The Selling Process - Presenting your Home
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It is amazing just how much first impressions count – many a property has been sold and many not before the prospective purchaser has even set foot inside the front door:
So take a little time – step outside your own front door and approach your own house as if for the first time ….critically! Try to look for things you have learned to live with, but are really negative distractions … the front garden should be neat and tidy, any rubbish, ornaments, etc stored out of site, the path weed-free, a newly painted fence or freshly clipped hedge is welcoming and gives the distinct impression of someone caring!
As for exterior of the house, a lick of fresh paint costs next to nothing but is proven as one of the most important factors in creating a good impression – clean windows with neatly painted frames also add a little sparkle. The front door is worth particular attention – we have seen property transformed by a new front door, it is what your buyers concentrate on whilst waiting for you to let them in.
Obviously in presenting your property, internally, it should be neat and tidy, all paintwork should be clean and free from cracks, stains and chips should be touched up – but, in addition to the obvious, there are a number of simple but highly effective sensory tools you can use to create a pleasant ambiance creating an exciting and saleable interior can be accomplished at surprisingly little cost.
…a little light on the subject
Studies have shown people react positively to properties shown under bright light. Even during the day leave as many lights on as you can, keep the curtains wide open and windows clean. At night, switch on all lights, replacing any blown bulbs and dingy florescent tubes.
…the sound of selling
Classical music playing softly in the background can create an atmosphere of calm serenity – otherwise go for peace and quiet, avoiding loud noises, barking dogs, your children and the TV.
…the sweet smell of success
smell has more impact than you might think. It can work either for you or against you. So:
- Scour kitchens and bathrooms with bleach, and use lemon oil or fine polish on your furniture to add richness.
- Place fresh flowers strategically throughout the house.
- For delicious, homely feel, place a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create the aroma of freshly baked cakes or bread. Freshly brewed coffee has a similar effect.
…don’t colour their judgment
Colours should be kept light and neutral when selling your home.
The condition of your property
In our experience, a few small cosmetic improvements can have a big impact on the way buyers react to your home. You may not actually get more money, but a little effort can make all the difference in terms of attracting buyers – particularly in a very competitive market, or if you need to sell quickly. After all, if you saw two virtually identical properties, but one was neat and clean and tidy – which one would you choose?
Of course, there is no substitute for careful regular maintenance to ensure that a home always looks at – or near – its best. Trying to make up for years of neglect can be very expensive! Nevertheless, small things can make a big difference in creating the right “feel.”
Remember, first impressions really do count. Potential buyers will form an opinion about your home in the first 15 seconds – so it’s important to ensure that it’s a favourable one. The fact is, a house that suffers from an unmowed lawn, grubby peeling paint or stale, damp odours, feels unloved and uncared for. Prospective buyers will be put off – which could end up costing you valuable time and money.
The key is not to try anything too big – otherwise you’re almost certain to lose money. If your home needs a completely new roof, for example, then the most sensible option is simply to adjust the asking price accordingly. No buyer will pay £10,000 more for your house simply because that’s what it will cost you to re-roof it!
The show home effect
Show homes are designed to make a buyer “feel at home.” To recreate the feeling of a perfect display home is almost impossible unless you are starting from scratch, but there are valuable techniques you can apply that will help create a similar atmosphere.
When you enter a show home, an interior decorator has made sure of the following details:
- The colours are neutral
- The smell is fresh and clean
- The decorations enhance the home’s features
- The only sounds are peaceful
- The details are perfect from the manicured lawn to the flowers in the entrance hall.
Creating a lifestyle that sells!
Stripping your personality from the house
When examining a house, the buyer often imagines what it would be like to live there. If strong personal statements dominate a home, buyers are less likely to be able to visualise living there.
There are many ways your personality shines through…
- Unusual art or furnishings
- Heavily patterned wall paper or unusual colours
- Strong odours from tobacco, pets or cooking
- Sounds of loud music or television
- Barking dogs or noisy children
- Powerful political or religious statements
- Excessive number of personal photographs
A buyer can be put off by any of the above and feel your house could never become their home.
You can dramatically increase your property’s market potential by paying attention to detail, potential buyers need to visualise themselves living in your house. You are selling a lifestyle as well as a home.
In the case of pets, take particular care to clean areas they inhabit – potential purchasers simply do not love your pets as you do. In the case of dogs … get your children to take them for a walk – and remove two potential sources of embarrassment in one go!
When showing your home to a prospective buyer, avoid having too many people present. Friends and family may be very well meaning but, in this case, less is definitely more!
Be polite, but don’t try to entertain your buyers. They want to inspect your home – not pay a social call. Never apologise for the appearance of your home. After all, it is your home! And, if you are asked why you are selling, tell the truth – without giving away too much information.
We hope that you find the information in these pages helpful. As members of The Guild of Property Professionals, we are committed to helping you achieve a successful sale and delivering the highest standards of customer service at all times. So, if you have any queries, or would like further advice on any of the topics covered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.