The Ultimate Guide to Selling A House

We’ve put together the ultimate step by step guide to selling your house complete with tips to ensure you are ready to sell and attract the ideal buyer.

You’ve made the decision to sell! Whether you are relocating for work, moving to a more desirable neighborhood, making room for a growing family or downsizing, there are certain steps you need to take to make sure that your house is ready to sell, regardless of the season or current economic conditions that are out of your control.

We’ve put together the top tips and recommendations in this step by step guide to help you get ready to sell your home or investment property.

Step 1. Choose the Right Agent

The first step when selling your house is to decide how you are going to sell your property. If you decide to go through a real estate agent it’s important that you trust the agent you are instructing and that they have good reviews. Selling a house can be a long and stressful process so you want to make sure that you have an agent that you feel comfortable and get on well with.

An agent’s role will involve:

  • Being in charge of advertising and marketing
  • Working with you to plan for listing, showing and selling your property
  • Exposing your property to the marketplace
  • Negotiating with buyers on your behalf
  • Showing and completing the legal requirements of selling your home

Take the chance to ‘play the agent field’ to find a sales agent who is totally informed and knows what’s going on in the local market. Research which agents are getting results locally and take a look at their track record.

Find an agent who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold and we will talk about these further down our list of tips.

Choosing the right real estate agent that can minimise your worry and maximise the results, is a crucial first step.

choose the right real estate agent

Step 2. Set Your Sale Price

Getting the price right from the start is so important. It’s worth taking a little time to do your homework and research the housing activity in your area. It can be difficult coming up with a price point when you have an emotional anchorage to your home and you no doubt already have a figure in your head. A valuation is a great idea to give you a guide and recommended price, but ultimately it is your decision.

However, trust and work together with your real estate agent to get the right sale price. A good real estate agent is one you not only trust to help sell your home quickly and for the best price, but also to support and educate you throughout the selling process. Speak to your sales agent to find out a little more about the market and devise the best sales strategy for you.

Get clued into your competition. Open homes are a great way to see what else is out there and to compare your home to other houses with similar features in the area. Understand the market and really think about what the buyer wants. Your salesperson also has local and market knowledge to help you get a good idea of what your property is worth today.

Above all, be realistic with your price. Think current market, rather than what your home may have been worth 3 years ago. An overpriced house can keep the buyers away, while a home set at market value is likely to create a bidding process that will raise your end sale price.

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Step 3. Declutter and Depersonalise

Buyers want to visualise your house being their house, so one of the most important things to do when selling is to take the ‘home’ out of your house. It’s a good idea to think about the space in your home and how you can make the most of it.

In this instance, less can definitely be more. A great tip is to pretend like you’re moving out. Start by going through your home and removing anything that may potentially detract from a sale. Remove any family photos, knick-knacks, heirlooms and any other elements that customise your home to give the space a more neutral feel. By giving the home a more neutral tone this will allow buyers to more easily picture their own lives and memories being created in the space.

If you can, it’s a great idea to give your house a fresh coat of paint, or patch up any marks on the walls - this is fairly inexpensive and it goes a long way. Light and neutral colours are known to attract prospective buyers, as well as lots of natural light. So make sure to keep the windows clear of furniture, and open up the blinds and curtains to maximise the lighting. Mirrors are also a great way to create a spacious feel.

No matter what the season, a ‘spring’ clean is a must when you’re gearing up to sell. It’s time to give your home a deep clean, create some space and get rid of the clutter.

declutter your home

Step 4. Create Curb Appeal

It’s important to stage the exterior of your home too. This will be the first thing your potential buyer will see from the roadside and when it comes to buying a home,first impressions have a significant impact.

It’s a great idea to walk across the street, step back and take a look at your house through fresh eyes. Ask yourself, Does my house have street appeal? Does my home have a welcoming and well cared for look about it?

Some fresh paint, a new letterbox, nicely groomed hedges and a trimmed lawn – these things may seem like small touches, but they can make a huge difference and can entice any potential buyer to step through your front door.

create curb appeal

Step 5. Get Your House in Tip-Top Shape

There’s a term, ‘Beat the competition with condition’. In a competitive market, having your home in a ‘ready-to-go’ condition, with any possible inspections, checks or repairs already done, may give you an advantage when the buyer is making their decision. It’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent repair bill.

