Maintaining & preparing your home for profit

Congratulations . . .

You are going to profit from the wealth of information we are going to share with you in this document.

In our experience, we have learned that the best price comes from the best preparation. As your real estate adviser it is our intention - via this document - to help you maximise your price and to make the sale of your property an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

It’s important that we keep our eyes on the prize. The prize is securing the best possible price for your home. Your profit will be realised when we attract a buyer, from a number of emotionally involved potential buyers.

With this understanding we have constructed this document in a way that clearly works to our final moment of truth.

So let’s get started with maintaining & preparing your home for profit.

Your home is your greatest asset

In life and real estate it is often said that your principal place of residence is possibly your biggest asset. As a passionate industry professional I find this true for so many people in the community that I get the chance to represent.

With this in mind it is important that as a property owner you do all you can to maintain the property throughout its lifetime to protect and grow your asset, so at the time of eventual sale you receive the best possible cash profit from your investment.

Your home could deliver you a tax-free windfall

Selling your home is a valuable opportunity for wealth and profit. Unlike other financial investments your principal place of residence is free from capital gains tax and stamp duty. Therefore, the chance of a tax-free gain is rare and should be seized with both hands.

Selling is a one-off opportunity for cash

Selling your home presents a unique opportunity to make a sizeable chunk of money without you having to sweat for it. Typically every dollar your home sells for over the perceived market value is worth two dollars of your hard-earned labour.

Secure the dollars you deserve for the property you own. You get only one chance to sell for profit and then the value passes to the next owner - so make the most of it. 

Clean and sparkling homes sell well

If you do the work for a potential buyer and your property is clean, crisp, and complete and:

  • is well maintained and freshly painted;
  • has manicured lawns and the gutters and downpipes are free from rust and holes;
  • has eaves that are spotless and fresh;

This could have a significant impact at sale time.

You could earn more than $60,000 to $100,000 over the reserve. The magic happens when you take the hard work out of the equation. Everyone is so busy, potential buyers are prepared to pay for somebody else’s sweat and effort; Profit from that.

A home that doesn’t require work is an attractive prospect

Maintaining and preparing your home for profit is a successful strategy for everyone involved. Often incoming purchasers are stretched to their limit and would not qualify for a renovation loan. This is the reason why people will pay more for a finished, neat and well-maintained property.

A bank will loan on a property’s actual current value. A bank does not favour lending on unfinished or damaged properties. However, if the property has a clean bill of health, the new purchaser is effectively getting a renovation loan on a product with no risk. It’s a win, win. 

Keep your eye on the prize

You want to create the best possible home to attract the best possible buyer for the best possible price. When preparing their home for sale, some people redraw on the current loan to complete repairs quickly. Other people take a longer-term approach. We suggest making a list and spending the months ahead of time of a possible sale, project managing the repairs with a slow and steady budget approach.

Steps to plan:
  • Buy a hard-cover note book and allow two pages per area and start making the to-do list of repairs
  • Front Entry
  • Driveways and gardens
  • Bedrooms & Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Decks & Pergolas 



Think like a purchaser

The golden rule of thumb is – if something needs to be repaired – fix it! Walk through and be picky –try and see what a potential purchaser will see, not what you have overlooked for years. Make a list of repairs and improvements that need to be made.

Buyers will mentally add up the perceived costs of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than your actual costs will be. You may believe the repairs are insignificant, however the buyer may question the maintenance and upkeep of the rest of the property.

Necessary, noncritical minor repairs and perceived owner neglect will either lower the price or lengthen the time to sell.  

Look at the colour palette that you have used in your home. If you have used striking, bold colours, it might be time to neutralise them. Your objective is to make your home appeal to the largest possible segment of the market. Ask yourself,  ═×How many prospective buyers would feel able to move into my home with their own furniture and not want to replace the carpet or repaint then walls?"

  • Position your property on the market to be as liveable to as many people as possible.
  • The market is always driven by buyer demand and the average buyer will have difficulty looking beyond bright carpeting and/or bold wallpapers.
  • Take photos of the repairs and stick them in your book
  • Your repair and maintenance book will become your profit bible. Take the book with you to your home improvement store (e.g. Bunnings) to save time, money and energy.
  • Dedicate four pages to your trades’ service directory
  • At the back of your notebook, list the contact numbers and details for all the plumbers, plasterers, painters and associated trades you will need. -Walk through again  Once you have done the walk through, walk through again and see what you may have missed.
  • Type up a to-do list
  • Look at your book and see what needs to be done and type up your to-do list.
  • Invite all the trades needed to quote on the repairs
  • Including the materials cost, it’s worth getting everything priced to give you a factual guide to the investment.
  • Repair or outsource
  • Make a decision on what repairs you can do and what jobs will be outsourced.
  • Research
  • Before starting, get on the web and research the latest products that can save you time and money (profit). For example there is great tile paint for old tiles; amazing products are now available
  • Do one room at a time
  • Start your list by committing to the discipline of doing one room at a time. This avoids turning the house into an unliveable war zone.
  • Declutter, declutter, declutter
  • As you are working through your rooms, it is imperative you also sort through your stuff. Decluttering a home can also be a life-cleansing process. Box up the valuable and hire a skip for the end of the road items. Be ruthless, space is everything, a home shines when it can actually breathe. 
  • Complete general maintenance
  • Stay on top of your regular maintenance tasks to avoid costly repairs in the future. Spending time now saves you hassles later. Ensure that minor repairs don’t turn into major expenses. 


