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10 steps to maximise your house sale price in 2013

By Ben Faulks

It might feel like a long way away, but if you’re thinking of selling in early 2013 you need to start planning your sale NOW! Check out our 10 step plan to ensure you get the highest possible price for your home:

1.       Select your real estate agent

The first step to getting your property ready for a New Year’s sales campaign is to find a real estate agent to represent the home for sale. A good agent will add value in the early stage of your planning by consulting on what preparations you need to undertake to get the property ready for sale, and they will also provide a marketing schedule so you can plan when you are going to launch your sales campaign.

Make sure you choose an agent who understands your property’s good points and has the skills and commitment to market them with enthusiasm, and also ask the agent to demonstrate how they would handle a negotiation – after all, this is what they get paid to do.

Overall you should choose an agent that has high levels of energy, market knowledge of the local area and a proven track record. You also need to have good rapport with your real estate agent so that you will have a positive working relationship.

DEADLINE: If possible, aim to appoint your Agent by 30 November. Click here to arrange for an agent to contact you directly

2.       Order your building report

In the ACT it is compulsory to have a building and pest report completed for your property before the home can be marketed for sale. The building report is made up of four separate areas, being the physical building inspection, a pest report, an EER report and a compliance report which identifies any unapproved structures at the property.

Part of your building report is the building file that ACT Planning (ACTPLA) holds on file for your property. ACTPLA take a minimum of 5 days to make this available, so giving the inspector plenty of time to order the building file – even if they don’t actually come and complete the inspection until a bit further down the track – is an important early step.

Your agent will be able to recommend an experienced building inspector for you.

DEADLINE: 7th December

3.       Choose your solicitor

Having a solicitor who is a good communicator prepare your contract for sale can make a big difference to your sales campaign. Typically you don’t realise their value until something goes wrong or your property has gone under offer and you are anxiously waiting for it to reach exchange.

Your solicitor will also order all the relevant searches associated with your property, and as this can take time it is always advisable to appoint them early on.

Your agent will be able to recommend a solicitor for you to consider working with.

DEADLINE: 7th December

4.       Have a plan

Preparing a house for sale can be stressful process – particularly if you don’t have a plan of attack. Start your planning with the following process:

  • Ask yourself: Who is your most likely buyer? What a young professional couple is looking for is unlikely to be the same as that which appeals to a growing family
  • Ask your real estate agent who is most likely to be attracted to your home and seek their advice on how best to present the property to appeal to that audience
  • Try to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Be critical and decide what you would want to see if you were coming through the home as a buyer
  • Make a list of what needs doing and mark it in order of priority. Things like adding mulch to garden beds and painting is best done in the lead up to your first inspection, whilst repairs and maintenance are better tackled early on

DEADLINE: 15th December so you have time to get on with any odd jobs over the Christmas break

5.       Remove personal effects or “de-clutter”

Home buyers are looking for a place where they can imagine themselves being happy and proud to call home. So, when you come to sell your home, your job is to ensure that nothing gets in the way of your home connecting with potential buyers – you need to leave room for buyers to visualise themselves in your home.

Start by clearing your property of anything that isn’t absolutely essential to the functioning or the aesthetic attraction of a room. Clean out and tidy storage cupboards. Cull pictures, knick-knacks, junk and remove any ornaments that are too personal. Ask a friend with a discerning eye to help you be ruthless about de-cluttering your home for sale.

DEADLINE: Start this process NOW, as it can take longer than you think

6.       Make cosmetic changes that will enhance your home’s appeal

This is all about getting maximum bang for your buck rather than spending money to make everything look and feel perfect. If you have floorboards consider a sand and polish so they come up like new. Replace tired cabinet doors and door handles in the kitchen and bathroom for an inexpensive and worthwhile lift. Re-grouting bathroom and kitchen tiles can make old tiles look new again and setting up an outdoor entertaining area (even if it means buying or hiring some new furniture) has the potential to add money to your sale price.

As a general rule, leave large scale improvements and major renovations to the new owners.

DEADLINE: 5th January

7.       First Impressions count

Critically consider the first impression that buyers are going to get when they walk into your home. Tidy or landscape the front yard, paint the fence and gate, and ensure the house is clearly numbered. Make sure the facade of the house is in good condition. This can include cleaning the windows, front porch, gutters or even hiring a high pressure cleaner to give the exterior walls, front path, fence and woodwork an inviting feel.

DEADLINE: 3rd January

8.       Paint

A coat of paint can freshen up both the interior and exterior of a home – and can add considerable value to the sale price of your home. Stick to neutral colours and ensure the paint job looks professional – any holes or cracks need to be patched or repaired prior to painting, and there should be a consistent flow or theme throughout the house.

DEADLINE: 10th January

9.       Photography and Presentation

When it comes to marketing, photographs can be the most important element – many buyers will judge your property within seconds of looking at the photos, and if they’re not excited by what they see they’ll move onto the next house.

The professional photographer your agent engages to shoot your home will also be able to provide you with some useful tips and guidance, but sometimes less is more – that 4th bedroom or 2nd toilet doesn’t always come up the best on screen and is best left for people to experience once they get to the property and fall in love with the good points of your home.

DEADLINE: 10th January

10.   Price your property appropriately

Buyers today are armed with lots of information on past sales prices, and make a decision based on what represents ‘good value’ within seconds of seeing a property advertised. To ensure you achieve the maximum sales price for your home, list your home at a price that is likely to target the right buyers. Too high and you’re narrowing your potential buyer pool, too low and you’re only going to get the opportunistic bargain hunters.

You need to start doing market research now – attend open homes in your local area and talk to your agent about which homes buyers are likely to compare to yours. The longer a property stay on the market the more buyers start to question what is wrong with it, and a home which is well-priced should sell within 3-4 weeks of marketing.

Thinking of selling in early 2013? Click here to order your free market appraisal and receive a personalised marketing plan for your property.

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