Q. I am planning to put my house on the market in the next month or so and wondered if you could offer any tips with respect to attracting potential buyers and generally making the place more saleable?
A. Opening your home to perfect strangers and allowing them to snoop around your home can be somewhat disconcerting to the best of us but in effect that is what you actually have to agree to when placing your property on the market. The smell of fresh coffee or baking bread has always been a sensible suggestion as all homes have a natural odour and replacing this with something pleasant will start the viewing off on a good foot, simple but effective. In a recent survey 61% of potential buyers preferred to shower rather than to bathe, so if you are making some improvements to your bathroom then consider some mixer shower/bath taps, even if you don’t have the space a self-contained shower. Presentation is everything, as they say first impressions count so making sure your home is clean, tidy and in good decorative order as well as clutter free but it’s equally important that the property also feels like a home – a buyer wants to find a home rather than admire a show house. Buyers will naturally want to know about the heating in a property and will expect you to know how old it is, what it costs to run and how efficient it is. Be prepared to explain how it works, when it was last serviced. Broadband connection is a hot topic at the moment; expect buyers to whip out their mobiles to test your broadband speed. These days’ people expect to be able to stream movies, surf the net and to be able to work from home in many cases. Speak to your estate agent before you commence marketing and prepare a list of the things you are including in the sale and a further list of what you might be persuaded to sell. Buyers like to know what they’re paying for and hate surprises like finding the light fittings are being taken and bare wires left behind. It sounds obvious but if you want people to buy your property then makes it easy for them to come and view it. If you are not at home often then make sure your agent has a set of keys and honestly potential buyers much prefer to look around whilst the vendor is out so even if you are around, go out for half an hour and let your agent handle the viewing after all they are the professionals and this is part of their service so leave it to the experts. Allowing your agent to handle this will also shield you from insensitive comments that potential buyers may vocalise during a visit which is only natural but can be hard for home owners to hear. Remember not to take these comments personally if you happen to be around, it isn’t meant to be a snipe at you but just a natural reaction for potential buyers to voice their likes and dislikes whist taking a look around.