20 April 2022

Preparing your property for sale: What you need to know

Danielle Redford

There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing a property for entry into the market. With all kinds of small investments contributing to your overall final sale price, taking the time to prepare your property for sale can increase your chance of landing a great purchase price. Your goal is to present your home in the best possible light, creating an appetite within hungry buyers.

The first step? Evaluate your home as objectively as possible. It may be difficult to look at your home with fresh eyes. However, this is necessary in order to understand the first impression it makes on prospective buyers.

While you may be emotionally attached to different facets of your home, those features might not have quite the same impact on prospective buyers. By identifying elements that could do with an update, you can dramatically improve the way your home presents, increasing the asking price accordingly.

By focusing on your home’s potential, you can highlight its features, minimise any issues, and draw attention to its selling points. The work you put in to create a warm, welcoming environment will ultimately be worth it.

How to prepare your home for sale

There are a few simple areas you can pay attention to when preparing your home for sale: repairs, cleaning and styling.

Repairs don’t need to be major in order to make a positive impact. Chipped paint, stained carpets, old floorboards - these can make an immediate impact on prospective buyers (and it’s not the type of impact you’re looking for). These small issues can encourage buyers to look for bigger ones, so by minimising wear and tear, you’re increasing the likelihood of a positive first impression.

Your real estate agent can offer their perspective on which repairs should be prioritised ahead of open homes. By investing the time, energy and resources to bring these areas up to speed, you can significantly improve your home’s impact. It’s important not to overcapitalise, so rely on your agent’s expertise to make these calls.

Cleaning and decluttering are of great importance in the preparation process. Too much clutter can overpower rooms, making them feel smaller than they truly are. By decluttering, you’ll give your home its best chance to show off to prospective buyers.

Thorough cleaning is crucial before every open home. Make sure to clean hidden areas, as buyers will most likely be opening cupboards, looking in corners and examining the space in great detail. This sends a message that the home has been cared for, working to subconsciously increase the value perception in the buyer’s mind.

Property styling is one tool that can significantly enhance the impression your home makes. By bringing in fresh furniture and accessories, you can make a major impact on the way your home looks and feels. Professional property stylists know how to style a room to reach its highest potential, playing with light, colour and texture to enhance features. This is one investment you can stand to see back multiple times over in your sale price.

Key areas to consider

While some elements of prepping a home for the market may be obvious, there are certain areas that can often go unnoticed until a potential buyer points them out. This handy checklist can help you check for hidden damage before your first open home.

  • The front yard - is the fence in good condition? Does the front garden need pruning? Do front pavers need a power clean? Does anything need replacing?

  • Pathway - are there any cracked pavers or tiles that need replacing?

  • Front door - is the front door clean and in good condition, or does it need replacing?

  • Windows - are there any windows with chipped glass? Do any window frames need filling or painting?

  • Facade - when was the last time you cleaned your home’s exteriors? Do they need to be pressure-washed or repainted?

  • Interior walls - are they fresh and free of blemish?

  • Architraves - are there any dents or chips that need replacing?

  • Flooring - should you invest in a professional carpet clean? Do any floorboards need polishing?

  • Kitchen cabinets - do they need painting or refreshing? Could new handles improve the kitchen’s first impression? Could a new benchtop or splashback significantly increase the potential value?

  • Bathrooms - what condition is the grout in? Does it need to be cleaned or replaced? Could tile paint enhance the value of a home with old times?

  • Laundry - is it clean and functional? Are there any small improvements that could increase the impact of this space?

  • Backyard - is the garden neat? Do plants need weeding? Could some new plants enhance the backyard’s feel?

  • Pool - is the pool clean, adequately fenced and complete with poolside furniture?

Your home may have more areas you need to consider, but this is a great starting point to make sure you’re stepping out into the market on the best footing possible.

Renovating before selling

It’s a chicken-or-egg conundrum: should you renovate before selling?

Renovations can definitely contribute to a higher sale price. However, it’s important not to overcapitalise in this area. Understanding how to enhance your property’s value without spending more than you’ll see returned is key. This is another area where your agent’s advice can make or break your potential outcome.

Do your research by evaluating other properties for sale in your area. If they have inclusions your home doesn’t have, this may be something to consider when it comes to a quick renovation. Elements like ensuites or upgraded patios can dramatically increase your home’s value within a competitive market.

Staging your home for sale

Sure, you might not want to spend more money right before a sale, but staging your home is an investment that can pay great dividends. Empty homes can be uninviting, and they fail to build a strong emotional connection with the majority of buyers. By using a property staging team to create a sense of warmth and welcome within your home, you can create a great first impression on prospective buyers.

Styled homes also make for much better photographs, which helps your listing to stand out online and attract high-quality leads.

Put your best foot forward

The number one rule of prepping your property for sale: take the emotion out of it. Even if your home has given you many great years, it’s time to consider its value as an investment. By making key changes to your home, you can significantly enhance its value, attracting a strong sales price.

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