For most Australians, purchasing a home represents the most momentous financial decision of their lives. It's the kind of thing that can have years-long effects on a family's financial wellbeing, which explains why such a sharp focus is placed on things like comparing home loans to find the right one and on making sure that there are no surprises hidden in a home's property report. For the vast majority of people, though, those considerations are just a part of the equation. That's because around 70% of Australians already own a home, and that means they also have to tend to the critical task of listing and selling their current home before they can complete the purchase of a new one. That part of the process gets much less attention, however. Perhaps that's because it's much more exciting to be on the purchasing side of the deal – attending open houses and experiencing the thrill of bidding at a home auction. For the seller, though, there's quite a bit of work that must be done to ensure that their home sells for the highest possible price, so they can get on with the fun part of shopping for a new home. While some sellers opt to leave much of this work to professional home stagers or real estate agents, it's a much less expensive option to tackle the job themselves. To help, here's a guide on what a homeowner should do to prepare their property for sale – no real estate training required. Get Off to a Good Clean Start The first thing you should do to prepare your home for sale should come as no surprise: clean it up! The best way to approach this typically massive undertaking is to start with a top-to-bottom decluttering of the home's major spaces. The goal should be to make the home appear lived-in, but neat and tidy as well. In the process, it's also a good idea to bring in a cleaning service to take care of cleaning the home's carpets and any hard to reach spaces (like tall windows, etc.). When everything's squared away, make sure to wash any and all bedding that will be used when prospective buyers visit and make sure that things like decorative pillows and the like are in presentable shape. That way your belongings will make the same impression as the rest of your home – which will hopefully be a very positive and welcoming one. Create Neutral Spaces The second thing to do to prepare a home for sale is to take steps to make the home's rooms look as neutral as possible. By that, I mean making sure that your current design choices don't make it impossible for a potential buyer to imagine how their own personal style might fit in the home. When it comes to doing this, the first step is to repaint any of the home's rooms that feature bold colours and to reset them back to shades of whites, tans, and greys. That will give them a sharp, clean look that a prospective buyer can use as a mental canvas as they consider how they might decorate the space. The same logic applies to the home's furniture. If the home features couches, ottomans, or chairs with unusual or worn upholstery, it's best to remove them or cover them with neutral-coloured fabric. If it seems necessary, look into engaging a furniture rental service that can temporarily re-populate rooms with sharp, stylish furniture to create a lived-in, showroom-style look. Refresh the Exterior As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. When it comes to a home, that impression is made the moment the potential buyer starts up the path to the front door. Keeping this in mind will prevent you from having all of the hard work you're putting into the inside of your home go to waste because of the negative impression the exterior makes on the viewer. Make sure to power-wash the home's siding and walkways to remove any built-up dirt and grime. If there's any loose or peeling paint, take care of it with a fresh coat. If gardening isn't your thing, bring in a professional landscaper to address the home's flowerbeds and garden (as applicable). The goal should be to create a positive first impression on the visitor that will put them in the mood to see what lies beyond the entryway. The Finishing Touches The last part of the home preparation process will require you to bring in a second pair of eyes to go over what you've done. There's a good chance that a neutral third party will notice plenty of things that are still calling out for attention. Doing this helps you to see a space you've grown accustomed to through the eyes of another, which is, after all, the point of the whole home sale process. It's important to make sure to open up the home's curtains and shades when conducting this walkthrough – as that's how the home will be staged when it's time to open the doors to potential buyers. Go through every part of the home with the person and solicit feedback about each room. Take steps to address any real issues (not those of taste or style, mind you) and bring them back once everything's fixed. With any luck, the home will then be in tip-top shape and ready to make potential buyers fall in love with it – putting thousands of extra dollars in your pockets in the process. Then, all that's left for you to do is to take that extra cash and plug it into InfoChoice's handy “Where Can I Buy?” calculator to figure out just how much your efforts have paid off in new home buying power. Chances are you'll be thrilled with what you find. The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.