Selling Your Home – Preparing For A Viewing!

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As I mentioned in a recent post, my wife and I are currently in the process of selling our home. We put the house on the market on Friday and we already have 2 viewings booked in for Monday & Tuesday morning! In the current housing market, I don’t think you can ask for more than that. It’s not easy to get this kind of success, though. It actually involved a lot of hard work.

Getting the ball rolling

On Monday, we finally decided to sell our house after 5 long years of debating! We wanted to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible to take advantage of one of the best times to sell a house in the UK. In my over-excited state, I naively booked the estate agent to take the photos of the house on Wednesday – just a few days away. When I got home, I took a look around the place and realised just how much work needed to be done if the house was going to look its best for the photos.

You don’t realise until it comes to selling a house just how many jobs you have been putting off! Bits of wallpaper peeling off the wall, chips in the paintwork, that door handle you’ve been meaning to put on but haven’t gotten around to doing yet. We are all so busy that if a house is liveable, then we tend to ignore the minor imperfections!

The thing is, when it comes to staging your home for estate agents photos or better yet a viewing, all these little jobs can make a huge difference to how a prospective buyer might look at your property.

Most people don’t want to do these jobs!

In a tough housing market like the one were enduring at the moment (2012), buyers have their pick of houses up for sale. Imagine that you are buying a new home and you have viewed four in a day, which house would you choose to buy? The one where you can just walk in and begin living your life from day one? Or, the one where you need to redo the paintwork, fit new door handles and who knows what else? I know which one I’d prefer to move into if I had my pick of houses.

If the paintwork is bad, what else is wrong?

You can never disregard how big a decision buying a house is. By taking out a mortgage your prospective buyer is making a massive investment, perhaps the biggest of their life. They will be looking for a house that has been loved and well maintained. If I were to walk into a house and see that the paintwork was all over the place or that there were other – often easily rectifiable – issues, I would wonder what other bigger problems might be lurking around in the places that I can’t see! If potential buyers can’t see that you have pride in the surface appearance of your home, then they certainly won’t be able to trust that you have maintained the more expensive aspects of the house.

Remove Potential Mental Obstacles!

This is really important when preparing for a viewing. Just because you know that a problem in your house isn’t serious, that doesn’t mean that your potential buyer does. Take a faulty light bulb, for example.

In your eyes, it is simply a blown light bulb which can easily be replaced. To your buyer, however, it could be faulty wiring that may require them to rewire the whole house, which could involve pulling up the floorboards and re-doing the plaster or drywall! What can we learn from this example? Never assume that your buyer will know that a problem is a simple fix. If it’s that simple, why not buy the light bulb and fix it yourself, removing potential fears from the mind of a viewer.

Remove yourself from the property

Another tip is to try to set up your home in a way that your viewers can imagine themselves living in the property, rather than imagining how you lived in the property. You may have certain tastes that are specific, unusual or even controversial, for example, and over the years you have displayed these around your home. There is nothing wrong with that, but remember that when you are selling a home it should not be a representation of you and your own personality. Instead, it should be an invitation for someone else to inject their own style into the property.

I’m also a believer in removing yourself from the property physically! You pay your estate agent a lot of money to sell your home, so let them do it! If you are present at the time of a viewing, your prospective buyer will imagine your life in the property, rather than themselves living in the property. You also won’t want to hear any negative comments they might have, so you’re doing yourself a bit of a favour really.

In conclusion then, don’t presume that your buyer will see a problem as a simple fix. If it’s that simple to fix, then fix it yourself! Take pride in the appearance of your home, so that a buyer will know that you’ve taken the same amount of pride in the structural aspects of the property too. Finally, allow your buyer to imagine themselves living in the property, rather than them picturing you in it.

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4 Responses to Selling Your Home – Preparing For A Viewing!

  1. All good tips. As a prospective buyer, I have viewed SO many homes in that past year. It is already a stressful experience for the buyer to walk into all of these homes and imagine themselves there. We also have to make sure the price is what it should be (in our minds). Also note that we know the comps and have viewed many different options – we know what $200k looks like vs. $150k or more or less. It’s definitely a turn-off when a home is in bad condition yet the price is very high.

    A lot of foreclosures and bank-owned properties are in the worst condition but at low prices. If someone wants a high price for their home, you’d bet that we’d want the home to be in good condition. I wish all sellers were like you!

    • Money Bulldog says:

      You’re right and it’s interesting hearing it from a buyers point of view. I think for a seller it’s about getting what you can done and then balancing the condition of the house with the price you’re asking. I could spend a fortune doing everything that’s left to do to my house and make it immaculate but that would then bump the price up drastically. And not everyone wants to pay a premium for a house thats been done up to somebody else’s taste! It’s a balancing act!

  2. When I sold my house in the UK the estate agents were amazed how move in ready the house was. I never intended to sell nor did I ever believe my future wife would be a Canadian.
    I put a lot of work into my house over the years. I fit a new kitchen, bathrooms, floors, deck, heating and cooling system. You name it I did it. I purchased the house in the state where I needed to renovate it but I paid a cheaper price for it.

    I suppose I was lucky when I sold the house because the new owner has tried to sell twice now with no success for less than she bought it for. With that being said it’s imperative to make sure the house is in top notch condition. There is a lot of competition these day. Great post mate.
    Cheers mate,
    Mr.CBB

    • Money Bulldog says:

      Sounds like you got out at the right time! Everything you said just made me think of my latest post about the argument for renting. If you’d have met your wife a few years later owning your own place could have really limited your options or made things more difficult.

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