Expert Tips for Selling Your Home at the Best Price

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When it comes time to sell your home, it’s important to know what property features your buyers are looking for

Below you will find our expert tips for selling at the best price, set out in 8 easy to follow stages.

STAGE 1: RESEARCH & PLANNING

Before you even think about listing your property for sale or spending any money on your home, there are three (3) critical things you should do:
Obtain a current market appraisal on your property to find out what buyers in today’s market would pay to buy your property ‘as is’ without any changes or improvements;
Research your property’s attributes – what is the market median price for your specific type of property in your suburb? Is your property better than others ?
Understand unique features about your property that are different from other similar type/size properties in your suburb. How do you maximise the value of these features when you come to sell?
Once you have completed Stage 1, you’ll understand property pricing in your local market and the specific improvements and maintenance required for your property to stand out. This helps you successfully complete the following steps.

STAGE 2: LEARN THE GOLDEN RULES

Clean and tidy all surfaces, cupboards, storage and yard areas. If the property looks clean and smells fresh, prospective buyers are more likely to form a positive impression of your home.
Give buyers plenty of time to look through your property. Buyers find it hard to feel comfortable and picture themselves living in the property if the current owners or tenants are present. You want buyers to linger in your property and take in all of its features – not rush through the inspection.
From the street, your property should appear clean and well kept. Check for mildew or stains on exterior walls, driveways or paths. Pressure clean if needed and remove dust and cobwebs.

Affinity Sample Sale Properties Don’t let your property’s exterior turn a buyer off before the interior has a chance to turn them on. Check your property’s exterior carefully for any necessary maintenance required.

Colour has the power to attract. The front façade of your property is your showpiece. If external painting or maintenance is required to the front façade, treat this as a priority so that you attract buyers into your property.
Entice buyers into your home. Attractive plants in an oversized pot, colourful flowers and hanging baskets out the front gives a great first impression. Consider using an attractive welcome mat to greet buyers when they come through your front door. It can also encourage them to wipe their feet and keep dirt from tracking through the property.
Be very careful with any proposed renovations. It is important not to overcapitalize and spend too much on improvements that buyers don’t appreciate.

STAGE 3: THE DRIVEWAY, GARDEN & OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS

The street view of your property is of most importance, as well as creating an Outdoor Living Area that buyer's can imagine spending their weekends.

The surface of your driveway should be clean and well maintained. The street view of a property is one of the first things a buyer sees and gives them an idea whether the property is easy to maintain.
Sweep and wash the driveway and walkways to remove debris, dirt and stains. Remove any oil stains if possible. Repair and patch any cracks, edge the sides and pull up any weeds.
Ensure the grass is neatly mowed, raked and edged.

Add Cypress Pine mulch around your shrubs and trees to instantly freshen and renew garden beds. The Cypress Pine smells lovely and it also is a great mulch that keeps termites at bay. Expand your garden beds if you have the room. Large garden beds add a sense of space and privacy and attractive contours can make your garden seem much larger and welcoming.

Prune and shape shrubbery and trees to complement your house. Consider adding seasonal flowers to your garden. Choose plants that suit your local climate and have attractive flowers and pleasant fragrances, such as Lavender, Jasmine, Grevilleas and Acacias.
If you have room, add a sense of lifestyle to your backyard, by setting up your badminton or volleyball net to suggest a scene of family fun.

OUTDOOR LIVING

Having a great outdoor space adds a lot of appeal for properties in South East Queensland due to the fantastic outdoor climate we have.

It is important to devote at least one area of your garden to outdoor living. Buyers will respond favourably to a designated outdoor entertaining area.
Consider dressing your outdoor setting with a tablecloth, plates and glasses. Bring out the barbeque tools and buyers will almost smell the steak and onions cooking.
If you have a wooden deck, ensure the wood is not too faded. A quick coat of stain, decking oil or paint may be in order. Check your fence for any loose or broken posts and replace any rotten wood.
Make sure you have plants and greenery in your outdoor area. Planter boxes with lush green shrubs add instant appeal.

STAGE 4: FRONT ENTRY, CLEANING & MAINTENANCE

The Front Entry to your property can provide a great first impression. Cleaning & Maintenance is essential to ensure buyer’s have a positive experience when they walk through your home.

The Front Entry

No matter how big or small, the front entry of your home deserves particular attention.

Study your entry way and ask yourself what kind of first impression it creates? Dried flowers or a small plant can make a striking focal point on a hall table any time of the year. Virtually any entry hall will benefit from a well-placed mirror to give the illusion of space. Your entry hall flooring will be observed carefully by the prospective buyer. Make sure the surface is spotless and add a small rug to protect the area during showing.
An entry cupboard (if you have one) will be the first one inspected, therefore make it appear roomy. Remove all off-season clothing and add extra hangers.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning and maintenance can be inexpensive but have a huge impact on the presentation and appeal of your property to prospective buyers.

