41-Step ULTIMATE preparing for sale checklist
Maximise your sale price. Leave nothing to chance.
12 months out from going on the market:
- Decide if any pre-sale reno’s require consent. Consult with a draughtsperson to start the process (they can draw up plans and help you get approval from council. This is often required before engaging a builder).
- Are there any existing, non-consented changes to your property that should have been approved by Council? Do you want to get them signed off?
- Is an exterior repaint required? Will this be in Spring or Summer? Decide on timeframe.
- Research timeframes and requirements for school enrolments in the area you are moving to (target area).
- Consult with your bank / mortgage broker to see if you could keep your current home as a rental if desired? It’s always good to know your options.
- Discuss the idea of moving with family. Especially children. Do you really need that extra bedroom? Are you better off staying put and paying down the mortgage?
9 months to go:
- Initial discussion with real estate agent(s) around best time to sell in your area plus ascertain feedback on how to maximise value / discuss potential improvements.
- Confirm any improvements requiring professional help. Eg. Carpets, bathroom renovations, repair work. Check availability of tradespeople.
- Set up saved searches on property portals for target area(s) and current area. Monitor houses coming on the market, check price estimates online. Get a feel for what you might get for your money.
6 months out:
- Review your situation. Do you still need to sell? Has anything changed?
- Subscribe to agent databases in target areas. Pro-active agents send out new listings and off-market opportunities by email once a fortnight. These often include recent sales and other useful info.
- Start visiting a few open homes in your target area if time permits.
- De-clutter and start completing paint touch-ups. Target 1 room at a time. Eg. Finish 1 room each month.
3 months to go:
- Will you stay in the house while it’s on the market? Sort alternative accommodation if required.
- Meet with real estate agents (most people interview 2 or 3). Discuss marketing strategies and set goals around timing. Confirm ideal start date. Confirm pre-sale to-do-list.
- Give tenants notice if planning to sell an investment property empty.
- Sell surplus items from around the house online to help with de-cluttering.
- Book storage unit if there are things you want to keep that take up too much room.
- Donate unwanted items to salvation army or similar (they often have a free pickup service).
- Decide which chattels are staying with the house. These should be in working condition. Most people leave dishwashers, heatpumps and ovens but take fridges and other whiteware with them when they move.
6 weeks out:
- Order skip bin to remove rubbish if required.
- Book an exterior house wash. Be sure to include paths and driveways.
- Attack the garden. Time for the big cut-back!
- Ensure all lightbulbs and light-switches are working. Engage an electrician if required.
- Purchase any staging items required, which could include mirrors, artwork, cushions, plants. Try to add colour where you can. Mirrors help make rooms feel bigger.
- Remove most family photos from walls.
- Discuss any repairs required with your preferred real estate agent.
- Any furniture staging required? See if you can borrow items from friends or consult a staging company if required. Check their availability and book ahead. Partial staging is often available if you have one or two empty rooms.
3 weeks to go:
- Contact your solicitor. Let them know you are planning to sell.
- Sign your real estate agency agreement. Best practice would be to get it checked by your solicitor first.
- Confirm marketing strategy. Eg. Tender, BEO, Auction, asking price?
- Confirm viewing times. Will you be allowing open homes? What time works best for the house and your family?
- Clean like your mother-in-law is coming to visit. Every nook and cranny.
- Visit open homes in target area regularly. Follow up to find out sale prices for houses you have visited.
- Review title with your preferred agent. Is there any wording that needs explanation? Check unknown easements with your solicitor.
- Provide chosen agent with house keys and/or alarm code.
1 – 2 weeks out:
- Mow lawns
- Stage your home for photographs. It should be at that same level for open homes.
- Last minute touch-ups as required. Look for cobwebs or dust in areas you don’t usually look – eg. High corners of rooms or dirt in window frames you don’t usually open. Clean out the bottom of any ranch-slider doors.
- Buy fresh flowers, put them on display and turn on the heatpump! Make sure your home is nice and warm when buyers come to visit.