SPENDING a bit of money on presentation is the key to adding thousands of dollars to the selling price of your house.

Creating an inviting garden and stylish rooms free of clutter, gives sellers a better chance of attracting a top price.

Woodards, Oakleigh, agent Chris Karantzas said the right presentation created an environment where the buyer could imagine themselves living in the home and showed there was little work to be done when they moved in.

Some homeowners opt for a DIY makeover, but many agents recommend consulting a professional property stylist for direction.

‘When people spend a little bit of money they can get thousands back in return,’ Mr Karantzas said.

Cheree Scott, owner of Melbourne Property Stylists, said sellers had only short time to make a good impression.

‘Buyers only look for about five minutes and it’s either on their list or it’s not,’ Ms Scott said. ‘And it’s even faster than that if they’re looking on the internet.’

Investors, first-home buyers and couples were more likely to be in the market for a one-bedroom apartment, so styling needed to suit.

Conversely, a family home needed to show defined spaces for parents and children, with some of the bedrooms styled for kids.

‘If you get something like a four-bedroom home with a family in mind, we don’t do it with white, glossy furniture and chrome. We come in with warm timbers and a little bit of a family feel to it,’ Ms Scott said.


Forget the full makeover. Rather, look for smaller cost-effective projects that have a big impact.

Mr Karantzas said the garden and key living areas should be the focus.

Splash some fresh paint in a few rooms and accessorise with coloured cushions, vases and fresh flowers. Walk through the house with your agent to work out how to highlight the positives and negate any negatives.

Remember, less can mean more.

‘You don’t need to remodel the kitchen or remodel the bathroom to get a better return,’ Mr Karantzas said.

”Decluttering, doing your garden aesthetically, maybe painting a room or two, and presentation makes a massive difference.’

Using hired furniture is a great way to redecorate a home on a budget.

‘Store two or three pieces and get a nice settee and a cabinet and get a vase and some flowers to give it that appeal,’ Mr Karantzas said.

Concentrate on areas of the home to be photographed for signboards and marketing, he suggested.


Decluttering is a balancing act. It’s important that the house is on display, not sellers’ belongings.

‘What you’re trying to do is create balance in a room without making it feel barren,’ Ms Scott said.

‘So don’t take away all your photographs, don’t clear off your benches and leave nothing there.

‘You’re looking for a few key pieces for people to home in on. You’re trying to create a sense of space.’

Cleared out belongings can be placed in a storage unit, family member’s garage or shed or even neatly boxed away in your own garage while you sell.

‘People don’t put a lot of emphasis on the garage,’ Mr Karantzas said. ‘They know it’s there and most of the time they end up putting a lot of stuff in it anyway.’


It’s not always the case that the more you spend, the more you will make in return.

Just like renovating a home, the trick is not to overcapitalise only to break even or lose money when you sell.

So take major kitchen and bathroom makeovers out of your thinking.

Whatever the budget, Mr Karantzas said sellers should expect a return on what they spend.

‘You don’t have to spend $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000,’ he said. ‘My rule is whatever you spend, you should get double back.’

Ms Scott said a pre-sale consultation costs $150, while a partial set up with hire furniture could range between $1500 and $2000. A full setup could cost between $2000 and $6000, depending on the size of the home.

‘If you can’t afford to go to a stylist, have a look on websites, like or ours and on television and you’ll get a bit of an idea of how things are set up,’ she said.

A facelift can turn into a tidy profit

HUNTINGDALE couple Ken and Denise Hunter knew their house needed work when they called in a real estate agent for an appraisal.

But with Mr Hunter working full-time and living with renal cancer, work on their Hargreaves St home of 35 years had slowed.

However, with the impetus of selling, the couple paid a contractor to work on the garden and house.

Mr Hunter said the $10,000 spruce-up added at least $50,000 to the price of their home when it sold at auction last month.

‘We knew the place needed tidying up,’ Mr Hunter said.

‘With my health, we hadn’t done everything we should have.

‘So we got a guy and he painted the lounge and dining room and one of the bedrooms. He also did some gardening work. He tidied up the backyard. We had a granny flat that was removed years ago, but with my health we never got around to doing the back lawn.

‘We put a garden in out the back and re-mulched and tidied the place up.’

Mr Hunter was prepared to spend more but found after a lick of paint that it came up a treat.

It was a lot of hard work but it was rewarding, Mr Hunter said.

‘We were looking for around $700,000 and in the end we got $765,000,’ he said.

‘I think we walked away with buying knick-knacks and everything on about $10,000, I suppose.’

Posted by Peter Farago – Herald Sun on 22nd November, 2014