Step by step process on getting your house market ready


Whether you selling your are property privately or through an agent, it is essential that you are prepared to make some short term sacrifices for this 6-8 week period. When you take away the notion of being comfortable you will be better prepared to make the best decisions about how to present your house.

The team at utterDECLUTTER sat down with No Agent Property to give them the low down. “It may make you $5,000, $10,000 or even $100,000 more. And if you don’t give it everything you have you will likely regret it”.

So what does this mean? It means making the best decisions about what stays in the house and what goes. The article below, prepared by utterDECLUTTER, will outline detailed instructions on how to prepare your house for sale.

Declutter & remove excess items

Buyers will open every cupboard in your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom during the inspection so it’s best to declutter and organise everything so that it looks spacious and ordered. Take the chance to declutter and cull your belongings before moving out so that you can start fresh when you move into the new house.

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Decorating for living is very different than for selling. When you decorate your home you often put extra furniture and decorations into a room so that it feels cosy, or because we have special artefacts we want to showcase.

However when you are selling you want buyers to feel like there is lots of space to walk around, and that it is bright and airy. If you overfill the walls with art and knick knacks it can feel heavy or claustrophobic because there is nowhere for your eyes to rest.

Create 3 piles – donate, toss and store. Pack up anything you’re not going to need until you move into the next house such as photo albums, memorabilia, out of season clothing etc. This will help the cupboards and rooms feel spacious.

Remove Personal belongings

Part of making a house a home is all of the family photos and personal ornaments decorating the surfaces and walls. However when it comes time to sell you need to create a blank canvas so that the buyers feel at ease in the home and can start planning their own future there.
Try removing the following to get you started:

  • Family photos
  • Wedding/photo albums
  • Kids artwork
  • Embroidered/crochet artwork
  • Letters spelling out names on doors or above beds
  • Family crests/plates
  • Collectables (figurines, clocks, stuffed animals etc)
  • Signs of a pet (people may think of smell/damage)

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Consider storage

Not every home will need items stored during the sale campaign. From our experience people living in the city who are trying to make their house stand out against all the other competition may want to consider it more seriously. Here are some examples to get you thinking.

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Pam & Alan’s Story

Pam and Alan were selling their family home for a sea change. It was a pokey 3 bedroom home with limited built-in storage. Therefore they were using one entire room as a wardrobe with a portable robe systems. However when it came time to sell they reduced their clothing to a minimum so they could style this room as a bedroom. This meant only using a quarter of their clothes while the rest went into storage. But the result was their house looked spacious instead of drawing attention to the fact that their wasn’t enough internal storage.  

Steve & Karin’s Story

Steve and Karin were selling their apartment to move into a house with more space for their growing family. They had 2 children squished into 1 room with lots of excess furniture in the room to store all of the children’s toys and books. However for the sale they wanted the room to look spacious by storing the bunks and replacing them with a double bed and removing all of the excess furniture. The result was the buyers could easily see how a double bed would fit into the room.

Lyn & Bob’s Story

Lyn and Bob have a generous family home that they are selling so they can downsize and spend more time having fun and less time taking care of the house. The home is full of antique furniture that they may want to keep in their new place but they’re not sure what it will look like. So instead of making a haste decision to sell it all they are going to store it during the campaign and replace it with some modern looking hire furniture that will appeal to the younger families wanting to buy their home.

Create a neutral palette

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To appeal to multiple buyers it is best to keep your home neutral. You don’t want to leave a hint of distaste or concern about your home. In order to do this you should focus on keeping your palette neutral and avoiding strong themes.

For example if a buyer has two similar houses they want to buy, but one had a red entry wall that felt a bit intense. Without even knowing they are doing it the buyers would start talking themselves into reasons to pick the other house.

Street appeal

The old favourite that we can’t escape. The appearance of your facade and front yard communicates to potential buyers about how much care is taken of the home. There are so many clues to buyers that we sometimes can’t see ourselves because we’re so familiar with the home. Such as cracks, mould, discolouration, peeling paint, chipped timber, weeds, mismatched plants or overgrown gardens. Make sure you consider pressure washing, repairs, painting and gardening in this primary area. It will be money well spent.

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1. Neatness

  • Remove all weeds
  • Prune trees and hedges
  • Mow the lawn and whipper snip the edges
  • Ensure there is edging around all garden beds
  • Mulch around plants
  • Create clean lines wherever possible in the garden
  • Remove dead branches off trees

2. Quality/condition

  • Clean mould off fences and external walls
  • Repaint chipped paint
  • Fill holes in driveway
  • Replace bricks that have fallen out
  • Make sure the letterbox stands up straight
  • Clean eaves
  • Pressure wash pavers and pathways
  • Remove faulty flyscreens

3. Design

  • Match the planting to the architecture – consider how a cottage might use different plants to a modern house
  • Consider using unique and interesting house numbers or letterboxes
  • Create a sense of entry with whatever suits your home – perhaps use planting, pathways, fences or pergolas.

Minor repairs make all the difference

While some of the above big areas are important, it is equally important for you to assess and fix the seemingly small things around your home. Most of these little changes won’t cost you a lot of money but will dramatically freshen up your home.

repair your house for sale

  • Replace the cover plates for powerpoints and light switches
  • Replace door handles
  • Replace light fittings
  • Regrout tiles
  • Remove unattractive window coverings
  • Make sure all doors can open and close easily

Conduct an inspection

We suggest doing a walk through of your home, looking at every door, window, ceiling, cupboard, floor, light, switch, handle etc. Inspect the home with the aim of giving it a score 10/10, what would you need to fix? Once you have your list drawn up, score the items from most obvious to least obvious and focus your time, money and energy on the top few ones.

Make an effort to present properly at each open inspection

Owners focus so much time and money preparing a home for the photoshoot but sometimes forget the next step. After all that effort it would be disappointing to lose interest or price by not showcasing the home properly during each inspection.

Take a couple of hours the morning of your open inspection to clear the clutter, make the beds and mow the lawns. It’s only for 4 weeks and could make all the difference. Your aim should be to make it look like the photoshoot for each open inspection.

Kitchen renovation before sale

Some nice touches:

  • Make the beds
  • Remove all the clutter from bedrooms
  • Remove bathmat, shampoo, soap, wet towels etc from bathrooms and have only neat clean, matching and dry towels hanging up. Light a candle and leave on vanity.
  • Dry the shower screen and ensure no water or streaks
  • Clean toilet and replace with a full roll of toilet paper
  • Clean and pack away from every surface of the kitchen, including no dirty dishes drying and remove sink drying rack. Wipe the window sill, microwave door, fridge fingerprints, stainless steel dishwashers etc.
  • Put kitchen appliances away and only leave out one feature eg coffee machine
  • Sweep/vacuum the floors
  • Remove the pets bed and food
  • Open lots of windows
  • Turn on all the lights
  • Wipe dust off indoor plants and/or spritz with water
  • Remove clutter from entry and all rooms
  • Light a candle for warmth and scent
  • Have nice music playing in the background to create ambience
  • Sweep the verandah
  • Mow the lawn
  • Blow away excess leaves



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