Selling a house privately is a big undertaking. Private vendors are somewhat disadvantaged against Real Estate Agents – they have little or no experience with property selling, no database of prospective buyers, no access to some agencies owned websites and so on. For all these reasons it’s very important to prepare and market the property right the first time!

Also check out our Pros and Cons of Agents vs Private selling

Preparing for a private house sale

… or for a property sale in general for that matter.

Before you put your house on the market you need to improve its appeal. Little things like:

  • Housewash
    Specialised companies can wash your house from the top to the bottom. They can remove dirt and moss from the roof and exterior walls and make your paint shine again. Expect around $300 for a standard 3 bedroom single-level house.
  • Repair and repaint the fence and post box
    That’s the first thing potential buyers see and that’s where they get the first impression. New post box is between $100 and $200, bucket of paint for the fence is around $150. Handyman services can help you with that if you’re not a DIY type.
  • Get rid of the mould in the bathroom, kitchen and around windows
    That can be easily done with a spray like Exit Mould! or similar. They stink terribly but work amazingly.
  • Professionally clean the carpets
    Around $150 for a 3 bedroom house will revive the carpet and brighten the colours again.
  • Repair flaky paint around windows and doors
    Especially the enamel paint on timber joinery tends to flake off after some time. Just give it a scrape and repaint and it will look 200% better. The paint is not expensive but the work is somewhat time consuming. Again you may be better off paying a painter to do that.
  • De-clutter and create a welcoming feeling
    There should be just enough furniture to show that the home is comfortable and spacious. Remove all non-necessary and too personal items. The buyers want to imagine how they can live there – if the rooms and walls are full of your favourite things they may feel like visitors to your home, not future occupants.

Before each open home

  • Tidy up the rooms
  • Store everything away from the kitchen bench (you want to show how big it is, right?)
  • Clean the toilet and bathroom
  • Mow the lawns
  • Although it’s often recommended we are not big fans of baking or making coffee just before the Open Home – the smell is usually too strong and too obvious. Instead we prefer to put a jar of a home fragrance oil to the kitchen, lounge and bathroom. They can be bought at Stevens, Briscoes or Farmers for some $20 per jar, usually come with long bamboo sticks as evaporators and after a couple of days spread a subtle, hardly noticeable yet nice and welcoming smell throughout the house.

Preparing a house for sale is definitely not an easy job. And preparing for a private house sale is even harder because there is no agent to give you a guidance (and charge you heaps on commission for it). However even if you only follow some of the hints above it will help you achieve a better price.

Marketing your house

Selling anything requires marketing and properties are no exception. No one will buy your house if no one knows it’s for sale. Whether you list with an agent or run a private house sale the more money you spend on marketing the better are your chances for success.

  • TradeMe listing is the very least you absolutely have to pay for
    Virtually every buyer looks on TradeMe first. Make the listing brief and to the point, outlining the major highlights – property and section size, condition (renovated? tired? do-up?) , parking, subdivision potential, good in-zone schools, proximity to public transport and shops, etc. TradeMe Property listing costs $400 to $800 depending on which optional features you add.
  • Professional photography
    You will never achieve with a pocket camera what the specialised property photographers can do with their profi equipment, set of flash lights and photo editing skills. That alone will set your house aside in the listings however it may costs somewhere between $200 to $400.
  • Street signs
    You will need a permanent one in front of your house – expect around $150 for a full colour 90cm x 60cm street sign. You may also need to pay someone to put it up if you’re not handy with a hammer and a skill saw. Then you’ll need a set of smaller “Open Home Now” signs to place around your neighbourhood on Saturdays and Sundays. They are around $20 each and available from places like Mitre10 or PlaceMakers.
  • Flyers
    Did you know that most people buy their new home in the same or directly adjacent suburb to where they currently live? You may want to distribute flyers around your neighbourhood. Expect to need at least 5 thousands flyers to cover an average Auckland suburb. Although effective it’s a major expense – upwards from $1000 to design, print and distribute them. Unfortunately there is not much point in doing significantly less flyers – the immediate neighbours will see your street sign, you want to reach the ones further out.
  • News paper ads
    Yes you can place an ad in your local newspaper but we wouldn’t. Agents will often try to talk you into advertising in Property Press or similar but our experience shows it’s not worth the money.
  • Home staging
    If you don’t live in the house you may want to hire a furniture – furnished houses sell better than the empty ones. There are many companies that specialise in this business and will design and deliver the interior depending on your needs. You can do as little as just the lounge all the way through to furnishing the whole house. We found that a good middle ground is to furnish the lounge, kitchen and the master bedroom. Doing all the bedrooms is much more expensive and generally not needed. Look for “home staging” companies in your area and expect to pay between $2000 to $3000 for a 3 bedroom house for a 4 week hiring period.
  • Remove tenants
    Rental properties sell much better when they are vacant. Tenants don’t care how much you sell the house for, the open homes are a great inconvenience and they know they will have to go as soon as the house it sold anyway. More often than not tenants don’t play the ball and will not help you present the property at its best. Yes we are aware it will cost you some $400 to $800 per week on lost rent. For a typical 4 weeks marketing period and another few weeks for settlement it adds up to somewhere between $3000 and $6000 on lost rental income. It may still be worth it though.

In short: Remove tenants first if it’s a rental house, tidy up, repair and repaint what needs repairing, fork out a couple thousands on marketing and hope for a great result.

Not easy and not cheap, is it? The good news is that we at PatMat Property Solutions don’t mind flaky paint. We won’t require home staging to offer you the best price and can even buy the house with tenants which means no lost rent at all. Before you embark on the expensive (and non-refundable) private house sale journey talk to us. We can save you heaps!

We can buy your house without all these expenses!

Talk to us today or fill in the form on the right and we will be in touch soon.