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  • Two identical homes — why one sold for $226k more

Two identical homes — why one sold for $226k more

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Whether the market is booming or declining, nailing presentation is one of the most crucial things a seller can do to maximise buyer competition and secure a top result. 

That theory was put to the test when two more-or-less identical homes in Sydney's Inner West sold within a four-week window, with one netting $226,000 more than the other. 

We spoke to the selling agent and a local buyer's agent to break down how investment in presentation and agent selection made all the difference.

What separated the two properties?

On paper, everything about 8 Rawson St, Newtown and its mirror image, semi-detached neighbour, 10 Rawson St, looked just about identical. 

Two bedrooms, one bathroom and a small courtyard on around 100 sqm of land, each appealing to the same kind of first home buyer or investor. 

The outcomes were very different, though.

PropertySale dateSale priceActive bidders
10 Rawson St18 February 2023$1,110,0002
8 Rawson St18 March 2023$1,336,0007

Local buyer's agent Penny Vandenhurk explained that 10 Rawson was in perfectly liveable condition but had not been staged with furniture — instead, online photos had been virtually staged. 

With the property being displayed in an empty state, she said "it's always hard for people to imagine themselves living there. Often those types of properties look smaller."

8 Rawson on the other hand was professionally staged for the campaign and had some modest cosmetic renovations and improvements done. 

Vandenhurk said that "it presented for sale far better" and inspired an immediate emotional connection from buyers who were able to see themselves living in the space.

Securing an extra $226k 'didn't cost the owner much'

The selling agent for 8 Rawson, Ercan Ersan from Ray White Erskineville, said investing in presentation was key to secure a far better sale than the property's neighbour. 

"The main difference between both houses is our one had a cheap cosmetic renovation. It didn't cost the owner much, and the return is quite clear," he explained.

Photos on the left show the renovated and professionally staged 8 Rawson St; photos on the right show the unstaged and unrenovated 10 Rawson St. Source: Domain

Roughly $50,000 was spent over the course of three months to make the property really shine. That cost included:

  • A cosmetic kitchen renovation
  • A cosmetic bathroom renovation
  • Improving flooring
  • Internal repainting
  • Modest landscaping
  • Professional home staging

Ersan noted that these are typically the most cost-effective areas to focus on and that making the investment can easily add $100,000 or $200,000 to a home's sale price. 

  • 10 Rawson St sale price

  • 8 Rawson St sale price


He added that top-quality presentation is vital regardless of market conditions, and in this case it was particularly important to stand out from the crowd. 

"With number 10, people were concerned about having to redo the kitchen and bathroom. We need to mitigate and minimise any reasons someone might have to not pay a premium for a house."

Buyers are out in force, sellers just need to generate the competition

The difference in auction activity between the two properties was stark, Vandenhurk said. 

"The auction [for 10 Rawson] was like pulling teeth. It should have appealed to a large number of buyers who were in the market for a two-bed house."

With 8 Rawson drawing more interest, it effectively ramped up competition at the auction as buyers gained confidence in seeing rival bidders willing to pay more. 

"The large number of people there helped to validate that the property is worthy of buying," she said. 

An agent's strategy also plays a big part. In the case of 8 Rawson, Ersan said "we were able to cross-pollinate and refer buyers from different suburbs and different areas."

Between expanding the buyer pool and presenting the best possible product throughout the selling campaign, they were ultimately able to net a result more than +20 per cent higher than the house next door. 

Buyers packed into 8 Rawson St in what proved to be a successful marketing campaign. Source: Purchase With Penny

Looking to sell in 2023? Speaking to a top local agent for advice on how to present a premium home with minimal investment is a great first step towards achieving a standout sale result, whatever the market conditions.