When selling an older home or one you’ve lived in for a long time, it’s hard to judge how much work you need to do prior to putting up the For Sale sign. While some improvements will make a big difference, others are best left to the new owners. Even a modest bathroom or kitchen renovation will cost you thousands. You may not recoup with your sales price, so it’s often better to save funds for your new home.

Here are some tips for selling an older house, and where your money and time are best spent.

Create a wonderful first impression

Buyers will overlook flaws if they love your home from the street. So think about creating a welcoming street presence. Mulch your garden beds, mow lawns, prune well, and add some flowering pots. You want to engage your buyers’ emotions, as this is what makes them choose your home over others.

Emphasise your home’s best features

If you have a beautiful living area or wonderful original features, draw attention to these in your photographs and styling. Here’s how:

  • Pare back your belongings so potential buyers can imagine themselves living there
  • Add a fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone. This is by far the best investment you can make in terms of bang for your buck.
  • Employ a stylist to really bring out your home’s best assets and define the spaces.
  • Clean and declutter, including all fitted cupboards, garages and storage areas.

Make minor updates and clean everything

Updated your older kitchen inexpensively with a new benchtop, repainted cabinetry or even new cupboard handles.

Add some greenery and clear your pantry and benchtops to ensure it looks clean and uncluttered.

In your bathroom, a new vanity or re-grouting the tiles will smarten it up. And don’t forget new towels and a plant or two.

Let in the light

Once your spaces are uncluttered and ideally painted in a neutral, light colour, ensure there is lots of natural light. Get your windows cleaned, remove any heavy curtains and even consider increasing the wattage of table lamps. This will make your interiors bright and welcoming.

Carry out repairs and consider a building and pest report

Have your home inspected well in advance of a sale to save you any nasty surprises later on and give you time to make any significant repairs.

If you know your home looks old but is structurally sound, pay for a building and pest report yourself. This will be helpful to your agent when showing buyers around the house. Alternatively, be sure to emphasise any work you have done on your house, such as a new roof, electrical rewiring and so on. This will reassure buyers that the property has been well maintained.

In particular, deal with any leaks and check there is no evidence of untreated termite problems.

Sell the dream

If you have thought about renovations in the past, include any plans you’ve had drawn up as part of your marketing package. If you want to increase the home’s appeal to those looking to add value, you could even have some plans for a renovation drawn up professionally to show to potential buyers. Buyers will have an added incentive to consider your home, although check with your council to ensure that your plans adhere to local guidelines.

Emphasise the location

While it’s easy to add another bedroom, you can’t change a home’s location. Be sure that all marketing materials reflect local schools and other services.

Talk to me

As a local agent who lives and works in Thornleigh, I am experienced in selling the area’s older homes and know exactly how to achieve the maximum sales price for a beautiful, older family home. If you are thinking of selling your home in Thornleigh, Westleigh, Normanhurst or Pennant Hills, I am happy to come past and talk you through what you could consider doing prior to putting it on the market – and now is a great time to get started if you are hoping to hit the spring market.

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