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How to Prepare a Property for Sale

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Written by Abbey Laan Trimboli

Spring is a popular time to sell a property. Warmer weather encourages people to attend open inspections, gardens pop with perfumed colour, and both buyers and vendors like the idea of being settled in a new home before the busy Christmas season.

If you’re preparing to sell, at any time of year, these tips will maximise your chances of a speedy, and possibly more profitable, sale.

Crush the Clutter

We’ve all been to open inspections where you can’t see the house for the clutter. It disadvantages both the vendor and the prospective buyer by failing to give a true indication of what’s on offer. Buyers like to imagine how their life would look in the home. This can’t happen when all they can see is yours.

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Sort the entire house into three categories: throw away, donate, or keep.

  • Shred any paperwork no longer required.
  • Consider a storage facility for bulky furniture, books, out-of-season clothing, toys etc. The home will appear more spacious and inviting.
  • Clear shelves and tables of knick-knacks, ensure bench tops are clear.
  • Keep a ‘daily items box’ that essentials can be packed into prior to open inspections, and easily accessed afterwards.
  • Tidy cupboards, built-ins and walk in robes – prospective buyers do look in them!

Fiona Jack, from First National Burton Groves in Modbury, states that decluttering is one of the most important steps in the preparation process. “Vendors are used to presenting their home in a certain way – as their home. They now need to depersonalize it and change their mindset. It is no longer their home, but a home for sale.”

Clean, clean, then clean some more

When it comes to preparing a house for sale, there’s no such thing as ‘too clean’. Go above and beyond the usual routine to show buyers the home is well maintained and easy to clean – even if it’s not!

  • Dust blinds, wash curtains and clean windows inside and out
  • Clean appliances, including inside the fridge – you will need to do it anyway once you move.
  • Clean skirtings, floors, and steam clean carpets, rugs and runners
  • Ensure ceiling fan blades and light fixtures are dust-free
  • Eliminate any odours from pets, cooking, upholstery and smoking. You may be used to certain odours in your home but those entering it for the first time will notice them instantly.

“Don’t try to cover up unwanted odours with deodorizers. Air out the property so it smells fresh and natural,” Fiona says.

If you know you’ll be short on time during the selling process, hiring a cleaner to maintain the sparkle is a worthwhile investment.

Complete Any Repairs

Prospective buyers appreciate attention to detail. They want to be able to move in and enjoy it, not take a trip to Bunnings.

  • Replace any blown or missing light globes
  • Ensure all fences are well-maintained – no holes, no leaning
  • Tighten loose door and cupboard handles
  • Fix dripping taps
  • Replace cracked tiles, repair any holes in walls and repaint
  • Fix doors or drawers that don’t close properly
  • Consider repainting inside the home if it’s in need of a freshen up

Don’t Forget Outside

You could have the best house on the street. Don’t ruin it by having the worst curb appeal.

  • Scrub any oil stains off the driveway
  • Prune hedges, eliminate weeds and mow lawns – including the nature strip
  • Add mulch or bark chips to flower beds
  • Sweep and hose outside decking or paving
  • Make sure gutters are empty
  • Replace the letter box if the existing one is damaged or worn
  • Ensure fences are sturdy
  • Update the front door if you feel it will improve the overall appeal
  • Sweep out any cobwebs
  • Clean any outdoor furniture
  • Repair peeling paint
  • Ensure walkways are clear
  • If required, define a pathway to the front door by using pavers, stones or gravel

Take a walk across the street and look back towards your home. You should see a neat and manicured yard and an inviting entrance. If not, keep working!

To Stage or not to Stage?

Property staging has become big business.  If you don’t feel your existing furniture presents your home at its best, call in the professionals. They will:

  • Use their creativity to maximise appeal through style and design
  • Use furniture, soft furnishings and art to help define each room’s purpose and potential
  • Help create a great first impression and make your property stand out from the rest
  • Help you sell your home faster, and usually at a higher price than expected

What to do on the Day

  • Plan for pets to stay elsewhere
  • If you wish, buy fresh flowers for the dining room table or kitchen bench
  • Leave all lighting and lamps on
  • Ensure toilet seats are down
  • Have your ‘daily items box’ ready for a last-minute tidy
  • Make yourself scarce – Leave potential buyers to wander the property in peace

Fiona says, “an alternative to flowers is a display of fresh fruit or greenery. Playing soft music is also a good idea to eliminate cross-conversations between potential buyers.”

Minimise the stress of a slow sale by presenting the property as a clean, inviting and easily maintained sanctuary. Do the hard work first, then sit back and watch the offers roll in.