Don’t make buyers imagine how good it could be – show them. Decide on the strengths of your property and show them off. Go all out to impress. Here are our seven top tips for preparing your home for a viewing.
1. Drive by appeal
Many buyers will make a drive-by visit to your property before they decide whether or not to make a viewing. Tidy up the outside of your home, regularly mow the lawn, trim hedges and remove any weeds from your beds or pathways. Consider giving the front door and the window frames a lick of paint, and if it’s the right season put some pots or baskets outside your property. Make them want to come in.
2. Bathrooms and toilets
Clear away the mountain of toiletries, sponges, medication and make up that seems to accumulate in the bathroom. Clear away children’s bath toys and put out clean, dry, folded towels. Bath and shower fittings should be spotlessly clean. Open windows to clear away any excess moisture. Consider replacing bath and shower sealants if mould has accumulated.
3. Living areas
You need to declutter. Clutter makes a room feel smaller and makes it harder for a buyer to imagine living in your home. Make sure distinctive features like fireplaces can be fully appreciated. Let the natural daylight flood in by pulling back the curtains and removing any items that might block light such as vases or photo frames on window sills. Keep the house warm in the winter but, whatever the season, be sure to regularly throw open the windows to let fresh air in. During viewings, turn off the TV and any music that might be distracting.
Clean and polish all surfaces, fittings, handles, cupboard fronts and appliances. Clean inside the oven and any integrated appliances that are included in the sale. Clear any clutter from surfaces and make sure the sink and draining area is completely clear. Pet bowls should be cleared away, and always let in a blast of fresh air to clear any stale cooking smells. Freshly brewed coffee or baked bread are still the most appealing aromas to be found in the kitchen – it’s a cliché, but it’s true!
5. Space and order
Potential buyers will want to see every room, so make an effort on every space in your house. The kids’ rooms can look like warzones, but spend some time sorting them out so they look like bedrooms again. Toys can be boxed and all clothes, including shoes, should be cleared away. Buyers will want to look in cupboards and lofts too, so try to put these spaces in order.
For many people the garden is one of the biggest selling points. Tidy away any rubbish, weed and cut the grass, and put out some potted plants to soften patios and yards. A seasonal fertiliser will add colour to a tired lawn. Be sure to cut back any boisterous bushes, particularly in smaller gardens.
7. And finally, you love your pets but...
...your potential buyers may not. Ask a friend or neighbour to take care of them during a viewing so as not to distract (or scare) a potential buyer from your property.