Selling your house for top dollar in the shortest possible time requires dispassionate thinking and a tonne of preparation. Pre-sale preparation to-do lists abound on the internet, but here’s our take on the most important considerations.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes

Look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Think like a marketer and imagine your ideal customer. What will make their hearts flutter? Scratch their heads? Or make them shudder? Invite a friend to walk through your home. Their unfiltered reactions provide great clues for the things that need fixing and selling points that deserve additional attention.

Make your home a blank canvass for potential

There’s a reason why real estate agents overuse the word ‘potential’. ‘Potential’ is the idea that your home is presented in a way that enables prospective buyers to imagine it as their own. You’ve got to provide a blank canvass on which buyers can add their own personal touches and visualise the way they could live their lives.

Disassociate yourself from your home and declutter for neutrality. Overstuffed spaces, fanciful décor, memorabilia overkill – get rid of it, because it distracts buyers from the important process of imagining the space as their own.

These two concepts are critical and should guide how you invest your time and money in preparing your property for sale. It’s tough, we know, because both ideas ask homeowners to detach emotionally; to consider their home as spiritless structure. But a successful sale requires dispassionate thinking and appealing to a specific type of buyer.

Specific to-dos

With this in mind, let’s get down to specifics:

  • Clean everything, from top to bottom: No one likes dirt, plus, clean surfaces better reflect natural light. Buyers love natural light. Cleanliness that sparkles also gives the impression that the home has been cared for by a fastidious owner
  • First impressions start on the street: Fix and clean the so-called little things – moss on the letter box, rust on the gate, that missing house number, weeds poking through the path, the privet hedge – arrggh – get rid of it!
  • Declutter: Overstuffed spaces are a turn off and make people worry about, well, space. Is there enough? Buyers want to see potential – not your piles of old shoes and knickknacks
  • Depersonalise: That 14-point imperial stag’s head over the fireplace, oversized family portraits, porcelain cats. Put them away to create a clean environment that allows buyers to imagine their own items
  • Repair obvious damage and blemishes: The rattling extractor fan in the bathroom, your incessantly running toilet, cracked tiles, ragged spouting, the worn front door lock. These knockoffs are death by a thousand cuts for a top-end sale price
  • Don’t forget smell: Olfactory is a special sense for mediating perceptions. But careful with over deodorising – buyers will assume you’re attempting to mask a flaw. Stick to neutrality

A word of warning:

  • Think carefully about major renovations: It’s easy to over invest. Consult an agent or property valuer to gauge best bang for buck. When it comes to upgrading fixtures, put durability ahead of design aesthetics
  • Healthy Homes: We recommend investing in a HHS certificate to appeal to investors
  • Tenants: Advise them in writing and secure permission to access the property for photography and open homes