Tips for how to prepare your house for sale

November 27, 2019

Once you decide to sell your property and have taken the first steps to find a Real Estate Agent, you might think about getting your house ready for sale. This can be a daunting task but starting as soon as possible can gain the best yields come sale time. 

The first and most important step to consider is, who are you selling your home to. How you prepare your home might be different if your likely buyer is an investor, a first home buyer, family or down-sizers. Think about what aspects of a home each might consider to be the most valuable and play to the strengths that the buyers will find most valuable.

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Should I undertake major renovations prior to selling?

Before you get stuck into moving walls or doing major landscaping, think about your cost vs benefit. Will you get out what you put in? Will the marginal value gains be worth the time and money (not to mention stress) you put in? 

Make smart decisions on major renovations as they can be costly. As you prepare to sell your home, you are likely also preparing to buy. Go through open homes with a critical eye as it can help you get an idea of what buyers are looking for. If a house needs major renovations, it’s likely that the new owner would prefer to do this themselves to their own tastes. 

Fix Any Damage

Ensuring that any damage is attended to will give your potential buyers a sense of assurance that the property has been well cared for. Fixing any holes in walls, damaged cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms can go a long way to improving the overall aesthetic of a home. 

Think about items that give good first impressions. Do all doors swing freely? Do taps turn on and off without dripping? Are window fixtures all present and in working order? These are all items that are relatively cheap to attend to but make a property so much more attractive. 

Are buyers looking for a home to fix up or ready to move in?

Most buyers are looking for a property that is either in good condition or only need minor cosmetic work. In gerneral these properties will be the most saught after. This being said, Kiwi’s do have a DIY streak and in the current market, homes needing work can gain quite a bit of attention. 

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It’s getting harder to buy property in NZ and with first home buyers becoming more desperate than ever, we are seeing more people willing to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into a project. 

If your property fits the fixer-upper category, it becomes even more important to assess who your potential market is before starting work. It might be that just cleaning and tidying is all that’s needed to yield great results without having to go to the effort of pre-sale preparation. 

Is it a good idea to get a builders report prior to selling?

It can be a good idea to source a builders report and fix any issues that come to light. Having a relatively clean builders report available to prospective buyers can make your property much more attractive and give peace of mind to both buyers and lenders.

A builders report in NZ can cost anywhere from $500 – $900 depending on location and company. In a hot property market where a buyer might make offers on 5 to 10 properties before being successful, they will have spent a small fortune in builders reports by the time the process is over. As a one off cost for you, the seller, this far less significant and will more than pay for itself. 

As a seller, having a quality, thorough report ready for buyers means that the due diligence process and inherent risk that a buyer takes on is significantly reduced and can drive up both the amount and value of offers received.  

Clean and Tidy

One of the most simple and often the most neglected part of preparing a home for sale, is cleaning. Putting in a little effort in this area can make a big difference. The recommended items here are all small tasks, that when added up can make a property feel fresh and appealing.

Key cleaning and tidying tasks include; 

  • Remove all rubbish from inside and outside (including basements, garages and storage spaces)
  • Remove any unnecessary pieces of furniture, this can make your home more spacious and functional. 
  • Clean mould from inside and outside. Without much effort you can use moss and mould removal products outdoors to give driveways and pathways new life.
  • Clean carpets – hiring a carpet cleaner is cost effective and makes a noticeable difference. 
  • Water blast or clean driveways and deck spaces
  • Clean exterior walls, alcoves and guttering. This can make paint and exterior presentation look and feel and much better condition
  • Trim trees and bushes
  • Cut and tidy lawn and grass spaces

Should I hire a professional cleaner?

This all comes down to how much time and effort you are prepared to put in. Getting some or all cleaning done by a professional can be money well spent, especially if you don’t currently live at the property. 

A professional cleaner can really do a great job of getting your home up to a high standard of cleanliness that can be maintained through the sale process.

Remove personal items

Personal items can make your property more homely but at the same time, make it hard for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Take an objective look at the property and take the advice of your real estate agent to find the right balance. Consider the following tips;

  • Remove family photos
  • Replace personalied art and wall hangings with more neutral and generic pieces
  • If a hobby dominates your space, try to minimise the impact so buyers can imagine the space used for a variety of purposes. 

Making your home feel more attractive to more buyers can only help you. Targeting too many or too few groups can have negative impacts. Try to be as neutral as possible and leave the rest to your buyers imagination. 

Attend to outdoor areas

First impressions are important. Having a tidy outdoor area can have a big impact and give buyers a lasting impression. Think about how your house is viewed from the street to maximise street appeal. You can also give lasting impressions by ensuring that all outdoor spaces are clean and well kept. A few examples of how this can be achieved are;

  • Making sure all fences maintained, painted, straight and tidy
  • Keeping gutters and downpipes well maintained, clean and free from moss and mould
  • Maintain all bushes and shrubs and be careful that all are trimmed back from the house to ensure airflow and prevent moisture build-up
  • Cut all lawns
  • Waterblast decks and driveways
  • Plant flowers or other attractive plants in high visibility areas

Find your Real Estate Agent with Aframe

The easiest place to start your search for a local expert is aframe.co.nz. 

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When you list your property on Aframe with some basic details, Real Estate Agents will provide quotes. You can even specifically ask for advice on your home, then chat with agents in an anonymous, pressure free environment using Aframe Chat. Aframe allows you to compare Real Estate Agent commission and cost structures, as well as get you know your agent and compare strategies.