Getting ready for viewings

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A must-read guide for all home owners preparing for viewings. We’ll tell you what exactly to expect from the viewings stage, and offer some handy pointers on how to impress potential buyers.

Introduction

Selling your house through Housesimple is quite different from selling with a traditional estate agent. One of the biggest differences is how we handle viewings. While most high-street companies deal with this part of the process, we hand control over to you. After all, who knows a property better than its owner?

The viewing is a major part of the buyer’s decision-making process, so it's important that you get it right. In this guide, we're going to look at how to get your home ready for viewings, how to put potential buyers at ease, what to say, what to ask and how to follow up.

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Preparing your home

They've seen the photos, now it's time to show the real thing. The second impression is just as crucial as the first.

While it’s important to focus on how your home is presented, don’t overlook the other elements that can affect a buyer’s overall impression of your home.

Scent

A survey by gocompare.com found around 61% of buyers are put off by smells like cigarettes and animals. Open windows ahead of viewings and add flowers to create a pleasant aroma throughout.

You can help to eliminate lingering odours by:

  • thoroughly disinfecting litter trays;
  • washing pet bedding;
  • shampooing your carpets; and
  • removing pet hair from your furniture.

Tidy

Clutter is another big turn-off for potential buyers. You want them to imagine living there – which will be hard to do if your belongings are blocking the view. Remember to:

  • pack your photographs, ornaments and other personal items into boxes;
  • tidy up your exteriors: nearly 20% of buyers are put off by overgrown gardens; and
  • deal with any signs of wear and tear such as flaking paint or damp patches.

Stage

Staging your property means arranging the rooms to appeal to potential buyers. If you have a three bedroom house in a leafy suburb you'll have a lot of interest from families. If you currently use a spare room as an office, pop a bed in there to show off its potential. Or, if it's a one-bedroom, urban flat you might want to show off its workspace potential to young professionals by setting up a desk in the living room or hall.

HOW TO DO A VIEWING

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Making viewers comfortable

Once potential buyers are in your home, your aim is to encourage them to feel free to look around your house and to discuss it openly with each other.

You also want to be nearby to answer any questions. The best way to handle a viewing is to start off by introducing yourself and then taking them on a guided tour if your home. Afterwards give buyers the freedom to explore for a few minutes, always staying in the hallway so that they can find you quickly. You might even want to offer them a cup of tea or coffee, to make them feel welcome. Remember to smile and be as positive and helpful as you can when responding to their questions and comments.

What to talk about

Make the most of this face-to-face meeting with potential buyers to tell them about the biggest selling points of your property.

You'll have stated the key selling points of your property in your listing, but once you meet viewers in person and find out what exactly they’re looking for you can tailor them specifically. For example, buyers who have children will enjoy hearing about the great schools, parks and kids’ clubs in the area, while young professional couples will want to find out about transport links, nightlife and broadband connection.

You can ask questions about your viewers and drop relevant information into the conversation as you take them on the guided tour of your home. For example, ask them about how old their children are and use this as an opportunity to mention the fantastic local primary and secondary schools. However, you don't want the viewers to feel like they're being grilled, so keep it light and easy-going.

Examples of questions to ask

For older couples

  • Why have you decided to move? This tells you whether they're downsizing, want better access to amenities or need more space for the grandchildren.

For young professionals

  • Where do you work? You can then talk about the bus/train/tram connections to their work location. If they work from home, you can talk about the area's broadband speeds.
  • What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? You can then mention nearby restaurants, health clubs, cinemas, theatres, national parks...whatever makes your area special and applies.

For families

  • How old are your children? Gives you context to give details on local schools, community centres and parks.
  • Is your family growing? If so, talk about how easy it would be to get planning permission for an extension or attic conversion.

Following up and feedback

After viewings you can communicate with potential buyers using MyHousesimple, our secure online messaging system.

MyHousesimple is a very handy tool that allows viewers to provide their thoughts about your property following their visit, which you can read and reply to at any time. Interested buyers might ask questions about what fixtures and fittings you'll be leaving behind when you move, or they might want to request a second visit. They may also give you feedback that will help you improve future viewings: for example the temperature being too warm inside or any structural issues that they noticed.

You can also use the messaging system to view and accept offers on your property – and that's where the fun really begins.

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