Prepare your home property when selling.

clean“Location, location, location” is the well-known catch-cry when it comes to looking for a new home.

But for those planning to sell, there’s another rule that it can pay to remember and that’s “detail, detail, detail”.

Careful planning and a just a little investment in sprucing up your home can deliver real financial results, according to First National Real Estate Cairns Central Principal, David Forrest.

‘You and your agent need to look at your home very objectively as you plan to put it on the market.

“The décor, layout and furnishings may have suited your lifestyle perfectly over the years, but a range of people will be coming through to inspect it and you need to see it from their point of view. There are dozens of things that will add up to give a potential buyer an overall impression of your home and it is important this impression is as positive as possible.”

Here are some tips from First National Real Estate on how to best prepare your home for the market to maximise buyer interest and, ultimately, the price you will receive.

  • Get rid of clutter! You may love great-grandma’s teapot sitting on the shelves, next to two year’s worth of your favourite magazine, but crowded shelves and drawers can make rooms and storage space seem cluttered and smaller than they really are. Consider putting some ornaments, books and non-essential kitchen utensils in storage through the sale period, leaving cupboards and shelves looking clean and spacious and with just a few objects placed to highlight a room’s features.
  • Consider a paint job. While painting a home’s interior or exterior is a major undertaking, it can transform a tired-looking weatherboard into the best-looking house on the street. Discuss with your agent whether a professional paint job would be worthwhile.
  • Consider re-configuring rooms. If you are advertising a three-bedroom home for sale, then that is what people will be coming to see. If you are using two of the bedrooms for storage, or as workspace, consider re-organising them for the sale to show them at their best advantage. Hire or borrow some bedroom furniture, and put other items in storage.
  • Tidy up the garden. Dig out weeds, put mulch on the garden beds, keep paths and the driveway swept, prune and shape trees and shrubs, and make sure rubbish bins are clean and tucked away
  • Clean, and clean again. Give your home a spring-clean from top to bottom. Everything, from windows to door knobs to light switches, should be sparkling. Have your carpets and rugs professionally steam-cleaned.
  • Put away the pets. Not everyone will admire your cat’s scratching post or dog’s dinner bowl. If you have pets, make sure things like the kitty litter tray and food bowls are put away during open house inspections. Make sure your home is free of pet hair and any dog or cat odours.
  • Freshen up the furniture. Temporarily remove any unnecessary furniture such as extra dining chairs, filing cabinets, and toy boxes to make rooms seem as spacious and uncluttered as possible.
  • Set the scene. Draw attention to your home’s best features. For example, if you have a lovely dining area, consider setting the table as if for a special brunch. A bowl of very fresh fruit, a small vase of flowers, a plate of freshly baked biscuits or homemade loaf of bread, and a simple but immaculate table setting can help people visualize themselves using and enjoying the room.
  • Fresh air and flowers. Air your house regularly and try to avoid cooking anything that will leave strong cooking smells in the kitchen or house before an open inspection. A vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table or hall stand can brighten the whole house.

“The more work you put into preparing your home for sale the more value you are likely to add to it” said David Forrest.

“It may seem like a lot of effort, but your First National agent will be able to offer advice on the best steps to take for the most return. Just remember, it’s the little details that can make the most difference.”


If you’re looking to put your flatting days behind you, buying a home as a young couple is an exciting prospect.

 However, there are several factors to keep in mind when you decide it’s time to buy. From coming up with a deposit to choosing the right area, the buying process can seem complicated at the best of times. 

 Fortunately, with some careful planning and a sense of reality about what you can afford, you’ll be in a much better position to make an offer on that perfect property, says First National Real Estate Cairns Central Principal, David Forrest.

 ‘Whether you want to buy a home in six months or three years time, couples first need to save up a significant deposit. 

 ‘Depending on the area you choose to buy in and the kind of property you’re after, the deposit you need could vary greatly. For this reason, you’ll first need to research average house prices in your desired area so you know what figure you’re working towards’. 

 The next most important thing to consider is positioning yourselves to pay off your loan as quickly as possible. A loan to value ratio (LVR) is a figure that’s calculated by dividing the amount you’re borrowing by the value of the property you want to buy, says the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. This figure plays a vital role in the length of time it will take you to build equity.


 ‘Couples need to borrow whatever their deposit won’t cover. So they should aim for a low LVR – ideally less than 80 per cent. Otherwise, they’ll almost certainly need Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance, which protects only the lender if they default. This is an extra cost that gets added to loan repayments, but doesn’t help pay off the loan, so it’s important to work on coming up with a deposit of 20 per cent or more to avoid this’ says David.

 If you’re planning on starting a family in the future, you should consider whether the home you’re buying now will accommodate your future family or whether you’re happy to sell and buy another more suitable property when the time arrives. 

 ‘Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as outdoor space. You’ll also need to investigate what schools and transport is available in the area. Thinking ahead can eliminate the need to sell a home that you’ve come to love because it’s become unsuitable for your needs’ says David Forrest.

How to design a nursery on a budget

Nursery_First_National_Cairns_CentralOf all the home decorating and renovating you may undertake in your life, chances are designing a nursery for your little bundle of joy will take the cake when it comes to the love you put into it, according to First National Cairns Central.

While you certainly want to make sure your new son or daughter has a comfortable, beautiful space when they arrive home, there’s no rule that says you have to break the bank to accomplish this.

Fortunately for new parents working on a budget, there are plenty of ways to design a nursery without draining your bank account.

It’s not used, it’s vintage

There’s no reason why quality second-hand items can’t be an integral part of your nursery design.

Whether you use furniture from your own childhood, toys given from friends and family, or special finds bought at thrift shops, used items can provide nurseries with a charming, vintage feel.

Of course you’ll want to use brand new buys for bedding and other crucial items, but there’s nothing stopping you from making that brightly coloured side table you spotted at your local second-hand store a sunny part of your new baby’s room.

Make it personal

Buying new paintings or tapestries to hang in your baby’s room isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but why not make the space more personal?

Family photographs can perfect decorations, as can homemade arts and crafts. If you have a bit of flair with needle and thread, try creating a special quilt to hang on your baby’s wall. Who knows, this could become their favourite blankie once they get a bit older.

Keep the baby in mind

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of designing your baby’s nursery, but keep in mind what you’re doing for our child and what you’re doing for you.

After all, will your baby really notice the difference between an expensive toy chest and a common box used for storage?

At the end of the day, it should be the baby you’re buying for, not yourself.


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