A new year, a fresh start. Most of us will be trying to lose weight, some a new career and some will be finding a new home. If you are planning on doing the latter, that will most probably mean having to sell your existing home. Once you have decided that is what you want to do, it is crucial that you start cutting your emotional ties. When the ‘For Sale’ sign goes up an emotional journey will start and it is a chapter of your life that will need to come to an end.
Before you start calling a list of Estate Agents ensure your home is set and ready for the open market. Estate Agents are eager for ‘stock’ so it is likely that most will say the same thing… “What a lovely property” or “We will have no problem selling it for you”.
A potential buyer will use 4 of their 5 senses when viewing a property (sight, hearing, touch and smell). If a woman views a property she will most definitely bring along her sixth sense – but we will get on to that a little later on. The only sense potential buyers won’t use is ‘taste’… Unless you offer them a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The average viewing lasts about 20 minutes. If the viewers like the property they will most probably spend another 10 to 15 minutes looking around the house and garden.
Make the most of your viewers’ senses in the tight time frame available. Get your home ready for the Estate Agents first as they will be representing your home online but in person too. It is paramount that you feel comfortable with your Agent as they will most likely host your viewings. They will also be responsible for your publications and of course negotiate the best possible sale price.
Time to tap into the senses and get your home ‘Staged’ by making it appealing to prospective buyers. You need to draw them in, make them visualise themselves living in the property. You need to attract them to walk through the door after their first online ‘viewing’. By using the four of the five senses the aim is to attract the buyer to your home, making it appealing visually, by sound, touch and smell.
You can’t see without light. If a property is dark it will not be appealing. By painting it a lighter colour, removing dated wall paper, removing personal artefacts and creating a blank canvas, viewers will remember the key features of your home. Open curtains and turn on the lights to create an inviting room. You only have 20 minutes to woo them and make them fall in love with your home.
Spring clean – that is all I need to say… Even the porch. Yes, the porch. This is the first impression your prospective buyers will get of your home, so whilst they wait for the Estate Agent to find the correct key, they will look at your driveway, your porch, the neighbourhood and the garden. Pop to your local garden centre and invest in seasonal blooms. It will brighten up your garden even on the dullest of January days.
A trickle of water strategically placed can muffle and distract potential buyers from a busy road. Invest in a water feature with a powerful water pump and place it outside a window.
Come to an agreement if you happen to have a noisy neighbour. Negotiate a suitable schedule for noise making that will work for both parties.
Avoid lighting candles, incense or cooking before a viewing. Not everyone like these smells. Baking on the other hand creates a lovely inviting smell that everyone adores. Freshly cut flowers and house plants are beautiful to look at but also creates a beautiful smell. Let fresh air fill your room (if you are not selling your house in January).
If you live in the country be sure to empty out your cesspit before you start the process of house viewings. I know it is not a pleasant topic but a full cesspit can become a serious matter, especially during the summer months.
When it comes to touch, it is all about texture. Sight and Touch are the two senses most closely connected. You are most likely to touch something once you have seen it. You will never purchase a garment without touching it. Add texture and layers to your home just as you would layer your clothing. ‘Dress’ your home according to the seasons.
In the winter months layer your sofas with throws and cable knitted cushions. Go for textures that invite the feeling of warmth and cosiness. Not only will it look visually inviting, it will encourage touch – and the softer the texture, the better.
During the summer months go for lighter coloured throws and cushions. Replace your winter curtain with lighter density fabric curtain. Wood surfaces and granite draw the eye and makes one want to touch the grain. Clean carpets that are soft under foot creates a warm and cosy feel. Ensure the Estate Agent is aware of your no shoe policy if you have one.
The Sixth Sense – a property will ‘speak’ to you or it won’t. The trick with Home Staging is finding the balance. No one wants a home to look like a hotel, maintain the balance by keeping it realistic yet creating a blank canvas. You don’t want to spend a fortune on Staging your existing home… You would much rather spend the money on your new home.
Cater for all nationalities, personalities and styles that are likely to view your home by keeping the interior calm and inviting … And entice all the senses.