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Blog Articles

14 Jul

How to get your house ready to sell


First impressions count. That's why it's worth investing some time and effort into getting your house ready for sale. Often small improvements can make a big difference to your property's appeal. But where do you start?

How to get your house ready to sell

First impressions count.

That's why it's worth investing some time and effort to get your house ready for sale. Often small improvements can make a big difference to your property's appeal.

But where do you start? What should you focus on? And how far do you go?

Getting your house into shape can seem like a daunting prospect that could be expensive. But it's actually fairly straightforward, and needn't cost the earth.

Here's what you need to do.

5 steps to prepare your house for sale

Step 1:  Go to some open homes and make a note of the types of things you notice. What do you like? What puts you off?

Step 2:  Now look at your house critically. Start from the road and walkthough. Try and imagine yourself as a potential buyer. What would you think if you were viewing the property for the first time? Ask a trusted friend or family member to do the same and see what they pick out.

Step 3:  Make a list of improvement opportunities (see our suggestions below)

Step 4:  Prioritise the to-do list based on what will deliver you the best return on your time and money. Ask your real estate agent for their advice too.

Step 5:  Make the improvements!


To-do list: To present your home at it's best

When making your list of improvement opportunities, we recommend you add these jobs to your list.

De-clutter and tidy up - become a neat freak

Go through the house and section and have a good sort out. Get rid of excess junk and rubbish. Organise your stuff. You'll need to do this before you shift anyway, so you might as well do it before you market your property.

Inside jobs:

  • Go through each room and remove any excess furniture, ornaments and general 'stuff'
  • Get as much as possible off your benches, bathroom vanities and other furniture
  • Make sure that everything is organised inside your cupboards as well as outside

Outside jobs:

  • Mow the lawns and trim the edges
  • Weed the gardens
  • Prune trees or shrubs close to the property to help with natural light
  • Sweep driveways and paths free of leaves, weeds and debris
  • Remove leftover building materials, broken toys and sports equipment and any decaying structures.

Clean the house - top to bottom

Give your house a spring clean. Make it sparkle. And keep it clean and tidy while the house is on the market.

Inside jobs:

  • Clean any marks off walls and floors. Consider getting carpets cleaned if necessary
  • Get rid of dust and cobwebs. Don't forget the skirtings
  • Clean the windows and window sills
  • Do the curtains and blinds need a wash or wipe?

Outside jobs:

  • Get rid of dust and cobwebs. Concentrate on areas such as the entrance
  • Give patios and decks a wash down to remove any weeds or algae.
  • Ensure pools/ponds/water features, outdoor furniture, play equipment is scrubbed and looking fresh.
  • Clear rubbish from roadside and gutters and ensure rubbish bins are tucked neatly away.

Maintenance - make sure everything is ship shape

Just a few small jobs done can make a big difference to first impressions. Invest in a building report. This will point out any maintenance work that needs doing. (Note that most buyers will get a report so by getting one yourself you're addressing any objections head on. It's a good proactive approach).

Inside jobs:

  • Repair items such as dripping taps, sticking doors and drawers, cracked windows and stained carpets.
  • Where practical, complete the maintenance identified by the building report
  • Make sure all light bulbs are working (use warm light)

Outside jobs:

  • Touch up paint where necessary
  • Where practical, complete the maintenance identified by the building report
  • Check your doorbell, security and outdoor lights are all working
  • Ensure fences and gates are in good order
  • Add a splash of colourful flowers to gardens
  • Make sure your mailbox is in good condition, with clear and readable numbers

How to make the most of Open Homes

Here are some tips to make sure you present your house well for open homes. These are the jobs you should do each week.

  • Wash and store dishes.
  • Clean and declutter benchtops and bathroom vanities.
  • Open curtains and blinds to let the light in.
  • Turn on lights in dark rooms or passageways.
  • Put children's toys away.
  • Make up beds.
  • Keep a warm house in winter if possible.
  • Put clean towels out, dry the shower and hand basins
  • Put laundry away
  • Take pets with you during inspections.
  • And fresh flowers are nice too.

Pro Tip:  When your house is on the market your home needs to look good on nearly a 24/7 basis. The kids need to make their beds every day, and everyone needs to keep as many things in order as they can. It's tough work, but it's only for a short time. The pain is worth it!


Rodney Fong is a Licensed Salesperson and Auctioneer working with clients throughout Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Papamoa.

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