Shannon Corbett
Shannon Corbett
Your local real estate agent in the Manukau area. Phone 021 554 286.

Preparing your home for sale

Here you will find helpful tips, insights and advice on preparing your home for sale, choosing an agent, methods of sale, as well as finance and value.

If you have any questions or would like more information:


How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

De-personalise your home — allow buyers to visualise the house as if it were theirs.

De-personalise your home — allow buyers to visualise the house as if it were theirs.

De-personalise your home
Buyers should be able to visualise the home as their own, so remove personal effects such as photographs. Try to keep the interior colours, especially walls, natural and neutral. 

Give your a home a lovely scent.

Give your a home a lovely scent.

A lovely scent in the home is inviting for buyers. You may wish to put a fresh bunch of flowers on the dining table or have a glade spray on timer in the living room. Scented candles are also a nice touch.

De-clutter, and consider having your home staged.

De-clutter, and consider having your home staged.

Present a clean and open look, remove unnecessary knick-knacks and furniture so spaces in the home appear larger. If the home is vacant, I recommend staging to create a welcoming feel. Warm tones such as red appeal to buyers.

Roll up your sleeves and give everything a good clean. Or hire the professionals.

Roll up your sleeves and give everything a good clean. Or hire the professionals.

Clean, clean, clean...
Make the home immaculate; if budget allows, get the professionals in. The kitchen and bathroom are two of the main attractions of a home, so make sure they are free from stains and mould. Also, when were the carpets last cleaned?

Keep on top of the gardening and landscape the property.

Keep on top of the gardening and landscape the property.

Gardening, landscaping
Keep the lawns mowed, garden watered and leaves raked. Pay particular attention to gardens at the front entrance.

A fresh coat of paint, interiors and exterior, does wonders for a home’s appearance.

A fresh coat of paint, interiors and exterior, does wonders for a home’s appearance.

Fresh coat of paint
A fresh coat of paint will brighten a home’s appearance (this can also include the exterior, the fence and the letterbox). You want your home to make as good a first impression as possible.

The front door is usually, and quite literally, a potential buyer’s first impression.

The front door is usually, and quite literally, a potential buyer’s first impression.

Front door
The front entrance should be clean, freshly painted, and working well (hinges oiled, locks operational). It is the ‘key’ to making a great first impression after all.

Don’t forget to clean the home’s exterior too.

Don’t forget to clean the home’s exterior too.

Exterior cleaning
Water-blast or chem-wash any stains off the driveway and footpaths.

Before you sell

Check your surroundings. How does your home compare with the competition? Is there anything you can do to stand out from the rest? Having a good real estate agent who is representing your home to the highest standard will give you a strong advantage. 

Ensure your home is priced properly if you do not choose to auction. Research the value of your home by getting a Current Market Appraisal (CMA) from a trusted real estate agent, and have a look at the latest house sales in your area. Obtaining a registered valuation from a local registered company will also assist buyers in making an offer.

When an offer has been received, it is good practice to contact a solicitor, or have a real estate agent contact one on your behalf, to go through the technicalities.

A home can sell in any season.

A home can sell in any season.

When is the Best Time to Sell?

There are two major selling seasons:

October & November: before people go away for their summer holidays.

February & March: usually the peak of the selling period. The weather is still pleasant for viewings, and people are back from holiday wanting to get their affairs in order.

Property is currently in high demand in New Zealand, especially now that Auckland’s Unitary Plan is taking shape. With that in mind, selling in winter also has the potential to make a great sale. There are less houses listed, which means there is less market competition during this time.

Whatever the season, a well presented, well priced, and well promoted property will sell.


Choosing the right agent

Selling what most people would consider their largest asset needs a top agent. If not, it could potentially cost you thousands of dollars due to poor negotiation skills, lack of experience, lack of knowledge of the market, or not knowing how to deal with different buyer personality types to get the right results.



What level of experience do you have?

You need to be assured that they know the local real estate market and property sales in Manukau. They also need to know how to deal with buyers most effectively. The important thing is the agent knows the local market and has a can-do attitude. Some new agents may actually work that little bit harder to prove themselves, than agents who have been in the business for over ten years.

What is your success track record?

Many agents will take on anything and everything, but the best real estate agent will sell around 99% of their listings because they only take on good quality stock. This includes vendors that are motivated to sell, and willing to listen to buyer feedback, rather than just 'testing the market'. A good real estate agent should be selling homes for the local market value, if not higher.

What is your recommended marketing strategy?

The best real estate agent should be considering your needs and wants. For example, if you have a deadline for when you want your home sold by, auction would be the better method as it gives you a cash sale on the day (if that is the settlement date that you have set). Ask what sort of exposure the home will have when it is listed, and for copies of the marketing of homes that sold previously.

