No I’m not going to tell you to have coffee boiling away and bread a-baking in that homely oven, and soothing music drifting through the house. House buyers are not fooled by such things, they have come to carefully inspect your home, and if there are coffee fumes floating about or soothing music in their ears it isn’t going to make a hoot of difference. But some things might, things like these:
Firstly, pets must go! And I don’t just mean on the day of the viewing, I mean period, and the longer before the viewings begin the better. Dogs smell, cats smell, almost all pets smell, and just because you as the owner don’t notice it, you can take it from me the buyer will. The agent will too, and if they are worth their money they will tell you about it. Nothing puts off eager buyers more than the rancid smell of dead dog. This is a huge turnoff. So get ’em out.
Secondly, de-clutter. You have probably heard this one a thousands times, but so many sellers don’t pay any heed to this sensible advice. Take a mantelpiece over the fireplace for example. Many sellers have the shelf weighed down with countless artefacts and ornaments of every kind, so much so that the viewer can’t see the wood for the trees. Get rid of them all, except perhaps your three best pieces and arrange them tastefully so they are shown off to their finest. The viewer can then see them and appreciate them, and indeed imagine their own fine things in that exact same space.
Three: ask a realistic price. If an identical or even better home is on the market up the road for 200,000, then why waste everyone’s time by trying to sell yours for 225,000? Yet many people do, and then harass the agent when they don’t make a quick sale. Could you sell Ford cars for 10% more than Ford does? Probably not, so why are the poor old Real Estate guys and gals expected to do precisely that? If you really want to sell your property, you have to compete, and that includes competing on price.
Fourth, sort out the yard or garden, the outside of your property. You will be amazed at how many people spend fortunes on the inside of their homes but hopelessly neglect the outside. Spend a few hundred on it if you have to, but smarten it up. Do some painting, cut the grass, buy some tubs and shrubs, make it look inviting, it will cost you so little to do, yet this outside improvement produces results time and time again. It really does. Trust me. The viewers will notice and you might well hook them. First impressions count for a heck of a lot.
Fifth and last, and this one might surprise you. Don’t be there! What? You heard me, don’t be there when the prospective buyer comes round. Why? Because the buyer can have a good mooch around accompanied by the Real Estate guys of course, but they will feel more relaxed if an over zealous owner isn’t there peering over their shoulder at every turn. The buyer will spend much longer in the property if you are not there, believe me, and they are more likely to ask the agent for more information, which is a very good sign that they are really interested.
When you go and look at property yourself, don’t you feel better if you can scout around without the owners there? Of course you do, and so does everyone else. Lock your best things away if you have any doubts about security, remove them from the house if need be, but get out of there on viewing day. Make the estate agent earn their fees, you pay them enough moolah after all, so have them earn their keep by conducting accompanied viewings themselves. And there is another reason to not be there too. What might that be? If you are in attendance, the buyer can ask you difficult questions face to face. Putting you on the spot, tricky ones too, such as, are the neighbours noisy? If they are, and you say “no", in front of a witness, and they buy the house, and the neighbours really are noisy, (it could even be the main reason for you wanting to move out!), the new buyers could have a legal case against you for misrepresentation.
But if you are honest and say “yes", the chances are that the prospective buyer will grin politely, and once outside walk away at a rate of knots, you won’t see them for dust. There are many other tricky questions the potential buyer might ask you too, but they can’t do that if you are not there. Selling a house can be a complicated business and the lawyers and agents should be handling these tricky questions, not inexperienced house sellers such as you might be. So take my advice, and get out of there on viewings day, and you will certainly improve your chances of selling your house faster.
Best of luck to you anyway in your quest to find that buyer, and remember, as my friend Michael is fond of saying, “there is a butt for every seat”, and if you act on these suggestions you will improve the chances of finding your perfect buyer, and perhaps sooner than you might think.
David Carter’s latest published work is SPLAM! Successful Property Letting And Management. Splam! Contains over 240 pages of hints and tips on how to start your own property business on a limited budget, and how to successfully let residential property. You can view actual extracts from the book at http://www.splam.co.uk and order a download or a hard copy at this site, or you can go direct to the publishers at http://www.lulu.com/dc . He also runs a holiday cottage website where you can access over 7,000 holiday cottages, apartments and villas worldwide at http://www.pebblebeachmedia.co.uk . Don’t you deserve a holiday? Well of course you do! You can contact David on any matter any time at email@example.com