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Preparing your home for sale

From the Resene decorating blog

So you’ve decided to sell. Or maybe you just want to get your house looking its best so when you do decide to sell, so there’s no last-minute rush with the paintbrushes and tools.

One of the first questions that comes up as soon as selling your home is on the horizon is how much work do you need to do, to get the best price? The questions that follow quickly on from that are: Where do you start? And how much is this all going to cost? Walls freshly painted with Resene are a quick and cost-effective way to make a good first impression on potential buyers but before you start, it’s a good idea to get professional advice to find out what buyers are looking for. Talk to at least one or two real estate agents who work in your suburb or neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what kinds of buyers will be interested in your property and approximately what they’ll be prepared to pay.

A home interior with touches of flair and colour

Touches of colour and flair can appeal to potential buyers as they show your home's potential.

Walls painted in Resene Nepal with tile paint effect in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Frozen, floor in Resene Blanc, round coffee table in Resene Tuscany and side console tabletop in Resene Bokara Grey. Ceramics from Formantics, artwork by Maiko Nagao, candlesticks from Power Surge, dried flowers from Wandering Willow, lamp from Lighting Plus, sofa from Wolf & Co, rug from Good Thing, cushions and throws from Adairs. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

A neutral bedroom with touches of character

A neutral base colour is good for broad appeal but adding touches of character make your home memorable.

Wall painted in Resene Eighth Stonehenge, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, headboard slats in Resene Double Stonehenge, shelf in Resene Ebony Clay, small mirror and tealight holder on shelf in Resene Corvette, vases next to bed in Resene Double Stonehenge, Resene Half Barely There, Resene Rakaia and Resene Cinnamon. Duvet cover, pillow cases, quilted bedspread, mirror (painted), rug and canvas tote bag (painted), from H&M, waffle throw, cushions and slippers from Collect Living, artwork by George Sands from endemic world. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

They’ll also be able to give you guidance on how to spend any makeover budget you may have, to get the best return. The amount of presale touch-ups you need to do may depend on many factors.

While a real estate agent or property valuer will be able to give you advice on how to get the best price for your home, we’ve put together a general checklist of tips for showing your property at its best, without a huge cash outlay.

First impressions count. Take a look at your home’s exterior and garden area and consider what buyers might think of your home. Give your home’s exterior a clean using Resene Paint Prep and Housewash and remove dirt and cobwebs. If your budget extends to painting your house exterior, Resene Lumbersider is a tried and tested paint for weatherboards but consider your colour choices carefully. Whites and neutrals such as Resene Villa White and Resene Merino are safe and popular exterior choices, however a soft colour such as Resene Periglacial Blue may be more memorable. Painting your front door is another way to make an impression, and best of all it’s a job that can be done in a few hours. Try a bold colour such as Resene Poppy, Resene Turbo or Resene Black using Resene Enamacryl for a gloss finish to make the colour pop or Resene Lustacryl for a more subtle semi-gloss finish. Don’t forget to clean your deck with Resene Timber and Deck Wash then re-stain with Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain.

Check fences for loose palings or missing nails and freshen them up with Resene Waterborne Woodsman wood stain or paint with Resene Lumbersider and give your garden a tidy up by weeding and planting some potted colour.

Maintain your outdoor areas

Keep outdoor areas well maintained and free of clutter as you prepare for sale.

Back wall painted in Resene Aspiring with paint effect in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Moon Mist, right wall, breeze blocks and vase in Resene Moon Mist, bench seat in Resene Aspiring, table and large plant pot in Resene Teak, tray in Resene Flax, small plant pot in Resene Siam and deck in Resene Woodsman Uluru. Cushions from Allium Interiors and Shut the Front Door. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A bright yellow front door

A bright splash of colour on a front exterior door is a fast way to boost street appeal.

Door painted in Resene Turbo with trim in Resene Black White, weatherboards in Resene Triple Concrete, bench in Resene Tuna, pots in Resene Nocturnal and Resene Silver Chalice and house number in Resene Nocturnal. Door from Corinthian Doors, lighting from Lighting Direct. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.