It’s also a great time to tackle all of those small handy jobs around the house. Take care of any nicks or scratches, leaky taps, broken lightbulbs, wonky handles or loose cupboard doors as they are all an easy way to give your home a selling advantage.


Step 6. This Little House Went to Market...

There’s a lot of different ways to market and sell your home, from traditional print and press advertising, to digital media marketing.

Discuss with your agent the best ways for you and don’t be afraid to mix and match between different styles to find a way of marketing to really suit your property’s own unique style, as well as your budget and timing requirements.

In New Zealand there is Trade Me, RealEstate.co.nz and SellahouseNZ, which are a few examples of real estate websites that expose your home online to potential buyers. It’s also worth giving your home as much exposure as possible by getting the word out about your desire to sell via social media sites. This step is where your agents tech-skills and online marketing tools can really play a part in the success of selling your home. Many realtors use YouTube videos, Pinterest groups and blogs to obtain potential buyer lists and market their services. Facebook is a great connector of people these days another potential site to help spread the word that you are in the process of selling. Never underestimate the power or networking!

When it comes to marketing, photographs make for a compelling advertisement and play a huge part of selling success. A picture really does speak a thousand words so it’s important to get it right! Don’t go overboard, keep it to 5-10 really powerful, good quality shots.

Home staging goes way beyond decorating and cleaning and is a great option when getting your house ‘buyer ready’. By hiring professionals to help eliminate clutter, carefully select and arrange furniture and set up rooms in such a way that works with the “flow” of your home, it can have a massive impact on the overall look and feel of your house. Professional home staging can make a notable first impression on potential buyers, which means selling your home faster and for more money.

For more useful ways on where best to invest your money before selling, read our Top 10 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home.


Step 7. Book a Pawcation

While you or your family may be lovers of the four (or two) legged kind, remember that not everyone is an animal person.

If you’re holding open homes or auctions you may want to seriously consider giving Fido or Mr Jingles a little pet vacation, either with a friend or at the kennels. Clear the food bowls and the litter boxes that are unsightly to look at and smell, and if they’re an inside pet it’s a good idea to professionally clean any carpets and soft furnishings to freshen up your interior.

pet vacation

Step 8. Bring in the Buyers

Remember that throughout your sales campaign, it’s important that your house must always be show-ready. You never know when your agent might have someone who wants to view your house so make sure it’s always looking its best. Keep your home neat and tidy and be ready to step out at short notice. While this is not always possible, especially if you have young kids, a good agent will keep you well informed with a detailed schedule of events so you know in advance what’s happening.

When marketing your home, access is essential. Be open to round the clock viewings and if you happen to be present, stay out of the way and let any potential buyers free to wander around with the agent. A potential buyer wants to picture themselves living in your home and this process is sometimes referred to as ‘mentally moving in’. To let them do this effectively, let your agent take them through so they feel relaxed, unhurried and not intruding on your space.

When it comes to operation open day, be open to inviting the neighbours in. After all, they want their friends to become neighbours so consider them your scouts and make the most of it.


Step 9. If at First You Don't Succeed...

You may put all of these tips into practice and more, but there’s no guarantee for a sale first time around. This could be due to a number of reasons including price, current market, your marketing campaign or perhaps an ill-suited real estate agent.

Don’t be afraid to switch up things, a new advertising strategy or even a change in agent can bring fresh eyes and new ideas and areas of expertise. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

RealEstatePros is a free service that makes it super easy to find and compare the best Agents in your area. By providing a few simple details online, Real Estate Pros can put you in touch with the 3 best local Agents in your area. From there, you can simply hire the right agent for you based on their agent profiles and reviews. By using RealEstatePros you know that you are being connected with trusted and customer reviewed Agents who are professional, capable and dedicated to help.


Find Out What My Home is Worth

Get a free, no-obligation market appraisal from 3 local, trusted Real Estate Agents.