Get ready for viewings...
As mentioned in our Preparing your home for sale blog, there are a few things to do to ensure your home is ready for marketing.
In this blog, we are looking at preparing for the actual viewings that will take place when your property is on the market.
Property for sale is fully explored by discerning buyers online first, if they are even slightly interested they are going to view the photos two or three times, they will study the floor plan, and, view the photos a fourth time. Interested buyers will take a look at 'street view' and very possibly drive by before booking an actual viewing.
If people have chosen to actually 'view' your property they'll have high expectations, these days it's very unlikely to be on a whim. So now it is important we don't disappoint, the experience of approaching, entering and walking around the property should allow them to imagine it as their future home.
OK so let's look at what to consider for each viewing.
First of all smell, perhaps not what you were expecting us to say! but we all react to smells either positively or negatively. So let's get a head start with a positive scent, perhaps a gentle hint of fresh flowers, pine or vanilla. Scented candles if safe to do so, or some plug-ins can work, but they can be a little overpowering sometimes, having them 'on' for a few hours prior to a viewing might be a good option. Or you can achieve simply from some nice smelling cleaning products. If it is an important first Saturday morning viewing schedule, why not follow the cliche and put the coffee pot on? or bake some (pre-prepared) bread or pastries? You could even leave some out for your visitors with a little card inviting them to enjoy.
Empty the bins, and consider opening the windows to ensure the (non-fresh bread) cooking smells are neutralized and deodorize the pet's bed.
Talking of pets, not everyone loves animals (strange but true), and too much evidence of pets could put some buyers off. Make sure litter trays and pet toys are out of the way and give the areas your pets are partial to sleeping a good vacuum. If your pets tend to get over-excited by visitors, especially dogs, it's definitely advisable to take them out for the viewing, perhaps leave them in the garden or car for a short while, or maybe a friend or neighbour can take them.
Background music can set the mood for your showing and may even subtly sway buyers’ opinions. Research from the Journal of Retailing suggests that music can influence purchasing choices. Keep it subtle and calm, you may not listen to Magic Soul or Classical FM yourself but for a viewing, it can be relaxing and add some atmosphere. It's not going to drown out the sound of the neighbour's dog or small children though, that's a conversation you may have to have with next door if at all possible! but it may help people feel more comfortable and ensure they spend time savouring your home's features.
Turn on music at a low volume in the main living area, especially if open-plan. Otherwise, turn your TVs to the same digital music station and play consistent music where possible in the house.
OK, so what are people going to see first? what features do we want the viewers to focus on?
As we've said in our preparing your home for sale blog, the entrance hall creates the 2nd ‘first impression’. Double-check it's clear of obstructions, you know, the abandoned scooter, school bags or running shoes. Have a quick wipe down of surfaces, do clean the floor if needed and turn the lights on. Consider what doors off the hallway you want open.
For many viewers, the kitchen is an absolute priority. Clear the worksurfaces and splashbacks, wipe down & straighten the appliances, stack the dishwasher or clear the sink of its contents. Keep it bright and shiny, and where there's space for eating, relaxing and all the things that so often make the kitchen the heart of the home, ensure it's tidy and looking as good as it can. If there are kitchen units that are a selling feature - those fancy pull-out larders or carousels, make sure the contents are stacked and tidy, it's the feature we want them to remember not your choice of pasta sauce. Consider the little details, is the dishcloth and teatowel put away for now? check the fruit in the bowl is still fresh and sort (take) out the recycling.
As always, clearing away unnecessary items is a must. Charge family members with tidying their personal bits & pieces at the end of their day or before the scheduled viewings. Straighten throws and puff up the cushions, open the blinds or curtains fully and unless it's particularly bright outside turn on the sidelights for a little atmosphere. Consider the smaller details like tidying the appliances cables and remote controls, and straightening the hanging pictures on the wall. We want a cosy atmosphere but make sure the living space feels as open and spacious as possible.
Bathroom & WC:
Give all surfaces a quick clean, ('cleaning wipes' are super useful when your home is on the market!) Tidy the toiletries and remember to keep what's on display to a minimum for now. If you have a backstock of toilet roll maybe hide under the bed. If you have a shower curtain pull it back, they usually make the room feel a lot smaller when open. Think posh hotel when your property is on the market, so that means folding the towels.
Usually dominated by the bed, so again think hotel, use the cushions and new throw you bought for 'staging' your home to good effect. Again pull back the curtains to let as much light in as possible, and of course, put away any items that may be distracting or make the room feel smaller. Remember, if you have built-in wardrobes people may want to take a quick look, so keep them organised and tidy.
Utility & storage:
Utility rooms are often a great selling feature, don't underestimate this functional room, keep it clean and tidy, stacking fresh laundry to illustrate the usefulness of the space may not be a bad thing here - a tidy stack of jeans and jumpers, perhaps not socks and undies.
Look at all other storage spaces too, the understairs cupboard is useful but if it's completely full it could suggest the house is too small, hideaway excess items. Invest in some decent boxes and tidy your things away, neatly stacking them in the loft or even hiring a small storage unit. As we have said in our 'Declutter, feel good blog', this is also a great opportunity to pass on or recycle the things you don’t want to take to your next home.
During the viewing:
Whenever possible leave the property empty for the agent to show around prospective buyers, it really is much easier for everyone involved. You've instructed the agent to find you a suitable buyer, get the best possible price and have you moved in a time frame that suits you. No small task, give them every opportunity to do their thing, chat with the buyers and demonstrate their worth. Ideally don't be there to observe the property viewings.
But, of course, there are occasions when you will be home, and that's OK too, enjoy the experience. Do your best to be dispassionate for the viewing though, during this time it is not your home but something you are selling. Be very positive about the property and neighbourhood if asked. Most important of all, be personable, a warm welcoming smile and greeting from the owner will immediately help make the property feel the same. Then just let your estate agent do what their best at...
Mon 25 Jan 2021