Every area of the property must sparkle and shine! Each hour spent will be worth the effort. Make it easy for the buyer to want your home.
Clean all of the windows, including the laundry and garage.
Clean all carpets and rugs. Clean and polish lino, tile and wooden floors. Consider re-finishing a wooden floor if necessary.
Clean and polish all woodwork, paying particular attention to kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Clean all light fixtures. Glass covers of most ceiling fixtures can be made to sparkle by running them through piping hot water.
Clean and polish ceiling fans and clean exhaust fan covers, as these are dust magnets.
Check to see that all doors and windows are in good working order. Clean and paint doors if necessary. Inspect all locks to ensure they are functioning properly.
Screens should be free of any tears, holes, dust and cobwebs.
Check for loose or missing tiles and clear out gutters/ downpipes. Touch up peeling paint on gutters.
There may be several things in your home that you have simply become accustomed to over time. Attend to all maintenance NOW as buyers will mentally add up their perceived cost of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than your actual costs will be.

STAGE 5: STAGING, DECORATING & LIGHTING

The fun part! Showing off your home through Staging, Decorating and Lighting can make a huge difference to how buyers perceive your home. Introducing neutral colours and creating more space will ensure you enhance the best features of your home without creating clutter.

Stage & Show Off Your Home

This part of preparing your home for sale can be the most fun & involves the use of colour, lighting & accessories to emphasise the best features of your home.

Study magazine ads and furniture showrooms to see how small details can enhance the appearance of a room. Simple additions, such as a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, or a basket of logs by the fireplace, can make a room more attractive and appealing. Be careful not to create distracting clutter though.

The use of a brightly coloured pillow on a chair or a throw rug on a sofa can add dimension to an otherwise neutral room. Use accent pieces for colour.

Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms. Consider replacing heavy curtains with something lighter.  Take advantage of natural light as much as possible – clean windows, open blinds and curtains etc. Add additional lighting where needed. Be sure that all light fittings are clean and have working bulbs. If your kitchen has fluorescent lighting fixtures, use ‘warm-white’ bulbs for a bright appearance.

Introducing Neutral Colours & Creating More Space

Light, neutral colours and less furniture create a sense of space and give properties a light, airy feel.

When painting the interior walls or replacing the carpet, select a natural colour scheme that will appeal to all buyers. Position your property on the market to be as liveable to as many people as possible.
Arrange furniture to give rooms a spacious feeling. Consider removing some furniture from smaller rooms, or any room that may seem overcrowded. If necessary, put large items in storage.
Pack up your collectibles, both to protect them and to give the room a more spacious feel. Leave out just enough accessories to give the home a personal touch.
Remove all clutter and make a habit of picking up clothing, shoes and personal possessions for each and every inspection or Open House.
Empty cupboards of off-season clothing and pack them up for the move. Organise cupboards to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Cupboards should look as though there is room to add more.
When showing your property to buyers, use light to create a sense of space. All window furnishings should be open. Turn on appropriate lights for the showing.

Atmosphere & Odours

The Atmosphere of your home can have a huge impact on how buyers experience the space, therefore it is essential to keep the atmosphere pleasant & appealing. The living area should show a sense of lifestyle that feels inviting and will appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes and consider the overall atmosphere of your home. Keep in mind your sense of smell as you go through the checklist.

A clean, fresh-smelling home creates a positive image in a buyer’s mind. Be aware of any odours from cooking, cigarette smoke, pets etc. These may have adverse effect on potential buyers. Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odour than others. You can use products like carpet deodorisers, air fresheners and room deodorisers, but the best strategy is to remove the source of the odour rather than cover it up.
If smoking and cooking odours have permeated your home, have your carpets and furniture cleaned, and air or dry-clean your curtains. Mildew odours can also be offensive. Don’t allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers or dirty clothes to pile up in cupboards.
Air conditioning filters can be another source of unpleasant odour. Clean the vent covers and change the filters at least once a month. A high accumulation of dust detracts from the presentation of your home and can circulate odour throughout the property. You may want to consider having the air conditioning ducts professionally cleaned.
Once offensive odours have been eliminated, consider adding pleasant scents. Studies have shown that humans have strong, positive responses to certain aromas, such as cinnamon, flowers or freshly baked bread. In the heat of summer, place a bowl of lemons or limes on a bench or table to provide a fresh, pleasant aroma.

Living Areas

Think of these areas as furniture showrooms. Add touches that make a room look inviting.

Clean the fireplace if you have one and use logs to create an attractive appearance. You are welcome to have a fire going for showing the warmth and great atmosphere it creates in the winter months. Dress up a mantelpiece, but don’t make it look too cluttered.
Improve the traffic flow by removing excess furniture. Remove oversized television sets if they dominate the room.
Draw attention to exposed beams or a cathedral ceiling with special lighting. Be sure to remove all cobwebs and dust.
Clean and organise all storage space. If your cabinets, drawers and cupboards are crowded and overflowing, buyers will assume your storage space is inadequate. Tidy, organised shelves/ drawers appear larger and more adequate for a prospective buyer’s needs.
Large Kitchen windows should be highlighted as a feature of your home. Take a critical look at the window furnishing – is it clean, sharp and up-to-date? Do the curtains need washing or the blinds need cleaning? Would the window area look better without any furnishing?
Identify any dark corners or areas and invest in a decorative floor lamp to instantly create a warm and inviting space.

