How to: Show Your Home
We recently read that showing your home is a lot like a first date – and we totally agree with that analogy! You get your house all dressed up and looking good and try your hardest to impress a total stranger. The objective is to get a second date – a second viewing – but it is also to turn that second viewing into a sale. Ideally, the objective will be to make the sale as soon as you possibly can. But how can you show your home in the best possible light? And how can you make that sale?
Firstly, you need to keep in mind that buyers will look at things logically – but they’re also more likely to buy a home because they feel emotionally attached to it. Give yourself the best possible chance of selling the home and having a positive showing by letting the buyer realise how logical it would be to buy your home – but also by showing it in such a way that they fall in love with it. It’s a difficult balance to achieve but it’s not as overwhelming as you might think.
- Get Out
We highly advise you not to be home when your house is being shown to a buyer – a quick greeting at the front door will usually do and then you can pop down the street and let your agent do the work. Don’t make the buyer take their shoes off at the door unless their religion requires them to do so, and be friendly! You want the buyer to imagine themselves being the owner of your home – they shouldn’t feel like a mere unwanted visitor.
- Keep it Cool – or Warm
Now is definitely not the time to be worrying about your utility bill. If it’s a cold day, fire up the central heating system so that the house is nice and toasty for the showing. And if it’s warm outside, fire up the air con. Heat or cool the home a few degrees higher or lower than usual and then before the viewing, set the temperature to normal – this prevents the system kicking in whilst the viewing is happening, which is quite important as some can be very noisy. Remember – if your house is warm in winter, guests are more likely to want to linger!
- Create an Atmosphere
Creating an atmosphere is all about making your home feel inviting and comforting – you want them to feel like they’d be comfortable to kick back on your sofa with a glass of wine. If you have a fireplace, light it. Water fountains in the garden? Turn them on. Play some soft, gentle music to create an atmosphere and don’t forget the classic – bake cookies in the oven. Make sure that you actually put the cookies out for the buyer to eat though as it can be a real let down to smell cookies, only for there to be no cookies! Another great tip is to put a bowl of wrapped sweeties out on a counter by the front door, along with a hand-written note thanking the buyer for coming to view your home.
- Don’t Overplay Scents
Scents can be very overwhelming and many people are sensitive to certain scents and fragrances, so don’t spray room sprays or room deodorizers – and for this reason, don’t burn scented candles or incense. Clean smells are always welcome, especially in the kitchen and baths, and as for the rest of the house, the smell of fresh air will usually do, so throw open the windows for at least a few hours before the showing, shutting them if it’s a cool day. If you live in a rural area, this is a particularly good idea as buyers will be able to enjoy the sounds of the countryside – and this will remind them that your home is in a peaceful spot.
- Show Off Your Home
Take plenty of photographs of your home whilst it looks beautiful through the seasons – with Christmas lights twinkling through a thick layer of snow, flower beds in the garden blooming or autumn leaves in a riot of orange and reds, and display them throughout the home. Open all window coverings so that rooms are flooded with light and keep window coverings partially closed for views that might not be particularly “good” – for example, to hide fences that are broken.
- Light it Up
Turn lights on in closets and other dark spaces, so that the real estate agent isn’t fumbling around in the dark trying to find the lights, and use plenty of spotlights and artificial lighting in rooms that might not get much natural light, such as box rooms or snugs. Turn the TV off, too – there is no need for it to be on.
- Encourage Touching
When buyers touch something, be it a throw, a rug, or that beautiful oak staircase, it creates an emotional connection between them and that object. Encourage touching by using plenty of beautiful fabrics like silk and sheepskin, draped over couches or over the ends of beds. Vacuum carpets or rugs in one direction, especially if they are long pile, and keep doors slightly ajar so that buyers feel like they can open and close them as they please.
- Provide Additional Information
If you’ve cleared out your laundry room already but want buyers to know what they could use that room for, provide a note that explains the function of the room. If you’re leaving certain things in the home, or are willing to negotiate leaving certain things behind, provide notes, and if there is a certain feature in the home that could be a unique selling point, provide information on it. For example, if you have a hand-carved oak staircase, provide a note explaining when it was built and a little about the piece.
Finally, make sure that you keep your closets tidy. Although it can be tempting to just throw everything into a cupboard for a viewing, especially if you have lots of children’s toys strewn about the place, you’ll need to keep your closets and cupboards tidy as buyers will look in them – and they need to know just how much storage space you have, rather than being overwhelmed at a mound of clutter.