Allowing your property to breathe

  • Check smoke detectors
  • Clean and disinfect the dishwasher by operating it when it’s empty and putting bicarbonate soda in the detergent tray and vinegar in the rinse holder
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Check doors and windows for cracked seals and peeling paint. Repair as needed.
  • Dust the top of cupboards
  • Vacuum thoroughly
  • Inspect bathroom and kitchen tiles and sinks, reseal where needed
  • Clean curtains and blinds
  • Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms. Consider replacing heavy curtains with something lighter
  • Wash all of the windows
  • Clean light fittings and skylights and if your kitchen has fluorescent lighting fixtures use "warm-white" bulbs for a bright appearance
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hood and filter
  • Cleaning sliding door and window tracks.
  • Ensure air-conditioner filters are clean
  • Check taps and supply lines of plumbing for signs of leakage
  • Remove any portable heater or fans
  • Repair loose knobs, latches or handles on doors
  • Make storage areas appear generous and well-planned. Remove and store all out-of-season clothing.
  • Remove any items from the floor areas of wardrobe - this will make the area seem more spacious.
  • Ensure all wardrobe lights area are in working order 
  • The front of your house should be beyond reproach. It’s one of the first things a buyer sees. Sweep and wash the driveway and walkways to remove debris, dirt and stains. Remove any oil stains if possible. Repair and patch any cracks.
  • Check your fence for any loose or broken posts and replace if needed.
  • Check gutters for leaks or damage and remove debris.
  • Mow Lawn, high and often. Feed the lawn with fertiliser, treat weeds and aerate the lawn in high traffic areas.
  • Trim your plants back with secateurs
  • Clean out your irrigation system.
  • Mulch garden beds to prevent soil drying out too quickly 
  • Clean and seal decks if needed
  • Cut back overhanging tress from the roofline
  • Repair/replace any damaged window screen mesh
  • Inspect roof for damage and repair if needed.

Preparing your home for photography

When it comes time to market a property, there are no shortcuts to a great price. A lot of preparation has to be undertaken, therefore, to make sure your property hooks and pulls a potential buyer in. When a buyer sees your property online or in person, she or he must think, "that’s the one". Photographs of your property are one of the main ways to draw in a buyer. They matter because they are the first point of contact that a buyer has with your property. Therefore, it is essential that you present your property in the best possible way. Excellent presentation and high-quality photographs seduce a buyer into a home. Photography and presentation go hand-in-hand. If you’re preparing a property for photos, that’s exactly the way it should appear for each and every open home, for each and every buyer inspection, and throughout the marketing campaign. 

How to prepare your home for photography

Declutter. Declutter. Declutter. Clean. Clean: Clean a pristine, glowing home says, "I care about this home. I’ve looked after it. So the person who purchases this home is going to benefit from the love, care, and attention I’ve given the home during my ownership."

Think about who you are appealing to: Think about who you think will want to buy the home and make the surroundings appeal to that potential buyer. Market the home to suit the purchaser. Is it a single person’s apartment? Is it designed for couples? Is it a first homebuyer’s home? Or is it a family home? Think about your buyer and the atmosphere you’re trying to create.

The front of the home must create a strong first impression: Most buyers, particularly women, make up their mind between getting out of the car and about 30 seconds after walking through the front door. What buyers see in the photographs on the web have to match with what they see when they get out of the car. You have to make the impact. Photos should focus on the strengths and minimise any potential weaknesses.

Make sure the front yard is clean: Lawns should be manicured and lush. Hedges and edges must be trimmed, neat and tidy. Clear out the cobwebs, get rid of peeling paint and grime. Sugar soap or wash the gutters, eaves, fascias, weatherboards and Colorbond roofs. The front of the house must be pristine. With tiled roofs ascertain whether it is actually worth the investment of getting it refinished and resprayed. Generally in most cases, it’s not going to be too obvious in photos but it may become an issue through a sales negotiation.

Declutter: Make sure nothing is there that doesn’t actually belong. Paint the doorjambs in a high gloss.

Present the home to suit the purchaser: Once inside the home, minimise the amount of furniture in the rooms and utilise the furniture that’s going to make an impact, that’s going to create the scenario, the kind of emotions that you’re targeting in your buyer. If you are marketing a home to a family, keep the chalkboard and some posters in a child’s bedroom because you want to create that family ambience. In the living room, leave the Xbox controllers next to the TV. 

