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Someone is interested in looking at your property and has made an appointment to view. Fantastic! These tips will help to make your home a little bit more show-worthy.
Preparing for viewers
In the hour or so before viewers are due, go through your house and garden and make it as tidy as possible. Always remember to pretend you are a minimalist, even if you’re not one!
- Put away children’s toys, put away the children! The same for pet toys, bowls and the pets themselves
- Make sure beds are made, sheets and covers are smooth, pillows are plumped.
- Make sure all clothes and shoes are put away and laundry baskets are tidy or hidden.
- Never have washing on the line when viewers are coming
- Clean your kitchen counters and sweep floors at the last moment so they are clean and free of crumbs or dust.
- Make sure the insides of your oven and microwave are clean.
- Put away newspapers and magazines. Leave a glossy coffee-table book out on the table, preferably one about your area.
- Tidy away any loose items: paperwork, pens, remote controls, keys, etc.
- Unless you have fancy toilet-brushes and bathroom accessories, put them away.
- Make sure towels are clean, un-frayed and hanging straight on towel rails. Don’t leave wet towels drying on racks or doors. The same applies to bath mats: they should be clean, un-faded, and help to accent the bathroom décor.
Professional secrets for showing your home
Professional estate agents and companies who prepare homes and development show-houses for viewing have a few tricks up their sleeves for making a house even more enticing. Try some of these tips:
- Add fresh cut flowers in a vase on a dining table or side board before viewers are due.
- Spray a lightly fragranced air freshener throughout the house. Choose something generic like ‘ocean breeze’ or ‘fresh citrus’. The last thing you want is to spray something heavy like rose or patchouli, or discover that a viewer hates the scent of jasmine. Light a fragranced candle or two, particularly if viewers are coming later in the day.
- Open all shutters and curtains, even in spare bedrooms. The more light you let in, the better your house will look. If it’s a nice day, open windows. If it’s cold out, put the heating on so the house is warm and inviting.
- In darker rooms and areas, turn on accent lighting, a bed side light, kitchen counter lights: anything that makes the rooms look warmer or brighter.
- Leave a copy of your house brochure in an obvious place. Print extra copies of some of the best photos of your property and add them to the brochure. If people are genuinely interested they are likely to remember your house if they can take copies of these items with them.
- Bake or buy some fresh cookies or brownies for the agent and the viewers and put out some bottles of cold water, some white wine and some glasses. Let the agent know in advance that you invite them to help themselves. It’s another little touch that will make their visit to your home more memorable.
Private stuff should remain private
It may sound obvious, but remember to put away any private papers, such as bank statements, credit card information, hand bags, wallets and jewellery. While most viewers are genuine and are accompanied by an agent, a ring on a bedside table could be tempting to the wrong person. Nosey people might very well like to know what your bank balance is. So make sure they are all put away safely.
Do you have some very personal items in a bedside drawer? Unless you want others to see those fluffy handcuffs or long-lasting gels, you might want to put them somewhere less obvious!
How to handle viewers
The answer is simple. Don’t! Get your house ready, hand a key to the agent, and make a fast get away!
This can be a traumatic experience: having strangers traipse through your home, making comments of what they would or would not change, or even worse, criticising your taste. Some owners take offense and argue the point, others feel compelled to point out faults or difficulties to ‘be fair’ to prospective buyers even when the subject hasn’t been raised. It is up to buyers to evaluate the property and arrange for a survey: don’t tell them the negative aspects. It’s the fastest way to lose a sale.
This is why many experienced agents require the sellers to make themselves scarce during a viewing, either by staying out of the way during the viewing or, even better, being completely absent from the property and letting the agent take prospective buyers round the house. As long as the agent is totally familiar with the house and the area, and can answer all questions raised, this probably your best option.