House selling: The secret of successful viewings

From Lawpack's Sell your own Home Kit.

STOP! You could be losing your potential house buyers with every property viewing you give. Or, put it another way, you could turn every viewing into an interested house buyer. Here are our top tips to giving the perfect house viewing.

Make sure that your property is spotless and tidy.

Don't let all your hard work go to waste. Make sure everything is spotless, stuff those loose papers in a drawer, and don't leave dirty washing-up in the kitchen sink.

Make sure that your property smells sweet.

Forget the old adage about the smell of coffee and baking bread being the key to a successful house sale. It's far better to air the property well by opening all the windows for half an hour or so. In winter, do this several hours before your first viewing to give the property a chance to warm up again. Light a scented candle and put out fresh flowers.

Make sure that the windows are clean.

Make an appointment with the window cleaner before the first property viewings. There is nothing that makes a property look grubbier than dirty windows, especially on sunny winter days when the angle of the sun is low and light shines directly through south- and west-facing windows.

Remove all pets.

Potential house buyers are not necessarily charmed by a peacefully dozing cat, or boisterous, barking dog. Make plans to remove them during property viewings.

Be friendly and businesslike, but not over familiar.

Potential house buyers have made an appointment to view your property because they are considering buying it. They want to see the property, not hear your life story, so keep the first property viewing welcoming and friendly but businesslike.

Show the best rooms first and last.

Remember that it's up to you to control the sequence in which your potential house buyers see the property. You can give your potential house buyers the impression that they are in control by guiding them round the house, but always allow them to enter any room first.

Some estate agents still insist on showing houses by starting at the top and working down. But you only have to think about it for a minute or two to see that this is nonsense. First impressions are crucial, so why would you show potential house buyers the stairs before anything else? Your aim is to create a favourable impression, which potential house buyers take away with them and which they can easily recall.

For this, you need to decide on your key rooms. It's helpful if one of these rooms is on the ground floor, so that you can return to it at the end of the property viewing. This will have the effect of reinforcing the overall message of the property and is the last image viewers take away with them. For example, if your key rooms are the kitchen and living room, then show these rooms first, followed by the bathroom and the bedrooms, but then return to the kitchen or living room so that your viewers leave with the best room fresh in their minds.

Emphasise the positive.

There is no need to mention any negative aspects of your home. Instead, make a list of all the positive things which you can mention as you are going around the house, but don't overdo the hard sell.

Dealing with potential house buyers' questions.

It's normally a good sign if potential house buyers ask a lot of questions; but you should also be aware that some people may simply be gathering ammunition to make a low offer.

You must answer all questions honestly, although it's worth anticipating any difficult questions so that you can put a more positive spin on your answers.

Potential house buyers are often curious as to why people are selling. Answer this question in general terms. For example, 'We want to move on to a new project', or 'We need a bigger house for our growing family'.

Buyers are often trying to find out if you're selling because your marriage or relationship has broken down. Some potential house buyers are reluctant to make offers in these circumstances because one partner may be a forced seller, which can result in months of fruitless negotiations.

If you're divorcing, whatever your feelings, try and present a united front when conducting property viewings. You don't have to mention that these are your circumstances, unless you are asked the question directly.

If you think selling your own home is for you, find out more here.

Published on: June 2, 2008

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