If you are joining the throngs of vendors choosing to take your own viewings to cut down on astronomically high estate agent fees take a read of our guide to showing your property.
It is vital that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in your house, so get rid of excess ornaments and photos – especially things like posters and stickers in children’s bedrooms. Focus on the front door and hallway as first impressions really do count! Ensure that your front garden is tidy and any grass is mown etc, make sure your front door is clean and all door furniture is polished. Clear away post, coats and boots from your hallway. You don’t want your house to look bare, but at the same time clutter will be off putting to potential buyers. Put things you don’t really use every day, especially in the kitchen, away in storage to free up your surfaces. Make sure you don’t cook anything with a strong odour such as fish or curry on the day you will be showing round potential buyers and be sure to change your bin. In the bathroom make an effort to hide away all your beauty products, even if you just use wicker baskets it will appear less cluttered.
A fresh coat of neutral paint, new tiling or lino, and a couple of new kitchen doors can do wonders to smarten up a tired-looking property. If you can’t stretch to re-tiling in the bathroom, re-grouting can be done quickly and cheaply and will really freshen up the room. The same re vamping effect can be achieved instantly with many small tasks such as replacing broken light bulbs; re-painting the front door; ironing sheets in the bedroom and dressing beds with throws and cushions and placing fresh fruit and flowers strategically.
If you’d rather not re-decorate, it is still essential that the house be spotlessly clean. Getting industrial cleaners in to really make the place sparkle will certainly be money well-spent; have the carpets, sofa covers, oven and windows cleaned while you’re at it. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, which really need to be inviting and hygienic; finish up with a new loo seat; fresh white towels; and a well placed plant or two. Watch out for over-stuffed wardrobes – yes, people do look in them to check the amount of storage space – so avoid embarrassment and clear them out. Finally, the garden really is seen by buyers as an additional room, so be sure to make your garden feel like a great space for entertaining and relaxing. A few hours spent planting up containers (which can be taken with you when you move) really can make a difference.
Everyone knows that first impressions count, and you’ll want the house to appeal to as many people as possible; the more people there are who like the property, the higher the selling price should be. So leave the pets with a neighbour and thoroughly clean up any cat and dog hair in particular, as many people are allergic to animal hair. Turn the lights and heating on; air out the house; and don’t smoke before viewings will be taking place. If you’ve got parking or a driveway move your car and leave the space free for the buyer.
You know your property best so when you are showing people around make sure you have decided beforehand what order you will show the rooms, and guide viewers around the property once, showing the best rooms either first or last. Be business-like during the first viewing; if someone is interested, you can always get to know them a little more on the second viewing. Never point out problems or issues, but do feel free to highlight the odd positive point, like a south-facing garden, or very convenient parking. If you live close to a station now is the time to say how convenient that is! Finally, invite viewers to take another look around the property on their own, stay somewhere nearby so that you are on hand to answer any final questions