Preparing your home for sale

Planning to be on the move in little while? If you’re thinking of upsizing – or downsizing – then you face the big task of preparing your home for sale.

The typical capital city house owner moves every 10.5 years, while unit dwellers up sticks every 8.4 years, according to 2015 research from Core Logic.

Given the high entry and exit costs associated with a move – think stamp duty, agents’ commissions, removal and storage fees – maximising your sale price makes sound financial sense.

3 Pea’s Property Styling director Jo Powell shares some tips for ensuring you receive top dollar for your biggest asset.

Make a plan

Getting your place looking a million bucks isn’t just a Saturday morning job. Make a plan of exactly what you’re going to tackle and allow a month to get the jobs done – more if renovations or a major paint job are on the agenda.

“Tackle the biggest jobs first, then focus on the finer details – trimming the hedges, washing the windows, a final clean and tidy…” Powell says. “You can accomplish a lot if you approach things in a systematic manner.”

Photographing your home inside and out can help you determine what needs to be done.

“It’s an opportunity to look through other eyes – to see the place as others would at first viewing,” says Powell.


Most of us live surrounded by a stack of stuff, but this doesn’t serve us well when it comes time to sell. Ruthless paring back of furniture and decorations can make a home appear more spacious and inviting.

“Think one sofa instead of two and fewer sideboards and tables so there can be traffic flow around the furniture,” Powell says.

“Try to imagine several groups inspecting the home at once – could they all fit in without feeling like it’s shoulder to shoulder?”

Conversely, it’s tough to get top dollar for a vacant house.

“There’s nothing for a purchaser to do but walk around and look at the things that are wrong,” says Powell.

“A few well-chosen pieces can diminish the appearance of faults and keep people there longer, which means more opportunity for them to make a connection.”

Paint and update

A lick of paint is the home seller’s best friend, so slap it on liberally if rooms or external surfaces are looking faded or battered.

“It’s very inexpensive and has a massive impact on the property feeling fresher and well maintained,” Powell says.

Replacing light fittings, door furniture and tapware is another low-cost way to give dated kitchens and bathrooms a lift.

First impressions

Weed-free gardens and a freshly mown lawn are a must, but if you really want to make a good impression ensure your letterbox and front gate look great too.

“If your letterbox is covered in cobwebs and has junk mail hanging out, or the gate squeaks or is peeling, that sends a bad first message to buyers,” says Powell.

Get scrubbing

And if you do nothing else, ensure your home is squeaky clean from top to bottom before you open the door to potential buyers.

“It’s the least expensive way to make a big impact,” Powell says.

“Clear out the cobwebs, wash the windows, shampoo the carpets and make sure every surface sparkles,” she adds.