How to get a good price for your house when times are tough

We haven't been in the real estate market - buying or selling - for quite a few years now, but I'll never forget the stress of being a vendor, hoping the perfect buyers will come along. From the very moment you decide to sell your house, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of a good outcome. Here are some tips to get you started.

oany of the most basic ways to enhance the value of a property probably sound clichéd.

We all know a freshly painted front door can increase a home’s street appeal, and that windows and guttering should be freshly cleaned so potential buyers aren’t put off by the idea of hard graft ahead.

With 17 years experience under her belt, Auckland real estate agent Lesley Hawes (above) has another cardinal rule – make sure any building work is signed off before you consider putting your house on the market.

“You wouldn’t believe how often we see the whole process held up while home-owners seek retrospective consents and sign-off from their local council. It can lead to all kinds of complications with insurance companies too,” she adds.

once Lesley’s vendors have covered off what she calls the “foundations” of selling, she strongly advises them to get good photographs taken of their house.

“It might cost two or three hundred dollars, but it’s money well spent. In these days of the internet, buyers have already done a virtual walk-through and possibly an actual drive-by before they arrive at an open home, so it’s essential that their first impressions are good ones.”

When it comes to preparing for that all-important open home, Lesley has some more good advice.

“Some agents suggest removing family photos from your home in order to make it more anonymous, but I don’t think this is necessary.

“obviously, if you have nude pictures – even arty ones – it might be wise to hide them. But apart from that, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little of your own personality!”

Finally, Lesley suggests placing a bowl full of bright shiny fruit on a kitchen table or counter top. “Flowers are nice, but fruit also adds a lovely burst of colour.”

If you are considering selling this autumn, have a quick skim through our checklist and see if there’s anything you’ve missed.

  • Clean everything thoroughly. This includes walls, carpets, curtains, appliances and even light fittings, fan grills and ceilings.

  • Have a garage sale to help prune clutter, or put excess belongings into storage.

  • organise rooms to show their full potential. For example, if your home office is big enough for a bed, put one in. Buyers sometimes need help to imagine a full range of possibilities.

  • Don’t cook strong smelling dishes such as fish or curry the night before an open home!

  • oow the lawns, paint that shabby fence, put a nice bright potted plant by the front door and remove your dog from the property if possible.

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