Top tips for getting your home ready to sell

LIFESTYLE | October 2019

There are countless ways to add value to your home before you sell it. Every home has different opportunities; the trick is to start with projects that add the most benefit for the least expense.

Whatever you choose to do with your home, keep in mind the selling prices in your area and the expectations of typical buyers. The goal is to create buyer demand and add more to the selling price than you spend on renovations.

Focus on first impressions

Street appeal has a big influence on the desirability of any home, so it’s the perfect place to start your home improvements. You could replace scruffy looking plants, fix bald patches in the lawn and prune overgrown plants to create a well-maintained spacious impression.

A smart looking house number and a quality letterbox will certainly help. If your front door or garage doors are looking a little tired and dated, it doesn’t cost much to bring them back to life with a fresh coat of paint. Choose a contemporary colour that suits the style of your home.

Old paths can be replaced with fresh pavers - you might be able to add some sought-after off-street parking at the same time.

Refresh your kitchen

Families spend a lot of time in and around the kitchen, so the look of your kitchen can have a strong impact on the perceived value of your home. However everyone has different tastes and potential buyers may be seeing their move as an opportunity to install the brand-new kitchen they’ve always wanted.

Remember that you don’t need to replace everything, just create a modern well-cared for look. That might mean replacing your dated splashback, counter top, cupboard and drawer handles, or taps. If the drawers and cupboard doors are past their best, it’s often cheaper to repaint rather than replace them. Choosing contemporary colour combinations can quickly update the whole feel of your kitchen. It’s also quite easy to add a few sought-after features, such as under-bench rubbish bins or a new water filter.

Improve your bathrooms

Just like your kitchen refresh, you don’t have to completely re-do a bathroom to boost its appeal. Professional tile and grout restoration companies can often make a tired bathroom look brand new. Replacing your old vanity with a new one or an attractive vintage sideboard is another quick fix, along with new door and cupboard handles, a soft-close toilet seat and a modern multi-function shower head.

If you don’t have a second bathroom or a separate toilet, it’s probably worth adding one if at all possible. They’re a must-have for most of today’s buyers.

Create as much storage as possible

This is particularly important for smaller homes, but storage is on the checklist of most home buyers these days. If you have an unused attic, look at installing some pull-down attic stairs and creating a simple plywood floor, taking appropriate safety measures for any wiring and heat from light fittings.

Storage shelves and cupboards can often be added high on walls to preserve floor space. Try to empty out your existing storage spaces as much as possible, so it looks like there’s plenty of room available. This might require hiring some temporary off-site storage while your home is on the market.

Update your floors

The floor dominates any room and it’s often one of the easiest features to update. New flooring or carpet in neutral tones with wide appeal can make a big difference. If your budget is limited, at least have the carpets professionally cleaned, and consider sanding and refinishing wooden floors. Old lino that’s letting your house down should probably be removed, even if you only replace it with paint and smart-looking rugs.

Get busy outside

Kiwis love their outdoor lifestyle. Even if your home has limited indoor-outdoor flow, creating an attractive outdoor environment is bound to add appeal. Focus on the basics; you don’t need to add a spa pool or outdoor fireplace, just create a relaxing and useable private oasis. Clean your decking, add built-in seating with storage if you can and good-looking screens to block out things like close neighbours, washing lines and rubbish bins. Some built-in protection from rain showers and summer sun, plus lighting for the BBQ in winter will definitely add appeal.

Complete any home maintenance

Small things like damaged guttering, a dripping tap, squeaky door hinges or water stains around windows can get a potential buyer worrying about what else hasn’t been maintained. While you might see them as trivial things that anyone can fix for very little, that’s the very reason a buyer will read a lot more into the fact you haven’t addressed them.


If you do decide to complete some renovations before putting your house on the market, check your insurance as some renovations will require additional insurance, such as Contract Works insurance.

Insuring your new home - which insurance is right for you?

Home Comprehensive - Full cover for your home up to the amount you choose to insure it for. Cover for all sorts of unwanted surprises such as broken locks and windows. You’re also covered for temporary accommodation up to $20,000 if damage makes your home unliveable, and hidden gradual damage up to $2,500 a year.

Home Essentials - Just want cover for the essentials? Look no further. If your home is damaged by certain events, you’ll be covered up to present value or the amount you insured your home for (whichever is less).

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