My Top 8 Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

Via Pinterest

1. Pack now … as soon as I walk out the door after our appointment!

The biggest challenge I come across, when being invited into people’s homes, week in week out, is the amount of ‘stuff’ we choose to live with. Clutter, treasures, keepsakes, necessities. Stuff. It hides, and takes the focus off, all the beautiful features of your home.

If you are serious about selling, then you are going to be packing up your home anyway. You may as well pack it up now. An early pack up could be worth thousands to you. It really could. The less ‘stuff’ stuffed in your cupboards (that buyers do look in … guaranteed), the less stuff on your kitchen benches, the less toys on your shelves, the more money you could make. True. Leave only what you need for the short time your home is going to be on the market, hire a small storage facility and hide your stuff! It is so worth it.

Fresh Home

2. Think ‘Display Home’.

I am not ashamed to say I use the words ‘Display Home’ a lot. There is a reason people are inspired by ‘Display Homes’ and ‘Idea Homes’ and ‘Hamptons Designer Showhomes’! There is a reason that Pinterest is full of pictures of them. They sell a dream. You are selling the dream of how your buyers are going to be living in your home. They really do not want to see or know how you lived in your home. Take down all personal effects and remove all trinkets. Ask yourself, ‘what would a display home have on show? Would I see this collection of bits and pieces in a display home?’


Traditional Home

3. Throw out all preconceived ideas about how your home should look.

You are too close to it. You loved it and decorated it with all your treasures. Don’t listen to your family, friends and neighbours. Your home does not have to look ‘lived in’, like it’s a home. And don’t take styling advice personally. It’s not that your precious things are not beautiful. It’s like a maths formula. Follow the formula and you will achieve the correct answer, the correct sale price. See point 2. Display home, display home. I, myself, do like to soften the ‘display home’ look a bit. I do throw cushions around with wild abandon and do probably vignette up a sideboard with a few more pretties than a display home. The greatest compliment I can receive from a buyer is the question, ‘has this home been professionally styled or is there someone still living here?’. Bingo. It looks too good for someone to be living here? Mission accomplished.

One of my very favourites – via Home Bunch

4. Focus on first impressions.

You need your buyers to park their car outside and really want to come in. Street appeal is everything. Clear the undergrowth, trim your foliage, tidy your gardens, mow the lawns, hide the bins. Stand out on the street, look back at your home, and critique it. If you were the buyer, what would you want to see? Pay attention to your front entrance. Declutter the porch, removed tired plants, purchase a fabulous doormat and a couple of stunning potted plants for either side of the door. People respond to symmetry! They do!

Via Pinterest

5. New carpets are the bomb!

I watch buyers on new carpets. They wiggle their toes. You are selling the dream with new carpets. New carpet does not need to be expensive … but it’s part of the ‘dream’ formula. There are some beautiful carpets out there for great prices. I tend to recommend darker colours, a medium to dark grey works well with most colour schemes and looks lush. With all the windows open, letting in lots of light, a darker new floor looks luxurious. Crisp white bed linen pops against it, so do bright accessories … and the wiggling buyer’s toes do not lie.


6. Paint.

A fresh new home in every can. As per point 5. New paint is the bomb! Paint is an affordable way to totally transform a room. Make your colour consistent throughout. I am not ashamed to say that I once embraced ‘Spiced Apple’ in my hall and a ‘Midnight Blue feature wall in my kitchen … but that was yesterday, well … late 90’s to be precise. You want to maximise the appeal of your home to your maximum market. Yes, your ‘Forest Green’ wall in the study did remind you of your home in old England and it is lovely … and it does go well with those gilded frames …. but you want to appeal to as many buyers as possible. Best to paint over it!

