Top Tips for Preparing a Home For Sale

Getting a house ready for sale is a time-consuming job, but it’s nowhere near impossible – that is, if you follow the right rules and guidelines for keeping it up to scratch.

The Sydney property market has a lot of competition at the moment, which means that you’ll be get a much better selling price with a little work. Buyers are prepared to pay premium for a decent property! Keeping a few of these tips in mind, sourced directly from local experts, will ensure that you get the best deal for yourself at sale.


“If you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s always best to give your house a fresh coat of paint to really brighten the place up.

Always stick to neutral tones throughout, as this provides a blank canvas for all interested parties, and having it neutral means that people won’t be turned off by strong colours.

Some great neutral tones to use are Dulux ‘natural white’ on your walls, and Dulux ‘natural white half’ on your trims.

Buyers are quite fickle, and the littlest thing, like an unappealing colour or a messy garden can be the difference between selling and passing in at auction.”

Mr Paint

We all have inherent quirks and preferences for colour. For some people, red can be passionate, romantic, and rich, whereas for others, it represents anger and negativity. Painting a house is foremost about evocation; the ability to elicit the right response at the right time.

However, remember that this isn’t a house for you, it’s a house for the buyer. On top of potentially evoking negative emotions, there’s nothing more offputting than a house which is clearly defined by the previous owner.

Sticking to neutral colours specifically when sprucing for selling works two-fold. You might not get a strong emotional response from some, but you won’t turn off a significant portion of your buyers. On top of that, and the real meat of the matter – people often strive to make a new house ‘theirs’ with a new coat of paint regardless, and a buyer who envisions a colour scheme will probably translate that over to repainting.

Sticking with neutrals means that your house feels like a new house, rather than your house. After all, it’s not going to be yours for long.

Overall, with this in mind, it might seem like a waste of effort to do the painting in the first place. It’s important at this point to note that ‘street appeal’ is one of the biggest factors in determining the future worth of a sold property.

Street appeal simply translates to how good a house looks on the first impression, and how beautiful it seems passing by it. Painting, a front yard, fixtures, lighting, and overall atmosphere contribute massively to this, and neglecting the paint job and letting it fall into disarray is a surefire way to plummet your sale price.

Painting a house isn’t expensive, especially since it doesn’t require any structural implementation or excavation. Outside of refitting, it’s one of the moves a seller can make in getting a major reward for a little bit of time and effort.


“The best advice from a plumbing point of view to ensure you get the best value for your home, is:

  • Making sure water colour is correct, and that brown rust isn’t developing in the water supply or hot water tank.
  • Making sure all drainage runs down smoothly with no unusual noises as the water drains away, e.g gargling noises.
  • Testing all hot water outlets and making sure they below 50 degrees, to apply with Australian standard.
  • Testing all taps for any drips, leaks, or broken rubber seals.
  • Conducting a gas and water test, ensuring all correct pressure is right when needed, to help all appliances work correctly.”

Master Flush Plumbing

In stark contrast to your paint job, plumbing is a subtle difference when prepping a home for sale. It won’t necessarily change the entire look or feel of the home, and it’s a thankless job… right up until it’s not done.

People don’t really notice plumbing when it works, for obvious reasons, but they can spot subpar plumbing a mile off. Many a sale has been lost due to obviously grimy, dripping, lime-crusted fixtures giving an unsightly air to the bathroom or kitchen.

There are two main areas for your plumbing: general bathroom plumbing, and the kitchen. Amazingly enough, a well maintained and fitted kitchen is probably the largest increase to property worth that you can get for your money, surpassing even the benefits of street appeal, and as such, the interiors and plumbing should never be neglected.

Even if you don’t plan to refurbish, there’s a minimum amount of effort that you’re going to need to put in simply for liability’s sake. Plumbing that’s fallen under disrepair is a common issue in houses; as we mentioned earlier, nobody notices it until it stops working. This means that when selling a house, people often accidentally leave behind a whole host of sudden repair costs and issues that they might be liable to cover outside of their full control.

That’s why it’s important to keep everything dutifully up to Australian safety standards, as well as maintaining the overall look of the house. Remember that it won’t matter how pretty things look if it’s only a thin veneer, and nothing else is working.

