10 Things to Do Before Your First Home Viewing
So you’ve managed to snag your first potential buyer, and they are coming round in a few days. Eek! Now what?
The viewing process is an essential part of marketing your home and making it a more appealing to potential buyers, so its important that you put your best foot forward, and prepare your home prior to any viewings taking place. Remember, you are selling an idealized lifestyle, not your reality. There are a number of simple common sense tips you can follow to make the viewing that bit more appealing to your audience, and highlight the strengths of your home.
1) Clear Space
The aim of the game is to maximise space, as buyers often judge a room size by how much free floor they can see. The same applies towards worktops and counters, so be prepared to declutter as much as you can, without making your home look like no one lives in it. A good rule of thumb is, if you could live without it being there, get it into storage, and boxed away into the attic, in the boot of your car, or off site completely, as again – the attic may be explored at some stage by your buyers. Getting rid of unnecessary gizmos and gadgets also depersonalises your home, and helps potential buyers see things through their eyes. E.g. “Oh, our KitchenAid would fit and look fab here“.
2) Clean, Clean, Clean
There is no such thing as too clean a house. You should give yourself enough time prior to a viewing to clean the house from top to bottom, with every nook and cranny thoroughly explored – your viewers will poke and investigate everything (twice) so don’t think you might just be able to get away with it. Pay particular attention to things like grubby tiles or shower trays as these immediately detract from the overall impact of your bathroom, and if you can’t see the floor of the garage – unfortunately, yes, that means cleaning and clearing it out too.
If you’ve got pet in the house, cleaning well is of particular importance, as often animal lovers become desensitised to their pet smells, and there’s no guarantee your audience will love moggies or fidos as much as you do. Paying the professionals to steam clean sofas and carpet is not a bad investment either. Pay attention to detail, and you’ll receive your reward for it.
3) Decide if you want to be there at all.
A good Estate Agent will offer to conduct the viewings on your behalf as some people have a tendency to be over enthusiastic. Whilst showing a buyer around their home, it’s important not to come across as overpowering and put them off. Another problem is the over honest vendor, who can’t help but point out every flaw of the home whilst showcasing. We’ve heard instances of this more frequently than you would think. “Oh, there are a few wires frayed in the fuse box there, but nothing you couldn’t fix yourselves with some masking tape” – is NOT going to sell your home in a hurry.
4) Bring in the babysitters
Your first viewing is like a first date, and you’ll be much more relaxed with the kids and animals out of the house, and so will your home’s new potential owners. Nothing worse than having to discipline wee Johnny for shouting loudly at his friends on the Xbox mid viewing. If you do decide to take the buyer through your home yourself, you can focus on what to say about each room, and listen more intently to their questions.
5) Freshen Up
If you are a smoker, you might want to try and freshen your home in the lead up to your viewing by opening windows and taking it outside prior to their visit. The same thing applies for pet owners. Buy fresh flowers on the day of your viewing, as this will both add a visual delight to your home and leave a nice smell for your guests, but don’t go overboard. Too many flowers and plants overwhelm the senses, which need to remain focused on the house,
We’ve heard of people freshly baking bread in the kitchen a few hours before, and drying laundry on radiators in the utility to let the smells sell your home for you. There are of course candles with these smells (fresh bread) / (fresh linen) widely available as a simpler solution – particularly if you have already had viewings, or anticipate more in the coming weeks. Another quick tip is to dispose of an orange or lemon chunk into your bin as the clean citrus scent will neutralise stronger odours, or you could go all DIY aromatherapy on us !
If you currently display political, erotically suggestive or religious items in your home currently, chances are you are going to put some people off. It makes sense to put these items out of sight in storage. You want your viewers to feel like they can put a stamp on your home, and feel more than comfortable in it during a viewing.
7) Fresh Laundry
Make sure that you have all the beds made, duvets straight and pillows plumped to make the perfect impression in the bedroom. Dressing your bed with pillows and throws can help to create a warm inviting atmosphere that helps potential buyers subconsciously fall in love with your home.
8) Get a second opinion
It’s a good idea to showcase your home to a non biased friend, and get their honest opinion on how your home is looking prior to the first viewing. Go over your patter for each room, and you may find that there are hidden gems you have overlooked that others find interesting. If your estate agent is conducting the viewing, ask to go around with them and show them the features you feel are interesting prior to the viewing, most will ask to do this anyway.
9) Sort outside
The outside of your home is often forgotten during the preparation process. Cut the grass, weed the flower bed, and make sure that garden implements are stored neatly away in the shed. If you’ve got kids, insist they help to keep outside clear as well, so no bikes on the driveway or outside toys should be visible to the potential new buyers.
10) Finishing Touches
It’s important for your home to feel right for buyers, so simple things like lighting candles in the hallway, or having the open fire lit, if the viewing is in the evening goes a long way to helping your home rise above the other properties that your potential buyer has already seen. Indulge yourself, by buying a few bits new. Hand towels, and good quality pump soap dispensers for example can always come with you to your home, as well as helping sell your old one.
Other ideas include making fresh coffee if the viewing is in the morning, adjusting the lighting (turning on lamps in the nooks and cranny’s) and having some lowfi music going in rooms that are appropriate for it. Don’t overdo it on the music front by keeping the volume down to barely audible.
Get your best smile ready, and best of luck!