So you've decided to sell your house while the blossoms are out and with the feelgood factor of summer on the way. Great decision, but where to next? How can you prepare your property so you can achieve the highest possible sales price?

A knowledgeable, reputable real estate agent is all you require in many cases. They have a good understanding of local market conditions and recent sales prices. They can guide you around realistic sales prices.

You can also invest in a full market valuation, which can provide a strong indication of a likely selling price. At the same time, take into account your own appraisal; what realistic sales price would be satisfied with?

Our general advice is to not use your latest rating valuation as the sole guide for determining the market value of your property. If you do plan on using it as a benchmark, you'll want to use it in combination with recent sales data or insight from real estate agents.

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Remember, rating valuations are primarily used to help councils set rates and its relevance will vary depending on where you're based. For example, if you're based in Wellington City, the last rating revaluation took place in 2015 and values have risen sharply since in the range of approximately 30-40 per cent.

This will mean your rating valuation will not reflect what its worth in today's market. It's worth noting that rating valuations don't include chattels.

You might be surprised by how many diseased plants are in your garden, so if you spot them, remove them! You may want to consider adding a few fresh flowers throughout your house; don't underestimate the charm factor.

It's also worth mending everything that needs fixing around your house; this is a small cost to pay when compared to a higher sales price you may achieve.

Finally, de-clutter! Remove up to half of your ornaments — put away your favourite knick-knacks and sentimental items. They may mean the world to you, but not to your potential buyers and they'll only take away from your property's appeal.

Marketing your property in 2018 is a very different ball game.

A final piece of advice is to "front foot" buyer inspections by providing a building inspection and LIM report. This helps you keep on top of any potential building maintenance issues and gives confidence to prospective buyers.

If you follow these easy steps, you'll be off to a good start. Of course, there remain no guarantees when selling your property.