Preparing your home for sale during Winter

  • 16/07/11 Preparing your home for sale during winter

    Written by Sue Ellson

    Melbourne is certainly cold during winter and a warm couch seems much more inviting than a cold and wet garden.

    But if you are thinking of selling your property, then now is the time to start preparing.

    This article will give you some jobs you can do inside the home.  It won’t be a popular list and many of the jobs can be time consuming, so if you can tackle a few each week, you will be ready to secure the best price for your property.

    Preparing the property
    All of these tasks can be completed under cover.  Prepare yourself by wearing old clothes, rubber gloves and safety glasses if necessary

    • Start your spring cleaning – the inside and outside of your windows (dust the fly screens with a brush), the walls (try room by room with warm water and Sugar Soap including switches, skirting boards, doors, cupboards and walls), couches, the oven and griller, the dishwasher (including the filter), exhaust fans and range hoods (be careful if using a ladder), dust artwork and clean photo frames and other decorative household items

    • Dry clean, wash or clean blinds, curtains, window coverings, cushions and bedroom quilts and repair, replace or remove damaged coverings. Spot clean fabric couches and chairs

    • Lightly spray door hinges and locks with a lubricant like WD40 (mop up excess liquid with a tissue) so they do not squeak when opening and keys work more efficiently

    • Create a ‘repairs’ list of items that will need attention before you put your property on the market.  Be very particular about items that are unsafe when potential purchasers are inspecting the property.  You may be able to ask people you know to help you attend to these matters or you can collect some quotes from tradespeople listed in the local newspaper or recommended

    • Make sure that all of your lights work and the light fittings have been cleaned as most properties have lights turned on during an inspection – this includes entrance lights and back garden lights

    • When cleaning, in most cases you can use warm/hot water and a mild soap (no need for expensive chemical products that often leave a residue and attract dust).  A strong disinfectant style bleach is suitable for bathroom tiles, sinks and many other household surfaces but be careful not to splash the product on porous surfaces (carpets)

    • Utilise a wooden skewer for cleaning grooves and pour strong bleach around drains to make sure the plug area is clean. You will need to have a cleaning cloth, a more abrasive style cloth (scotch brite) and synthetic brush to tackle all surfaces

    • Tidy up power cords, televisions and stereo equipment so that the operational components are out of sight where possible

    • Remove dead leaves from indoor pot plants and wash the dust off the leaves

    • Vacuum, dust and clean underneath beds, furniture, fridges, washing machines etc – any areas that are missed with regular cleaning

    • Start your packing!  Put into boxes any items you know you will not be using over the coming months (and are sure you want to keep) but also any extra ‘clutter’ (like photos, priceless family heirlooms, treasures and collectables).  If necessary, clean and dry them before packing and make sure you label your boxes.  You may be able to ask a friend or neighbour to store your items until the property is sold

    • Address any persistent odours in your home (animal, mould, dust or food smells) organizing the relevant repairs and consider replacing carpets and restricting access to these areas to keep them fresh

    • Once your surfaces are clean, consider some painting touch ups or new paint (neutral colours)

    • Give away, recycle or sell items you no longer need or use (like children’s toys, computer and gym equipment, tax records over eight years old etc)

    Preparing for your move
    Most real estate agents will encourage you to de-clutter your home before selling, but these tips will also help you reduce how much stuff you need to pack, put in the removal truck and unpack)

    • Start clearing out your wardrobe and donate your wearable clothing and shoes to a local charity (yes, people often look in the wardrobe when inspecting a property)

    • Sort out your kitchen cupboards and pantry throwing out all of the food that is well past its use by date (clean and dry the shelving) and recycle excess plastic containers

    • Clear your linen cupboard of old towels or sheets or extra items that have accumulated (you may choose to wash, dry and freshen items before packing them for your new home)

    • Start sorting out your various ‘piles’ around the home and put like with like (in other words all stationery together, all tools together, all cleaning products together)

    • Clean out the bathroom cabinet and first aid kit of any medicines or tablets past their expiry date

    • Sort out your bookshelf – again, it may be time to donate your old books and magazines to a local opportunity shop

    • Recycle newspapers, junk mail, used envelopes and other papers. Clear out compost bins gradually over the coming weeks

    • Collect all important documents, account details, contact details, computer backups etc and keep them together as many of these are required for the home selling process

    • Invite three local real estate agents to provide you with a market appraisal of your property

    First weeks of spring
    • Your front yard or entrance must look loved and immaculate.  Paths need to be clearly defined, leaves cleared (including the roof gutters), low hanging branches removed and grass mowed and raked more than once.  Oversow bald patches of grass by digging the top layer of soil and watering in grass seeds (cover with a light sprinkling of grass clippings to disencourage birds from eating the seeds immediately).  Plant some brightly coloured flowering annual plants in your garden or place in pots near your entrance or patio area.

    • Clean your car, boat, caravan or other large outdoor items and sort out your garage, again, clearing away as much clutter as possible

    • Remove cobwebs and dirt from eaves, bricks, walls, gutters, lights and consider using a high pressure hose to wash weatherboards and clean out your council bins

    • Address any unsightly outdoor maintenance issues, particularly at the front of the property – check that your letterbox, front gate and fence, front door and stairs are all in good condition

    • Open your windows and coverings so that you can air out your property of any new paint, carpet or renovation smells. Add fresh plants to your home ready for open inspections

    This list is not exhaustive and you may be recommended to complete other tasks before photographs are taken of your property.  You can also download more free information about Selling, Buying and Managing Property at and

    Finally, a good habit when choosing what to give away, donate or sell is to put these items together and keep it for two weeks.  During this time, if you decide you would rather keep it, you can still retrieve it, but remember that you will need to say farewell to some items before the house is put on the market.

    For your own free market appraisal and further information, please contact Nick Pane at O’Donoghues First National Real Estate in Camberwell 9882 3303 or 0418 344 381


    Do you have any other tips or advice you would like to share?  If so, we would love to hear from you - simply email and we will add them to this tip sheet.  If you are in your own business, we are also happy to share your business name as well!


    Many people who live in the City of Boroondara (Ashburton, Balwyn, Balwyn North, Camberwell, Canterbury, Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Kew, Kew East and parts of the suburbs of Glen Iris and Surrey Hills) are very busy!

    Email us at with your requirements list (handyman repairs, cleaning requests, gardening, maintenance, painting, carpeting etc) and we will provide you with our recommended list of local contacts that can help you prepare your home for sale and help you achieve the best results when it is time to sell.


    For your own free market appraisal and further information, please contact O’Donoghues First National Real Estate in Camberwell +61398823303 or