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PropertyHome sellingPreparing to sell a property: 11 key steps
Selling a home

Preparing to sell a property: 11 key steps


Source: iStock / acilo

The sale of a property requires a good deal of planning and preparatory work. In ideal circumstances, this is something that shouldn't be rushed. Follow these 11 steps to get the selling process off to a successful start.

1. Set a date

If the move is not urgent, you should take your time in deciding when you want to sell your property.

There are countless recommendations on the best and worst times to sell. Basically, there is no wrong time to sell a property or advertise it on the market. It is entirely your decision.

2. Two months before advertising: research the local market

We can help you analyze the local market. Comparis brings together all the listings from the biggest and most relevant property websites in Switzerland. In collaboration with, we have created a tool that you can use to identify a ballpark asking price.

If possible, visit a few properties for sale in your area. This will give you a sense of what sort of price level you should consider.

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3. Six weeks before advertising: appoint an estate agent

Do you plan to sell your home using an estate agent? If so, you should start your enquiries now. Don't simply pick someone who happened to send you a flyer once. Ask friends and family for recommendations and read estate agent reviews carefully. The Comparis partner service BeneCasa (in German and French only) works with selected, qualified estate agents and can help you choose the right partner to sell your home.

After selecting a trustworthy expert, you can sign a contract and work out a marketing plan. Discuss any necessary repairs as well as any renovation work that the estate agent considers worthwhile.

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4. Prepare your home

Take steps to showcase your home at its best. Paint (or at least clean) the interior walls and repair functional items of furniture that may make a negative impression on a potential buyer. Now isn't the time to fit a new kitchen. However, it won’t take much work to fix a broken handle or a cupboard door that won't shut properly.

5. One month before advertising: start packing

Rent a storage unit if you can, and start packing. Not only will this be useful for your move, a decluttered home also creates a better impression. Storage rooms, in particular, should be cleared out. Remove as many personal items as possible. The wedding photos on your wall may look fantastic, but potential buyers might prefer to see a blank space where they could imagine putting their own photos.

6. Two to three weeks before advertising: check your financial position

Obtain a statement of your mortgage. In order to estimate the profit from the sale, you will need to know what debt is outstanding and the amount of any early repayment charge.

Discuss your plans with your neighbours. Not only is it courteous to warn them of your move, your neighbours may also help spread the word about your home being on the market. They may have friends on the hunt for a property who already know and like the location. This is one way to enlist external help with marketing your property.

7. Continue tidying and decluttering

Your estate agent will probably advise you on the presentation (or “staging”) of your home. If you are not using an estate agent, remember that your property should resemble a show home as far as possible. Remove personal items. Ensure that furniture is sensibly positioned in the room. Upon entering a room, a potential buyer should be able imagine how they could use it.

8. One week before advertising: prepare to market your home

Once you have finished the presentation work, it's time to take photos. If you have instructed an estate agent, they will either take the photos themselves or hire a professional photographer. There should now be no mess anywhere, and blinds and curtains should be open. The pictures should be so good that you start doubting your decision to move out. However, don’t use Photoshop to correct any cosmetic problems. The lack of authenticity may well irritate buyers.

Your estate agent should help produce an appealing, accurate and positive description of your house or apartment. Try to remember what aspects of the property you fell in love with when you bought it, or at least what you especially liked about it.

9. Put your property on the market

Make sure that your estate agent advertises your property on the most popular websites so that you reach as many potential buyers as possible. Once the property is listed, the estate agent may also put up a sign outside your house and print flyers featuring photos and a description. If you are not using an estate agent, you will have to do this work yourself.

10. Keep your home clean and tidy at all times

Even if you insist on having an appropriate amount of time to prepare for viewings, there is a high chance you will have to handle short-notice viewings at some point. Be ready and waiting with a sparkling home, even if there are no viewings scheduled. Assume that a prospective buyer will call when you least expect it.

11. Be prepared to lower your price

If you are working with an estate agent, you should receive some feedback after each viewing. If the market is very competitive and prospective buyers are few and far between, it may be appropriate to reduce your price early on. Remember: the sooner you sell, the higher the price may be. Your estate agent will help you set the right price.

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