Real Estate Agent or renovation – what really makes a difference when selling your house

So you have decided to sell your home! There are many reasons why a home owner or property investor might decide to sell, and many decisions to make before your home goes to market.

As both economic and regulatory environments become less predictable, the cost benefit can start to swing in the wrong direction. As well as the decision to sell up the investment portfolio, many homeowners are now in a position to move on after sustained property market growth for the last decade. The decision to sell can often be an easy one, but how to sell can bring about many questions. 

To help you get the process underway, Rental News has put together this guide so you can get ready to sell your property.

Defining your target audience

Is your property a family home, a house to suit first home buyers, or a pure rental property? This might be obvious, but consider the type of person who might be interested in buying your property. This is your target audience, and they may use the property for a different purpose than you. Many investment properties are being transformed back into owner-occupied homes these days.

Defining what types of people or parties might be putting in offers on your place will help you to make decisions in the next steps. 

Make the buyer’s first impression a good one

Put in a little work to spruce the property up. This work is often not extensive, but can add significant value. A well presented property makes a great first impression.

It’s known that renovating the kitchen or bathroom can increase the value of a property. You shouldn’t go ripping out a kitchen that was installed a few years ago if it has nothing wrong with it. However, tired, old and dated hardware can drag the value of the home down. Prospective buyers can see work that needs done when viewing your house, and they may not want to spend the time and money.

Real estate agent might suggest a kitchen renovation

Is the exterior in good condition? How is the garden looking? First impressions are very important to people when it comes to buying a home. Doing a little work to tidy up like fixing fences, doing any minor landscaping, mowing and trimming can make the property look cared for and well presented. It can be reasonably quick to do some water blasting, and a simple wet and forget can go a long way. When it comes to pre-sale maintenance, think simple. Present a blank canvas, and only do work your target audience will appreciate. 

If your home is a rental property, does it comply with all the current Healthy Homes standards? If not, it’s a good idea to get the work done. That way, the new owner can find great tenants right away without having any vacancy.

Getting an independent valuation

It’s becoming more common for home sellers to get an independent valuation done before engaging with a real estate agent. Having a valuation provides the benefit of giving clarity on the value when interviewing real estate agents. In this way you can either assess the level of valuation accuracy and strategy each agent suggests. Or, you can provide this info up front to real estate agents to assist with their evaluation.

real estate agent

Getting a LIM and Builders Report

Getting a builders report done, and ordering a LIM report from your local council can make a big difference for buyers. In the hot market New Zealand is in, making quick decisions is a must for buyers. You should do everything you can to assist them with this and encourage as many offers as you can on your property.

One of the quickest ways to get this done, is to have the paperwork that makes due diligence processes fast and easy. Banks need to see this homework from first home buyers, and seasoned investors would likely get their own reports anyway. Save half a dozen builders tripping round your place, and get one yourself. That way it can be presented to any buyer who is keen on seeing it. 

You can also use this report to remedy any quick fixes and give some peace of mind to you buyers. Having this information makes filling out that sale and purchase agreement far less daunting, and takes risk out of the equation. In return, with less risk, the offer can only logically increase. 

Having a LIM in hand can also increase the offer count. It can take some councils up to four weeks to send back a LIM and can cost up to $400! Try making half a dozen or more offers, and the cost really starts adding up. Take time and effort out of the process for your buyers, and you will see the quality of offers increase. Add time and effort and you will see both less and lower value offers. 

Find a real estate agent – or do it yourself

In years gone by, navigating the agent landscape was a minefield. Many home sellers didn’t understand that it mattered which real estate agent they chose. To put it to you straight, it matters. Why? Because there is a vast range of experience and prices out there. 

Get quotes, and interview agents before you make your decision. This is a person you potentially will pay thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars to. So, taking some time to vet them is worth your time. Agent finding services like Aframe Agent Finder make this process pretty simple. List your property and have the agents who are interested in selling your home send through quotes. You can then interview the ones who best fit your requirements. 

These days some Kiwis are looking more seriously at selling their own homes. A quick glance at any of your recent Trade Me searches will show a handful of private listings. In the past, this was far less common and people often went the real estate agent route. These days, there are a number of tools in New Zealand that can help you by providing resources and knowledge to get it done yourself. 


If you’re looking to sell your home, do your research first. A bit of effort and planning at each step of the process means that you’ll spend time and money on the things that will give you the most benefit.