How Far Should You Go When Preparing A Property For Sale?

Property May 12, 2022

12 min read

preparing your property for sale
preparing your property for sale

When it comes to preparing your property for sale, there is really no limit as to how much work you can do. From hiring in a stylist and furniture, through to a full renovation. Ultimately, you need to ensure you present the property in its best light, without overspending and losing money in the process.

With shifting market conditions and different suburb property profiles, preparing your home for sale can be daunting. Every property has something different to offer a prospective buyer. From the location of the property, to the potential for future improvement and of course, to the award winning design. Each of these assets can be highlighted to potential buyers in the sale campaign. This is why a targeted preparation strategy is required for getting the best results come auction day.

There are many avenues of improvement that can be undertaken to increase the appeal and value of your home to prospective buyers. The aim is for buyers to be able to imagine how they would live in the space and leave wanting to purchase the property.

Some properties will benefit from a big-budget architectural transformation and others, a modest cosmetic renovation of the home’s bathrooms and kitchen without the need for costly permits or construction. 

The appeal of most properties however can be substantially enhanced with a simple tidy up and clever styling or staging that are low impact, affordable. This allows the potential buyers to see the home’s full potential. 

Which brings us back to the main question: How far should you go when preparing your property for sale?

At a minimum, we highly recommend you consider the following DIY enhancements to your home when preparing your property for sale. 

The Top 6 DIY Enhancements 

1. Declutter: When preparing the home for sale, the classic “less is more” approach is critical. Only display household items that are necessary or emotive so the buyer can imagine how they might live in the space. Your personal family photographs, toaster and knives for example need not be on display for the public! Decluttering helps to open up the rooms and create a greater perception of space. This also applies to all passage and hallways which must be left clear and accessible, creating flow and circulation.

2. Paint: A fresh coat of paint will rejuvenate a tired property, making it feel open, fresh and bright.  Choose a neutral “crowd pleasing” palette of whites and soft-greys for broad market appeal. 

3. Curb Appeal: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is not applicable when it comes to preparing a home for sale. First impressions are crucial! If your home presents beautifully from the facade with clean windows, a tidy garden and path, plants and a welcoming mat, buyers will be sure to have an emotional response enticing them inside. 

4. Window Treatments and soft furnishings: Replace dated, discoloured or broken window treatments with simple blinds, shutters or soft linen curtains to add texture and the option for privacy while allowing natural light to fill the room. We highly recommend AB Interiors to guide you through this process. 

Rugs, cushions and throws will add layers of tactile warmth to your home making it feel cosy.  These interchangeable textiles can be used to inject colour and personality into a space or even make a bold statement. However be cautious to select styles that won’t polarise your target market. 

5. Art: Appropriately sized and correctly hung artwork instantly adds interest and grandeur into a space offering a dynamic focal point. Purchasing original artwork is a significant investment. There are some excellent services available to lease artwork for the duration of your sale campaign.

6. Greenery: Indoor plants and florals are proven to make a home feel welcoming and pleasant. They offer a sense of wellness, provide scale in property photography and integrate the landscaping and nature with the home’s interior. 

Going The Extra Mile: Staging & Styling

What is property styling or staging?

Sometimes known as “staging”, property styling is about dressing each room (or zone) of the property to demonstrate the space’s full potential to a prospective buyer, showcasing the area minus all of the personal effects. Imagine your “storage room” cleverly staged for sale as a functional home office. Or the kids play area in the kitchen reimagined as a charming breakfast bar, complete with stools, crockery and designer coffee machine. 

Styling is also used to enhance a home’s special features. For example, a bay window may be dressed with seating cushions and a book, or an antique fireplace hearth adorned with candles and a striking painting. 

Can I style the property myself?

Unless you already own the perfect furniture and homewares to style your home, which very few of us do, it may very well be worth engaging a professional stylist like the team at Two Style. Stylists have access to a wide range of decorative objects, furniture, artworks and textiles in different styles and for varying budgets. The professionals are objective and see your property through a different perspective, identifying how to best showcase it to buyers. 

Professional stylists will ensure you have the right size furniture which can dramatically improve a sense of space. They also have an expert eye and experience in how to strike that perfect and often difficult to achieve balance between functionality and character. 

If you have tenants in a property who are vacating, or you yourself are leaving a property, then adding furniture and decorative items are going to help prospective buyers see how the property becomes a home. Compare this to furniture owned by a tenant (over which you have no control) or empty rooms – which can backfire and make the place look much smaller in photos without the benefit of a bed or dresser to show scale.

What does professional styling cost?

This completely depends on the scale of the property and its relative aesthetic requirements. Most prices start around the $3,000 mark for basics and can go on up to $30k and above. Most houses will require a styling budget of approximately $5,000.

Is it worth the investment?

Agents and advocates agree that appropriate staging for the property type and market is well worth the investment. While there isn’t one simple mathematical formula to quantify the spend vs. return, experience shows it increases the appeal to prospective buyers, boosts the final sale price and may also reduce the time the property stays on the market. The key is to ensure you are not over or under spending. Your advocate and agent can guide you through these decisions. 

Where to start when preparing your property for sale?

Start with an experienced and objective Vendor’s Advocate who understands your property type and target market. A vendor’s advocate is committed to doing all that is necessary to get you the highest sale price and will therefore give you the best guidance on a preparation strategy to ensure a successful selling campaign. 

We also recommend speaking with a Vendor’s Advocate before you engage an agent. Part of the work we do is to ensure you are working with the right agent to make the most of your sale. Not all agents are equal in terms of skill and access to quality buyers.

At Entourage we begin this process with a detailed walk-through of your property determining our recommendations for any work to be done and whether professional staging/styling should be considered. Should work need to be done, we can coordinate trades for you and ensure the administrative elements are taken care of such as liaising with your conveyancer for contract preparation.

The best part is that our vendor advocacy service is essentially at no cost to you as we share the commission paid to the agent. 

Image courtesy of Two Style Property