We know from experience that the better your home looks and feels when potential buyers come to view, the more likely you are to get an asking price offer.
For many people, the decision about whether to buy a home is an emotional one, and we’ve found that, more often than not, they make that decision very quickly. By the time buyers see your home in person, they already know the size, layout and location, and the photos have been enticing enough for them to book the viewing. So this step of the buying journey is mainly about them making sure that your home is as good in reality as it looks in the brochure, and that it feels like the right place for them to live.
Speak with your agent about how they can help
You may already have your own thoughts about how your home should be presented for viewings, but it’s always worth speaking to your agent to get their input. We’re dealing with buyers and showing homes every day and can often suggest things that might not have occurred to you.
The best agents will have stylists on their team, who work together with a professional photographer to make sure that your home is shown in the most attractive light. Remember that these marketing photos are one of the key aspects that help to secure viewings, and that specific look is what your buyers will expect to see. So, while your home is listed for sale, the closer you can keep it looking to the images in your brochure, the better.
Nevertheless, no matter how neat and tidy you are, there are always those last-minute tweaks and little jobs that need doing before a viewing. So here’s our handy checklist of 6 simple steps to ensure your home is perfectly prepared to welcome what could be your dream buyer:
1. Make buyers feel great about your home before they even step through the front door
First impressions really do count, so think about how your home looks as buyers approach it. One thing that sellers often forget is to check how the ‘For Sale’ board looks – is it clean and straight? If there’s any damage, let your agent know right away and they can arrange for it to be replaced.
Try to ensure there’s somewhere for people to park their car, even if it means moving your own fifteen minutes before the viewing. Make sure the path to the front door is clear, the garden looks tidy and you have some welcoming potted plants at the entrance. Don’t forget the door itself – give it a wipe down, clean the handle and letterbox – and check that any outside lights are working properly.
2. Make the space shine
It’s really helpful if you can try to have the mindset that once your home is on the market, it’s no longer primarily ‘your’ home. You might have been used to leaving projects laid out across surfaces, having children’s toys and play equipment to hand and not worrying about keeping absolutely everything stored in its proper place. But buyers can often ask to view homes at quite short notice, so the cleaner and tidier you can keep each room, the less you’ll have to do at the last minute to get it ready for viewings.
If you can get used to living in a clutter-free way and manage to stay on top of the housework, then all you should need to do before potential buyers arrive is perhaps run the vacuum around and pop your teacup in the dishwasher!
3. Carry out a ‘fresh check’ on bathrooms
When it comes to bathrooms and toilets, your two watchwords are: ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’. As with the rest of your home, if you can make sure they sparkle on a daily basis, then you should only have three little things to do before a viewing:
- Drop some scented disinfectant in the toilet or spray a gentle air freshener
- Make sure the toilet lid is closed
- Put out fresh towels.
Tip: Keep a clean set of towels just for viewings, so that you can make a quick switch and then swap them back out once the viewing is over!
4. A little bit of styling can make all the difference
When you’re selling a home, you’re selling a lifestyle, so think about what little touches will help people feel good about the space and make them want to spend time there. Candles, flowers, high-end magazines and pretty soft furnishings work well in reception rooms and bedrooms, while a fruit bowl and some fresh herbs will add life to the kitchen.
Use your marketing photos as a reference, and try to keep all these styling accessories in your home so that they just need a quick ‘condition check’ before viewings.
5. Fresh baking really does work!
It may sound like a cliché, but the smell of home baking really does appeal to buyers. Our sense of smell has a strong association with memory and can be highly emotive, so some freshly baked bread or cake in the kitchen might evoke memories of a happy childhood, while a coconut scent in a reception room, bathroom or bedroom might remind people of being on holiday.
If you can fill your home with aromas that remind people of happy times in their lives, it will help them feel good about it – and they’ll be more likely to remember it in greater detail after they’ve left. Just remember that less is more, and if you’re going for a fragrance, make it subtle.
6. Pet patrol…
Your beloved pet might be regarded as a member of the family, but not everyone is going to be a fan and some people may be allergic. The ideal solution is to take your pet out of your home while the viewing is taking place, but if that’s not possible, try to keep it contained in one room, along with beds, litter trays, etc.
If relocating your pet is proving tricky, you could ask your agent to tell prospective buyers about it, then let you know if they have any concerns and you can discuss the best solution.