The View: How to get bang for your buck when preparing to sell

The Nightly
3 Min Read
First impressions are important.
First impressions are important. Credit: supplied/ supplied

Getting your house ready to sell can be overwhelming and expensive. Do you spend money on renovating certain areas or do you let clever styling do the trick?

It all depends on the quality of your home, your budget and who your buyers are, says Kate McLachlan, Two Birds Property Styling director and Buxton real estate agent in Geelong, Victoria.

“One of the most important things is understanding who your market is,” Ms McLachlan told

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She says some properties aren’t worth doing too much to, particularly if most buyers will want to do a full renovation.

“For every dollar you spend on your property, you want to get $3 back from the sale,” she says.

“If you’ve got a limited budget, it’s all about first impressions — I can’t stress enough how important cleaning is.”

Ms McLachlan shares her top tips to get your home sparkling and saleable, without breaking your budget.

Budget: $5000 to $10,000

The first thing all sellers should do is clean their home from top to bottom, inside and out, including windows, eaves and awnings (paying particular attention to spider webs) and wiping down all walls and surfaces.

“If you’ve got a limited budget, it’s all about first impressions,” Ms McLachlan says.

“I can’t stress enough how important cleaning is.”

Decluttering the space and putting away personal items including photos is a must, as it allows potential buyers to imagine the home as their own.

Decluttering and putting away personal items is a must
Decluttering and putting away personal items is a must Credit: Supplied

Outside the house, Ms McLachlan says to show off the size of your block by cutting back unruly plants and trees and to mulch any garden beds.

A quick splash of neutral-coloured paint on your kitchen splashback can give old tiles a new lease of life, she says, and changing old or mismatched light fittings can create cohesion throughout the home.

She recommends keeping styling minimal and neutral, but add some brightness and character with artwork, fresh flowers, books and decor to give warmth to the space.

“You need pops of colour to add interest to your listing photos,” Ms McLachlan says.

Budget: $20,000 to $40,000

Ms McLachlan says with a budget up to $40,000, sellers should do everything already mentioned and also paint all walls in a neutral hue, again allowing potential buyers to visualise their own colour scheme.

She also says to update old floors, but only if there are no major and costly structural issues that a new owner would most likely take on during a larger renovation. Redoing flooring on a house that needs re-stumping can cause cracks in the walls and ceilings, she warns.

Some properties aren’t worth doing too much to, particularly if most buyers will want to do a full renovation, Ms McLachlan says.

An easy way to update old kitchen and bathroom cupboards is to give them a lick of paint and to change any dated or mismatched tapware to give a sleek and cohesive look, she says.

Blinds and curtains should be updated with stylish and affordable coverings. There’s usually no need to get them custom-made; many major hardware stores have a range of sizes to fit most windows, she says.

Budget: $50,000 to $70,000

With an even bigger budget, sellers can do a modest kitchen and bathroom renovation, Ms McLachlan says.

Again she suggests to keep the permanent fixtures and fittings neutral in colour.

Landscaping should also be a top priority including painting concrete driveways, adding new plants where necessary and styling outdoor spaces with furniture and accessories.

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