Preparing Your House

Preparing the House for Sale

Before your property goes on the market, it is worthwhile spending some time sprucing it up.
When preparing your property for sale, you should consider

How much should you spend?

When preparing your property for sale, the general rule is to spend as little as possible to maximise your return. Certainly make any relatively inexpensive repairs to your home, but avoid undertaking major renovations, e.g. remodeling the kitchen.
Quick Tips
It is a good idea to consult your Real estate Agent over any changes you plan to make. Your agent can then advise you as to whether your proposed changes will add value to your property. It is pointless undertaking changes if you are not going to be able to at least recoup the costs.

Exterior Appeal

Your first priority should be to work on enhancing your property's exterior appeal before attending to the interior, as this is the first aspect of your property a potential buyer will see. If the exterior puts a buyer off, they are not likely to investigate the interior of your property, no matter what it is like. First impressions do count!
Quick Tips
Put yourself in the place of a potential buyer. Stand across the street from your property and study it. If you drove past this property and saw a 'For Sale' sign, would you be attracted to the external features of the property and want to see more?
Look through the following list of possible areas that may require attention when preparing the exterior of your property:
  • Lawn: Keep your lawns cut, with neat edges. Reseed or returf any bare patches and perhaps fertilise for additional colour.
  • Shrubs/Trees: Trim branches where necessary, especially around windows to allow natural light into the property. Remove any dead limbs.
  • Garden Beds: If appropriate, plant colourful flowers. Also add mulch to beds and remove weeds. Perhaps place showy annuals in pots near the entrance.
  • Paths: Keep all paths swept and clean.
  • Windows: Repair any broken windows and wash all glass.
  • Eaves: Wash and remove any spider webs.
  • Drains/Spouts: Unblock and clean.
  • Paintwork: Attend to any flaking paint after discussion with your agent.
  • Doors: Wash down your front door and it's surrounds, polish brass fitting and repair any torn fly wire screens.
  • Fences: Straighten, repair or repaint only after discussion with your agent.
  • Junk/Rubbish: Remove all junk and rubbish.
  • Pools/Ponds: Make sure these are clean.
  • Garage: Keep the garage door closed.

Interior Appeal

Having already prepared the exterior of your property, now it is time for the interior. Look over the following list of areas that should receive your attention when preparing your property for sale:
  • Clean/Remove clutter: Clean every room in your property thoroughly, and remove any clutter. This has the effect of making your rooms appear larger. You might even consider renting storage space whilst your house is on the market, or even have a garage sale for unwanted items.
  • Carpet: have your carpets steam cleaned.
  • Painting: Painting chipped or dirty walls is said to give you the best return for money spent. Neutral colours are best.
  • Damage: Repair any damaged plaster, tiles, wallpaper, window panes, etc.
  • Plumbing and and cooling systems: Inspect and repair. Fix any dripping taps.
  • Floorboards: Attend to any creaking or loose floorboards.
  • Doors/Windows: Make sure these open and close effortlessly.
  • Knobs/Handles: Fix if loose, damaged or missing.
  • Benchtops: Keep these clean and clear.
  • Plants: Consider buying some indoor plants.
  • Other: Secure jewellery, cash and other valuables as well as any prescription medications.

 Showing the Property

It's now time to open your property to prospective buyers. The exterior and interior preparation is complete and your property is looking terrific. Here are some additional tips to help prepare your property for viewing:
  • Fill the property with light. Open all curtains and blinds and switch on lights.
  • Make the property smell fresh and clean. Fresh air is good, or alternatively you may simmer vanilla essence on the cooktop, brew some coffee, use potpourri or simply spray some freshener.
  • Clean and clear all the benches and tables.
  • Put out fresh towels, tea towels, table cloths, and etc.
  • Restrain any pets.
  • Switch off the television and radio, although soft, soothing music may be suitable.
  • Make sure the property is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Put some flowers in a vase.
  • Give your Real Estate Agent the key to the front door. Potential buyers are important visitors and should not have to wait indefinitely to view a property.
  • Make yourself scarce, and leave it up to the agent.
Quick Tips
Many people leave the property prior to the appointed inspection time. If you cannot leave, perhaps wait outside during the viewing. Do not offer advice or try to help the agent selling the property. Remember that you have employed your agent to do the selling and they will have far more experience than you when it comes to dealing with buyers.