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What to do before a viewing

Our six time-saving tips on how to prepare for viewings

When it comes to selling your house, the viewer becomes the VIP.  Here, we help you prepare for that all-important ‘state visit’.

We all have that friend.  You know the one.  The rarely-seen frenemy who, when they text to say they’re in the area and ‘might drop by’, you drop everything to ensure your home is military-precision perfect.

If you are selling your house, this high state of alert can become trying.  You need your home ready to bring its A-game every day of the week.  Because this visit isn’t simply a matter of pride; it’s about clinching that all important sale.

In a perfect world, we would all appreciate a clear day’s notice (preferably when it’s raining outside and we have nothing better to do) to tidy and prepare for a viewing.  In reality, in between calendars filled with children, pets and work schedules, we can often be left with mere minutes to get the house spic and span.

Below, we have compiled our top six time-saving tips to help speed you through the preparation for these high-profile visits.

1. Clear spaces

Even the largest rooms can look poky when they are overcrowded with everyday clutter.  Take a real look around the room you are sitting in right now.  What can you see that doesn’t belong?

First impressions are crucial, so be sure to give the whole house a thorough ‘sweep’ before your viewer arrives, removing all non-essential items that might distract the viewer.

It is important that your viewer has the opportunity to envision themselves living in your home; a task hard to achieve with your toddler’s abstract handprint masterpiece adhered to the fridge.

Short on time?  Grab a laundry basket as you tour the house, placing errant items in there.  Stash the basket in your car until after the viewing.

Top tip: pay attention to bookshelves.  They can often be magnets for day-to-day detritus such as hair grips, pens and loose change.

2. What about the children?

Now your home is clutter free – it’s time to keep it that way.  You love your kids, you love your dogs, cats, iguanas and so forth.  The trouble is, your viewer may not.

Ensure that when it comes to that all-important visit, children and animals are kept off premises.  A cat jumping on the surfaces will not convey the clean and pristine image you wish to portray of your kitchen to a first-time viewer.

Similarly, your attention should be entirely focussed on answering (and pre-empting) your viewer’s questions, not on helping your child to find their football kit or the Wi-Fi password.

As with other clutter, remove any pet bedding, where possible, for the duration of the visit.

Be sure to do a final sweep for lost Lego pieces under the sofa (viewers have the keenest eyes) and pay a visit to your pets’ favourite corners to check for recent hair deposits and you’re good to go.

3. Selective cleaning

With only fifteen minutes to go before the viewing, we aren’t suggesting you do a deep clean of the home, its soffits and facias.

Quite the opposite; the last thing your viewer needs is a nose full of ammonia as they step through the front door.

It is important, however, to ensure that any surfaces they are likely to touch are clean and crumb-free.  A quick wipe down of the kitchen worktops will suffice.

Check mirrors and windows for smudges (if you’re running short on time focus on en-suites and the main family bathroom) and run a damp duster over televisions and computer screens.

If you have a log burner, it is often the focal point of the room.  Be sure the clean the glass before viewings.  The quickest and easiest way to do this is by taking a clean, damp cloth and dipping it in the ash from the previous fire.  This will remove even the toughest smears and black soot with minimal effort.

Finally, run the hoover around the floors to remove any loose fluff and fuzz for a smooth and sanitised appearance.

4. Olfactory appeal

Falling in love with a home is a full-sensory experience.  And just like any first date, it’s important not to over-face the viewer with too much fragrance.

The old adage is to bake bread or brew strong coffee, but our fifteen-minute countdown calls for much simpler solutions.

Open a few windows to let the fresh air in.  This is particularly important in spare bedrooms and lesser-used rooms which can sometimes accrue a stale smell.

If you have stronger odours you need to combat, then consider spraying your fabric sofas, carpets or curtains with a mixture of water and fabric softener (just a few drops will suffice).

Quicker still, pop a tumble drier sheet on a radiator and let the gentle scent suffuse the air.

Avoid stronger invasive perfumes such as incense or potent aromatherapy candles. Neutral and clean is far more appealing.

5. Let there be light

No matter the time of year, create a sense of cosiness in your home by flicking on the lamps in every room.  Again, pay attention to neglected spaces such as studies and guest bedrooms.

If your kitchen has plinth lighting, now is the time to let it shine.

Keep a sense of symmetry in your bedroom by lighting both bedside lamps, or even by lighting a candle or two on the dressing table.

As well as making your home appear bright, switching on lights helps to make your rooms feel both larger and warmer.

6. Keep a cool head and a warm hearth

Minutes to go before the VIPs arrive.  If you’ve opened the windows to air any rooms, now is the time to close them and check the temperature.

The comfort of your viewer will dictate the amount of time they spend in your home – and ultimately whether they feel your house is a welcoming prospect.

On warm summer days, keep the air flowing and consider leaving windows open. If it is windy, wedge doors so they don’t bang in the breeze.

Even on the hottest days, your log burner should still be dressed in a cosy and inviting manner.  Stack the fire with a few logs and light a candle on the hearth to convey the warmth and comfort it provides, without causing your viewer to perspire.

In the winter time, pop an instant burning log on the fire for that homely glow.  No need to fuss with firelighters when time is of the essence.

Now that the house is ready, play some Einaudi at low volume and spare a minute to check your own appearance in the mirror.  You look great!  And so does your home.

We hope our six top tips have taken some of the worry away, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of viewings, just pick up the phone.  We can arrange to chat with you over a cuppa.  We’re waiting to hear from you, call us now on 01780 437 360 / 01572 497070.