If you've made the decision to sell then it's time to knuckle down and get ready for the New Year. It always brings in fresh buyers.

Sometimes says Marie-Dominique Lennan of LJ Hooker Warkworth, that's expat Kiwis who are home for the holidays.

Or it can be holidaying locals who spot an area they'd like to live in.

"We get buyers in Matakana and Leigh who visit and think 'we're in heaven'," says Lennan.

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It could just be that the downtime over the holidays gives homeowners and buyers a chance to reassess their lives.

It may have been a long time since you've bought or sold a property and marketing has stepped up a professional gear over the past decade.

Buyers expect to see the latest designs and colours — and home staging with designer furniture and furnishings has become de rigueur.

If you're serious about selling then you need to create an action/strategy plan with timelines attached right from making the decision to sell to moving day.

Vendors need to prepare the property for sale, get valuations and/or decide on a price, attend to maintenance, declutter, choose an agent, sign a listing agreement, appoint a home stager, get photography done, advertise and market the property, , buy a new home, and move.

Rather than creating your own plan, ask your real estate agent for one, or Google it.
RE/MAX's Canadian sister company has an excellent one equally valid to New Zealand.

It can be found at: tinyurl.com/sellersactionplan. It will give insights into the pros and cons of your existing property.

Vendors should write a timeline and a realistic budget with contingencies, such as what happens if you can't sell. Getting into the right mental space is important if you want to sell.

"You need to be prepared to have people coming through your house and being open to their feedback," says Lennan.

Think twice about renovations. Many vendors hold off from selling in order to do renovations hoping for a better price, but don't always get it.

"Fix things like doors and windows so they can be easily opened," says Lennan. "But don't go and put in a brand new kitchen or bathroom. You don't have to have a modern house to sell."

"A big renovation doesn't always pay for itself. Instead look at ways to tidy the place up so buyers don't see a to-do list.

"Make a list of your property's attributes and what attracted you to it. That's what you need to highlight to buyers.

"You want them to walk in and imagine themselves living there.

"Present your home so the buyers can picture themselves there doing things they like doing.

"If you think the house is fantastic because of the garden, make sure the garden is tidy.

"When it comes to presenting your home for sale the first impression is huge", says Lennan.

It is very important to tidy up the approach to the house.

Even with all this done vendors shouldn't assumethey'll sell for the figure they're banking on. If market conditions change, sometimes the first offer will be the best offer.