KNOW YOUR MARKET
Think about who your buyer is likely to be at the outset. Factors such as price, suburb profile and house type will draw one group of potential buyers more than another. It also helps if you have a good gauge on the psychology of home buyers and the lifestyle they're after.
Location and lifestyle
This is the most important feature when homebuyers begin their search, says Greville Pabst, executive chairman of WBP Property Group. Buyers may pay a bit extra to be close to shops, cafes, public transport and schools. "Distance to family and friends is also significant," he says.
Consider how your home/location might suit a certain lifestyle, as well. Is it an apartment in a beachside location where buyers can enjoy an active lifestyle? Is it a regional location more suited to winding down? Or is it a townhouse near a busy arts precinct and medical centre, with the potential to attract down-sizers?
Land and value
The population boom is having an impact on decreasing lot sizes, but many homebuyers still put a large garden on their wish list. "In some cases, the land accounts for 70% of a property's total value," says Pabst. Remember: land appreciates and buildings depreciate.
Design and heritage features
The architectural style of your home can also have an impact on its price. "Many people value features like open fireplaces, decorative cornice work, rosettes and high ceilings, all of which adds character to a home and are hard to replace, so keep as much of the older characteristics as you can," says Pabst.
KNOW YOUR HOME’S WORTH
Do your research
Set a realistic price. Check out property listings, recent selling prices in your street or suburb, head out to auctions, or get detailed, useful information with a free NAB Property Insights Report.
"Visiting open houses (or auctions if they’re common in your local area), speaking to agents, and utilising property profiler reports will all help to inform you on the market," says Mark Browning, Head of Valuations, Customer Services at NAB. To be prepared when entering the market, get our tips on how to know your property's real value.
Watch your spend
Put a cap on your budget for repairs and renovations. A general rule of thumb for cosmetic renovations is no more than 10% of the property value, and 40% for any structural renovations. A kitchen or bathroom upgrade should be no more than 2%, says professional renovator Cherie Barber, of Renovating For Profit.
KNOW WHEN TO SELL
Grab the crowds
The buying market can ebb and flow with your house type. If you have a beach house, for example, summer will attract a lot of holiday-makers as potential buyers.
Know your season
The changing seasons will influence how you present your home. Consider what works best for each. Pay attention to the outdoors in spring when flowers are in bloom. Airy, breezy houses sell well in summer. Remember to bring lots of natural light into your home in winter.
"You should sell when it works for you," says Kylie Davis, head of marketing, Property Solutions & Content at CoreLogic. "Real estate sales is supply and demand. The market is flooded with houses in spring. When you have more choices, prices start to fall. If peak periods can be avoided, avoid them. You want your house to really stand out and invite interest and bids."
KNOW WHAT ADDS VALUE
Invest in street appeal
First impressions count. Repair front fences, re-tile pavers leading to the entry porch, spruce up your front garden, and give your façade a fresh lick of paint. Get tips for quick interior and street appeal enhancements.
Add more floor space
Functional floor plans and physical living spaces – like an extra bedroom – can add the most value to a property, says Pabst. If you're unsure, seek professional advice before you spend your money on changes that might not add any worthwhile value to your home.
Focus on kitchens and bathrooms
The kitchen and bathroom can sell a home, but they can also tend to date quickly, says Pabst. "A modern kitchen and the number of bathrooms can be a huge advantage when selling a property, and will influence its value," he says. "Keeping these areas up-to-date when selling can be quite costly, so make sure you target the right renovation style and materials for the buyer demographic in your area.
"Replace floor coverings and tiles, or sand and polish the existing boards," says Nick McKimm, Director at McKimm, a residential design practice in Victoria. "Change door faces rather than installing entirely new cabinetry. Look at putting in new benches made from cost-effective materials such as composite stones. New splashbacks and kitchen tiles also look good; tiles in neutral tones are often the way to go when selling to capture the biggest market.”
KNOW THE EXPERTS TO CALL
Call in tradespeople
Outsource repairs that are too difficult or require certifications to be done safely and properly, such as electrical, plumbing, re-plastering and landscaping.
Property stylists will showcase how spaces work to make your home appealing to a wide range of buyers. It's all about making your home stand out from the crowd. Home-stagers may charge for the initial consultation, then by the hour or room. Some, such as Fix Sell Pay, don't charge until you sell your home.
"Creating layouts and zones that showcase space and natural features should all be part of your property stylists' advice," says Sara Chamberlain, Director at The Real Estate Stylist. "None of these changes will require anything structural as stylists work with existing spaces and, in some cases, existing furniture.
"We recommended getting in touch with property stylists around two to three months out from your auction date so we can advise on layout, recommend what to throw away and provide quotes for furniture hire.
"Expect to pay between $500 and $3000 for a small apartment, and up to $10,000 for a four-bedroom home. The return on investment we typically see is at least double what you pay upfront, if not five times more.”
Have a go at it yourself
Save costs on simple things you can do yourself, such as decluttering, cleaning and basic paint and gardening jobs. See how to get your property ready with easy fixes and flourishes.
KNOW YOUR INTERIM TO-DOs
Schedule open for inspections (OFIs)
These can be rostered OFIs with your agent – usually on weekends, or by appointment. If you don't have time on weekends, do your best to schedule one to two open houses during the week.
Maintain your home-staging
Once the home has been staged, get it professionally photographed for marketing. Keep your presentation looking clean, neat and organised. "We recommend the use of throw rugs on sofas to protect the fabrics and display furniture. You should also pack away hired cushions and breakables to avoid damage, and use only one bathroom if possible to minimise bathroom cleaning," says Chamberlain.
Consider moving out
If you have the option, move out while your home is on the market. It'll make it a lot easier for agents to access and present your home during OFIs.
"We ask our vendors to move out of the property during the campaign to ensure inspections can occur seamlessly at all times," says Chamberlain. "Consider sending pets away for a few weeks to limit damage, fur shedding and smells."
Keep tabs on surrounding listings and sales
Until your home is sold, stay on top of any new listings that appear in your street that could present competition. In particular, you should keep an eye on what homes in the area are selling for – and switch sales tactics if necessary.