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Optimising viewings

Preparing your property for sale can take some time, so it is best that you begin the moment you decide it is time to sell.

Start by removing any clutter from your home. This will not only make it more presentable, but can make your eventual moving process less stressful too. It is also advisable to finish any outstanding DIY tasks you may have, and consider redecorating and touching up any chipped paintwork.

Before the viewing

First impressions can be critical, so ensure that your house number is clearly visible, clean the windows and make sure that the doorbell is in working order.

Giving your home a thorough clean is also advisable. Professionally cleaned carpets can make a difference and you should dust, polish and vacuum throughout.

As well as a clean and well maintained property, buyers will be assessing the following aspects of your home:

  • The rooms are clearly defined: if you have a spare room you use both as a study and gym, consider putting the exercise equipment into storage so the room has a clearer purpose
  • There is plenty of space: if your three piece sofa is squashed into your living room, consider putting one of the sofas into storage to better present the space
  • There is plenty of storage: having books overflowing on the bookcases, and too many coats and shoes in the hallway may suggest to buyers that there is a lack of storage. Likewise, clearing kitchen worktops of gadgets will give a better indication of the space there is available. Tidy things away, and consider boxing some items up and placing them into storage. Storing items into built in wardrobes and cupboards is not the ideal solution, as the buyer may want to assess these spaces for their own storage
  • They can see themselves living there: the buyer may want to be presented with a blank canvas. Neutral colours will help, but also consider removing personal items, such as family photographs, children’s toys, DVDs and religious artefacts
  • It is well lit: fitting brighter lightbulbs can help a room appear brighter. Make sure that your windows have been cleaned and keep blinds and curtains open throughout the viewing
  • It is practical: make sure all doors can be fully opened and remove any extension leads that run across the floor as these can give the impression that there are insufficient or poorly located power points

During the viewing

Viewings vary in length, depending on a number of factors. Talk to your agent about whether you should be in the property or not for the viewing. It is sometimes preferable for you and other residents to not be present. Open days can take a couple of hours so extra provisions for pet and childcare may be required.

If you are remaining present, greet the party at the door, tell them that you are happy to answer any questions, then leave them while the estate agent shows them around. If you are not going to be present for the viewing, ensure that your estate agent can contact you if any questions arise that cannot be answered.

If your estate agent has recommended that you are present for the viewing, allow prospective buyers to walk into each room ahead of you to give them a better feel for the space.

Always be honest whenever answering prospective buyers’ questions, as any misleading information given is likely to be exposed at a later date if an offer is made. Have your Energy Performance Certificate to hand, along with any other information you feel may be relevant.

After the viewing

Once the viewing party has left, make a few notes to remind yourself at a later date which prospective buyer was which. Later that day, speak to the estate agent who may have been able to gauge their level of interest, and may also be able to provide feedback that will help improve any future viewings.

Other considerations

Your estate agent will manage the viewings, so if somebody knocks on the door having seen the 'For Sale' sign, it is recommended that you put them in touch with the estate agent to arrange a formal viewing.

The estate agent will remain with the viewing party throughout, but it is still advisable to tidy away any valuable belongings.

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