Tips to prepare your house for viewings
Home staging is all about maximising your property's assets and minimising its flaws. In today's ultra-competitive market, simply giving your rooms a lick of paint may not be enough – you need to consider factors such as scent, lighting and whether your home is over-personalised.
By following these tips, you can make your property appealing to the highest possible number of potential buyers, which will hopefully result in a swifter sale, for a better price. Many of these tips are also relevant if you are planning to let out your property.
Tip 1: Clean and then clean again
Nothing makes a property feel unappealing like dirt and grime, and of all the home-staging tips, cleaning is the most essential. Your property should be absolutely spotless before any viewers step through the door.
Cleaning doesn't just mean vacuuming and scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen. It means replacing old shower curtains, cleaning the grouting between tiles, cleaning windows and frames, steaming the carpet, dusting skirting boards and anything else you can think of. It may even be worth getting your floors professionally cleaned.
Tip 2: De-clutter
De-cluttering is another essential step in the home staging process. Clutter hides a room's full potential, makes it look smaller and makes it harder for viewers to envisage their belongings in your house. It can also give the impression that your property doesn't have enough storage.
Begin by sorting through your possessions – create a 'keep' pile for essentials or things with sentimental value, a 'give to charity' pile, a 'recycle' pile and a 'throw out' pile. Aside from making your house look better, getting rid of some of your possessions will make packing when you move easier.
Box up any remaining non-essential items, and consider asking a friend if they can store them for you during viewings.
Tip 3: De-personalise /neutralise
When you're trying to sell your home, it's important to emotionally detach from the property. You can still treasure your memories there, but you need to see it as a product to advertise and sell. Make sure you remove anything that's over-personalised– whether it’s family photos or an unusual style of art that you're a fan of.
'Neutralising' is a good way to think of it. Viewers want to be able to imagine their personal possessions in the space, and if the rooms are too 'you', it will make it hard for them to do this and may put them off.
You should also try to gender neutralise your rooms, so that they will appeal to both sexes. Avoid overly masculine of feminine décor and furnishings.
Tip 4: Ensure there's good lighting
Lighting can have a powerful impact on viewers' impressions of your home and dark, dingy spaces are likely to be a turn-off. Even if a room has limited natural light, there are things you can do to hide this. Make sure there are a number of light sources and check that all the bulbs are working. A large mirror on one wall is also a clever way to make the space appear both brighter and bigger.
Tip 5: Create a pleasing scent
Have you ever walked past a shop and smelt a strong, pleasing aroma? For example, a children's store emitting a smell of sweets? This is known as scent marketing, and brands have known for decades that it's a powerful way to make products more attractive.
Scent is powerfully linked to our emotions and unpleasant smells, such as damp or bins, could make viewers think negatively about your property. Scent marketing is a technique that you can utilise when you're trying to sell your house.
Avoid air fresheners, as this can give the appearance that you're trying to cover up a bad odour. Instead, opt for natural scents, such as freshly cut flowers or baking bread. You could also try boiling water with lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, apple, and orange for a subtle scent, or make your own potpourri from essential oils, dried herbs, spices and fruits. Even simply airing your home in advance of viewings by opening windows can make a world of difference.
Tip 6: Remove evidence of pets
Not everyone will love your four-legged friends as much as you do, and some viewers may even find the thought that the property has been home to animals off-putting. Animals can leave lingering smells and hairs, so make sure you ask friends or family to look after them during viewings. You should also make sure that litter trays, food balls, toys and other items are out of sight.
Tip 7: Boost the curb appeal
The elusive 'curb-appeal' can be hard to define but it essentially refers to a house that looks impressive from the road. Whilst many home buyers may be loath to admit that curb appeal (and impressing their friends) is essential to them, the lack of it is a deal breaker for a surprising number of viewers.
To maximise your home’s curb appeal, make sure the front garden is as neat and tidy as possible, paint the front door and window frames and clean the windows. Small touches such as adding a doormat can also make a difference.
Tip 8: Re-arrange furniture
Your furniture is probably arranged to suit your living habits, but for viewings, you want it arranged in the way that looks the best. Many people also make the mistake of thinking that pushing all the furniture against the walls will make a room look larger. However, this isn't the case.
Instead, float furniture away from the walls, reposition chairs in cosy, conversational groups and organise it so that the main walkways in the rooms are clear. This will both make the space look larger and make its functionality obvious to potential buyers.
Tip 9: Tidy closets
It's easy to cram clutter into cupboards in an effort to tidy up before a viewing. However, if there's one thing buyers are guaranteed to do on a viewing, its check out the storage. Make sure storage is neat and tidy to show it in its best light and maximise the space available.
Tip 10: Remove signs of family life
This tip somewhat falls into the realm of removing clutter, but there are certain essentials of daily life that people often overlook when they're tidying for a viewing. The bathroom is the main culprit – make sure you store away bottles, toothbrushes etc. Likewise, remove items such as washing up bowls and drainers from the kitchen, as well as things like clothes horses.
If you're selling your house, you want to ensure the viewings give you the best possible chance of being successful. By staging your home to maximise its assets and minimise its flaws, you can hopefully secure a quicker sale for a better price.