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 The Prospective Buyer - The House Viewing

Do you want to sell your house quickly, and at the price you want?

Clichés aside, the power of first impressions really do make a difference. There are many small things you can do to make your house as attractive as possible to the buyer, and with reasonably little effort. Read on for the quick HouseWeb Guide to Selling your House. (To read or download the full guide for free, click here.)

Get Off on the Right Foot

It is important to pretend that the prospective viewer is the person who will buy your house. Avoid being impatient, aggressive or unfriendly. You may end up spending a few months in contact with that person, so it is best to create a good working relationship from the outset (besides the fact that they will be more reluctant to haggle if they like you!). Offer them a drink, but try not to be over-friendly to the point where they think you are making advances. The last thing you want the visitor to think is you are desperate to sell the house.

Know Who Is Coming

Make sure you have the prospective buyer's details, and remember their names.

A Little Work Makes A Lot of Difference

It is surprising how many people do not bother to give their house a basic spring clean before showing people round. Have you ever noticed how much better a car looks when it has had a decent wash? The same applies to houses. Cleanliness is the key (especially in the bathroom and kitchen).

Here are some recommended ideas:

  • Before you go crazy with the air freshener, try a more subtle approach. A faint aroma of brewed coffee or pot-pourri can get rid of most "house smells" (and every house has its own distinct "lived-in" aroma!). If you don't have a coffee percolator, try grilling a coffee bean. Boiling or grilling a stick of cinnamon works well, too. Don't go overboard though as the visitor will think you are trying to hide something.

  • A splash of paint can make an immeasurable difference. If you do not have much time or money on your hands (who does?!), concentrate on the front of the house. Treat the front of your house how models treat their faces, it is one of your main selling points. Keep in mind however that too much redecoration may have a negative effect. Remember too that the smell of fresh paint can also be a negative thing ("What are they covering up?"), so if you are going to add a new layer try to do it as far in advance as possible.

  • If you have a garden, make the most of it.

  • Keep old bills handy for any related questions they may have.

  • Clear away clutter, especially from the kitchen, bathroom and entrance. Leave out only what you will need on a daily basis.

Give the Prospective Buyer(s) Space

Give the viewer(s) the chance to look around themselves. They will feel less inclined to poke around if you are looking over their shoulders. On leaving, they will feel more satisfied that they have given the house "a good going over". They may as well see the visible defects now, as the surveyor's report will detail them anyway.

If there are some obvious defects point them out, as no house is ever pefect. People will appreciate your honesty, and will feel at ease that you are not trying to hide anything. Trust should not be undervalued in any relationship. Make sure that you have listed in your head the major postive of the house however to counter any negatives!

Explain What is Included With the House

You must state from the outset what you are including with the house. If you are leaving the fully-fitted kitchen, tell them. Likewise, if you are going to take every carpet, set of curtains and plant, let them know. By telling them now, you will save a lot of hassle in the future.

We recommend printing off a list to give to the buyer which shows them everything that comes with the house. HouseWeb have created a free Fixture & Fittings Inventory Agreement for you to print off. If you are buying, we always recommend completing this with the seller as part of the viewing. If you provide this to the buyer, they will be doubly impressed!

Selling Technique

Everyone is experienced in selling, having been on the receiving end of it for most of our lives. There are three approaches you may want to consider:

  • Hard Sell
    This is an aggressive approach which is unfavoured by most and can be very off-putting if done badly. Try slipping into the conversation how many other people have recently viewed the house. Feel free to mention whether anyone is thinking of putting in an offer. If the house is in demand let them know - remember, demand = desirability.
  • Soft Sell
    Avoid putting any pressure on the buyer. Leave them to their own devices. If they are really interested, they will be back. Use this approach if the house sells itself.
  • No Sell
    Reverse psychology is the key here. By pointing out defects and giving a generally honest approach, the buyer may start to try and make excuses for the house. They may view the house's potential and consider what they could turn it into. Only recommended for the professional salesmen!

Don't Stretch the Truth

Remember, one white lie may underestimate everything that you previously said about the house.

With all this in mind, take a look at House Viewing from the Buyer's Perspective.

Good Luck!



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