50 quick tips for preparing your property for sale

You wouldn’t turn up for a job interview in track pants and messy hair would you? The same goes for selling a house. You need to give your house the best possible chance at getting top dollar and it is important to spend the time researching how to maximize your chances at this. Put effort and energy into choosing the right real estate agent, sprucing up the outside of your home and styling the inside. If you do this, you’ll have buyers fighting over your property, which is the best outcome!

The good news is, I’ve done the hard yards for you. Read on to discover a real estate agent horror story, how to choose the right real estate agent, as well as 50 quick tips for preparing your property for sale.


House sale horror story

A real estate agent can make a huge difference to your bottom line at the time of sale. Here’s a personal experience I had that demonstrates this point.

My hubby and I looked at a total of 35 houses before buying our present property. Before we purchased our current home we were ‘hot’ on a derelict old house on one of the best suburbs and streets in our region.

Before the auction we offered the real estate agent $440,000 for the property (it was a downturn!), which we believed was an excellent offer. That offer was declined (and after coincidentally meeting with the vendors after the fact) we discovered that the real estate agent never actually showed that offer to the vendors and proceeded to auction day. At the time we didn’t want to go through the ‘auction process’ because we were getting ‘pre-approval’ from the bank and going to auction would have been to risky for us. We attended the auction on the day anyway and after a few heated moments, one lucky punter secured this property for a song at $390,000.

Hubby and I felt lucky that our offer was never received after seeing the price it went for, but the poor vendors missed out on $60,000 because of this real estate agent!

Here’s the point:

Be aware. Real estate agents don’t always have your best interests at heart. Go with your gut.


How to choose the right real estate agent

Thankfully, there are now some fantastic options for vendors or buyers in terms of finding the right real estate agent. Thanks to sites like RateMyAgent, both vendors and buyers can now get the inside scoop when it comes to selecting their prospective real estate agents.

If you’re looking to sell your property, RateMyAgent’s robust rankings system allows vendors to discover the best agents in their suburb, using different factors such as “most recommended agents”, “highest average sale price”, “number of active listings”, and “total properties sold” to help you make the most informed decision.

The website receives 1,500 – 2,000 verified reviews each week, contributed from vendors and buyers. This site delivers a wealth of information for both property buyers and sellers and delivers feedback on past experiences buyers and sellers have had with that agent.


Sprucing up the outside and inside of your property for maximum appeal

Hopefully you will consider these steps well before engaging an agent to sell your home. One of the most important factors is the outside of your property because first impressions count. If your home does not reflect the beauty that’s inside it, prospective buyers (who are busy!) will simply drive on by.

Consider these top 20 tips for sprucing up the entry to your home:

  1. Invest in a great letterbox with the street number nicely visible
  2. Think about the path leading into your home from the road
  3. Make sure any gates leading into the property are painted, working well and not broken
  4. Consider painting or fixing fences around your property, especially fencing at the front of your home
  5. Make sure fencing secures the entire property as this is appealing to buyers
  6. Consider a door bell at the gate and security lights – these are nice security features that buyers will like
  7. Improve your garden with nice looking plants and well-trimmed trees
  8. Add mulch and flowers to make the garden look even tidier
  9. Keep the lawns mowed and tidy at all times throughout sale time
  10. Fix any broken or dripping taps around the home
  11. Consider a cute garden table and chairs at the front of your home if you have the lawn, room and privacy for this
  12. Consider lighting in the entry to your home which can make the experience of entering a home nicer (e.g. solar powered lighting)
  13. Put down crushed rock, paving or decking to make the entry clean and tidy
  14. Wash down your home (water blast it), clean out gutters and wash the windows
  15. Paint the outside of your home including the roof! There’s nothing worse than a nice paint job and a daggy roof.
  16. Make sure to clean out any ponds or water features that might exist and make sure they are safe for small children who might enter the property
  17. Replace the front door to make the entry feel more grand
  18. Make entering your home a ‘beautiful experience’ for buyers not just a ‘path’
  19. Watch renovation shows, read magazines and get on Pinterest for inspiring ideas for your home’s front entry
  20. If you have a deck leading into your home’s front door have it recoated if it is looking aged

Once you have lured prospective buyers inside your home using a great agent and with an amazing entry, be sure to continue that standard inside! Here’s a great checklist for ensuring you tick all the boxes with buyers. These will get them scrambling to make an offer, or biting their nails at an auction because they don’t want to miss out!

Consider these 30 quick tips to make the inside of your home sing:

  1. Try not to overcapitalise (overspend) on improving the inside of your property – this is the one big mistake of many home renovators
  2. Consider giving your home a new paint job. Many paint companies now offer in-home color design services for a small fee (roughly $150) and this is well worth it.
  3. If you can’t afford new furniture consider covering old sofas to give rooms in your home an instant lift
  4. Definitely consider updating the kitchen and bathrooms – these are big selling points in a home
  5. If you have a few bedrooms in your home that are too large, consider making them into smaller bedrooms. This will greatly increase your sale price.
  6. Keep one large room for the master bedroom.
  7. Consider adding an extra bathroom if there is only one
  8. Update floors with new tiles, laminate or vinyl flooring (the most cost effective option
  9. Put in downlights – these can be installed for free at the moment due to a government incentive
  10. Look online on sites like Pinterest for style inspiration. There’s a whole world of interior designers placing their pictures online. Read interior design blogs too.
  11. Search interior design color palettes online and use those palettes to coordinate colors, furniture and soft furnishings in a room
  12. Declutter your home and add extra storage. People love storage and having storage makes a home look cleaner, more spacious and clutter free.
  13. Remove furniture that might be cluttering up the house. Try to make the house look as spacious as possible.
  14. Get carpets steam cleaned.
  15. Wash down blinds and curtains.
  16. Make sure your home is odour free.
  17. Fix anything broken in the home or that might be making noise (e.g squeaky floors).
  18. If you have the money – hire a stylist who will put hired furniture in your home and make your home over so you get the maximum price for it.
  19. Make sure your open for inspection times showcase your home the best. E.g If your home looks better at night or in the afternoon, make the inspections at these times.
  20. Clean like crazy. Make sure all surfaces including floors, walls and tiles are clean.
  21. Consider baking cupcakes or brew coffee for an inspection as homely smells are inviting and give buyers an instant warm feeling.
  22. Clean bathrooms and kitchens with Eucalyptus or another fresh smelling cleaning product.
  23. Consider burning scented candles on a table. Just make sure you do so away from soft furnishings so you don’t start a fire.
  24. Put on relaxing low volume music to give your home some atmosphere.
  25. Put clean white towels in linen cupboards and bathrooms to make buyers feel like they are in a spa resort.
  26. Consider diffusers in the toilets. These look and smell nice.
  27. Place a bunch of fresh flowers in the entryway. This creates a lovely first impression. Also consider placing flowers elsewhere in the home.
  28. Make sure the shed is well organised and tidy.
  29. Remove rubbish bins and keep them out of site. Put deodorizer in them if necessary.
  30. Make sure all views out of windows inside are pleasant. For example, consider installing lattice to hide a view of a too-close neighbour’s house. Privacy is important to people.

Do you have any great ideas for styling your home? Join the conversation on Facebook. http://facebook.com/savingsroom