Monday, December 07, 2020

How To Prepare Your Home For Viewings


A property viewing can be make-or-break when it comes to selling a house. So what are the golden rules for making sure you get it right and the offers come flooding in? Do you need to prepare differently for in-person and online or “virtual” viewings?
Here are our top tips for preparing your home for viewings.
Boost Your Home’s “Kerb Appeal”
Many people spend hours hoovering, tidying and staging the inside of their home ahead of property viewings but neglect the exterior. Just like in other areas of life, when it comes to selling a property, first impressions count. Tidy up the front garden, remove any clutter and make sure that there are no cars or other obstacles blocking the entrance. If you have a driveway, it’s a nice touch to move your car and let the estate agent know that the buyer can park there during the viewing. Ask a friend to look at your home from the outside and give suggestions for improvements. Painting a tired-looking front door or removing the weeds from cracks in the driveway will make the property look well-cared for and create a great first impression.
If every surface is littered with knick-knacks, photographs and personal belongings it can be hard for a potential buyer to imagine the property as their home. Furthermore, excessive clutter can prevent a buyer from seeing all aspects of your home, whether that’s because boxes are blocking a storage cupboard they’d like to view or piles of books are obscuring the state of the walls. Don’t give the impression that you’re trying to hide anything. Tidy away clutter and leave just enough decoration to make the property feel homely.
Make Minor Repairs
Buyers are more likely to offer on a home that is well-maintained and presented as a much-loved home. According to research by the Mail Online, 56 per cent of homeowners bought their property because they had “fallen in love with it”. Emotions play a big part in the decision to buy. Repairing minor faults, such as dripping taps, broken shower curtains and missing kitchen cabinet handles will boost your home’s appeal in the eyes of potential buyers.
Spruce Up the Garden
Don’t forget to tidy the garden before viewings. Since the first lockdown ended in May, a garden has become one of the top “non-negotiable” features of a home for many buyers. Make sure that the lawn is mown and clutter such as children’s toys and dustbins are tidied away. If the viewing is scheduled for a time when the garden gets the best of the day’s sun, consider setting up patio furniture to demonstrate what a suntrap it is.
“Stage” Your Home
Create a homely atmosphere without making your home seem too sterile or magazine-photo-perfect. This might mean adding a vase of fresh flowers in the lounge, a bowl of fruit in the kitchen or lighting a scented candle. If you have a particular ideal buyer in mind, a professional homeworker for example, consider adding a desk and chair to “dead” space under the stairs. Staging should help a buyer to see the potential of your property to be the home they want. Consider swapping highly-personalised decor for neutral tones and styles — you want a buyer to be able to see the possibilities for putting their own stamp on the place.
Follow COVID-Safe Guidelines
The government has issued guidelines for in-person property viewings to keep buyers, homeowners and estate agents safe by minimising the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Although in-person viewings are currently not forbidden in England, even in tier three locations, you must adhere to the government’s safety advice. This includes wearing face coverings, leaving doors open so that the buyer and the estate agent have no cause to touch doors and handles, opening windows and doors to aid ventilation, providing hand sanitiser and allowing viewings by appointment only. Open house viewings — where multiple potential buyers are invited to view simultaneously — are not permitted.
Where possible, offer virtual viewings. You can prepare for these in much the same way as a traditional viewing but you’ll also need to consider the lighting, the technology used to capture your home on video, potential sources of external noise that could be distracting and how the video will be edited and shared with the buyer — if you are using an estate agent they should be able to handle most of this. Offering COVID-safe viewings will increase your chances of securing bookings and offers — buyers who are concerned about their health may be reluctant to view a property if safety measures are not in place.
Arrange Child and Pet Care
If you are hosting viewings yourself, keep the number of people present to a minimum. Not only is this important to ensure compliance with government advice regarding COVID-19, but it will also help you to focus on the viewing and reduce distractions for the buyer. This is especially important if you have pets or young children — not all potential buyers will be fond of either! Arrange for a friend or neighbour to babysit for the duration of the visit and book your pet into doggy daycare.
Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare
Rushing around last-minute, pushing clutter under the beds and running around with the hoover is a recipe for stress and a poorly presented house. Allow yourself plenty of time to tidy, clean and stage your home before a viewing. If possible, book several appointments on the same day to reduce the time spent on preparing your home — leave sufficient time between appointments to sanitise door handles and surfaces.
If you want to sell your house quickly, it’s worth putting the time and effort into preparing for viewings. Whether online or in-person, make the most of your property’s best features and create a space that your ideal buyer would love to live in. Nobody enjoys the inconvenience of endless viewings — it only takes one perfect viewing to get the offer you need to sell up and move on.


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