 Kitchen Declutter: A fridge should not be noticeable – it should be white, silver, or neutral. Remove all personal items – the pen-stands, the sunglasses, the phone chargers. Add a few touches, depending on who you are appealing to. Add a fruit bowl or fresh flowers or a plant. Clean. Clean. Clean. Clean that stainless steel, give it a good scrub-down. All surfaces must gleam. Remove the personal touches, whether it’s kids’ report cards or the magnetic stickers from the fridge. Remove the tea towels, remove the pet bowls, and remove the rubbish bin and the dirty dishes!

Lounge room: If you have any kind of view from your lounge room over the backyard, the beaches, or the hills – maximise it. Clean the windows and be careful about window treatments. Remove lace curtains as they date the home and minimise what the photographer can do to show the views. Photographers will lift those blinds up, pull back the verticals, so the backyard, the views, the deck, and the outside entertaining areas can be seen.  

Bathroom: The bathroom is one of the greatest challenges, because the bathroom is always a work in progress, particularly for family homes. This is one room that should be cleaned by professionals. Bathrooms need to feel clean; they need to be almost clinical. You want to be able to see through the shower glass so that it doesn’t impact upon the atmosphere you’re creating for the rest of the bathroom – it has to be absolutely translucent. Polish the mirror. Make sure that anycobwebs or the dust on the exhaust fan for instance has been removed. Any chrome items must be given a nice good polish. Tiles will show off any marks or grease, simply by the characteristic change in whether it’s a shine or a matte reflection. Bathrooms also are challenging because there are so many bright, shiny reflective surfaces. The quality of the photographer is revealed with shots of the bathroom. Any failure to catch every scrap of grime or dirt or streak will show up in a photo. Decluttering is most important in the bathroom. In such a small space, any clutter is going to be far more obvious. Take the toilet roll off the hanger. Take out the toothbrushes and any other personal items that may detract.

Bedrooms: Declutter and clean and turn on the bedside lights as they create a beautiful glow. Contrasting bed linen and the wall treatments work well but be careful. Assess the view out of the bedroom windows - if it’s not a particularly attractive view, take the focus away from the window with a nice big painting, photo or something else that will draw the attention away. If you want to focus the attention on a hill view or a beach view, or just a nice outlook, take away any objects that will distract the eye from the window. 

Entertainment areas: With these areas, try and create a certain ambience or vibe that will appeal to your buyer. Think about the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Whether it’s the deck, the veranda, a balcony, how does it integrate with the rest of the atmosphere you’re trying to sell. So if it’s an inner city property, you want to be able to show that balcony set up with a barbecue, for example.  

The pool: Make sure you give some attention to the pool –it’s got to be sparkling before it is photographed and when the house goes on the market. Make sure all utensils associated with the pool – the empty chlorine bottles, the chemical containers, the pool cleaners, the brooms, the kids’boogie boards and the floatation rings are all packed away. Make sure it remains like that for rest of the marketing campaign.

Keep the lights on: Lights are essential. Even in daytime, you’re always going to be shooting with lights on. Most professional photographers are going to create an ambience somewhere between using their flash equipment and utilising the available sunlight as well as the lights. 

Replace all the faulty globes: Make sure they’re fresh, and if the property is vacant make sure the electricity is on. 



  1. Tidy Kitchen and remove all items from the bench tops including appliances
  2. Remove all dishes from the sink including drying racks  
  3. Remove all tea towels  
  4. Clear off all fridge magnets  
  5. Add a bowl of fresh fruit to the kitchen bench for colour  
  6. Remove rubbish bin to outside  
  7. Remove pet bowls and litter trays  
  8. Remove all unnecessary furniture and clutter to create an impression of space  
  9. Turn on lamps and ensure they are working  
  10. Replace any faulty lights globes  
  11. Ensure all curtains are hooked up properly and open  
  12. Remove sheer curtains altogether if possible.


  1. Mow the lawns  
  2. Store toys out of sight  
  3. Remove pet droppings  
  4. Keep cars out of sight  
  5. Clear out the cobwebs, get rid of peeling paint and grime  
  6. Ensure that gutters are cleared

Entertaining areas  

  1. Clear off outdoor settings  
  2. Add cushions, pot plant  
  3. If you have a pool make sure it is sparkling clean


  1. Make beds  
  2. Turn on lamps  
  3. Reduce items on dressing tables and drawers  
  4. Empty cupboards of off-season clothing and pack them away  
  5. Organise cupboards


  1. Scrub and clean shower screens, basins and mirrors  
  2. Remove all bottles and hanging items from the shower  
  3. Remove waste bin  
  4. Remove all items except decorative bottles from the basin 

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