• Mark & Penny Laughton

5 Tips to preparing a house for sale

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Preparing a home for sale can be a big task. After so many years living in the place, it can be hard to see the areas of appeal that will seal the deal for a buyer. Try to take a step back and see the property with fresh eyes – or ask a friend or your real estate agent to help you. Next, think about the sorts of people who may want to buy your house. Are they young families, or retirees? 

Once you understand your home’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they might appeal to, or put off, your audience of potential buyers, you can get to work preparing your property for sale. 

Here are five ways to create buyer appeal when selling your house.

Mark & Penny Laughton Flowers


Fix minor defects

Cracked tiles, peeling paint, faulty door handles and dripping taps are all minor defects that aren't expensive to fix. Even a fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards helping your property sell for the price you want. Simple steps like mowing your lawn, repainting fences and checking that paving slabs are free from weeds are great ways to boost street appeal and ensure your house makes the right kind of first impression.

Consider home staging

Think of home staging like a shopfront window. Retail stores use mannequins to display items to help shoppers picture themselves wearing the clothes or using the products. Similarly, home staging helps showcase the property in the best possible light and show off the property’s best qualities. By making the most of the space and décor available, you can help buyers picture themselves living in the property. A home staging company can craft an environment that’s stylish enough to make a statement while remaining simple enough to appeal to a wide range of tastes.  If you’re styling the place yourself, keep in mind that different things will appeal to different sorts of buyers. Check out our tips for dressing your home to impress different buyer markets.

Declutter and depersonalise

While family photos and a fridge covered in your kid’s art are part of what makes your house your home, buyers want to imagine their family living in the place – not yours. Depersonalising the house and removing unnecessary clutter will create a blank canvas for your buyer’s imagination. While it’s not always possible, a good rule of thumb is to aim to reduce the number of items in the house by around half. A great place to start can be hiring a skip bin. When it comes to decluttering, you’ll be surprised at how much stuff you find to throw away once you’ve got a skip bin’s worth of space to fill. As an added bonus, you’ll have fewer items to shift when it comes time to officially move out of the house. 

Focus on living areas

A home is where we live and make memories with our families. When preparing your house for sale, focus on key, functional living spaces where the new owners will spend most of their time, such as the kitchen, living room and, very important in Kiwi summers, the deck or backyard. The areas of focus might vary depending on the time of year you’re looking to sell. For example, an outdoor patio will look much more impressive in sunny February when filled with a BBQ and outdoor furniture. If you need to, borrow items from friends and family for the open home. A children’s swing set in the back garden might be the icing on the cake that turns a “maybe” buyer into the family who makes an offer. See how property owners Amy and Ewan turned their dated backyard into a functional outdoor space.

Small touches at open homes

Small touches can make a big impression at open homes. Smells evoke emotion, so the scent of brewing coffee, cookies in the oven or fresh bread can do wonders to help make a house feel like a home. Fresh flowers, a new welcome mat or bright fruit in a bowl in the kitchen are all inexpensive ways to help you paint a picture to impress potential buyers.

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