Pre-sale checklist: Everything you need to remember and prepare for when selling

It’s not everyday that you sell a property, it could even be your first time, which is why you need to be prepared. What better way to make sure you are on top of everything, than with a pre-sale checklist to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that can make the process more stressful than it needs to be.

Read: The OpenAgent smart seller guide

couple researching laptop

1. Two heads are better than one

This should be a no-brainer. Split all the tasks and logistics involved with your wife/husband/partner/significant other - assuming there are two people involved. As mentioned, selling/buying/moving is a stressful experience - so it makes sense to spread the load. One person could for example be in charge of the paperwork, while the other takes care of all the practical logistics such as arranging cleaners and contractors.

2. Selling a strata title property

If you are selling a strata title property, which most apartments fall under, you need to have the appropriate paperwork for this ready. Depending on which state you live in this could include a copy of the property certificate for the lot, a copy of the strata plan and a copy of any change of by-law affecting the use of common property.

Read: Selling an investment property

3. Get ready for the photographer

Hiring a professional real estate photographer is a cost effective way of marketing your property online. But you need to do some work before they walk through the door. You have two options here - to have your home professionally styled/staged or to DIY.

If you go with a pro stylist they will help make your home look infinitely more spacious and saleable by decluttering and may even replace your furniture and artworks. There is a cost associated with this, so you need to work out if you think it is worth the outlay.

If you DIY this step then you need to declutter, depersonalise and generally prep your home with buyers in mind. They need to imagine living there, so it needs to be a blank canvas for open house inspections. Some tips include using white/neutral tones to make spaces look bigger, and consider swapping out larger pieces of furniture for smaller versions to help show the versatility of a space and how it can be used.

Buyers need to imagine living in your property, so it needs to be a blank canvas for open house inspections

real estate photographer

4. Make a repair checklist

You need to do a walk through of your property to assess what repairs are required. Buyers are likely to check if your lights work or notice if there is a dripping tap - and you want to avoid any negative experience at all costs. If it is an investment property and you have had tenants in it, it is very likely to need some TLC.

This could be anything from small jobs such as leaking taps and blown bulbs to larger projects like replacing a hot water unit. Take the time to make a repair checklist. This will speed up your checks and ensure you don’t overlook anything. You also need to schedule contractors in to do the work. Track down a reliable handyman to take care of all the small jobs, and the appropriately licensed tradies for more involved tasks.

Read: How much do pre-sale repairs and renovations cost?

5. Plan your renovations well in advance

If there are larger alterations or renovations that need to be undertaken these need to researched and scheduled in good time. This is because getting quotes, hiring contractors and ordering materials all have lead times which can determine when you list your property for sale.

6. Booking removalists and packing up

If you are selling your own home, get ahead of the curve by researching removalists and planning your packing strategy. Removalists charge depending on what level of service you choose. If you are time poor consider getting them to do everything. Even though it costs more, it will be worth it.

Get ahead of the curve by researching removalists and planning your packing strategy well in advance

removalists unloading moving truck

7. Where are you going to live?

If you are selling an investment property or have already bought a home you don’t have to think where you are going to live. But if you are planning on renting for the interim then knowing where you’ll live is pretty important. Research properties to let to get an idea what rent is going to cost.

Don’t get complacent either, your property could sell faster than you expect it to.

8. Get on top of the paperwork

Make a list of all the documentation you need for the sale. There is a lot to keep track of, related to your loan, title, contract paperwork, land transfer, building reports and more. Your legal representative - conveyancer or solicitor - can help, as can your bank, agent and accountant.

couple with paperwork

9. Get your finances in order

Are you buying and selling at the same time? Then you will need to apply for a new loan with your provider. Talk to them in advance to make sure you qualify for finance. If you are selling an investment property work out your tax obligations, either yourself or with an accountant or via your financial adviser.

Read: Home loan and mortgage exit fees when selling or buying property

10. Talk to your agent

After you have interviewed and chosen a real estate agent talk to them often. Considering the scale of the transaction open channels of communication are important. Your agent is there to help you through the sale process, so don’t be shy to lean on them for advice. This could be anything from the legalities and paperwork to sourcing tradies for your repairs and renovations.

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