Have you started the process of selling your house? Here’s what you need to know before the all-important viewings
Hire a professional photographer
It doesn’t matter how great you think the phone on your camera is or how good your best friend’s husband’s cousin is at taking photos, it is always worth your while to hire a professional photographer to take the photos that will ultimately sell your home. Most estate agents will have their own photographers but if they don’t, get a recommendation.
Before they arrive, take a look at some other house listings for inspiration, be specific about what you want, and make sure they get at least 2-3 angles of each room.
Make it available to view during the week
It may make life awkward for you on one or two days but making your home available to view during the week could be the difference between a bidding war and your house staying on the market for months. You may have to arrange to work from home and then go to a coffee shop or for a walk for the duration of the viewing but in the long run, this is a minor sacrifice to make.
People’s schedules vary so by being flexible with viewing times, you’re going to attract a larger circle of interested parties and, hopefully, get a higher price for your house.
Clean and declutter
You probably did a deep clean and declutter when you got the photos taken but make sure that you don’t let standards slide between then and when the viewings roll around. If you have children, keep a large box on standby that you can put all their toys and books into at short notice and make sure all counter tops are relatively clear apart from the usual everyday items like a kettle, toaster, microwave, etc.
Wipe down all surfaces before a viewing and pay special attention to the area around door handles which can often have a build up of finger smudges that go unnoticed to everyone within the home. Flush toilets, vacuum each room and open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
Remove pet paraphernalia
Even the most ardent of animal lovers doesn’t want to see pet hair around your house. If you have a pet (or numerous pets), put all their toys, leads and accessories into the shed or utility room for the viewing. After vacuuming the house and opening the windows (see above point), take a hand-held vacuum to get into any hard-to-reach areas. If you don’t have a handheld vacuum, wrap sticky tape around your hand and press it against any loose hairs that are still floating around.
If you’re worried that there might be a smell in one of the rooms, keep the windows open and light a gently-scented candle – but extinguish it before the viewing starts.
Create a warm atmosphere
As well as lighting lamps, you can create a warm and homely atmosphere by adding throws over the couch, soft cushions, candles and flowers to the main living area. It’s important to make the viewers see how it would feel to come back here at the end of a long day, kick their shoes off and curl up for the evening.
While scented candles can give the impression that you’re trying to hide something – dampness or evidence of a pet – it’s no harm to have the smell of baked bread or coffee if you believe this will help to create a more inviting space.
Leave in the light
Nothing sells a house like light flooding every room so make sure your windows are clean, your blinds are open and your curtains are pulled right back to ensure maximum brightness. If you’re having an evening viewing, turn on the lights and lamps in each room that showcase it at its best and most welcoming.
Remember to clean and dust around any light fixtures, mirrors or lampshades to make the best impression.
Leave an information sheet in the hallway
If you’re not sure that the agent showing the house has all the information they need, leave a sheet with some vital stats about the house on it for anyone asking extra questions.
Examples include: when the house was built, cavity or stone walls, whether or not the walls have been pumped, what the nearby bus routes or schools are, details about the heating, boiler maintenance, neighbourhood, local amenities, etc.
Don’t forget the outside of the house
‘Curb appeal’ is a real thing so if you want to make a good first impression, ensure that your front lawn is well-trimmed, get rid of any weeds, keep the front door clean of grime, cobwebs or smudges (give it a fresh lick of paint if you have time!) and check that your welcome mat is swept free of debris and leaves.