Decluttering is a good first step in prepping the inside of your home for sale because it serves two purposes. Not only does it help potential buyers see themselves in the house, but it also helps you see areas of wear and tear around your home that you may otherwise miss.

If you’ve been in your house a few years, it may also be helpful to do your decluttering for sale in two stages.

The first is to go room by room and divide everything into one of three categories: Stay, go, store. Go can mean give away or sell, and store is for anything you don’t use regularly but need to keep. While you’re in each room, make a note of anything that needs fixing or could benefit from a fresh coat of paint.

This stage could take a while, depending on the size of your house, so it’s a good idea to make a start even if selling your home is only a possibility.

The second stage of decluttering comes when you’re about to list your home for sale. This decluttering is about removing a lot of the things that personalise the home to you and your family. It includes things like family photos and mementos, even artwork.

By doing this people who view the house can start to visualise their own belongings there. Your items will need to be stored. Think of it as starting packing for your new home! It may go as far as putting your furniture into storage so your home can be ‘staged’ with rented items that appeal to certain buyers. For example, you may be using your third bedroom as an office, but if you’re advertising a three-bedroom house you may need to stage that space as a bedroom. Your real estate agent will advise you on the best approach.

Top tip:  Remember to declutter outside and in any garages, sheds or outdoor storage and living areas.

Indoor touch-ups

You may love your bright orange feature wall, but it might polarise potential buyers. Neutral walls will help potential buyers see your home as a blank canvas filled with potential. Resene Black White is a classic interior colour which works with a range of architectural styles. After you’ve tackled the walls, pay particular attention to skirting boards, doors and doorframes, windows and window frames using Resene Enamacryl to give them a crisp new finish.

Re-painting ceilings using Resene Ceiling Paint in high-use, or damp, areas such as kitchen and bathrooms will often give those spaces an immediate lift, and get rid of any discolouring that can’t be solved by cleaning.

Give all your taps, toilets and visible piping a quick check for leaks and check all your power points and light switches to make sure they’re all working, and are securely fixed to the wall.

Taking care of these home maintenance jobs is a good, simple and relatively low-cost way to present your house to prospective buyers as being in good condition, low maintenance and comfortable to live in.

To reno or not to reno

Your property valuer or real estate agent will be your best guide to exactly how big you should go with presale alterations to your house. The test will always be the ratio between what it costs you to do, and how much value it will add to your house.

You may often be better off ensuring your house’s features are showcased to their best, rather than trying to add new features. For example, rebuilding a grand new entranceway may not be worth it, but painting your front door a bold colour and with a crisp white surround and adding good lighting, may create the effect you're looking for – as well as improving your property’s street appeal.

Painting – or re-painting can be a simple, cost effective way to bridge the gap between making your property look its most appealing and having to do a full, costly renovation.

Repainting kitchen cupboards, walls and ceilings and adding new modern handles can make the space feel instantly more modern and fresh and is a lot cheaper than a full remodel.

Often when decorating for sale, the instinct is to go neutral so your rooms have the broadest natural appeal. That’s good advice, but you also want to find a balance between broad appeal and being memorable, so your home doesn’t get forgotten in a sea of off-white neutral walls of other open homes. It’s all about touches of flair. Preparing for sale might not be the time to add a dramatic mural, bold wallpaper or bright feature wall to a room, but if you have one, you may not need to cover it up necessarily either. Opting for more neutral soft furnishings and furniture can help maintain the balance.

Subtle, well thought-out use of colour perhaps on a splash back, headboard or feature wall, can also help emphasise and flatter the size, warmth and natural light of rooms. It can also help showcase important features such as fireplaces, impressive views or bay windows.

The balance you want, and advice from both your Resene Colour Consultant and real estate agent will help here, is to make sure the character of your home shows through, rather than simply your personal taste.

Keep in mind this presale maintenance motto: Do what helps present the potential of your house.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

October 19, 2021

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