We’re probably not telling you anything new when we say that the viewing is one of the most important factors in selling your house.
At Chancellors, we’re experts at selling houses. With more than 90,000 active applicants to whom we can instantly market your property, plus the ability to list your home on all four major property portals (Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation and OnTheMarket), we’re perfectly placed to generate interest. But without a professional, informative and enriching viewing, you’re highly unlikely to receive an offer, however attractive your house.
A successful viewing should show off your home’s best features and help the prospective buyers to picture living there themselves. Here, we provide our top tried-and-trusted tips to ensure viewers are itching to make an offer by the time they leave your house!
How to prepare your house for a viewing
You’ll want to ensure that your property is looking its best before the viewing takes place. It’s important to keep the viewer in mind at this stage – ideally, they’ll be able to imagine turning your house into their next home. Read on to find out how.
Give your house some kerb appeal
First impressions are everything when it comes to selling houses. Most buyers will have several viewings lined up and may have seen a number of other properties before yours; if they don’t like what they see straight away, it can be challenging – if not impossible – to change their mind.
Give your home the best possible chance to shine by sprucing up the outside of the property. Ask yourself: what’s the first thing a viewer will see? If you’ve got a front garden, take the time to mow the lawn and prune your plants. Hide away any dustbins and make sure the driveway is clear. Polish your windows and consider giving your front door a lick of paint (just remember to steer clear of particularly garish colours).
Not everyone loves pets
Your British Shorthair or Great Dane might be your pride and joy, but don’t expect people viewing your house to feel the same way. Vacuum up any stray hairs from carpets, rugs and soft furnishings, and give your house a good airing ahead of the viewing – the aroma of wet dog or litter tray is extremely unlikely to paint your home in its best light. You might need a neutral nose – perhaps a friend or neighbour – to help out here, as chances are, you’ll have gotten used to the scent of your beloved furry friend. Additionally, try to find someone else to look after your pet at the time of the viewing, particularly if they tend to be excitable around strangers.
Show off your floor space
Despite the trend for open-plan living and bright, airy spaces, UK homes are actually getting smaller. According to a study of post-1930 British properties conduct by LABC Warranty, which provides warranties for new-build homes, the biggest houses were built in the 1970s. Since then, sizes have shrunk. The average number of bedrooms now stands at just under three, compared to 3.6 in the 1980s, while the living rooms of new-build homes are almost a third smaller than their 1970s equivalents.
If you have a newer, smaller house, you’ll want to create the illusion of spaciousness. For older homes that are blessed with more floor space, make sure you flaunt it. Achieve either of these goals by clearing away clutter and outdated furniture – but don’t just move it all to the loft or garage, which most viewers will want to see.
Provide as much information as possible
Every prospective buyer will be forearmed with a list of questions. If your estate agent spends the whole viewing answering these questions, they’ll have less time to do the important business of selling your house. So provide as much detail as you can ahead of the viewing. Does your property allow for off-road parking? Does it have any interesting period features? Does it boast a garden, and if so, what do you love about it? At the same time, don’t gloss over any potential issues (we’ll discuss this in more depth later).
Spruce up your kitchen
What’s the most important room in your house? Whether you love curling up in bed at the end of the day or settling down in front of the telly in your lounge, a study by Lloyds Banking Group suggests the kitchen is the place to focus most attention. A third of people surveyed said they spend more time in the kitchen than any other room.
Got a viewing in the next day or two? You should tidy away bulky, unsightly appliances, mop the floor and – unfortunately – clean the oven. If you have a little more time on your hands, we’ve included more tips on getting the most out of your kitchen in our article “What Adds Most Value to a House?”.
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Tips for showing your home to potential buyers
Finished laying the groundwork? Congratulations! Now it’s time for the viewing itself. Follow this advice for the best chance of landing that all-important offer:
Leave it to the experts
You might be tempted to conduct viewings yourself – after all, who knows your property better than you? However, we’d strongly advise that you let your estate agent handle all viewings. We show people around houses every day (it’s literally our job), so we’re best placed to highlight the most attractive features, answer questions and gauge interest.
What’s more, it can be difficult for potential buyers to feel comfortable in a home when the current residents are there; they’re more likely to be polite and avoid asking tough questions, which could ultimately put them off making an offer. Perhaps most importantly, bear in mind that viewers should be able to imagine living in your house. It’s going to be much harder to achieve that with the current owners present.
Honesty is the best policy
As we noted earlier, you should never feel compelled to hide perceived flaws in your home. Traditionally, caveat emptor (“buyer beware”) has always applied to residential property sales, but misleading viewers is highly unlikely to end in a successful sale.
The best thing you can do is ensure your estate agent is as clued-up as possible on anything and everything about your house, even if you fear the reality could put some buyers off. It might seem like a harmless white lie to insist that your relationship with the neighbours is rosy, when in fact you’ve been embroiled in a boundary dispute or a row about noise. The truth almost always comes out in these situations – and if you’ve already sold your house by this point, expect the buyer to seek redress from you.
Showcase your home’s best qualities
Unsurprisingly, your estate agent will wish to draw attention to your property’s best features. Whether your front room is particularly comfortable, or your bedroom provides beautiful views, rest assured these points will be emphasised to viewers. Help your agent out by focusing your own preparations on rooms that have particular ‘wow factor’, as this could make all the difference when it comes to getting an offer.
How many viewings does it take to sell a house?
Most homeowners – particularly first-time sellers – will want to know how many viewings are likely to be required for their property to be sold. This isn’t an exact science. There are several factors at play, ranging from the number of similar houses up for sale in your area to the asking price you’ve set.
While all such studies should be taken with a pinch of salt, research from The Advisory – the UK’s oldest independent advice and support resource dedicated to serving home sellers – suggests than an average of ten viewings are needed to achieve an acceptable offer. However, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that 30% of buyers only viewed a property once before making an offer. In short, if a viewer loves your house, there’s a good chance they’ll move fast.
Want to find out more about the process of selling a property? Check out our in-depth guide “How to Sell Your House“.
Ready to sell? Take the first step by requesting a free, no-obligation property valuation today!