The Bulletin

The Key to Securing a Buyer: why pre-sale preparation is more important than ever

Falling property prices have presented patient house hunters who missed out in the boom with an opportunity.

But while many buyers are hunting for a bargain, nobody wants to buy a lemon. Those ready to buy want to minimise the chances of their new property falling in value and are understandably cautious.

As a result, agents report that quality homes are performing better at auction than those that need work.

Presentation is the key to securing a buyer in this market. The more work we do to put the best product to market, the better it’s going to sell. Some clients will spend $10,000 on a makeover and it might add $25,000 to the sale.

On the other hand, rundown renovation projects are less likely to sell under the hammer because there are fewer buyers willing to take on a fixer-upper. If it’s unrenovated and overpriced, it may not sell well because buyers will factor in the cost of renovations.

The key cause of price falls in the past 18 months – the tightened availability of credit – means the typical buyer has less money to spend.

In a seller’s market, buyers are more forgiving because the FOMO sets in. In this market, buyers are really scrutinising less-than-perfect listings.

Presentation pays off 

Pre-sale preparation should always form a key part of a vendor’s selling strategy, but it’s especially important in a buyer’s market.

Your real estate agent is often best-placed to advise on which updates buyers in the area expect.

Ultimately, changes should be designed to appeal to the widest pool of buyers. Some of the best bang-for-buck changes you can make are painting and flooring. Refinishing floorboards and replacing carpets will also broaden the appeal of a property, and changes that improve natural light can be worthwhile.

Scrimping on a pre-sale renovation can be a false economy. Poor quality carpets or a sloppy DIY paint job can turn off buyers but hiring tradies to do the bulk of the work will get the property on the market sooner.

Investing in wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms can be tricky, because many buyers prefer adding their own style to these spaces, creating a risk of overcapitalisation.

Unless you’re really confident you can deliver what the market wants, you’re better off not spending the money on a major renovation.

The power of staging

While some vendors baulk at the cost and hassle of hiring furniture, agents tend to agree that styling a property pays off.

When you do stage a home, not only does it set the scene, but it takes your eye away from some of the possible imperfections a house might have.

Strategic pre-sale investments can set your home apart from comparable properties. At the end of the day it’s all about competition. The more that we try to get the presentation right, and the more buyers we get through the door based on the presentation, the better the chances of the client getting a good result. Talk to your Harcourts Packham agent today about styling your home for sale.



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