For a quicker, higher offer, getting your house ready is worth investing time and effort. Further to our article on home repairs and maintenance essentials to increase the value of your house, this article will give you useful tips to make the most of your home viewings, without breaking the bank. We will give you practical ideas to make sure preparation is fun and rewarding. When getting your home ready for a viewing ready, think immaculate! Perfectly clean, neat and tidy. Think style, lifestyle and creature comforts, to win the hearts and minds of potential buyers. Imagine your home is up for a 5-star hotel rating inspection and don’t be afraid to surprise and delight your potential buyers.
What is a real estate agent showing?
Getting potential buyers through your door is the best way to secure a sale and must never, ever, be wasted. At Leadhome we offer two options: where you can show your own home to prospective buyers or where we will organise appointments, bring buyers through, and show off your home. We do believe that you are the best person to show your home as you know it best. If you decide to show your own home you estate agent will guide you through the process, make sure you engage with your estate agent to define your target market. This will help you to appeal to your desired audience’s aspirations. Here are a few tips to help you get ready:
How to deal with clutter
Less is More! Don’t wait until the last minute to declutter. Along with real disposable clutter, it is worthwhile to pack away and clear knick-knacks and bric-a brac. Even consider packing them in boxes which will give you one less thing to do when it comes to moving. With a myriad of electronic devices, we often have a tangle of multi-plugs, extension cords and charging cables which are perfectly practical, but rather unsightly. Pack these away. Counter surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms should have as little on as possible. Remove face-cloths, sponges, razors etc. from your bath and shower area. Consider a feature appliance or two in the kitchen and an attractive bold statement item or plant in the bathroom. Unless you have a pristine fluffy, 5-star hotel worthy, white gown, remove gowns from behind bathroom and bedroom doors. Decluttering applies both indoors and outdoors. Make sure garden tools and equipment and even your wheelie bin are clean and tidily packed away wherever possible.
Keeping your house clean
When it comes to showing your house, there is no such thing as too clean! Set aside time in advance to deep-clean carpets; 48 hours before making your windows and mirrors sparkle and shine. Dust light fittings and clean light and plug switches. Freshly laundered crisp bed linen and bath towels (preferably neutral colour) are essential. Last, but not least, make sure floors and skirtings are spotless. It is even worthwhile to clean your curtains. When it comes to cleaning, the devil is in the detail.
Styling or “window dressing” is a great way to improve the appeal of your home. We recommend you buy two or three current garden and decor magazines and look at what is on trend and be inspired to dress your home and garden in similar ways.
Look at the colour palettes in vogue and scrutinise the professional styling techniques. Having already decluttered your knick-knacks, focus on feature statement ornaments or pictures to display. Get a second opinion. Most of us have a particularly stylish friend or family member. Seek their advice and even borrow statement pieces that will complement your home. People often ask if you should rearrange your furniture. The answer is absolutely. For practical purposes you may have extra chairs or tables for practical use in your home. You may even consider repurposing a room. A sewing room could become a playroom. Or a study as an additional bedroom. Seek your agent’s advice. Be liberal when it comes to removing unnecessary items and then rearranging your furniture to make your rooms feel more spacious. If you have limited space, move extra furniture, garden equipment and boxes stored in your garage to a trusted friend’s house. A clear and tidy garage is often a must-have on dad’s and lad’s lists. Fresh cut flowers or flowering pot plants will brighten even the dullest space and can often be used to disguise a watermark or stain on a surface. Attractive throws can be used on couches and beds to embellish a colour scheme or hide a blemish or stain on soft furnishings. Buy accessories that you will use in your new home.
Scents and temperature
Everyone is unwittingly seduced to buy, by all of their senses. In Brand Sense and Buyology, internationally acclaimed marketing guru, Martin Lindstrom, has evidenced how companies that use touch, taste, sight, smell and sound achieve startling and measurable success.
- Touch – think temperature. If you are showing your house on a hot summer’s day position fans or adjust air conditioning so that hot and bothered buyers feel a breath of fresh air. In winter make sure every room is warm and cosy. Log fires should be crackling.
- Smell – think fresh and appetising. Rule #1, make sure there are no offensive tobacco, pet or damp odours. Some hacks include freshly baked bread, or brewed coffee. Fresh citrus smells make people want to buy more.
- Taste – On a hot day, have a glass water dispenser with lemon or cucumber and ice available for potential buyers to refresh themselves. In winter consider a coffee station with a nicely set tray. Think hospitality. If your potential buyers are mums and dads, have a tray of delicious cupcakes and plastic or paper cups for water or juice for the kids.
- Sound – Soft ambient music sells. Softly played Cafe del Mar or similar music in the background is soothing and likely to make your buyer feel calm and welcome.
- Sight – Aside from the obvious visual appeal of your home, use lighting to accentuate design features and brighten dark, shady areas. Remember to plan your lighting according to the time of day your house will be viewed. A bright, sunny spot in the morning may not be so bright and sunny in the afternoon. Garden and pool lighting are equally important. This, especially, if you have a “view by appointment” at night. Often buyers return for a second viewing at night.
