How to Prepare for a House Viewing
Before the viewing
It goes without saying that tidying the house is one of the most important things you can do before a viewing, but not everyone has the time for a full-on clean. Here are some options for getting everything ready whether you’re an early bird or you’re in a last-minute rush.
If you don’t have much time
If you don’t have loads of time on your hands or your home just won’t stay tidy all week (especially if kids or pets are involved), just make some quick fixes the hour before a viewing.
Give it some kerb appeal – The outside of your property will set the tone for the rest of the house, so make sure things like recycling bins are neatly lined up or even hidden away, and relocating that stack of bikes. If possible, park your car around the corner so viewers see a clear first view of the house.
Kitchen quick-fixes – For many viewers the kitchen is the heart of the home. Make sure they’re not distracted from the kitchen by washing and putting away all pots, pans and utensils (or just stick them in the dishwasher). Make sure everything on the worktops is neat, and give all your surfaces a quick wipe.
Give some love to your living spaces – As always, clearing away unnecessary items is a must. If there are kids around, get them involved by asking them to pick up and tidily stow any clothes and toys they have around. Finish by straightening throws and fluffing pillows – this can make a surprisingly big difference to how welcoming your space is.
Blitz the bathroom – Cleaning wipes are your best friend when it comes to the bathroom. Give surfaces a quick wipe, and temporarily stash all your toiletries away.
Prep your pets – Not all potential buyers love animals, and evidence of a pet-heavy household might put some off. Make sure litter trays, hamster cages, and pet toys are out of the way and, most importantly, give your home a good vacuum to get rid of any hair. If your pets tend to get over-excited by visitors (especially dogs), see if you can leave them with a friend or a neighbor.
If you have a little more time
If you find yourself with a few spare hours over the weekend, it pays to have a more thorough declutter before viewings begin, and maybe even make a few simple repairs.
Reorganize – If you only have time for a few quick fixes hiding things in cupboard might be enough, but some viewers will want to look at these storage spaces too. If you have time to really reorganize, invest in some decent boxes and tidy your things away, neatly stacking them in the loft or even hiring a small storage unit. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of the things you don’t want to move with.
Fix obvious problems – If there are some things that look less-than-great but are easily fixable, tackle them now. Door squeaks when you open it? Put some oil on the hinges. Fence post wonky? Hammer it back in. Fixing some of the smaller things quickly will help people form a better first overall impression of your home.
If you have lots of time
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘home staging’ by now, and it can feel like an option that’s only for professional sellers with lots of cash to spare. But if you have enough time on your hands, with just a little investment home staging can really inspire viewers to fall in love with your home.
The idea is to make each room in your home look like it’s part of a show home (but not in a clinical, impersonal way). This makes it easier for viewers to imagine themselves in your property, living their own lives.
Start by cleaning and decluttering, then add some finishing touches – the home staging part – to draw viewers in.
Put out clean, folded towels in the bathroom, hotel-style, and hang a new shower curtain to give your bathroom more of a just-renovated look.
Clear away personal items like photographs and replace them with neutral ornaments or subtly-scented candles (nothing too fancy or overwhelming).
Lay tables with place mats and cutlery so viewers can imagine themselves eating and socializing there.
Choose a new rug to distract from an older carpet and add a cosy feel to your living room. If your room is very neutral go for a pop of color.
Put fresh flowers out to brighten the room and make it feel more welcoming.
Consider rearranging furniture to give your rooms a feeling of more space.
Invest in new duvet covers for the bed and cushions for your other furnishings. Think about how soft furnishings in furniture stores are displayed, and aim for the same thing.
If you have loads of time and want to go the extra mile, try painting your rooms a neutral (but not cold) color, especially if things are looking a little old.