Solid, safe and original is what Western Bay buyers are looking for when trawling the market for a new home. Local agents say demand for '50s, '60s and '70s brick and weatherboard homes - no matter how dated the decor - are in hot demand.
According to the experts sellers need to put their time into presentation, and their money into storying clutter and creating appealing colour combinations before putting their home on the market.
The Bay of Plenty Times talks to three of Tauranga's top agents about how to best prepare your home for sale.
LJ Hooker manager Stephen Pepper said removing clutter helped a home appear more spacious and attractive.
"Sometimes [vendors] can have a really good property but you just can't see it," he said.
He recommended paying to keep extra furniture and clutter in a storage unit while a house was on the market. When sale negotiations were in the hundreds of thousands, it was a false economy not to spend $40 a week on storage, he said.
Large campervans, which were increasingly popular in Tauranga households, could also make a property look smaller or block views and it was worth finding somewhere else to park them, he said.
Eves general manager Gordon Stewart recommended cutting back on personal photographs that distracted potential buyers from seeing a home they could make their own. "Start doing your packing early," he said.
Keep it neutral
Harcourts Mount Maunganui general manager Nigel Martin said sellers needed to remember not everyone had the same taste in colours. "It's always a good idea to keep carpet, wall colours and kitchens a natural or white colour.
"I have seen people renovate using dark colours, or very bright reds and purple for bedrooms, often using a different colour in each room. This is not recommended. Neutral colours appeal to a wider range of people."
Focus on presentation
The agents agreed presentation was key to selling a home and increasing the buyer's perception of what a property was worth.
"If people think it's better, they'll pay more for it," Mr Pepper said.
At this time of year, cleaning the exterior of mildew was as important as making the inside sparkle, he said.
"First impressions do count. It's all about the perception of the buyer."
Mr Stewart said buyers were also distracted by mess and the home needed to be immaculate inside and out.
Best bang for your buck
Mr Martin recommended sellers looking for a better sale price consider replacing any worn-out carpet, interior and exterior painting and replacing peeling wallpaper.
"These items would be deemed medium cost for a seller to consider doing before bringing their home to the market," he said.
While nearly all buyers saw extra value in a property with a new kitchen or bathroom, it was important not to overcapitalise on major renovation in these rooms, he said.
Mr Pepper said he often saw homes where the vendors had over-capitalised, having believed they were going to live in the house for years.
"Life changes and then it's back on the market," he said.
However, he was seeing less DIY building work in Tauranga now than there was 10 years ago. Work was now carried out by qualified tradesmen and had council consent, making the home more attractive to buyers.
Make your home accessible
Mr Pepper said buyers loved open homes, and they were a great way to get more than one buyer in a property at the same time.
"Open homes go hand in hand with getting the best possible price."
Decks and garages
Garages were important to the majority of Tauranga buyers and any home with three bedrooms or more was easiest sold with a double garage, Mr Pepper said.
Even more preferable was a house with internal access from the garage.
"You don't often see homes with more than double garaging," he said.
Mr Stewart said decks were high on the list for Tauranga buyers and a good investment for sellers.
"Outdoor living flow is a real seller," he said.