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What to do when selling your home feels like too much work


Many of us dream of moving to another home one day. But often, when we start thinking of the practical implications of getting ready to move, the obstacles start mounting and the dream of a move becomes simply that - a dream.


When you own a home, it's an emotional safe-haven and also an investment. Often the most valuable asset we own. So if we think of selling that asset, it stands to reason that we hope to present it at its best and maximise its value.


Our emotional side wants our home to look great before we open it to the public, and we know that improving presentation should add value and bring us the best possible price. But presenting a home at its best is no small feat and there can be a plethora of jobs involved:

  • Painting exteriors, fences, interiors, doorways, window sills, whatever needs freshening up.

  • Tidying up our section, cutting back trees, removing weeds, creating a positive 'first impression'.

  • Waterblasting paths, decks, cladding, gutters.

  • Repairing overdue maintenance jobs that we have simply lived with up until deciding to sell.

  • Sorting any outstanding building consents and chasing up paperwork.

  • Decluttering, hiring storage units, clearing out the garage.

And that's just the standard prep. Many owners also need to decide whether to renovate areas like kitchens and bathrooms pre-sale. Most of us simply don't have the time (or contacts) to project manage all these tasks.


It's no wonder that once we build a mental to-do list of pre-sale activities, the idea of selling becomes way too stressful and we choose not to take action.


But is this the right approach?


Should we allow this list of challenges to stop us from a move that might improve our quality of life? Do we really need to present our home perfectly when going on the market?


The answer is simply, no. While any prep work you can undertake will likely help your sale process, if that list of outstanding jobs stops you from actually selling, then it doesn't matter anyway.


So here is the recommendation:


Decide first whether you need to move. If moving would improve your life then commit to making it happen in a certain time frame (3/6/12 months). Then decide on what prep-work you can reasonably undertake in the time you have available. Let go of anything that is impractical to tick off the list.


What does this look like in practice?


You might commit to hiring a house-washer, a landscaper, and a handyman to tidy up a few maintenance jobs, but that a full-scale renovation is not possible, even though your home might need it.


Buyers appreciate well-presented homes, but they also like being able to add value themselves. They are looking at far more than superficial details. The key features of any home are the things you can't easily change, like sun-aspect, location, access, space. It's those key features that buyers are searching and paying for. Everything else is just a nice-to-have.


It can be hard to take the leap to sell when your home is imperfect. Its shortcomings stick out to us because we are familiar with them. In my professional experience, owners place too much emphasis on the parts of their home they don't like, and not enough on the redeeming factors which the next owner will fall in love with.


It's my job to emphasize the attractive aspects of your home when it comes time to sell. That's what I do best. It's also my job to help you decide which pre-sale activities will add the most value, and which ones are simply nice-to-haves, but not essential.


Let me leave you with one last thought:


Don't let perfection get in the way of progress.


Your new home is out there waiting. Are you ready to go looking?

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