Viewing someone else’s home is a daunting business for most home buyers. To get to this point they’ve spent time searching for property that suits their needs, they’ve run the gauntlet of the Estate Agents Inquisition and now they are standing on a complete stranger’s doorstep.
It’s been quite a journey to get here and just pulling up outside a prospective home is a big deal all in itself. Hopes and aspirations have led them to this point and now there is that anticipation, tinged with a little fear; will it live up to expectation?
How does the outside look? What impression did they get as they approached the front door, good, bad, indifferent?
Now it’s time to become Alice and disappear down the rabbit hole! They ring the doorbell…
A ‘rabbit in the headlights’ can also be a good phrase to use to describe what it feels like for some people when viewing a home for the first time. There is so much to take in, so many questions they feel they should be asking, time is short, they probably have others to view, kids to deal with, work to get back to, the owner to contend with, the agent to dance round and through all this they need to decide if this home is the one they should make this massive investment in, probably the biggest financial commitment of their life to date and they’ll probably do it in ten to fifteen minutes.
Is there any other huge financial commitment people will make in life and take so little time to decide?
Although some will argue to the contrary, for the majority of people, choosing a home comes down to emotion. Does it feel like home? Can I see myself living here?
We all make instant decisions based on feelings all the time, it’s human nature. How often do you meet a stranger and take an instant like to them, or an instant dislike? Finding a home can be like that.
Can you describe what it is that brings that strong emotion? Probably not straight away at least, a little later on you might try and define it. Viewing a home is like meeting a strange person, one you hope to like but you’re not sure if you will.
For the seller tackling the issue of preparing their home for sale, taking this thought of ‘feeling’ into account is all important. Ensuring someone likes your home is a series of challenges, it’s a steeple chase. They are well out of the gate and over the first few fences by the time people stand at your doorway, now there are another series of fences in quick succession and here are some thoughts on how to make those easier so people don’t baulk.
People are coming to your property to buy a home but in their subconscious they are looking for an idealised home. The clutter of day to day life is what they want to leave behind and I’m afraid it’s something you may need to consider in preparing to sell.
You should aim to maintain the feel of home but remove distractions.
That challenge will be different from person to person, from one property to the next and also based on the time of year.
Your hallway/entrance lobby will tell people a lot about your home, rightly or wrongly. Try and make sure there is room to move, free access, no squeezing past wet coats, prams or pet’s food bowls. One of the worst feelings in a stranger’s home is inadvertently knocking over the animal’s water bowl.
When that door opens they will be greeted by at least two things and possibly more, you and or the agent plus the smell of your home. In many cases this will be unnoticeable but it may be fragrant and unnervingly so. We all react differently but don’t take a gamble, do think about what you will be cooking the night before or on the day of a viewing. Is there a possibility that your home will smell of pet? ‘Wet dog in Autumn Mist’ is not likely to be on Chanel’s top seller list however much some people may love it.
Odour neutralisers, a little vanilla essence in a low oven, fresh brewed coffee, warm pastries, plug in air fresheners, all can be utilised in moderation and we do mean moderation (avoid distractions) to assist smoothing the way.
If asked, what should we do to declutter, aren’t we supposed to get rid of all our pictures? We normally respond, ‘it’s your home, you live here and it needs to reflect you, if it doesn’t feel like it is someone’s home it is hard to imagine living there yourself when you view as a potential buyer.’
However, remove distractions, pets, children if possible, chatty owners, risqué pictures, expensive and collectable items. People will look and take an interest but you want them, to be thinking later on in the day, ‘that was the home with the wonderful feel, the brilliant garden, the superb kitchen, the ensuite we dreamed of’ not, ‘that was the one with the slobbery dog, the one that smelt of cooked fish, the one with the step we nearly broke our ankle on, the one with….’
You can see what we mean, remove distractions so people focus on the property that will become their home. They need to see that it is not only a home for you and a great one, but one that will serve them well. They will buy into your lifestyle to a degree but don’t expect them to be an exact replica of you.
Next? Into the living room.