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5 things to do before listing your home for sale

By Geoff Smith

Over my 25+ years in real estate, I’ve had the privilege of working with a great deal of homeowners in Mosman and across the Lower North Shore, and if there is one thing that sellers are surprised by, it’s the realisation that 80% of selling a home is in the preparation phase that comes before you advertise your property for sale. So, whether you want to sell your home next week or next year, there are a few crucial steps you need to take to make sure your home is being presented at its absolute best when it is time to sell.

Plan ahead

The first and most important step in preparing your home for sale is to plan ahead and start seeking advice as early as you can prior to selling your home. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but for most people, your home is your most valuable tax-free asset and with the exposure and digital footprint properties are creating online these days, you really only get one chance to do it properly.

I often work with homeowners in Mosman and the Lower North Shore that aren’t quite ready to sell but are looking for advice on the market and to gauge their home’s value. While valuing their home, I can identify areas they can work on now that could improve the value of their home and make sure it’s presented in a way that will appeal to the buyers we are currently working with in the area. We have hundreds of buyers for this area on our database, which means we’re able to derive valuable insights to better serve both buyers and sellers. Planning ahead and getting the right advice ensures a win-win. Which leads me to my next point…

Get to know your buyer

Speak with a local agent that you trust and who specialises in the area to get an understanding of the profile of the buyer best suited to your home. Once you have a buyer profile (and I don’t just mean ‘a family’ or ‘a retired couple’, this is too broad) you can start to look at your home through the lens of these buyers. As a seller, you need to understand what improvements you can make that will create value for the right buyer – what will serve their needs and what won’t.

My team and I were working with an owner just recently who came to me for advice on whether to replace their kitchen in the hopes of increasing the value of their home. In this instance, they were going to keep the same layout and positioning, but when we considered what the prospective purchaser would be looking for, updating the kitchen in the same layout wasn’t the right decision. By having these conversations early and taking the time to understand the buyer, as a homeowner you can avoid investing in something that ultimately won’t serve the buyer, nor achieve a higher sale price.

Do your research

Everyone has heard the saying knowledge is power, and there’s nothing more important when it comes to selling property. Have your home inspected by independent property experts to bring any hidden issues to light and give yourself the opportunity to rectify them prior to going to market. Are there any foundational issues? Any prior or existing pest damage? Does the pool comply under council regulations? Even if you choose not to act on anything that may arise, this transparency allows your agent to be on the front foot and manage the sale effectively. Integrity and transparency take any grey areas out of the sales process and allow for the right negotiation points when it comes time for a buyer to sign on the dotted line.

Property styling

Property styling is a valuable tool, but not all properties need full professional styling. It’s a good idea to get a property stylist to advise on the level of styling required to highlight the areas of your home that will appeal to the intended buyer and how they will use the space. Your agent can also provide you with an understanding of the value of your home with and without the styling to help you determine whether the investment will ultimately achieve your goal of selling or improving the value of the home.

Below are some before and after photos of a home in Hopetoun Avenue, Mosman that we had professionally styled prior to sale.

Decluttering & rearranging

My team and I work with many homeowners where decluttering, rearranging of existing furniture or reviewing how a room is presented has achieved a good result. Recently we worked with the owners of a property in Mosman who had only ever used a particular room of their home as a living room and a small breakfast area in the kitchen as their dining area. The buyer profile told us that the purchaser was an entertainer, so to improve the appeal for these buyers, we knew a formal dining area would increase the liveability, and therefore the value, of the home for them. The living room had incredible views and proportions that meant it could be used for both the living and dining, so we made some minor adjustments to how the room was set up which gave the home greater market appeal.

Although the on-market process is crucial to selling your home (I’ll talk about this more in my next article), it’s the preparation phase before going to market where you can build the most value into your home. Take the time to do your research and speak to the experts. Whether you have one month or one year up your sleeve, I’m more than happy to have a chat and help you work out what’s going to make a prospective buyer really appreciate the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

Speak to Geoff about your plans to buy and sell this year.

Geoff Smith, Director
Ray White Lower North Shore Group
0418 643 923

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