Selling a house is one of the most overwhelming and stressful undertakings in life, but potentially one of the most rewarding. Follow these simple steps outlined in our cheat sheet below and you won’t look back.

First impressions count

It was love at first sight. —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

Just as this memorable opener to Joseph Heller’s masterpiece pulls the reader in and encourages them to stick around for the unfolding story, the very first look at a home will inform your audience’s decision to invest emotionally or to cut and run. What’s the first point of contact between them and your home? Is it a link, photograph, bricks and mortar? Will it entice them to knock on the door and find out more? You’ll never have a second chance at a first impression, as the saying goes, so make it count. Get them over the threshold.

Dress (your house) for success

Potential buyers will be ready to scan every nook and cranny of your home with a magnifying glass.

Forget your Mitsubishi and your horse outside – clear the driveway. If you have several cars/kayaks/motorbikes parked there, consider asking a friend to use their driveway for the duration of the viewing. An oily, cluttered driveway doesn’t scream ‘dream home’.

Examine all the elements of the front of the house. Does the grass need another going-over? Have you cleared the gutters? What about those rusty gates? Eagle-eyed potential buyers will be looking for flaws everywhere.

Inject some personality into the property cheaply but effectively. A brightly coloured welcome mat and a hanging flower box can make a huge difference and create a homely vibe.

Selling your house sitting room

Scents and sensibility

Now that you’ve got the aesthetics down, it’s time to get the rest of the senses going too. When it comes to showing a home, smells, sounds, tastes and tactile impressions should never be neglected, such is the power they have to enhance the viewers’ experience.

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through a property is always a winner. It’s a proven serotonin booster, boosting the positivity of those potential buyers. Kudos if you’re in the minority who can expertly bake, but if not, visit a local bakery and 10 minutes before your viewers arrive, allow the scent to disperse through the house.

If you’re avoiding carbs, use a scented candle. An earthy aroma evokes soothing energy (and hides any lingering smells from cleaning products!) And, to add fuel to the fire, do just that. A roaring firing will make your house a home to prospective buyers.

Fresh flowers and potted plants are a safe way to breathe life into the home, without feeling too personal to the previous owner.

If you play music, keep it low key and low volume. Think of it as a backing track to break awkward silences without distracting from the conversation.

Use textures to (literally) give viewers a feel for the place – add a plush throw in velour or shearling to a sofa or armchair and invite them to sit in that spot and get comfy. Something soft to the touch will evoke positive connotations.


Make a list; check it twice

A checklist of general home improvements is essential. To pinpoint areas that need fixing, consult an extra pair of eyes. Sometimes it’s difficult to dissociate yourself from your own home, so asking a trusted friend or professional to point out any flaws in advance of viewings can be super helpful.

Make a list and check it twice. A leaky tap, scuffs on the walls, water stains or creaky doorways need to be tackled. For anything that seems out of the realm of your expertise, call in the professionals. It’s not worth it.

Find “the One”

The importance of choosing the right property agent cannot be overstated. You’ll want to have an in-depth understanding of the unique selling points of your home, where your property stands in terms of the current market and to anticipate how to resolve any potential problems or pitfalls. Good chemistry is also important; you need to know that you can rely on them to guide you through potential bottlenecks and disappointments.

An effective agent will evaluate your property in terms of its target audience. Is yours a property in need of a bit of a revamp? There’s a market for that. A good agent will have the insight into potential buyer and recognise that while a ‘doer-upper’ for a reasonable price will appeal to a broad swath of DIY aficionados, a design-conscious couple with a keen eye for trends will likely turn their nose up.

The savvy agent will also know how to leverage and ramp up competition – having viewings at regular intervals on the same day, for example, signifies the level of interest to the potential buyers.


Do your homework

Don’t leave the tedious paperwork to the last minute. Anticipate questions and prepare detailed answers. Have everything readily available – tax bills, insurance documents, mortgage details, survey results and utility bills. Don’t leave anything up to chance. A slight hesitation or delay could escalate doubt in the mind of a buyer torn between two properties.

Time it right

In the words of Dr Seuss, “how did it get so late so soon?” Preparing a house for sale is a long slog that cannot realistically be hurried. Enormous sums of money, life-changing decisions and people’s homes are on the line, after all. Allocate enough time to clean, de-clutter, organise and spruce up the house before you even approach the estate agent. By the time you settle on a realtor, your house should be almost ready for the digital marketing phase. The property agent can advise you on the best possible way to make the house sale-worthy.

Take a step back and view the property one final time. Bubbly at the ready! If you’ve put in the time and the work, the rewards will follow.

Time is a ticking, so head to for all your real estate needs now.