Must-do fixes before selling your home

two tradesman doing maintenance work on kitchen cupboards

Louise Baxter

Posted August 11, 2020

Get your house in order and increase the chance of a quick and profitable sale.

Whether you're planning to sell your home or an investment property, minor repairs are one of the quickest routes to a speedy sale. Today’s buyers are a savvy bunch, and in a competitive market, a bad paint job could be the difference between selling your property or not. First impressions really do count.

However, there’s a fine balance between sprucing your home up for sale and overcapitalising with upgrades that won’t see a return on investment – for example, installing a fancy granite kitchen in a dated home on a busy street. When it comes to preparing your residential property for the market, keep it simple. Some repairs can be DIY and can do wonders for the overall look of the property.

Here’s a few golden rules that can increase your chances of selling your house – and may even increase its value. 

Street appeal

If the house looks shabby from outside, you may not even get buyers through the front door. Fortunately, this can be easily fixed no matter the budget.

If you’re not looking to spend much on cosmetic improvements to sell your house, these small jobs could make a big difference:

  • Mow the lawn and prune the garden
  • Paint or varnish the front door (or replace, if you have the cash)
  • Update the letterbox
  • Fix and/or paint the fence
  • Add some low-maintenance plants

For weatherboard or timber homes, a new coat of paint can really lift the façade. If you have a brick house that looks dated from the front, consider rendering or cladding options.

Fresh paint and flooring

Walls with flaky paint scream 'neglected”' which is not a word you want buyers associating with your home – it’ll make them doubt the integrity of the property, whether accurate or not.

Repair any superficial cracks and then paint the walls, cornices, skirting boards, door and window frames, and any other surface that won’t be compromised by a paint job (such as cabinetry).

Older homes often have carpet or vinyl installed over floorboards, so if you have that timber gold beneath a scruffy layer, rip it up, sand the floors and add a coat of varnish. If you have a modern house with poor flooring, consider a cost-effective option like quality laminate, new carpet or tiling.

paint roller and brush next to paint tray and tape on linen cloth

Taking the time to fix what needs repairing around your home can improve its profitability.

Plumbing and electrical

Smart buyers will request a building inspection before shaking hands on a sale, so while plumbing and electrical may seem like an unnecessary expense, it could be a false economy to not get them up to scratch. It doesn’t mean you have to spend big on smart wiring or state-of-the-art showerheads, but it’s important to ensure there’s no leaky pipes, blocked drains, unsafe power sockets, broken lights etc.

You can also update fixtures on a budget – such as lighting, switches and tapware – which will improve the look of the interior. Plumbing and electrical work require an expert – don’t scrimp on this as you could potentially damage your property, or worse, hurt yourself or others.

Cosmetic upgrades to kitchen and bathroom

Now, if you have a little extra budget to make improvements to your house for sale, the kitchen and bathroom are great choices for increasing value. Start with the kitchen and add in modern conveniences that buyers love, such as stylish benchtops and cabinetry, new appliances and a quality cooktop. If you have space and budget for a dishwasher, that’ll be a plus. Stores like Ikea and Bunnings have some good affordable options for flatpack kitchens.

In the bathroom, focus on the vanity, sink, tapware and showerhead. These are the little touches that add a sense of modern luxury, which impresses buyers. Again, that could be the difference that sways a buyer to choose your property over another.

Overall, sloppy home presentation is a universal turnoff in the property market. If you ensure your home is neat, tidy, modern and manicured, you have a much better chance of making a quick sale.

Need to find a professional? RACV Trades will help you find the right tradesperson for you.
Discover RACV Trades →