I have shown hundreds of properties in the last few years and loads of people ask me, “How can I best prepare my house for sale?”

Usually sellers have done a few things to get ready for the sale of their property but I say that the devil is in the detail. The smallest thing can put a potential buyer off your property.

Though your house may look and feel good to you, it won’t necessarily to others, regardless of what your friends tell you. Remember it’s essential to appeal to the widest possible cross-section of your target market.

Sometimes it’s the details that let you down, other times, it’s so obvious you simply can’t see it yourself. Here are the 10 of the most common blunders people make when presenting their home for the market.

Top Tips for Getting Your House Ready For Sale

1. Curb appeal

Make sure the front of your property looks appealing and inviting with a weed-free garden and some attractive pot plants. On approach the buyer does not want to see rubbish bins, or piles of stuff awaiting collection. Make sure that the verge is mowed, the driveway and paths are swept before every inspection.

Is your house clearly numbered? This seems like such a minor detail, but it’s essential. Not only should you make sure you have a house number, it should be easily visible, in good repair and in keeping with the feel of the home. The last thing you want is a buyer’s experience of your property starting in frustration because they were unable to find it.

2. Over-the-top personal style

Such as bed linen – when a prospective buyer walks into a bedroom, the bed is generally the largest piece of furniture and the focal point of the space. Hence the linen and the dressing of the bed can have a huge impact on the way people feel about that room. Make sure that your linen is neutral and mainstream. White on white is my tip!

Wild colours are an instant turn off. Freshen up internal paint colours by using neutral soft colours, as they help give a feeling of space and light and rely on accessories to add colour accents, warmth and character.

3. Too much furniture, clutter and over-stuffed cupboards

Fluffy toys, piles of children’s toys, shelves covered with ornaments, the kitchen full of clutter and over stuffed wardrobes have to go. Box them up and send them off to storage. It is essential to remember that when a home is open for inspection that too much furniture and clutter will make a room feel smaller than it is.

Space furniture out and remove it temporarily if you have to. Allow for lots of foot traffic, good flow through the house for potential buyers, and walk over common paths to check for obstacles.

4. Pet and tobacco smells

If a potential buyer gets to your door and they are knocked over by unattractive odours they will often turn on their heel and walk away – particularly with cigarette smells now!

Research tells us that one of the biggest factors that impact negatively on a potential buyer are pet and tobacco smells and mess. Many property owners do work very hard on removing all smells and evidence of furry friends, however it is difficult to completely eradicate when you are accustomed to the smell on a daily basis – you may not realise how strong it is!

5. Let the light In

Dark rooms and heavy window coverings can turn buyers off. Leaving heavy window coverings in place can make a room feel dark and cluttered. Getting the balance right between privacy, style, mood and light is important. Open the curtains and pull up the blinds and make sure that the windows are clean inside and out.

6. Cleanliness

Another huge mistake is assuming that the buyers can look past an unswept floor or a dirty bathroom. Noooo! When the mess and dirt is not their own, many buyers find it to be an extreme turn-off. You may have long since stopped seeing how many spider webs are around. Get someone other than yourself to give it a once over. The hidden areas are important too – under the beds, behind the furniture, on top of cupboards etc. Your house needs to be clean, clean, clean!

7. Selling a house empty

Empty rooms appear smaller and are uninviting to the potential buyer. The only thing to leave for the buyer is to imagine themselves living in the home; perfect the best and least number of furniture items.

8. Fix it

From leaking taps to a broken bulb, make sure the minor repairs are taken care of. A lick of paint will freshen up the scuffs and scrapes in the woodwork. Basic maintenance work will help to ensure buyers don’t find any faults.

9. Warmth

Create warmth by preparing your home to suit the temperature of the day. If it’s cold, light a fire, turn on patio heaters and heating. If it’s hot, turn on fans or cooling systems. Make sure that the house is well ventilated and open the windows – let the sunshine in!

10. Set the scene

Kitchens are the heart of every home so a simple bowl of fruit (just one kind is plenty), a couple of cookbooks and a stylish appliance can make all the difference. Make sure that all the appliances are clean and sparkling – inside and out.


Take Advantage of the Inside Story Realty Difference….

  • No upfront marketing costs
  • We are open 7 days a week so your property will have the advantage of extended viewings
  • Properties are displayed in two offices covering all the Southern Highlands listings
  • Small personalised business = quality service
  • Our staff have lived in the area for many years and know the properties selling history and the local market well
  • Bowral Office is located at Milk Factory Gallery complex which opens the door for high tourist traffic and is a well-known landmark for local buyers
  • Our qualified database of potential buyers receive our property bulletin fortnightly

Get on board and experience the Inside Story Realty difference now.

Specialising in Buying, Selling and Lease of Southern Highlands Real Estate