So, it’s official: the house is on the market, the first lot of viewings have been booked in and you’re spending every available moment scanning Rightmove on the hunt for your next dream home. In an ideal world, the first person to walk through the front door will fall in love with your property, have nothing to sell and offer the full asking price without so much as a quibble. But sometimes, the path to finding that perfect buyer is less than straightforward, the endless viewings can start to feel a little monotonous, and staying on top of the constant tidying and cleaning (especially if you add children or a dog into the mix) can be overwhelming. If you’re selling your home but dread that last-minute call from your agent, then don’t worry. Here’s our top 5 quick fixes for preparing your home for a viewing in a hurry…on your marks, get set, go!
1. Attack the kitchen – According to a recent survey, dirty kitchens (and bathrooms) are among the biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers. Start by tackling any pots or pans that have been left languishing in the kitchen sink (or just stick them in the dishwasher for a super-quick solution) and then give everything a proper wipe down. Clutter is another big no-no. Having too much on the worktops can make a kitchen look cramped and smaller than it actually is, so try sticking to a maximum of three key appliances on show, and stash the others away in a cupboard until after the viewing. Open the kitchen windows, even if it’s just a little, to let some fresh air in, and switch on all the lights, including any under lighting, to help give a better sense of space. If you’ve got a decent coffee machine, put it on so you greet your viewer with the smell of a freshly brewed cuppa.
2. Plump those cushions – Next, take an appraising look at your lounge or living space and tackle any clothes, toys and everyday items left lying around. Invest in some some cheap plastic crates or boxes like these in different colours for different rooms, and keep them somewhere handy, such as just inside the garage door. As you’re clearing up, put everything into the right crate – kids’ bedroom, bathroom, utility room etc – and hide them away in the garage until after your viewing. It should then be a relatively easy task to redistribute everything in it’s rightful place once your viewers have gone. If you’ve got a gas fire or wood burner, then make sure you light it; turn on the lamps and finish by reversing your sofa cushions, straightening any throws and fluffing up the scatter cushions. It may sound odd, but this really can help the room look instantly more together.
3. Blitz the bathroom – Just like the kitchen, if you’re selling your home then the bathrooms need to look (and smell) spotlessly clean, so give it that all-important turbo-charged blitz. Disposable bathroom wipes are your new BFF, so use them generously and make everything sparkle; stash away any unsightly toiletries in a cupboard or drawer, or even temporarily in the boot of the car. Too many coats and shoes in the cloakroom? Again, the car can be a real life-saver – just put them all into a large reusable carrier bag (or two) and tuck them in the boot until after the viewing. Another good tip is to have a ‘viewings box’ at the ready: a small container with some brand new, fluffy white hand towels and decent toiletries, the sort you’re happy to have on show. Quickly whisk away all the old towels, half-used bars of soap and various shampoo bottles and replace them with their sparkly new counterparts (just don’t forget to swap everything back again afterwards, otherwise you could find your two-year-old using your precious Molton Brown hand wash as a bubble-making solution).
4. Prep your pets – However much a buyer likes animals, they may still recoil in horror at the sight of your over-enthusiastic pooches. A house that smells of pets can trigger fairly negative reactions in potential buyers, so avoid any drama by clearing away litter trays, hamster cages and half-chewed doggie toys, and then give everything a good vacuum to get rid of any hair. If you can leave your dog with a trusted friend or a neighbour while the viewing takes place, then even better.
5. Ramp up the kerb appeal – Last but by no means least, if you’re selling your home remember that the outside of your property will be the first thing the viewer sees, so make sure unsightly items like bins, bikes and any ride-on plastic toys are neatly stacked in a tidy corner or better still, hidden out of sight completely in a garage or shed. If you normally squeeze several cars on to your driveway, try parking around the corner to give your potential buyer space to pull in easily – not only will they be able to see your house properly as they park, it will help them feel as if they already live there.
It may seem like an arduous task at first, but once you’ve got a few of these handy tricks up your sleeve, staying on top of those last-minute viewings should start to feel a whole lot easier. And if you’re serious about selling your home and want the best price possible, then it’s definitely worth a try. Thinking of putting your house on the market? If you need help getting your property ready for sale, then why not give us a call on 01225 466225 or book a free market appraisal in the box at the foot of this page? It only takes a minute, but it could be the best spent minute of your day…