welcoming atmosphere with an open fire or heaters.

12. Have you heard the phrase ‘street appeal’? Make sure what buyers see when they park outside ticks their boxes straight away – a clean driveway and a letterbox in good condition with clear house numbers. Details show you look after the property.

The truth about house prepping

It’s a tough job, but worth it.

Be prepared for everything to take longer than what you think it will. If you have small children, triple that. Try to allow at least a month for your prep, so you’re not a frazzled wreck by the end of the process.

It can be hard to be impartial about your own home, but the selling process is about your buyer imagining their life in this house. Remove any distractions from that vision – this can mean send the kids and pets to the park during inspections. Not everyone is charmed by animals and children… hard to believe.

Ready for your next move

When it’s time for a new home, we’re ready with the right home loan for you and your family. Talk to QBANK. Call 13 77 28.

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