By Carley Ellis

Fiona Apple once said, “Home is where my habits have a habitat”.  But what happens when the home you purchased as a minimalist couple, now houses two adults, two rambunctious boys, and a large dog of questionable intelligence?

My husband and I started feeling the walls literally closing in when our second son was born.  Who knew that people so small, could require so much stuff?! While our home was beautiful, warm, renovated, and – of most importance these days – dry, it was just a tad on the small side.  So, we decided to throw some stress into our lives, and look at buying a new, bigger house.  Luckily, the selling part went without a hitch, and now we are onto the fun part – buying our next home!

Now we’ve had a bit of time to decompress, I’ve been pretty impressed with our selling journey.  If you’re in the same position, I can recommend five easy ways to increase the likelihood of selling your house:

  1. Be realistic about your asking price: Agents will provide an appraisal of what they think your house will sell for, but remember, they can’t guarantee anything. If you’ve been presented with multiple appraisals, while it’s tempting to go with the highest number, you need to ensure you’re being realistic with where the market is at the moment.  While you might think your house is worth a certain number, it’s only worth what the market will pay for it at this time.  More than a few vendors (homeowners) miss out on good offers due to unrealistic expectations set by over-excited agents.  You also don’t want the market to see the slashing of the price tag over time – they’ll start to wonder, “what’s wrong with it?”.
  2. Improve your street appeal: First impressions matter, and last. Some things to think about when listing your property include making sure the windows are clean with no flaking paint. Ensure the roof is clean and lichen has been removed. Clear your paths and trim the edges to make sure they’re easy to walk down.  Keep the garden tidy, clear of leaves and lawns mowed. Make sure the fences/gates are in good working order and clean!
  3. Tick off the quick wins: A potential buyer will mentally tick up all the tasks that they may need to complete if they buy your property. Take these away by ensuring the shower glass is descaled, any holes/marks in the walls are repaired, and carpets are cleaned before any open homes.
  4. Make sure you get the right agent: A good real estate agent will help you set a realistic sell price, and work with potential buyers to get them to see the property in it’s best light. They’ll also be able to give you good insight on the potential purchasers, and negotiation tactics.  Remember – they work for you, so the more they sell your house for, the higher their commission.
  5. Identify your likely buyers: Our home is a “first family” home – we started at this house just as a couple and added two small people to our family during the 6 years we lived there.  We knew that the next owners would be in a similar age/stage that we were, so we staged the property with this in mind.  Cue the cute baby change tables, rocking chairs and Marvel themed bedrooms, as this helped potential buyers see themselves in this stage of their lives.
  6. Remove personal belongings: We swapped out all family photos to neutral images that we sourced from Etsy.  Part of me felt a bit creepy having our intimate family photos out for strangers to see, and the other part of me thought it would be easier for someone else to imagine themselves here without my wedding photos being on display!
  7. Get a lawyer involved early: They can be incredibly valuable, and in our case, saved us a tonne of money. Our property was cross leased, which means that we essentially share the land with our neighbour.  Cross leased properties have a “flats plan” which details out the dwellings on the shared property and shows areas that are for individual or shared use.  Turns out, if these aren’t 100% correct, you’re in big trouble as a bank will not lend money on a property that has a “defective” flats plan.  This took us a heap of time and money to resolve – almost 6 months and $25k later – we got it sorted.

So there you have it – much like my house selling journey, I ended up with a longer list of things to do than I expected at the start. Seven (not five) easy ways to ensure that the marketing and sale of your home goes as smoothly as possible.

Hopefully next month, I’ll be writing about how easy it is to buy and move into the next, bigger home 😊