Think Family Friendly
When it comes to selling a family home, think family. Viewing houses with kids in tow can be nerve-racking for even the calmest of parents. Mums and dads viewing homes with children in tow can be put at ease if you take care of the little ones. Even consider a sandpit with buckets and spades in the garden, or a kiddies’ table of relatively indestructible toys, paper, colouring in-books and markers or puzzles. Parents who see their children content in their potential new home environment can be easily won over with this little trick. And this gives them time to stay a little longer, and be won over. Family homes with pools must have an appropriate pool cover or fence. If you would like to show your house without a necessary safety device, you must provide a dedicated “pool-minder” for the duration of your showday. Do not expect your agent or sitter to police the pool. They will, and should, be paying attention to your potential buyers. Tastefully displayed toys will make children fall in love with your home. Never underestimate the influence little ones have over parents when it comes to buying decisions.
IMMACULATE Applies to your Garden Too
Gardens sell houses. Curb appeal is your number one priority. A buyer put-off by an unloved curb may not even walk through your door. Cutting back, trimming and removal of garden debris and overgrown shrubs, vines and trees is mandatory. If your garden is not quite at its usual splendour, plant some new reasonably established plants. Get more ideas from your design and garden magazines. Pot plants are a quick and easy way to spruce up your garden and can be taken with you to adorn your new home. A sparkling swimming pool is a fabulous selling feature but a pea-green pool will only make a buyer think of the burden of maintaining a pool. Don’t leave pool cleaning to the last minute. Have your water tested and treated a week in advance. A pea-green pool cannot be fixed in a day. “LifeStyle” your pool and patio area with a neatly stacked pile of colourful towels, an inflatable pool toy and/or, a champagne bucket filled with ice and bottles of bubbly.
The ‘love me, love my dog’ rule does not apply when it comes to buyer viewings. It can be stressful for both buyers and pets alike. Multiple strangers entering your pet’s territory is disorienting for them. And possibly your best buyer is frightened of animals. Best to take your pups out for the day. It is not quite as easy for “view by appointment” arrangements, and in this case, we recommend you secure your pet in a defined area. Poops and piddles are an absolute no-no. And, as is often the case, your dog will poop moments before you are handing over to your estate agent. Do a quick poop inspection just before you leave your buyer viewing, or just before a buyer shows up for a viewing appointment. We also suggest you pack away dog or cat bowls and remove dog or cat hair from furniture and floors. You don’t want a buyer put-off by “pretty kitty’s” food bowl on the spotless kitchen counter.
Home is where the heart is
Every Room has a View. View your home “kinda inside-out”. Walk through your home and stop and pause at each window. What do you see? Is your view tidy and appealing? What plants can you cut-back to let in more light or add to draw people’s attention to a garden feature. Did you know that pink flowers are the most visible from a long-distance? They will draw your eye to a distant space. Now do the same from the outside-in. Stop and pause at each window looking from outside-in. Contemplate styling, decluttering of window sills and rearrangement of furniture and art from a different angle.
Home is where the Heart is! Buyers are aspirational. Whether a first-time buyer or a seasoned buyer, they are buying your lifestyle along with the bricks and mortar. It is for this reason, that together with your efforts to clean, declutter, style and stage your home, you should consider tasteful hints that allude to an aspirational lifestyle. A beautifully stacked bookshelf. A desirable wine collection. A thoughtfully placed bird-feeder. A great cookery book or coffee-table book collection.
Ensure tenant awareness
Get your Tenant On Board. When it comes to selling your home with a tenant in occupation, things can get trickier. Best to make provision in your original lease for access to clean, prepare and show your house. But if you are unable to do this, make every endeavour to win them over and get their cooperation. This can be done with promises of freshly baked bread in their oven, bouquets of beautiful flowers, a free house deep-clean and mini garden make-over. You might even consider giving them a restaurant voucher, movie tickets or tickets to the zoo, for an outing while you show the house.
Be Safety and Security Savvy
Aside from pool safety which we have spoken of before, here are some additional safety recommendations.
- Make sure your public liability insurance is in place.
- Lock away your valuables in a secure place. (In the case of a tenant – remind them to do so. The last thing you want is a tenant claiming their valuables were stolen under your watch.)
- Inspect your property for any safety hazards.
- If you live in a secure estate, make arrangements with your security personnel in advance to make access in and out seamless. Double-check with the security on duty when you leave the complex.
Remember IMMACULATE Always and Safety First!
Once you have decluttered, cleaned, tidied and styled your pristine home and ensured our recommended safety measures are in place, it is time to pack up your pets and leave your home in your trusted agent’s hands. Sellers hovering around when buyers come to view the home is an absolute no-no. Better still, drop-off your pets with a friend or family member and treat yourself to a pamper at a spa or salon. Getting showday ready is not for the faint-hearted and you will deserve a treat while buyers fall in love with your home and garden.
Last but not least
And finally, never skimp on the flower budget. Do you know why stores put their floral products at the entrance? It is because it makes people buy more. Wishing you all the best for getting ready and don’t forget we are just a call away.