When preparing to sell your house, knowing what buyers typically look for can put you at a greater advantage from the get-go.

The tips below will guide you how to make your home 'tick all the boxes', stand out from competing listings, and get your house to the top of their must-see properties. 

Once you have prepared the property with these insights in mind, you will attract more buyers to click on your online listing. Therefore the photographs, videos, the text and headings used to advertise it all play a vital role in that first impression made. Check these before you go live online. 

Real estate agents are required to seek your approval of these prior to going live online. 

This underlines the need to carefully choose a competent real estate agent strong at digital advertising and marketing,- someone proven competent who is capable and has integrity. 

This is something we can help you with as independent vetting of licensed real estate agents is what we have specialised in and been commended for since 2009. 

If you need help finding a suitable real estate agent, we can provide you with a vetted shortlist. Send a message - we're here to help.


1. Create some Wow factor – home staging, furniture placement, kerbside presentation and an uncluttered, ordered section. Less is more. 

  • Good home presentation is essential to get the best sale price for your property.  
  • Real estate agents often report a 10-15% increase in sale price due to home staging alone.  
  • Home staging can be done for little to no cost, or for those who are time-scarce, there are home staging services. 
  • You can hire furniture and decor from home staging services, especially useful if the house will be empty. 
  • We highly recommend that you home stage your house before you get your house appraised, but it's not essential.
  • Using a gardening service and/or a cleaner is worth the investment. 

2. Freshen up bathrooms and kitchen – two of the most important rooms to make as impressive as possible. 

  • Worth a fresh coat of paint when time allows. Even older kitchens can look much better – declutter the benches 
  • Replace silicon caulk that has degraded or gone mouldy. A very easy fix.
  • Home staging a bathroom to create a spa feel with fluffy new towels and flower can lift the vibe 
  • Have a serious declutter in the kitchen for a spacious feel

3. Review furniture layout flow throughout the house – colour, calming, a place that could accommodate many buyers’ personal styles 

  • Even if the layout is not modern, spacious placement of furniture will help create flow. Heavy book cases and too many chairs can clog up wall and floor space. If you can live without them for a few weeks, start packing now.
  • Create a sense of arrival at the entrance to the house by thoughtful consideration of what view greets people as they open the door. 

4.  Storage and an office/work station - not at the expense of bedroom numbers however

  • If you have a three or four bedroom house and have converted one of these to an office, convert it back to a bedroom if possible as it is said that the number of bedrooms adds more value to a sale price.

5. Location and amenities - emphasise this in your advertising

  • To schools, kindy, work, commute distance and any other highlights

  • Details can be turned into sales points in the property package 

6. Energy Efficiency - emphasise this also

  • Insulated in both roof and under floor - another sales point to highlight at the marketing stage 

7. Indoor outdoor flow - emphasise this 

  • This is not just doorways but use windows throughout the house to draw outside garden foliage into the room.
  • Where there is time to build one, an easily accessed deck is an addition that will add value, both perceived and actual 
  • If you already have a deck, make sure it's lichen free, potted plants are grouped not scattered and create space to help people visualise how they would use it.

8. Low-cost overdue maintenance jobs - this can reduce the need for conditions

  • Any unfinished work required such as kitchen drawers not working properly, spoutings that leak, poor water pressure, washers needing replacement or lighting that is not compliant or safe - get it all sorted first. 
  • A well maintained house will leave a good impression on buyers whereas a poorly maintained home will send a message that will more likely result in conditions in a sale and purchase agreement thus slowing the process down.

If you can predict what buyers are looking for in a property and address all or at least some of these, it will certainly help you beat the competition, in your price range, in your area. 

We are independent real estate advisors - Get in touch now - a genuine free service.

Updated February 12, 2022 by Trish Willis | Member of Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)

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