How to get your house ready for sale

Shane Beaumont , WA

As WA’s most recommended agent for the past three years Shane does it all, working across all property types, areas, and values. It gives him a great perspective across the whole market which he’s kindly sharing with us.


You have three aims getting your house ready for sale. First, make a big impact in your first 14 days on the market. Second, get as many of those people through to inspect as possible. Third, get an emotional response (and an emotional offer). Let’s break down how we make that happen. 


You’re trying to get an emotional price for your property

Good planning makes an easy process

Planning is everything. Once you’ve read this Masterclass you’ll see you should be starting the process of selling 3-4 months out from when you want to hit the market. That’s how long it takes to plan and prepare properly. 


When you call an agent for an appraisal, people think the price conversation is most important. I think the agent’s perspective on timing and what you need to do to prepare the property is where you should really focus.


You get one crack at putting your property on the market. Property data is everywhere now and buyers have long memories, if you’re fixing things four weeks into a campaign, adjusting the price or taking it off market buyers will see it and use it against you.


Put it another way, it’s easy to put a property on the market, you can be online the day after taking photos. It’s what happens before that moment where you have most control. Have the end point in sight right from the start.


Good preparation and process can make a 3-5%, even a 10% difference to price. That’s the difference you get finding a bigger pool of buyers, presenting it in the best way and making it available to them.

Can it be done?

If you’re committed to selling and want to have your property on the market at a certain point, look at the things that need to be started and finished in that time, and prioritise them according to your home’s negative points.


A property is sometimes like an onion, there’s lots of layers and you’ll start lots of tasks. You need to have a laser like focus on those priority items. If you can’t finish them in the time then seriously consider if you should be starting.


Gardens can take a while and decluttering takes time, maybe you’ll want to take some leave to do it, it’s all part of the planning process.


If you do need to go to market quickly no problem but do as much planning as you can so you know what’s coming up, and, if it means taking a bit longer to get the right advice – do it, it will help your outcome.

Who is the buyer?

This is really important with timing. If it’s currently a rental property with a lease of more than 6 months and your most likely buyer is an owner/occupier, you’re potentially taking  out your biggest buyer. This is the group that would typically pay a premium, and  they couldn’t move into the property even if they wanted to! 


Go to market at the end of the lease, around three months out so you have all options available, a vacant possession for an owner/occupier, an investor or even keep the same tenants. 


Think who your buyer is and understand their situation so you’re maximising your potential audience and minimising who you’re excluding.

First appearances count

This isn’t just about getting good photos. The first thing most genuine buyers do after they’ve seen a property online is drive past. 


So make sure that physical experience is as good as your photos. Fresh mulch, nice green grass, weeds removed from paving, it all goes a long way. 


These things might seem really basic but when you’re trying to get an emotional price for your property you want them to fall in love with it, not think gee that’s a lot of work to bring that back!

Eliminate the simple negatives

The property with the least negatives is often the one that gets the nod. It’s funny, but it’s so often true.


Small cracks, water damage, leaks, things not working (like lights)….get them fixed! These things cast a bit of doubt in a buyer that the property hasn’t been well looked after or maintained.


If a buyer is viewing the property with loved ones — other family or a parent — you’ll often see the buyer focussed on how great the pool area is or how they can’t wait to entertain. But the gatekeepers see the negatives and it’s when they get home that they come up, and it will affect price. They might still buy, but they’ll use those things against you. You have to protect your price.


Fresh paint, curtains and floorings go a long way if you can afford to do it. They make a place look fresh and loved. They’re also the most frequent negatives raised, and in my experience will always pay for themselves. If you can’t afford them it’s worth getting a quote. Buyers will really bump up costs to use against you in negotiations so having quotes gives you proof and protects you. Again, good preparation, it costs nothing to get quotes.

Simple is smart

Be as minimalist as possible in your presentation if you can.  So many buyers, especially younger buyers, are not experienced enough to see beyond the clutter or strong themes in a home.


Take out things that might remind buyers of grandma’s home like fridge magnets, lace curtains and your spoon collection.


Have it as spacious as possible to help them imagine how they could live there.  Clutter makes a space look smaller, especially in photos, so it will lower the number of people you get to inspection.

Consider virtual furniture

Styling is great if you can, but it isn’t a cheap exercise and can cost around $5k a month. 


Virtual furniture has come a long way recently. At around $77 per photo it can help make a vacant home look great and help buyers see the flow of the home and how rooms could be used; a study, a separate living area, a small dining area for example.


Of course you need to manage your buyers expectations to some extent. However, when they go to the property you can refer to the photos to remind them of the uses and the look, and imagine themselves living there.

One last thing

Wherever you are in Australia, the importance of seasonality is really overstated these days. It’s a real estate myth that’s now probably limited to holiday properties. 


It used to be important when you had to throw the kids in the car and make a day of going round to view properties, but now people are buying for 3, 5, 7 years, they’re not getting held back by season. 


If you’ve sold your home and are about to be homeless in 30 days you’ll be looking for a place whether it’s raining or it’s a 40 degree day!

The Selling Master Class