Tips for Selling Your Property

Most people would agree that their home is their most important asset or investment. It makes sense, therefore, that when a decision is made to sell, both the inside and outside of the home are presented in the best possible manner to enhance the prospect of an excellent financial return.

The process, or indeed art, of presenting your property for sale is an important one to master. For most, the sale of a property comes around every 5-7 years. For others, it has become a more regular event, choosing to capitalise on the opportunity of upgrading the family home and make substantial tax free gains in the process.

The way a home is prepared for sale, for a relatively small outlay, can add thousands of dollars to the sale price. When prospective purchasers call on open inspection day they are usually veterans of the home inspection trail and are ready to pounce on the first negative they see. The following guide has been prepared to assist prospective sellers in preparing their home for sale.


Presentation of your property is a critical factor in achieving the highest possible price. This is similar to detailing a car before you sell it. The emotional appeal required to stir the spirit of the buyers is unlikely to be generated by a poorly presented property. And a neglected building sends out ’warning signals’ to prospective buyers.

So it is important to do whatever is possible to have your property looking its absolute best on inspection day. Some of the turn offs for buyers include:

  • Animal odours in the house
  • Evidence of damp or moisture in the walls
  • Cigarette or strong food odours
  • Doors, windows or gates that stick
  • Cracked glass
  • Too much furniture or personal belongings cluttering the space
  • Stained carpet

The Garden

The first glimpse of a well maintained front garden will have an alluring effect on visitors and help a positive attitude towards the whole of the property. Some carefully planned work in the early stages and an attractive garden with kerbside appeal will work wonders. Certainly much better than greeting visitors with a garden full of weeds and overgrown shrubs.

  • Keep the lawns mowed and neatly edged
  • Keep the paths swept and clean
  • Cut/prune trees and shrubs as necessary and remove dead or unsightly foliage
  • Trim back any branches or creepers overhanging the roof and gutters
  • Aim for maximum colour in the garden at the time of open inspections. Potted colour can be purchased from your local garden centre if you haven’t had time to plan ahead
  • Mulch the garden beds
  • Rake and clean up leaves and any other garden debris
  • Clean/paint/replace the letterbox
  • On open day, ensure hoses and tools are neatly packed away

The House - Outside

Start by walking around the house (notebook in hand) with a critical eye and look for anything that requires attention. If you don’t spot the little things that need maintenance or cleaning, the odds are prospective purchasers will. Make a detailed list.

  • Replace any rotting timber, loose decking boards, unstable handrails, loose steps, rusty guttering, loose doorknobs, faulty flywire and attend to faulty plumbing
  • Paint any part of the house that needs it. Paint peeling off gutters, fascias, doors and windows is unsightly and can create an impression of a run down house. The impression of a well cared for home is essential
  • Clean the exterior of the house thoroughly and make sure the windows are sparkling clean. Brush down the cobwebs
  • Keep the areas around the front and rear doors clean and uncluttered - particularly make sure they are swept for open day
  • Clean the garage and sheds and create as much free space as possible

Now that you have created kerbside appeal and prospective purchasers have decided this house is worth looking at, make sure the interior does not let you and them down. Lets get to work on the inside!

The House - Inside

A tidy house inside says, “Welcome”. At the same time it has to look homely and lived in, and achieving an acceptable balance that oozes warmth and welcomes visitors is essential.

  • Start with the walls and ceiling. Often all that is required is a good wash, however if this does not bring them up to a suitable standard then have them painted. To make small rooms appear larger, use light and friendly colours
  • Pay attention to the door and window frames. Wash or paint them as necessary. Make sure the doors close properly against the frames. If shaving the door end slightly is required, then do it.
  • Clean exhaust fan covers
  • Make sure all lights work
  • Consider replacing those inexpensive decorator items if necessary eg. shower curtains, doormats and light fittings
  • Make sure the oven, grill, hotplates, tiles and grouting are sparkling clean. The dishwasher, including the interior, should also be cleaned thoroughly
  • In the kitchen, make sure it is spotless and uncluttered. Fix wobbly tiles and dripping taps and keep the bench tops as clear as possible. Tidy the pantry. Clean appliances that are stored on bench tops and if possible store them in cupboards
  • If you can, pack items that you can temporarily do without, in boxes and store them, either in the shed, or preferably offsite, as sheds are a selling feature too!. Create a feeling of uncluttered spaciousness.
  • Go through the linen cupboards and any built in robes and reorganise and tidy to show off storage space
  • Ensure the bathroom is spotless and hygienically clean. Consider re-grouting any areas with stubborn mould or wear and tear. The use of white towels can make a difference in a dark bathroom, or perhaps consider a skylight
  • Consider a skylight in any dark areas of the house. It can make a huge difference in brightening up the interior
  • Be critical of yourself when it comes down to things you are used to having around the house. Recycle old newspapers and junk mail. Throw out smelly sponges, dead or dying indoor plants and anything else that clutters the house. Pay particular attention to the tops of high cupboards
  • Swap furniture around if necessary, even if it may be impractical for the short time the house will be on the market. If it makes the room look better and more spacious, then do it
  • Remove and replace any items that are of a permanent nature and have sentimental value but will not be part of the sale. This is very important to avoid possible disputes at contract time
  • The addition of small features such as indoor plants, splashes of colour, loose magazines, rugs and paintings can all add to the presentation and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Open Day

By now the home should be in showcase condition but there are still little things that can be done to help present the house in the most alluring manner to the public.

  • Have soft music playing to create an ambient mood
  • Freshly brewed coffee can create a winning aroma
  • Fresh fruit, particularly exotic fruit in a bowl, can also help create an inviting fragrance and be visually pleasing
  • Put some fresh flowers around the house
  • Leave lights and lamps on and open the drapes
  • Have the air conditioning or heating operating before the open commences to create a welcoming atmosphere
  • Consider using aromatherapy
  • Keep pets out of the way during opens
  • Make sure the beds are made, the dishes are washed and papers and toys are stored away

A Final Word

We hope the information provided to you will help you prepare your home for sale. By implementing the recommended improvement you can potentially add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

At Timms Real Estate, we understand that many people are time poor. We can provide you with details of our recommended suppliers, including:

  • Painters
  • Handypeople
  • Gardeners
  • Interior designers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

In addition, your sales consultant can further advise you if need be. Contact your Timms Real Estate office today on

(08) 8471 6100 to find out how we can help you!