Updated 6th August 2012
Although the housing market is currently in the doldrums there are still plenty of sales being completed. However, many sellers do not give enough thought to how their property is presented to a potential buyer and wonder why they are not getting any interest.
First impressions are so important, so here are my top 10 tips for preparing your home for a viewing.
1 - Declutter and clean
It may sound obvious that you should clean and tidy your home but it is surprising how many people don't bother. Before putting your property on the market you should have a good clear out of all the clutter you have accumulated over the years. Recycle it if possible using charity collections or shops or if not possible take it to the council tip.
Take a critical look at each room and make sure there is not too much furniture filling every available space. If you don't want to get rid of some favourite items why not ask a friend or relative to store them for a while or use a storage company.
Clean like you've never cleaned before, and continue to do this religiously all the time your property is on the market.
2 - Finish off those odd jobs
Everyone has a list of odd jobs that need doing, be it fixing a door handle or repainting a room. Well, now is the time to get to work as these little jobs can make all the difference to how your house looks to a potential buyer.
3 - Sort out the garden
There is nothing that sets a house off better than a nice tidy garden. Make sure that the grass is regularly cut and plants are well maintained, rubbish is cleared away and wheelie bins are out of sight, if possible.
If your car(s) are parked on your drive consider moving them up the road before the viewing takes place as it's surprising what a difference this will make to the look of your property.
4 - Pet problems
That lovely dog you adore may not appear so nice to a visitor if it keeps barking or fills your home with a 'doggy' smell. Ask a family member or friend to take the dog for a walk while your visitors are around and make sure any pet smells are eradicated.
5 - Lighting
It's important that you make your house as light and airy as possible. However, having high wattage lights beaming down from the ceiling is not the best way to do this. Use lamps instead of ceiling lights, as these will give a softer light to the room, and make sure you get the maximum light from your windows by opening blinds or removing net curtains.
If you don't want to pay out for lamps you can buy low floor standing spotlights very cheaply to light up dark corners.
Why not book viewings for the time of the day when the light in your home is at it's best, it's surprising what a difference this will make.
6 - Noise
If the area in which you live is noisy at times then book viewings at the quiet times. Rush hour traffic or children just returned from school can make even the quietest neighbourhood noisy for a period so avoid these times.
7 - Rooms
If you have a three bedroom house make sure that you are using it as such. If you use one of the bedrooms as a junk room then sort it out and return it to a bedroom. People want to easily see the configuration of a property and not have work out the potential of each room.
8 - Quiz your estate agent
Ask your estate agent for plenty of details on your prospective buyer before they visit your property. You can then showcase your home appropriately, emphasising the elements that will appeal to your particular visitors.
9 - Have a set of property details available
Offer a set of property details to all viewers when they arrive, this will ensure that they don't overlook any of the important details of your home. They will have already received a set of details from your estate agent but it's surprising how many people forget to bring them on a viewing.
10 - Conducting the viewing
It is vital that you conduct all viewings correctly as this will make a big difference to the impression that visitors have of your property.
This is the process you should follow:
- Welcome - offer them a set of details and explain that you will take them through the house showing each room in turn. You will then leave them to spend as much time as they need to look at the house on their own. Finally you will answer any questions that they may have.
- Start with the lounge, as this is the main living space and a key room
- Next move into the kitchen as this is the second most important room to any buyer
- Then move through the remaining rooms downstairs starting with the biggest rooms and finishing with the downstairs cloakroom, if available
- Next show all the rooms upstairs starting with the main bedroom and finishing with the bathroom and toilet
- Finally move to the garden and any outbuildings
Trying to sell your property is very stressful, especially in this market so follow my tips above to give yourself the best possible chance of getting that sale.
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