Dear house sellers. In my next 3 blog posts I would like you to meet the three most important words with regards to your house sale. Be warned – in order to sell your house successfully (and that means to achieve what you want to achieve out of the sale, whether that’s top price, to sell quickly, or any particular point along that sliding scale) you need to make friends with all three of these fellas. Neglecting just one of them could mean your house continues to sit on the market with no interest for many more months to come. But being BFFs with all of them means there no reason within your control that your house won’t sell straight away for close to the asking price.

First up is my lovely friend,

1: PRESENTATION

This is the first thing to get right when you’re selling. Choosing a new home is a tricky thing for buyers – it’s the biggest purchase they have ever or may ever make, and they get roughly 15 minutes to decide whether your house is The One. Yep, 10 – 15 minutes is the average viewing time, and doesn’t that sound ridiculous?! You spend more time test driving a £10k car than you do a house that’s at least 10 times that value!

Lounge: afterMy point is that your property needs to make a very good first impression, and follow that up with a fantastic second impression. Most of the time (over 95% of the time actually, according to Rightmove) the first impression is formed from what the buyer sees on the internet listing. Your photos mainly. And the second impression is formed during the first viewing, in person.

The house MUST be presented at its absolute best – nothing else will do unless you want to sacrifice thousands off your price or wait for someone who is willing to use their imagination, and then they’ll probably be savvy enough to knock a good few thousand off for your laziness or lack of vision.

In your photos, you only have the visual element to persuade buyers that they like your house and want to see it in person. So it’s crucial that you’ve got fantastic photos, and to get those you need your house to be in its best form ever.

CHBathIt’s quite simple really – make the house as appealing as possible to as many buyers as possible within your target market. There must be nothing wrong with the place – all maintenance issues must be properly fixed. It HAS to be super-clean. All over. Space must be shown properly – that’s what people are buying, after all. Your possessions and furniture shouldn’t distract from the property itself (best to pack away half of what you own in preparation for the move. Trust me – you won’t miss it!). Get rid of anything that could provoke a love/hate reaction, especially kitchens, bathrooms and carpets. Dress that house up as if it’s a guy going off on a first date and intends to ask the woman to marry him. Seriously – that’s essentially the scale of what you’re asking of your buyers when they first see the house!

CHBed2When it gets to viewing time, the other senses come into play; smell, sound, and touch. (Probably not taste, unless you’re serving biscuits or the buyers are really weird.) This is where the feelings and emotions of the buyer really start to guide them, and honestly, I think lots of people know as soon as they walk into the first room whether the house is for them or not. This is where all those tiny details can add up to an overall impression, so take time to put yourself in your buyers’ shoes and adjust as much as you can think of to get you those marginal gains in likeability. Remove your wedding photos from the mantelpiece so buyers don’t have to mentally remove you before they can imagine their own photos there. Leave space on every surface so it’s easy for buyers to start filling it with their own possessions in their minds. Set furniture up so that it hints at the lovely lifestyle that could be lived in your house – just because you don’t sit in that sunny window to read your book doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t suggest this activity to your buyers.

You’re not selling real life remember, you’re selling an aspirational lifestyle. Buyers have to want what you’re selling, so make them really want it.

Next time, I’ll introduce you to the second in my little trio. Talk to you soon!