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Preparing for a House Viewing as a Home Seller

Part of the Buying and Selling a Home For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

The majority of prospective home buyers go with their gut instinct and decide whether to make an offer on your property almost as soon as they’ve set foot inside the place. Try to convince them that they can live there by following these checklists.

Getting the inside of your home in order for buyers' visits

You'll want everything to be looking clean and fresh when potential buyers come through. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Spring clean. Take out the rubbish. Clean out cupboards and wardrobes. Hire a steam cleaner to remove carpet stains.

  • De-clutter. Hide the trinkets cluttering the shelves. Remove extra furniture and put it in the garage (or into storage) to make the rooms appear bigger.

  • Attend to repairs. Broken drawer handles, cupboard doors hanging off their hinges, and missing bathroom or kitchen tiles create a poor first impression.

  • Paint grubby walls, or those in dark or unusual colours, in light, neutral shades.

  • Check the plumbing. Prospective buyers often flush the toilet and will notice leaky taps. Make sure you replace washers, if required, and fix the toilet, if needed, before showing anyone round your home.

  • Check all windows, curtains, and blinds. They should be clean, unbroken, secure, and operate properly.

  • Check all rugs, lino, and wooden floors. They need to be clean and in good condition. If there’s a hole in the carpet, strategically disguise it with furniture or a rug.

  • Check bathrooms. Thoroughly clean the toilet, bath, shower, sink, mirrors, and cabinets. Put a new toilet roll on the toilet roll holder. Put a clean hand towel in the bathroom.

    Matching sets of fluffy white towels give a much better impression than odd, tatty, or dirty towels.)

  • Put fresh flowers in as many rooms as possible. You can’t beat fresh flowers, but must make sure they are really fresh. If they smell especially fragrant, all the better.

  • Replace any burnt out light bulbs. If you’re showing prospective buyers round in the evening, remember that soft up-lighting is more flattering than a harsh bulb without a lampshade in the middle of the ceiling.

  • Make sure your home smells fresh. Brew coffee, bake bread, and light those scented candles.

    Avoid air fresheners, they smell too artificial.

  • Make the beds!

Cleaning up the outside of your home to impress buyers

You'll want your home buyers to get the best possible impression of your property even before they walk through the door. Welcome house-hunting visitors with these tips:

  • Don’t forget kerb appeal. First impressions count so make sure the exterior of the property is free of rubbish and the garden is tidy.

  • Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and weed the drive. Keep the front of the property as neat as possible.

  • Remove clutter from the windowsills. Remember, the prospective buyers will notice untidy windowsills as they walk up the front path.

Other important details for readying your house for sale

Before house buyers visit your home, make sure you've taken care of these details:

  • Ask a neighbour to look after Fido. Not everyone likes pets, and some prospective buyers may even be allergic.

  • Perform a final inspection of the entire property for appearance and cleanliness.

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