Cape Cod Residential. Image Courtesy

7. Stage. Style. Sell.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of professionally styling a home for sale. It can add thousands to your sale price, significantly more than what it costs to have your home professionally styled. I have so many examples of ‘local agent’ price appraisals of homes I have sold for tens of thousands more after I have gotten my hands on them (the homes, not the local agents!). Presentation is EVERYTHING. A beautifully presented home creates buyer emotion, buyer numbers and buyer competition. The golden rule of all successful real estate price premiums. Competition and ‘the fear of loss’ is what gets you your price … oh and a gun agent who WORKS for you, who calls every one of your buyers after open homes to garner interest, buyer feedback, to ask for the business, to work towards offers. It’s a simple formula and it works. Big statement but true.

Cape Cod Residential Styling Warehouse

8. Find an agent who embraces you, your home and these concepts and you are putting yourself in the best position to sell your home faster … and for more!

A-M xx



This is where I muse about home design, interiors, life with my boys and other stuff that stops my heart. I own my own Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia.

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  • Catherine Lynn
    March 7, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Just read those points to my husband! So true AM. That’s why you are SO successful! I love the idea of start packing to de clutter your home immediately.

    • A-M
      March 8, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Catherine! Too kind. xx

  • Helen
    March 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Oh how I love posts like these that u write A-M! Brimming with passion…..its palpable and magic!!
    As I try to squeeze the most out of my home to make it a bit more classic, I think to your words.
    Lovely xx

    • A-M
      March 8, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks pet. xx

  • Design Chic
    March 8, 2015 at 6:36 am

    These are such wonderful tips and all so true. I love nothing more than opening a cabinet or closet and seeing organized beauty…makes everything seem better!! Great post!!

  • A-M
    March 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, ordered cupboards are very aesthetically pleasing! xx

  • Janet Purcell
    March 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Having sold a few houses over the years I totally agree, that keeping it free of personal items makes a big difference. Our last home had a study but it didn’t sell until until I cleaned it all out and made it into a bedroom. Some people have no imagination to envisage how furniture will fit into spaces.

    • A-M
      March 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      I agree Janet. I believe it helps to show people how to live in a home. Make it as easy as possible for the buyers. Xx

  • Andy
    March 19, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I was going to do a Why haven’t you been blogging comment, but then I went to your work website. Congratulations on being the real estate agent for 3 entire apartment towers and one of them Sold Out, as well as all of your SOLD houses. Looking foreword to the next listing or post. – Andy in Florida

    • A-M
      March 20, 2015 at 8:36 am

      I wish I could take credit for the ‘sold out’ bit Andy, but I am one of many selling them! But thanks anyway! They are the jewel in the apartment crown here in Brisbane. Such an amazing development. Next tower has been released for sale! ….’Laguna’ xx

  • Kaye
    April 1, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    We have three bedrooms and an office that previously was a bedroom….do you think we need to change it back to a bedroom for sale? I feel people should be able to work out which use they would prefer …..but maybe not.

    • A-M
      April 2, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Hi Kaye, if the 4th bedroom is bedroom size and not significantly smaller than all the others, I think it would be ok to leave as a study but just list your home as a 4 bedroom home. A-M xx

  • Tina
    September 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Hi, love your website, I have learnt so much about getting our house ready for sale, the photos are so beautiful its very hard to stop going through all the pages. Your info and tips are excellent I will be back for more ideas, tips and to admire the stunning images.

  • Saskia
    June 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I would LOVE to know where are your recommendations to purchase gorgeous furniture like this, if you could be so kind as to share?

Comments are closed here.

About ‘A-M’

This is where I muse about home design, real estate, interiors and life with my boys. I am starting my next house build, 'The Next House That A-M Built', and hope to have some action on site in March, 2017. While I am building I will continue to run my Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia. I have an unrivalled staging inventory which enables me to present all manner of homes in their absolute best light for sale. It brings me such joy to be able to do Real Estate so differently and achieve great results for my clients. I am so grateful to be living such a creative and exciting life ... that I have created ... through blood, sweat, tears and physio appointments! A-M xx

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My Real Estate Staging Inventory

My Real Estate Staging Inventory

Our designer in-house furniture and accessories inventory is available to all our real estate clients

Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz

My Top Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

My Top Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

Purchase My Favourite Styling Pieces

Purchase My Favourite Styling Pieces

Home Beautiful Cover, May 2010

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