How to prepare your home for sale – and make sure you secure the best possible price

First impressions count, so make sure your home's exterior is looking good

First impressions count, so make sure your home's exterior is looking good - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We all want our homes to sell quickly, and for the best price possible, and it is careful planning and knowledge of how to dress your home that will achieve this

LifeWorks: Karen Francis, left, and Alison Wildon

LifeWorks: Karen Francis, left, and Alison Wildon - Credit: Archant

To help you prepare for sale we have some tips from local organisation experts LifeWorks and property maintenance team Buckets and Bubbles on how to turn your house into an irresistible, marketable home.


The main reason people give for moving is a lack of space in their current house. They feel they have outgrown that space and are looking for a home that gives them this and more to grow into.

Clean and tidy spaces sell houses

Clean and tidy spaces sell houses - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Decluttering will make all the difference, says Alison Wildon of LifeWorks, and the more unused and unnecessary items you eliminate from your home, the less stuff you’ll have to pack up, move to your new home, unload, unpack and re-organise.

Think of William Morris’s dictum that “everything must either be useful or beautiful”. Then:

* Pack up all those knick-knacks and books that don’t neatly fit onto shelves

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* Clear away everything from kitchen countertops

Clearing out the clutter will help make your house more sellable

Clearing out the clutter will help make your house more sellable - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

* Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a cupboard when not in use

* Store away the majority of toys, keep out only what is regularly used

* Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway

* Don’t forget the garage, shed and loft

Follow the LifeWorks ladies' tips to make your home more marketable

Follow the LifeWorks ladies' tips to make your home more marketable - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

* Consider renting temporary storage for larger items, books and excess toys


Potential buyers love to have a good look around and will open wardrobes, cupboards, fridges and even dishwashers!

They may also want to have a peek into the loft. Think of the message it sends if items fall out!

Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if your home appears organised - a tidy, clutter-free appearance suggests you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well.

Almost every home looks better with less furniture, so remove pieces that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage.

Leave just enough furniture to showcase each room’s purpose, leaving plenty of space to move around. You don’t want buyers wondering, “What is this room used for?”

Consider curb appeal

Go outside, open your front door and stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?

Initial impressions last, so Lucy Clarke from Buckets and Bubbles Property Maintenance recommends that you:

* Wash windows inside and out

* Pressure wash and spray down patios and exteriors

* Clean out guttering and remove cobwebs

* Have a clean and tidy front door, with a clear house number

Inside your home, Alison suggests that you linger in the doorway of every single room, imagining how it looks to a buyer:


* Does the air smell fresh as you walk in?

* Make sure there are no muddy shoes hindering the buyer from entering

Living spaces

* Is your furniture in the best possible position? Does the room flow well?

* Remember to dust furniture and light fixtures


* Clean out the fridge, oven and dishwasher

* Have a sparkling kitchen floor

* An old but true tip: have a great smelling kitchen


* Re-seal bath tubs, showers and sinks

* Polish chrome taps and mirrors

* Bleach dull grout between tiles


* Have clean and fresh matching bedding

* Hang clothes neatly in wardrobes

* Tidy toys and books away


* Have easy access to the loft especially if you are advertising it as boarded and lit

* Have belongings in tidy storage boxes: this is a great place to start on a declutter mission


* Mow the lawn

* Weed borders and trim bushes

* Give the shed a lick of paint

* Tidy the garage

Make minor repairs

Buyers notice what’s wrong rather than what’s right, so:

* Replace cracked floor or counter tiles

* Patch holes in walls

* Paint faded window trims

* Fix leaky taps

* Mend doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam

* Consider painting your walls neutral colours, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or green walls. (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom”).

* Replace blown light bulbs

* If you’ve considered replacing a worn duvet cover, do so now!


Buyers can’t see past personal belongings, they are a distraction. You want potential buyers to imagine their own photos on the wall.

You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live here?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here”.

And finally…

Disassociate yourself with your home.

Learning how to let go is difficult.You’ve lived in this home for years, and it’s become part of you. However, you’ve got to make that break.

Here are a few tips:

* Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house - a product to be sold, like a pair of shoes or a smart coat”

* Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours

* Picture yourself handing over the keys to the new owners

* Don’t look backwards - look toward the future

Full details and further information are available at