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tips for selling your house

Selling your house? Here’s how to prepare

January 18, 2021 9:00 am by Upside

Thinking about selling your house? The Australian property market is on the rise again, which means now could be the right time to consider listing your home for sale.

Whether you’re downsizing or moving into a new property, knowing how to sell your house successfully can be difficult. How do you choose the right agent? How should you price your house? When should you sell? These considerations are important, and all play a big part in achieving a successful sale.

We know that the process of selling your home can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for selling your house, to help you get the best price and a quick sale for your property.

Selling property: What should you research?

As with any major undertaking, it’s important to do your homework before taking the plunge and listing your home for sale. Being prepared ahead of time will help you sell your house quickly when it goes to market, and for the highest possible price. Make sure to research:

  • The current status of the property market: After property prices took a dip over late 2017-18, values have again started to increase in Australia’s capital cities. CoreLogic’s latest Hedonic Home Value Index reports that house prices in Sydney and Melbourne – the two capital cities with the largest price drops – rose over the month of December by 2.7% and 2.2% respectively. Australian capital cities also recorded a combined capital growth of 4.6% over the quarter to 30 November.
  • The value of your property: Get an estimate online, or have your home appraised by a real estate professional. This way, you know how much you can expect for your property.
  • Average time on the market: This differs depending on the area, but average sale periods are as follows:
    • 30 days: the average time from taking photos to the date of sale.
    • 30-120 days: the average settlement period.

RELATED: Timeline for selling your home

Auction vs. private treaty vs. EOI: Which is better?

There are three main ways to sell a house in Australia: auction, private treaty and expression of interest (EOI). Choosing which approach is best depends on your needs as a vendor, how quickly you want your property to sell, the market, location, and a host of other factors you’ll need to take into account with the help of your real estate agent.

Here’s a rundown of some of the pros and cons of each selling method:


Sellers who want to attract more buyers and get the best possible sale price often choose to put their house up for auction, a selling method that thrives on the element of face-to-face competition between potential buyers.

An auction is a publicly or privately held event organised by your real estate agent on a specific date. It’s the final point after weeks of marketing and advertising, with potential buyers gathering to bid on your property until the highest offer is made.

Before the auction begins, your real estate agent will help you set a reserve price – the minimum amount you are willing to accept for your home. This way, you are guaranteed a selling price that is equal to or greater than the amount you want.

  • Pro: Considered the most effective way to sell, because they attract attention and create competition, often leading to higher sale prices.
  • Con: Auctions can be daunting for prospective buyers and deter them, and may not work as well in certain areas.

RELATED: Should I sell my house by auction?

Expression of interest (EOI)

The goal of a sale by expression of interest or sale by tender is to gather buyers’ best offers by a specific date and time without disclosing the final price the seller is willing to sell for. How is this beneficial? The buyers will submit their best offers in writing from the start – there is no negotiating involved, which helps the process move on quicker.

Once you’re ready to sell, your property will go on the market for a few weeks. Potential buyers will have the opportunity to take a look at your house, make sure their finances are in place to make an offer, and any other thing that needs to be sorted out on their part before putting in an offer.

  • Pro: EOIs are great for selling expensive properties, because you can receive offers with very big gaps in price.
  • Con: The price may not fall within your expectations, which means you may need to relist your property.

Private treaty or sale by negotiation

Your property is advertised at a set price or price range, then buyers submit their offer to the agent. Pro: The sale process is less stressful for buyers. Private treaties are also good if there is a high demand of a certain property (i.e. one bedroom units). Con: Private treaties come with a cooling off period for a buyer to inspect the property. Buyers can also take more time to determine the final price.

RELATED: The 3 different ways to sell your property

These times vary depending on the state and your selling price, so it’s best to work with your real estate agent to find the best time to sell your property.

RELATED: When is the best time of year to sell a house?

How to find a good real estate agent

Picking a real estate agent is one of the most important steps you’ll take when selling your home. Your real estate agent should be able to provide great service from start to finish, as well as help you find the right buyer and sell your property for a good price.

Here are some practical tips for vetting and choosing the right real estate agent:

  • Check their qualifications: Are they licensed to sell in your state?
  • Look at their track record: What properties have they sold recently?
  • Ask for a sales/marketing plan: How will they promote your property and how many open homes will you have?
  • Get a feel for their local knowledge: Choose a real estate agent that has plenty of proven experience selling properties in your area. A good real estate agent should know as much about your property and your local area as you do.
  • See how they interact with prospective buyers: Don’t be afraid to take your shortlisted candidates for a test drive before making a decision. Go to inspections that they are running to see how they present properties and how they interact with prospective buyers.

RELATED: Top questions to ask a real estate agent when buying or selling a house


RELATED: Selling your home: 13 tips on preparing your living room for a sale

Checklist for selling a house

  1. Make a list of necessary repairs and renovations Make a list of home-selling improvements in order of importance and cost so that you can start prioritising work that needs to be done.