Do a comprehensive check of all rooms that rely upon plumbing to function, especially if you’re pairing it with a kitchen or bathroom refurbishment (another great way to add value to a house).

Pressure washing

“Pressure washing provides the largest result versus cost in my opinion. It is also low risk, as you are not trying to select a neutral style or taste for a potential buyer. It is always recommended to hire a professional to do this.

Having your gardens, gutters and pathways cleared of debris and pruned back will make the land look bigger, and save the potential buyer from the nagging thought of needing to do all that work themselves.

Another low risk item is to have the home professionally cleaned. It is a low cost item and offers a little lift for the home. It will also leave the potential buyer with a much more positive view of your home, even if it is unrenovated.”

Foreshore Group

Cleaning your property up as much as possible is just common sense, but it doesn’t stop with a good vacuuming and brush. Hiring a pressure washer is a great low-cost, simple, and inoffensive way to add perceived value to a place.

A lot of places have a ‘broom clean’ requirement for leaving sellers, and many contracts have a 48 hour inspection period for large amounts of grime or other unsightly remains that may have been previously covered by the previous occupants. This is the bare minimum required to clean, but much like a fresh coat of paint revitalises a property, so does a good scrubbing.

People don’t always notice the sheer amount of grime that goes into their pavers, walkways, and driveways. Stone absorbs moisture, sits in every automobile spill or stain, and has constant dirt, plants, and animals on it – over time, it becomes a lot less nice looking, and discolours significantly.

Blasting a ‘clean’ surface with a pressure hose can make you re-think your perception of your own driveway. Unless the property has been recently constructed (within the last five years or so), there’s bound to be some significant discolouring and ingrained filth in the stone; you’ll see it change colour and pattern before your very eyes!

Pressure washing fulfills a very similar role to painting your house, and while not as illustrious, it can be done in a few hours or less for a fraction of the price. It improves your overall street appeal for next to no effort, which as we’ve said is one of the largest draws for any buyer.

Pressure washers are extremely expensive to buy, but if you’re not lucky enough to have a friend with one you can rent a model for anywhere between $70 – $150 across Sydney.


“When thinking about selling, one thing we’d recommend a client do is to look at energy efficient options for their home. This is a big selling point for a potential buyer. Something as simple as changing your lighting to LED means lower energy bills for the new owner’s lighting.

It also means they save on globe costs and save their own time changing light bulbs. This is often an even bigger selling point because these days people’s time can be even more important than their money.

LED lighting has become a lot more affordable nowadays, and at Glenco, the more LED lights you change over, the cheaper your job becomes! There are also additional safety benefits to LED lighting, as they emit a lower amount of heat, and don’t contain any mercury. This might be an important point for a potential buyer with young kids.”

Glenco Electrical Services

There are multiple important components to think upon when it comes to touching up your home electricity, some of which are aesthetic, and some practical.

Firstly, if your house isn’t a relatively new building, you might want to look into refurbishing your lights. As any photographer worth their salt can attest to, poor lighting can make the most beautiful object look terrible and decrepit. While sticking some good lights on a dump won’t make it seem like a mansion, it’ll allow people to see the good points of your home (and be able to see in general).

LED lighting, as outlined above, is a great high-visibility choice for your front door. It’s energy-efficient, which means that you’ll simultaneously advertise to customers that you’ve put effort into it, and are environmentally conscious. Even if you’re not particularly green, the added savings translate over regardless – there’s no real downside to using them, especially since they do away with a few issues caused by ugly yellowing lights.

Outside lighting for your front yard and door improves the nighttime street appeal, which is vital (if sometimes hard to highlight during daytime inspections), but will also improve the first impression of the interior, particularly in smaller rooms.

Small rooms with harsh, old lights can seem oppressive, overly harsh, and make the room akin to walking through a gas attack. LED lights will improve this dramatically, while also fitting in better with many paint choices; yellowing light on a green or ochre background wall is not a pleasant combination.

Small fixes for a potential price bonus

If you make the effort and take the time to conduct a proper inspection on your home and think about any small improvements that could be made, you could find yourself pleasantly surprised when it comes to auction day. Although it’s hard to take a step back and look at your house through the eyes of a buyer, it can be majorly beneficial for increasing the end sale price.


27th January 2017



Andrew Cook