An Essential Guide: Preparing Property for Viewings
As a professional property finder, house viewings are a part of my everyday life. Many homes that I visit are beautifully presented for a potential buyer, but some are not. Preparing property for viewings is really very simple, but it will involve some time and effort.
I recently went for a viewing with clients to a shortlisted property. When I had first viewed the house it had been spotless in every way. As I entered the property with my clients, it was very obvious that the vendors had left in a hurry that morning.
There was an array of undergarments strewn over an airer in the middle of the sitting room, dirty breakfast bowls were still on the kitchen table and the beds had most definitely not been made. Needless to say, my clients were not as impressed with the property as I had been when I had viewed it in tip top condition.
It is important to remember that not everybody is able to see past mess and clutter. If the poor state of a property puts off a tempered property finder, it will most definitely put off my clients.
Before you put your property on the market, follow my essential guide to preparing property for viewings:
1. Let there be light
Natural light can be one of the first things that I notice when I walk into a property. In order to achieve this, ensure all curtains and blinds are fully open and remove any furniture that may block the light’s path. Natural light lifts the spirits and can make a buyer feel very positive. If it is a dull day, carefully select the spotlights or lamps that will enhance your home.
2. Take stock
Being objective about your own property is not easy, but in order to prepare your home for viewings you must decide which of your possessions need to be on show (and, more importantly, which do not). Always remove coats, shoes and bags from hallways and corridors; this is often the first area that is stepped into and needs to feel airy and spacious. Neatly tidy them away into a cupboard whilst always being aware that out of sight is not actually out of mind during viewings; each and every cupboard and drawer could well come under close scrutiny.
Remove ornaments (especially small ones) in order to create a sense of space on mantle pieces and bookshelves.
If you are selling a family home it is important that my clients can visualise themselves and their children in the property. Storage space (or the possibility of creating storage space) is high on any buyer’s wishlist so try to cleverly store away toys and all children’s paraphernalia, thus creating a sense of calm, but family friendly space.
3. Cleanliness is next to godliness
It is absolutely imperative that your property is spotlessly clean throughout the viewing process. Paying for professional cleaners is money very well spent so that there is no wincing when the oven or fridge doors are opened. Gleaming bathrooms and kitchens, with very little on display, are vitally important to a positive viewing experience. Windows must not be forgotten; let a buyer’s eye be drawn from inside to outside without any glimpse of smudges or paint marks on those window panes.
Never leave washing up in the sink or a dishwasher full of dirty bowls and cutlery. This may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs but, believe me, I have come across plenty of crockery-laden sinks!
4. Stay neutral
When putting your property on the market, the importance of colour choice is something that you will often hear about. Whites, creams and light greys are always good options; splashes of colour can then be added in the form of cushions, throws, kitchen gadgets and utensils. This way, not only do you create a bright, clean look, but a buyer can feel less overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done in order to make it their own.
5. Rise to the damp
The smell of damp is something that I come across quite a lot during viewings. Often this is because vendors have, quite rightly, had their carpets cleaned in preparation for viewings. However, always make sure this is done at least a week before you open your doors to potential buyers so that there has been plenty of time to dry the carpets and air the house.
And finally, before each day of viewings spend ten minutes plumping cushions, straightening throws and picture frames, making beds (preferably to hotel standards!) and rechecking for smears and smudges in the bathrooms.
Lastly, place a vase or jug of fresh flowers in a prominent place and your property will be ready to view. And I have no doubt that it will win the hearts of many buyers.