Preparing your property for sale

A quick internet search will show you lists of the things you can do to your home to get it ready for sale. We’ve collected some tips here for you.

Summary of important things to know
  • Think carefully about major renovations. You may not get your money back if you tackle big jobs like modernising the kitchen or bathroom before selling. Budget carefully for these if you decide to go ahead.

  • Most experts agree there are low-cost activities like decluttering, cleaning, touch-ups and repairs that can make a big difference when you come to present your home for sale.

  • Street appeal is important. Make sure the section is tidy and inviting.

  • Selling a property which is tenanted requires open communication and an understanding of everyone’s rights and responsibilities. 

IMAGE: Lawn mowing

Consider what to do to get the best return

Think carefully about major renovations – you may not get your money back if you tackle big jobs like modernising the kitchen or bathroom before selling.

Budget carefully if you decide to go ahead. A property valuer or agent may be able to help you decide which actions are likely to increase the value of the property. 


Removing the clutter will make your home look larger and more appealing. 

  • Start by removing everything you haven’t used or won’t need for a while.
  • Consider hiring a storage unit so you can remove surplus furniture and other items away from the house, or store items in cartons neatly in the garage.
  • Remember to declutter cupboards too – buyers will check storage during open homes. Tidy, organised cupboards imply that the rest of the house is well looked after. This is true of kitchen cupboards and drawers and the pantry too.
  • Use decluttering as an opportunity to sell or throw out items you don’t want to move to your next home.
  • Remove or replace chattels that you don’t want to sell before the first open home, for example, a favourite lightshade.

Deep clean

When your home is free of clutter and surplus furniture, it’s a good time for a deep clean.

  • Clean everything, everywhere.
  • Think about hiring a professional cleaning team to do this for you if you’re short of time.
  • Consider having the carpets professionally cleaned – this can make a big difference.
  • When the deep clean has been done, it will be easier to clean before each open home or showing.


Start thinking about the house objectively as a property for sale. This will help you remove yourself emotionally from your home and will help you see it as buyers do. Talk to your agent about who is likely to be interested in your property, and think about what will appeal to them.

  • Remove personal photos and items.
  • Consider having your home professionally staged, especially if your furniture is tired.
  • Think about painting over bold colours and dated wallpaper.
  • Attend open homes in your area and take a note of what works well and what doesn’t.

Street appeal

The house exterior and garden should be tidy and inviting – first impressions are important.

  • Keep lawns mowed, paths swept and free of moss and gardens weeded. Mulching the garden can be an instant improvement and will help manage weeds while your home is on the market.
  • Check that fences are in good condition and declutter the section.
  • Wash the house and any other buildings, including all windows.
  • Check that the front gate is clean, tidy and working well.
  • The letterbox should be clean and in good condition with clear numbering.
  • Have a look at your front door and consider a fresh coat of paint and a new doormat. Depending on the time of year, you may want to add a pot plant for colour.

Touch-ups and repairs

Most of us have a list of jobs around the home that haven’t been finished. Now is the time.

  • Fix any issues like leaks, damaged retaining walls and broken drains.
  • Make sure you have consent and compliance documentation for any changes you’ve made to the property.
  • Attend to things like dripping taps, cracked windows, holes in walls, tired paint, sticking doors and lightbulbs that need replacing.
  • Your agent will help you prioritise the tasks to tackle if you’re short of time and budget.
IMAGE: Paint

Inform your tenants

If you’re selling a property which is tenanted, it’s important you let the tenants know at the beginning of the process, so all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

  • You must advise the tenants in writing.
  • You and your real estate agent need permission from the tenant to access the house for photography, open homes or viewings.
  • You and your agent need permission from the tenant before including any of their possessions in marketing photos.
  • Tenants can set conditions about property access.

Tenancy Services has more information about selling a tenanted house here(external link).

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