STAGE 6: THE KITCHEN & DINING ROOM

A visually appealing & functional kitchen is high on almost every buyer’s priority list & therefore warrants extra attention.

It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that the Kitchen & Dining in your home appears spacious and inviting. This space of the home is a decider for the majority of buyers, therefore it needs to create a vision where buyers can imagine themselves living in the space.
Avoid clutter. Clear benchtops of small appliances to maximize the appearance of a workspace. Check the benchtop around your sink and remove any dishes, detergent or brushes that may be cluttering the area.
Sinks, cabinets and benchtops should be clean and fresh.
Appliances (oven, cooktop etc.) should be thoroughly cleaned inside and out.
Clear items from the top of the refrigerator. If you must use this area for storage, conceal items in decorative baskets or bowls.
Set the scene with an open cookbook, a bowl filled with fruit, a vase of flowers, or a ceramic mixing bowl and wire whisk.
Create the aromas commonly associated with happy homes. Bake some cookies, a loaf of bread or pop a frozen apple pie in the oven.
If you have a breakfast bar, set two attractive place settings and place cushions on the stools.

DINING ROOM

Your dining room should be inviting prospective buyers to imagine sharing a meal with family & friends.

Visually enlarge a small dining room. If your dining table extends, consider leaving it un-extended. You could even consider placing your dining table against a wall if you cannot move around it with ease.
Remove any extra chairs. Consider putting oversized pieces in storage until your property sells.
Set the table for an informal meal and add an attractive centerpiece arrangement, such as fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit.

STAGE 7: BEDROOMS & BATHROOMS

Bedrooms and Bathrooms need to be clean, clutterfree and non-personal. Extra touches to make the space look luxurious make all the difference.

Bedrooms

Imagine for a moment that you are in the Bed & Breakfast business. How would you make the bedrooms appeal to a passing visitor? Naturally, you would make the bed with your best sheets and quilt. Maybe you would add a vase of flowers or place an attractive armchair in a corner. Every bedroom in your home should be inviting to prospective buyers.
Spacious master bedrooms are particularly popular among today’s home-buyers. To make your bedroom appear larger, paint the room in a lighter shade, remove excess furniture if the room is crowded and minimize clutter.
An ensuite off the master bedroom is considered a real bonus. Decorate the ensuite to coordinate to the colour scheme of your bedroom.
Virtually all buyers are looking for a home with plenty of storage space. Make storage areas appear generous by removing all out-of-season clothing and items from the floor area – this will make a wardrobe seem more spacious.
Ensure all wardrobe lights are in working order. Add battery lights to wardrobes that lack built-in lighting, as illuminated wardrobes appear bigger and more attractive.

Ensure all wardrobe lights are in working order. Add battery lights to wardrobes that lack built-in lighting, as illuminated wardrobes appear bigger and more attractive.

Don’t make your bed like a hotel, but do make it look luxurious. Make sure you have a few euro pillows, normal pillows, extra cushions and at least one throw.
Remove any crowded, unusual or personal wall hangings and store them until your home is sold.

Bathrooms

Take special care when preparing your bathrooms for scrutiny. Prospective buyers will inspect your bathrooms carefully, so be sure they are immaculate.

Cleanliness is the key! Ensure all surfaces are spotless. Replace worn or dirty shower curtains and clean and repair tiles, grout and shower screens.
Clear vanity tops and put away all personal items and products. Clean and organise all cabinets and drawers.
Repair any taps that leak or do not function properly. Remove mineral deposits with vinegar or a commercial product.
If your bathroom is mostly white or neutral, add a touch of colour with towels. Don’t hesitate to buy a few new towels and a rug to create added appeal. After all, you will be taking these items with you to your new home.
Carefully clean the floor. If it is old or very worn cover the largest area you can with a clean, attractive rug.
Decorate your bathrooms with your best towels and consider putting out some perfumed guest soaps. Use scented candles to put a gentle hint of fragrance in the air, but keep it subtle.

STAGE 8: LAUNDRY & GARAGE

The Laundry and Garage are often overlooked but these areas are very important to buyers.

If necessary, add a fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone. Ensure the ceiling is clean and free of mildew or mould.
Organise all cupboards, shelves and storage areas.
Remove all dirty laundry. Keep up-to-date with your washing or store all dirty laundry in a closed hamper.
Sweep and wash your garage floor to remove dirt and stains. Organise tools, gardening equipment and bicycles, etc., as a clean, organised garage always appears more spacious.
Make the garage appear as big as possible. If the area is dark, add more light. If your garage is small and accommodates only one car, remove it before buyers visit. An empty garage always looks larger. If you have a two-car garage with very little extra room, remove one of the cars prior to an inspection.
If your garage is appropriate to use as a recreational area, consider setting up your tennis table and hanging some bright posters. Doing so will instantly transform the space into a teenager’s retreat.
Clear and organise the workbench in your garage and draw attention to it with good lighting as a sales feature.