Back to Blog
So you’ve decided to move to somewhere bigger if you have a family or perhaps downsizing if all the children have flown the nest. You’ve chosen the estate agent you feel will do the best job; you’ve decluttered and depersonalised; the photographer has produced some cracking photographs which have made you fall in love with your house all over again; you’re expecting your first viewing this morning….and you’re nervous.
Here are 10 handy hints on making the viewing a breeze for both you and your potential buyer.
1. Greet your viewer by name and introduce yourself. Shake hands if you feel comfortable doing that. Make them as welcome as you can. Offer them a drink and a seat and try and build a connection with them. Attempt to get to know them a little and see what you have in common. Building a relationship the right way from this point can really help carry the sale of your home through to the end. The buyer will remember how you made them feel. If this is a positive feeling they are far more likely to offer a respectful and fair price. If you like and respect each other, any obstacles that crop up during the sales process will be much easier to circumnavigate, with both parties being more accommodating and flexible.
2. Where should you start? Start in the best room downstairs then make sure that you lead your viewers around your home in the order you feel shows it at its best. Leave all the doors closed by the way, so they don’t wander into rooms in the ‘wrong’ order. View the garden before the upstairs. If you finish in the garden, it’s too easy for your viewer to say goodbye without having another look round on their own. Show the bedrooms in reverse order - this makes the smallest bedroom feel bigger than it is. When we measure rooms with our eyes, we do it comparatively, so showing the master bedroom last will make it seem larger, by comparison to the smaller bedrooms. Showing the master first will make the smallest bedroom feel tiny. Finish the viewing in the best room downstairs where you started. The objective here is to persuade your viewers to look around again at their own pace. If they decline, you know they probably aren’t interested; if they agree and look pleased, there’s a chance they will make an offer.
3. Let them go into rooms first and remain in the doorway. This will make the room seem less crowded and give the buyer the chance to take in the room immediately. If your photographer has done a good job, your viewer won’t say something like “oh, it’s much bigger/smaller than I thought’. You’re then in a position to lead them to your next room.
4. Take your lead from your viewers. Avoid telling the story behind the wallpaper/ carpet/ extension. It is suprising how often people do this - it is instinctive to explain where you bought the paint, why you extended the kitchen and how much difference it has made etc but the buyer is only thinking about what he would like to do. Don't point out too many features; instead ask them if there is anything they would like to know and answer honestly. They may say nothing at all - be comfortable with that.
5. Watch them for signs of interest. If they know it's not for them the moment they walk through the door they will be itching to escape. I once did an excruciating viewing in a three bedroomed house in which the owner/ vendor insisted I looked at every single "feature" in the place including every loo, cupboard and appliance!
6. What do you love about your house? If you have a south or west facing garden that is a definite plus point which a first time buyer might not necessarily think about.
Be prepared for questions such as:
1. What are the neighbours like?
2. Why are you moving?
3. Have you found anywhere?
4. What do you like about living here?
5. What is the local school?
6. Which council tax band are you in?
7. How much is the gas/electricity bills?
8. How old is the boiler? Has it been regularly serviced?
9. How long has it been on the market? The answer to this one gives a prospective buyer an idea of how much leeway they have in terms of making an offer…and be honest about it!
7. Leave your potential buyers alone. Give them a quick tour, then retreat to one room with a cheery "now you know your way round shall I leave you to have another look on your own. I'll be in the kitchen/living room/conservatory if you need me". Many people like to have a real think about houses, imagine their stuff in them, tap walls, etc and find it hard to do that with the owner trailing around after them. They much prefer seeing houses with owners who left them to it. If they have experienced a strong positive reaction to the property, they will subconsciously be looking for more clues that this is the right home for them.
8. Do you know your target market? It’s worth trying to find out a bit about your viewer from the estate agent then you can tailor your showing accordingly. For example, for professional single people, mention restaurants, the quirky local deli,or ease of getting around or for a family, mention nearby parks, schools and other family oriented amenities.
9. Knowledge is power! There are lots of things an owner knows that an agent doesn't, such as the aspect, the neighbours, the parking, the bins, local amenities such as shops, pubs, walks, etc, transport links, that kind of thing. Briefly explaining why you were attracted to it in the first place, and what will make you sorry to leave, definitely helps. Pre-empt what people expect to find wrong with a property similar to the one you’re selling - noisy, not enough storage, insecure, cramped, etc - and drop in comments saying why these things are not true of yours, or at least be prepared to defend your property against such accusations!
10. Sell the lifestyle. 'We've been very lucky with this flat. As you can see its an Edwardian conversion, which is unusually spacious, and the soundproofing is excellent'. Or 'we love the light in this room in the evening - it’s so nice not to put the lights on till late when you've got people round' - sell the idea of them in the property enjoying the lifestyle to which they aspire.