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Selling your home: a timeline

Profile photo of Andy Webb

Between deciding you want to sell your home and completing the settlement, there are plenty of steps and decisions to be made, and it can be hard to wrap your head around what exactly needs to happen when. 

We're here to take the guesswork out of that timeline and provide a sense of how to map out the process to give you the confidence and knowledge you need to sell successfully and stress-free. 

Depending on the state of your property and how quickly you'd like to move, there may be steps you can skip or speed up. So with that in mind, let's begin with the most important day: today.

Today

Work out your goals

Are you upsizing? Downsizing? Selling an investment property? Whatever the reason for your sale, you'll need to have a clear idea of what your plan is. 

If you're upsizing, that will involve having a clear picture of your financial situation so you know how much you can borrow. Whether you're upsizing or downsizing, having a sense of the kind of location and property type you'd like to move to will also dictate how the process unfolds. 

Be sure about what it is you'd like to achieve from the outset and you'll be in a good position to work towards the best outcome. 

Decide on a date

This can depend on a range of factors including personal and professional circumstances, seasonality and market conditions. But once you have a solid idea of when you'd like to sell, you can begin ticking all the boxes and working towards that date. 

Three months before listing

Begin any major renovations and repairs

The timeline for renovations can vary a lot, but if you're looking at doing larger-scale work like a full kitchen or bathroom renovation, it's best to get a good head start and ensure everything's wrapped up before you're ready to sell. 

Smaller jobs like painting, landscaping and replacing fixtures and fittings generally won't take as long, but make sure you budget the right amount of time for any home improvements so you're not rushed. 

For more on how to get your home prepped for sale quickly and effectively, check out OpenAgent's free Reno Roadmap

Two months before listing

Research the market

You may have already been paying close attention to what's been happening in your local market, but at this point, it's important to gather as much information as you can. 

What are similar properties in your neighbourhood selling for? Have prices been going up recently? How long are properties staying on the market before they sell? 

Familiarise yourself with recent sales and head along to some open homes to check out the competition. You can also use a free tool like OpenAgent's OpenEstimates to get a better idea of what your home would be worth in the current market. 

The more well-informed you are about what's going on in your area, the better prepared you'll be when it's time to put your home on the market. 

Secure a solicitor or conveyancer

If you don't already have one on hand, securing a legal representative to ensure all your transfer documents are in order is a must. 

Our friends over at Lawlab have plenty of information on conveyancing and can give you a free quote. 

One month before listing

Find the right agent

You may be considering selling your home independently, but the local market expertise, contacts and selling experience that a good real estate agent brings to the table can end up making a very significant difference in the sale result. It can also save you a lot of stress. 

Once you've found an agent you can begin working on a marketing plan and be sure you're on the right track to maximising your sale. You can also work out how to price your home to achieve the result you want. 

OpenAgent can provide you with a free shortlist of the top agents in your area based on your needs and goals. Find out more here

Complete any final cosmetic improvements

Painting worn-out interiors, fixing leaky taps or dings in the walls, sprucing up the garden and clearing out any excess clutter can all go a long way to presenting your home in the best possible light. 

Having the property professionally cleaned, including things like carpets, windows and driveways, can also help buyers to see your home in its most appealing state. And if anything is broken, make sure it gets fixed before you list. 

Begin moving out

It might seem a bit early to begin the moving process, especially if you don't have a new home to move your things into, but decluttering and creating as much space as possible will give you the best opportunity to present your home in the right way. 

Packing up personal items like family photos will help buyers see the property as a blank canvas, and if you can move furniture into storage it'll allow for property stylists to do their best work.

Two-to-three weeks before listing

Consult a home stylist

A little spending on home styling and staging can go a long way, so it's always worth considering. 

Most agents will highly recommend this step, as it gives buyers a great sense of the space and it also gives your property a strong presence when being displayed online. 

Home stylists can arrange to hire furniture to fit the space and make it appeal to the most broad spectrum of buyers. Find out more, including costs, in our expert guide to property styling

Arrange a photographer

Once your home is looking its best, it's time to get photos done. A good set of photos can mean the difference between buyers clicking through to your listing and scrolling right past it. 

This will often be something your agent can arrange, but either way, be sure to invest in this step because it'll pay dividends in the end. 

One week before listing

Get your home ready for open inspections

It's just about crunch time, so make sure your home looks its best. Do any final decluttering and cleaning, make sure you're maximising the natural light coming into the property, mow the lawns and look for any last-minute touch-ups. 

Review your marketing materials and open home schedule

Have one last look over what's going to be sent out to potential buyers with your agent to make sure everything is accurate and in top shape.

Make sure you're also prepared for the open inspections so you'll be able to be out of the property whenever buyers are coming through. 

Listing day

Go live to the market

At this point, your home will be going live on online listing portals and through your agent's marketing channels. Make sure you have a 'for sale' sign clearly displayed out front and that your online listings are all spot on. 

Keep your home looking spotless

As the sale campaign unfolds, don't let your standards slip. Maintaining a clean and perfectly presented property is crucial so buyers are seeing your home at its best at every open home or private inspection. 

Prepare for auction day or begin weighing up offers

Whether you're selling by private treaty or auction, it's game on now. Maintain a dialogue with your agent about how buyers are responding and consider whether any offer is the right offer. 

Final thoughts

The above is all general advice and doesn't take into account your personal circumstances, the local market and the condition of your home, and the timeline may shift around depending on those factors. 

Getting in touch with an agent early to seek advice on your specific situation can be a great help, whether you're looking to sell in two months or a year.