  2. Get a property estimate Get a free online property estimate from Upside that will give you an estimated value range for your property and comparable sales in your area.

  3. Research the property market Researching the state of the property market will help you know where you stand and how likely it is that you’ll sell your house quickly when it goes to market.

  4. Research real estate agents Take a look at online reviews and property agents’ websites to compare feedback, services offered, and fees or commissions that are charged. Ask prospective agents lots of questions to get a feel for how they operate and whether they’re the right fit for your needs.

  5. Get a property appraisal Book in a property appraisal with your chosen agent. This will be more thorough and personalised than a property estimate, so it’s a good starting point for choosing a sale price.

  6. Decide on a sale price You want to decide on a sale price relatively close to listing your property so that it’s indicative of the current state of the market. At Upside, our agents are on hand to offer advice about securing the best sale price while appealing to a broad base of prospective buyers.

  7. Get your documentation in order Before you go to market, make sure you’re up to date with any required certifications from your local council or other bodies.

  8. Arrange marketing and photography At Upside, professional marketing and photography is included as part of our flat fee, and we can also offer advice on styling for the photo session.

  9. Be ready to show your home You want as many potential buyers as possible to be able to see your home, so while it’s on the market, make sure you’re ready to show it at a moment’s notice.

  10. Decide on your settlement date Some buyers may want a longer-than-average settlement date while others might want to move in as soon as possible. Decide on what’s possible for your situation, and be flexible if possible to broaden your prospective buyer pool.

Selling a mortgaged house

When you sell your property you’ll usually have to arrange for the mortgage to be discharged with your lender before settlement takes place.

Here are the steps for discharging a mortgage:

  1. Submit a discharge form to your lender via your solicitor or conveyancer to notify your lender that you’re repaying the loan, around one month before the settlement day in your contract.
  2. Your lender should take 2-4 weeks to process the discharge request. This involves speaking with your solicitor or conveyancer and arranging to be present at settlement. At that time, they’ll arrange to receive any money they’re owed from the proceeds of sale.
  3. Your lender will register the discharge of mortgage at the Land Titles office in your state or territory to show they no longer hold an interest in the property.
  4. If you’re applying for a new home loan from the same lender, it’s a good idea to submit your new mortgage application at the same time to streamline the process.

Once you’ve arranged to discharge your mortgage with your lender, the leftover balance will be yours (minus outstanding rates and utility fees, as well as any legal or agent fees).

If you’re not buying another property, that money will typically be transferred to your bank account. If you are buying another property and you’ve arranged a new mortgage

9 mistakes to avoid when selling your house

  • Not knowing your target audience. It’s important to keep your target audience in mind for styling a home, including the demographics of your area and whether they have a family.
  • Choosing the wrong real estate agent: When selling your home, it’s crucial to choose an agent that not only has an in-depth understanding of your local market, but also one with a transparent fee and/or commission structure. Be aware that some real estate agents charge additional hidden fees for services like marketing and styling on top of their commission.
  • Going to market too soon: Most people want to sell their homes quickly, but it’s important to make sure you’re prepared before you list your property so that you can be confident you know the market and are working with the right agent.
  • Styling too much or being too personalised: Knowing how to style a house for sale is an art form, and one that’s often best left to the professionals. The key is to keep the décor neutral, fresh and welcoming, so buyers can imagine themselves in your property.
  • Covering up obvious problems. If you have a hole in the wall or a leak, it’s better to repair it than to cover it up. These problems can jeopardise your final sale.
  • Styling too much or being too personalised. The key to styling is to keep it as neutral as possible while still seeming fresh, so buyers can imagine themselves in your property.
  • Pricing too high or too low. If you price your home too high, it can make it hard to get buyers interested later on in the selling process. Get an independent valuation done and look at recent sales in the area to get an accurate value of your home.
  • Using the wrong auctioneer. Bad auctioneers can cost tens of thousands or dollars. Check which auctioneer your agent is using - you want to find someone who can build rapport with the audience and create a competitive environment for your sale.
  • Selling the property “as is”: An extensive list of maintenance issues can turn buyers off and potentially decrease the value of your home. Often, it’s smarter to spend time doing those repairs yourself beforehand to maximise the sale price. In particular, look for items that are broken, in poor condition, or can affect the safety, structure, or functionality of the home.

RELATED: Selling your home? Avoid these 8 costly mistakes

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If you’re thinking about selling your home, see why Upside has some of the most highly rated real estate agents in Australia. Start your journey today with a free property appraisal.


Upside is an Australian-owned, full-service real estate agency, making the process of selling your property simple, effortless and transparent. Get an experienced local agent, quality marketing, industry first vendor platform and a 24/7 award-winning support team all included in your property sale.

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