FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
Many prospective buyers do a drive past in front of the property they are interested in, before making an appointment to view. It is therefore essential to maximise the "kerb appeal" of your property before putting it on the market.
If you have a front garden, tidy it, cut the grass, turn over the border and clear weeds. A hanging basket could be a good idea.
Check out your front door area
Job 1 - Remove All Clutter
You will be surprised at how much you have accumulated so get out your storage boxes and some garbage bags. Work through the house room by room removing anything which gives that cluttered, untidy look. Your aim is to give the impression of space. It is impossible for viewers to appreciate the size of a room if it is overfilled with personal belongings.
Job 2 - Thoroughly Spring Clean
Your objective is to make your property look spotless and smell spotless. This means attending to every room. Clean all the windows. Employ a carpet cleaner if need be. Touch up paintwork. Redecorate where necessary in neutral colours. Buy some air fresheners. A car dealer would never put a car on the forecourt without cleaning and polishing it. Do the same for your house.
As each room is completed stand at the door and check it out. What would you think if you were a viewer?
Vacant properties should be cleared of all rubbish inside and out. Thoroughly clean the inside. Try to dress the windows with curtains or blinds. Always leave the electricity on so that rooms can be lit. Keep the property ventilated and place a couple of air fresheners on each floor. Tidy the garden and yard.
At a viewing. Have rooms comfortably lit. Play some background music. Remove barking dogs. Don't let children interfere with the viewing. Flowers are cheap and help create a wonderful impression. That old chestnut... percolating some coffee does work!
This is the room where people sit and relax, watch TV and socialise with family and friends. Set the mood with soft lighting, background music and flowers.
Again set the mood. Lay the table with plates, cutlery and pretty napkins. How about some nice wine glasses and candles with soft lighting and background music.
The kitchen is the heart of your property.
Stand back, look at it. Are the surfaces cluttered with items you never really use? Are there things cluttering the cupboard tops? You know the answer - remove everything that prevents the impression of space.
Clean all surfaces, taps and splash backs. The cooker and all white goods should be spotless.
Make sure all lights work.
At viewing time if you have work top lighting put it on and limit overhead lighting. And use that old trick, put some coffee on to percolate and allow the aroma to spread through the house.
If your bathroom is small, it is often a good idea to decorate it in a light neutral colour. If you have a towel rail then hang some fresh towels on it. Buy two or three nice accessories. Above all have all bathrooms/WC's spotless and smelling right.
The impression of space is important. Stand at the door of each each bedroom. Look inside. How do they look?
Dress the beds with your best covers. Add some extra pillows. Buy a homes magazine for tips on how to dress a bed. If the viewing is taking place in the evening, close the curtains, put the bedside lights on and turn the main light off. Create a relaxing atmosphere.
Kiddies bedrooms can quickly become untidy. At viewing time ensure that these are cleared of all toys and other clutter. Make sure the walls are not covered in distracting posters and other material.
THE GARDEN, YARD AND OUTBUILDINGS
In spring and summer viewers will be very interested in checking out the garden. Cut the grass and tidy the borders. Cut back any excessive plant growth. Mend damaged fences. Freshen up fencing and decking with a coat of preservative.
In autumn and winter make sure you remove all fallen leaves.
If you have a yard, tidy it and try to add some greenery in the way of potted plants.
Clear out all outbuildings, sheds and garages.
If the weather is rainy have umbrellas ready so viewers can step outside and not get wet.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A VIEWING
Greet the viewer(s) with a smile. Make them feel at home and relaxed.
Your aim should be to end up in the lounge in the hope of getting people to sit down and feel comfortable there.
For houses - start with the upper rooms, then head downstairs to the outside rear, then deal with the lower rooms ending up in the lounge. Always allow the viewer to enter a room first. (In small rooms give the impression of space by you standing on the outside).
For single storey homes the plan is the same, always end up in the lounge.
If you get the impression that the viewer(s) is interested and you feel comfortable and trustworthy, give them the opportunity to have another look around the property on their own and offer some of that coffee you have percolating.
Never get involved in negotiations. This is why you are employing Dowen as your estate agent. We will check out the offerer's circumstances. We are best equipped to negotiate the highest price for you.
Attend to all of the above and you will significantly improve your chances of a sale and a higher offer.