Make Sure You Are Choosing a Real Estate Agent That You Can Trust

Make Sure You Are Choosing a Real Estate Agent That You Can Trust


References from the agent's latest property sales in the local area are very important. Usually these will be listed under the real estate agent's online profile, or on their personal website. 


What are the charges and costs? This can sometimes be a sensitive issue. I do not recommend choosing an agent solely based on their commission rate. The difference in fees between an average agent and a top agent is reflective of their high quality performance, in getting their vendors successful sales. A good agent is worth every cent.

Why should I choose you?

You will get a feel for the personality of the real estate agent by this point in the interview, and it is important you ask yourself if you connect with this agent and are willing to work with them. The main qualities to look for are assertiveness, availability, and the quality of their presentation and overall manner.


An agent should leave you with all the documentation pertaining to the sale of your home. They should provide a listing agreement form, an REAA approved guide for sellers booklet, and the CMA (Comparative Marketing Analysis) including latest property sales.

Methods of sale

In the sale of your home you have two main choices: ‘no price marketing’, which includes auction, tender, and price by negotiation; and list by price.

Each method has its benefits, so the time you spend researching market conditions is crucial to avoid putting barriers in the way of potential buyers.



A tender can be described as a 'silent auction'. There is no open arena, and the offers do not have to be unconditional cash offers. 

All interested buyers present their offer in sealed envelopes and are given to the licensed real estate agent, then presented to the vendor within a set date and time. 

There is no advertised price, so if there are no offers that appeal to you, you do not have to sign. You are able to choose to start negotiations with the most favourable offer, however. 


An auction is an unconditional cash sale. The vendor sets the settlement terms and reserve price.

The reserve price remains confidential with the auctioneer and real estate agents. This creates competition between buyers, pushing the price upward as a result.

You can sell before auction if you receive a cash offer you are willing to accept. In this instance, you can either choose to move the auction date forward (giving buyers the same opportunity) or you can opt for a multiple offer situation (where all interested buyers are able to present an offer).



Similar to a tender, but not as formal. It can be highly effective if you don't want to risk over-pricing or under-pricing your home. All buyers have a set date to put in their best offer, and the vendor will consider one to negotiate with or accept if favourable.


This is where you list your home at a price in which you see it sitting in the market. This can be indicated by a real estate agent. The buyers will present offers, usually conditional, and you negotiate until both parties are satisfied with the conditions and price. 

It is important to note that you should always put a 'buffer' to negotiate with. It is really important to research the market and take on board what a licensed real estate agent has recommended before advertising your price. In fact, I recommend a registered valuation to my vendors if they intend to sell by this method. A registered valuation is independent and assists potential buyers in obtaining their banks approval for finance.

At  Harcourts Papatoetoe , 87% of listings are sold at auction.

At Harcourts Papatoetoe, 87% of listings are sold at auction.

Finance Tips: Choosing the Best Home Loan for You

Getting the right home loan could save you thousands. Here are some finance tips to ensure your home loan is the right one for your needs. Find out more about what your loan repayments could be with this handy loan calculator:


It is important to know how much you can comfortably pay toward mortgage repayments, while putting enough aside for those unexpected bills.

The Sooner the Better

Paying off your mortgage as fast as possible is generally the rule of thumb. The lower the term of the mortgage, the higher the repayments will be — but the quicker you will pay it off.

Change the Frequency

A smart idea is to float a small portion of the mortgage, so you can put any surplus funds you have put aside toward the mortgage, without penalty. You could also pay off a lump sum when you renew the fixed loan. Banks will usually allow for this within the term of the mortgage.

Interest Rates

Usually, the banks are very competitive with each other in terms of interest rates. However, a small difference in the rate can cost you thousands, so shop around or talk to a mortgage broker to see what deal they can negotiate on your behalf.


Value: What to Look for to Maximise a Home’s Value Over Time

Land Tenure

Is the home freehold or leasehold? Freehold is when you own the land and the building(s) it sits on, whereas with leasehold you are leasing the land upon which the building sits, and the tenure is usually set for a period of time.


The land component can make up half to two-thirds of the total property value. Land inflation is usually where most owners make their true capital gains.

The Building

Take a look at the building and the quality of the materials used. Will it need significant maintenance in the future? Villas are gorgeous, but can require a bit of maintenance over time, as opposed to modern homes.

Indoor and Outdoor Flow

Indoor and outdoor flow is such a great feature of a home. Ensuring your outdoor living environment is looking good is just as important as what's inside. We generally spend just as much time indoors, socialising and entertaining.

Décor, Fittings and Fixtures

Generally, buyers can tell a cheap fitting from a quality one. It does make a difference to buyers paying a premium for a home; it is the small things that people notice. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathroom(s) as these areas are typically the most expensive to fix.